Smashing Up The House

We're not going to have a kitchen sink for seven to ten days. If that's not something you don't want to hear coming from your husband's mouth while he's holding a sledgehammer, then I don't know what is. Or perhaps you would prefer him not to be holding the sledgehammer in the first place. I know I would, because then my kitchen wouldn't look like it does right now, which is like this:

And it's going to look like that for the next seven to ten days. Did I mention the seven to ten days? Yeah, it's going to look like that. Well, apart from the man holding the sledgehammer, that is. That man has had quite enough sledgehammer time, thank you very much.

No seriously. Put it down. You are having way too much fun with this.

Our weekend of demolition started off at Lowe's on Friday night, where we have---I kid you not---made actual friends in the flooring department, that's how often we're there. Our best friend is called Henry and I'm pretty sure he thinks we're stalking him. "Oh, hey guys!" he says when he spots us, but you can see the faint fear in his eyes, the question mark ("again?") as he calculates whether to run as far as he can from us or approach us carefully, like you'd approach a jumper on a bridge, reaching slowly for the box-cutter in his apron pocket. "Hi Henry!" we say, "It's us! We're back! We'd like to look at the canyon ranch slate for the fifty-eighth time, if that's okay with you!"

Saturday was a billion degrees---summer is just getting started in San Francisco---and I spent the day in our backyard in a tank top, spray painting furniture and slowly asphyxiating my elderly Chinese neighbors who were trying to enjoy the sunny weather in their own backyard and kept coughing, pointedly, every few minutes. I don't want to boast or anything, but I'm pretty sure I have a future as a spray paint artist. I mean, I'm kind of awesome at it. It's not exactly hard to be awesome at spray painting, of course---the steps are basically a) hold the can, b) push the button---but I found it very enjoyable all the same. I think maybe I should have worn a mask though, because when we met our friends Alison and Nathan for dinner at Zero Zero that night, I'm willing to bet, looking back on it, that there wasn't actually a lime green giraffe in the corner of the restaurant. I did have a very interesting conversation with my fork, though. It was winking at me all night.

The other thing I did this weekend---apart from buying a ten-foot vintage map for ten bucks after spotting it at a yard sale from a moving car (I am, like, the deal-whisperer of vintage maps)---was to make the world's most enormous chalkboard in my kitchen, and let me tell you, if you are a Type-A list-maker like myself, you should make one of these immediately because it will be the best thing that ever happened to you.

Look! Look at that! SO MUCH SPACE TO WRITE STUFF. This is a kind of crappy photo of it---also, please do not look too far into the background and see that we still have unpacked boxes sitting on the living room floor--but it's going to look fantastic in the end, I think, once the rest of the kitchen is finished and I can use it for things like winsome quotes and recipes and impromptu loveheart doodles, rather than practical stuff like "join YMCA." I should clarify, by the way, that the item towards the top that says "hang schoolboys" refers to a black and white print we have of some 1940s schoolboys, and not.....well, not to anything more sinister. Just figured I'd clear that one up quickly. You know, in case you were about to call the police.

1. Your neighborhood YMCA is the man. I love it. I went there for three years, and then moved. Nothing compares.
2. I love a good in-house chalkboard. Ours had been relegated to houseguests' notes to us, but I still adore it.

Sep 26, 2010

You know, if you only live without a sink for 7 to 10 days, that's really mere seconds in the land of home improvement. When we bought our house and tore out the kitchen, people told me we wouldn't have a kitchen for two months and I scoffed. What would take two months? We just needed to assemble the cabinets, slap a countertop on them, and add appliances. But sure enough, by the time we accomplished essential items like moving the 220 for the oven, hanging upper cabinets into old brick, getting Lowe's to come measure for the countertop, make it, come out and install it, and so on and so forth, I'll be damned if it didn't actually take just as long as everybody said it would. Washing dishes in the sink in the bathtub or under the hose bib gets old really fast, so enjoy a week of takeout and get that new sink in there asap! And have fun - you'll be telling these stories for years :)

Sep 27, 2010

Love the chalkboard! I too had to wash up in the bath and cook on a camping stove for a week when we did our kitchen, so I definitely feel your pain. I also made myself hallucinate and pass out against the wall after using paint stripper in an unventilated room. The joys of DIY!

Sep 27, 2010

That chalkboard is totally awesome! Buuut - how are you going to frame a pie?

Sep 27, 2010

did you use chalkboard paint to make the chalkboard? it looks great and i have been wanting to do that- just wondering how you did it???

Sep 27, 2010

This might be a stupid question, but I am considering chalkboard paint on a wall in our finished basement...isn't it rather messy/dusty with all the chalk and erasing? That is the only thing stopping me at this point-visions of chalk footprints stemming from that wall radiating outward. I'd love to hear how you or others got around that. Or maybe I'm the only one with that level of OCD and no one else cares (like my husband who thinks I'm a wee bit crazy).

Sep 27, 2010

So, we're moving to a new state, and my husband recently casually mentioned "Wouldn't it be fun to buy a house that is basically a tear down, and rip out the insides and start from scratch? I mean, we already own an air compressor!"

After I got done rocking in a corner, I come to this blog and see the demolition, and I'm all "ooh, that DOES look like fun."
Oy. So it begins...

Kate (and Ben)
Sep 27, 2010

A few months back I turned the door to my antique record cabinet into a chalkboard (it's about 12''x36''-ish) and we love it!! Sometimes it's for lists, and sometimes it's for love-notes and sometimes it's for doodles. You will LOVE having your chalkboard!
And good luck with all that demo!!

Sep 27, 2010

harharhar you crack me up!!

Sep 27, 2010

Oooh, your lime green giraffe has nothing on me.

Sep 27, 2010

Is it weird that I read your entire to-do list?

RE: that list
1) I am excited to read you will be writing a book; and
2) what is a hoodie backer, and how does one lay it?

Operation Pink Herring
Sep 27, 2010

Oh my god, smashing up those tiles looks like fun.

Locusts and Wild Honey
Sep 27, 2010

Oh hey! Look at that. You did join the Y.

I can't WAIT to see the finished product. I've said it once, I've it a million times. You guys amaze me. I wouldn't even consider smashing up my countertops.

Much respect.

Sep 27, 2010

Obviously my handwriting is not its best in chalk! AnnabelVita, it's supposed to say "frame PIC," but I totally did the same thing all weekend and kept looking at it going "frame PIE? What pie?" Sheila, yes, I was going to start (and finish!) writing a book in a weekend -- ha! (Nope, I was actually supposed to read it because it's due back at the library soon...didn't get to it, though.) And "lay hoodie backer" is actually "lay hardie backer" which is what we have to put down on our kitchen floors before we tile it, though Sean informs me that it doesn't have an "e" on the end.

Janice and MS -- yep, it's just chalkboard paint ($13 or so from Lowe's; I got the Valspar brand because it was what they had, but other companies make it too.) You just paint it on like normal paint -- I did two coats.

Sep 27, 2010

We did a chalkboard in our kitchen, too! - Not as large as yours, but a nice handy one on the front of the pantry door that lets me know what i can put together for dinner or is useful as a passive aggressive argument device.

Sep 27, 2010

I so want a chalkboard wall in my kitchen!

Sep 27, 2010

I've been wanting to paint my 1970's oak cabinets white since we moved into our house (um...6 years ago). Did you have to sand yours down, or were you able to get good coverage by just painting?
I would also like to add that doing these projects up front (unlike me and the six year wait) makes living in the house so much better in the long (long) run. Well done!

Sep 27, 2010

Doesn't Sean know the value of eye protection? Get him some work goggles! I can even give you a pair, if you'd like.

Sep 27, 2010

Wow. You are ambitious. I hope world domination/world peace are on there somewhere.

Sensibly Sassy
Sep 27, 2010

I love seeing these pictures of your house makeover! You guys have such neat ideas!

Sep 27, 2010

A chalkboard is the BEST THING EVER! We have 2, one in the Kitchen and one in the office. We write on it ALL THE TIME.

Sep 27, 2010

I, too, thought it was awesome that you'd casually note "Start (and finish) book." It makes more sense that you were talking about *reading* that book rather than writing it. Good luck with the kitchen!

Sep 28, 2010

I LOVE demo. My love to scare my boyfriend by asking him where the sledge hammer is. :)

Sep 28, 2010

I love the chalkboard! I want to paint one in my kitchen but my neat-nik tendencies FREAK OUT when I think about the chalkdust everywhere.

Whenever I see the chalkboard wall in "500 Days of Summer" it makes me cringe. DUST. IN. BED. ON. PILLOW. ueghghghghghhhh

Sep 28, 2010

I assume the chalkboard is painted right on the wall, right? Very cool...
Can't wait to see the rest of your improvements and the furniture and the vintage map! Show me, show me, show me! :)

Sep 28, 2010

I have a chalkboard just like that on the side of my fridge! Perfect for weekly menus and activities. I magnetized mine to hang recipes. Super useful. Have fun renovating your kitchen.

Sep 28, 2010

Since you're entering the (fun filled!) world of spray paint, allow me to turn you on to the most handy of devices for spraying for prolonged periods of time: The Spray Paint Gun. $2.00 will SAVE your hand and a lot of potential mess.

Also: I WISH I was without a kitchen for 6 days. I went sans kitchen sink (read: Little House on the Prarie water-hauling style) for...5 months. Garden hose sprayer for the rinse and everything. These are the joys of homeownership. Right?

Sep 28, 2010

I'm sorry but I find it weird that you don't like touching wooden spoons but enjoys writing list with a chalk?! hehe..

Sep 29, 2010

Seeing that photo of Sean wielding a sledgehammer over those torn-up countertops is really making me want to take a hammer to my own 1950s-era, patterned formica countertops. And I'm impressed at how smooth and even your painted cabinets turned out, even without primer - I painted mine last year and it took four (four!!) coats of white paint before the wood-grain pattern stopped showing through!

Also, Holly, I feel compelled to tell you that I just finished reading your blog from cover to cover, and just in case that sounds excessively stalker-ish, I just wanted to mention that your posts are highly addictive and far more entertaining than most novels. Really looking forward to reading your future posts!

My parents washed dishes in their bathroom sink for a month and a half while their kitchen was being remodeled.

In case you were wondering, yes, that is exactly what hell is like.

Twice Five Miles
Oct 01, 2010

I also thought you were attempting to frame a pie. It gave me serious pause.

Oct 06, 2010

OK, question. Does chalkboard paint end up feeling like an old school chalkboard? Because I can't touch those or I get squeaked out. (I can't touch terra cotta either, I shudder to think about it.)

Just wondering - because I love the idea... but fear the outcome!

iphone cases
Nov 17, 2010

Problems with reading cookies between Classic ASP and Do you accept guest posts? I would love to write couple articles here..

May 21, 2011

I just found your blog via ApartmentTherapy and have to tell you that I love your writing! It's whimsical and funny and I love that you clearly don't take yourself too seriously. I'm adding you to my blog reader. Thanks! Oh, and thank you also for the inspiration. We're getting ready to embark on our own remodel but thankfully, it does not involve my husband wielding a sledge hammer. At least, I hope not.

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