Kitchen Remodel: Electrical rough-in

This week we had the electrician come out to tackle the electrical rough-in. This entailed:

(1) Moving the light switches. Once the wall came down, we needed to relocated the switches on that wall.

(2) Upgrading to GFIs. The outlets near the sink were not GFIs. Also, apparently, the outlet on the island would need to be a GFI (I didn’t know this until they were done).

(3) Running a line for an outlet on the island: In our county, when you have a permanent kitchen island, an outlet is required on the island.

They ran the line from the wing wall next to where the fridge will be.

(4) Moving an existing outlet: Moving the outlet on the wall near the oven, farther to the right. (They also added another outlet on that wall.)

(5) Installing a new outlet in a closet: Across the hallway from the kitchen is a coat closet at the top of the stairs. My plan is to turn it into a panty with a counter on which I can place a small microwave.

(6) Installing can lighting in the kitchen and the living area: remodel types, LED, safe for insulation.

(7) Moving the current hard-wired drop for the ceiling light to centered over the island.

It took them (a husband/wife team) a whole day and another half. The most impressive was how they routed the electrical line for the island under the floor. I was so thankful this was easy, no need for any drop from the ceiling and an unsightly beam in which to hold it.

The local code inspector came out the next day to sign off on the rough-in. I’ll have to call him back out once the walls are up and the switches and outlets are installed for the final electrical inspection.

Here’s a few pictures of the overall plan and the counter top, tile, and cabinet colors. Imagine a counter top in the picture, and the cabinet doors are a more matte black, and the tile is bigger, and the fridge is black, and the vent hood is stainless steel. Basically, you have to REALLY use your imagination and I can safely say I have no idea how this is all going to work out.

The aggregate looking stuff is the countertop, a Caesarstone. The wall tile is in the grey family, it is shiny in some light. The cabinet doors will be a matte black.

This week I hope to finalize/schedule the work to replace the window and get an idea of how much the fix to the wood floor will cost.  


A DIY IKEA Kitchen Remodel

I like this spot on the web to be a contemplative place for myself, but I’m going to change gears and catalog my experience with remodeling my kitchen. Just to have for posterity. To remind myself of the craziness when I think about remodeling the bathrooms. Also, if it can help anyone else plan, budget (which is why I’m including prices), and mentally prepare themselves, it will be worth it.

First off, our house, purchased 2 years ago, is a 1973 bi-level in the Pacific Northwest. I don’t think they upgraded the kitchen in all that time. They may have stripped the cabinets (there was evidence of a dark stain sprayed on the inside of cabinets) and repainted, replaced the dishwasher at some point, but that’s about it. My apologies for the out-of-focus before pictures below. The rest of the pictures are all pretty bad, cell phone pictures. Sorry.

I was seduced by the IKEA Kitchen sale, 20% including the Ceasarstone countertop. In my mind I had a $10,000 budget. I knew, or thought I knew, it could be done for that or less. I heard all sorts of crazy estimates, downward of $25,000 for a budget remodel, to $100,000 for something extravagant. Ah, my punk self thought I would beat them all. We’ll see.

My plans in place, I bought the cabinets, and secured an order on the counter tops. I should have made sure that I could take out the wall before buying anything. Oh well, it turned out okay, but first off, I contacted a local architect to see if I could take down the wall and get an opinion on my plan and some other house issues. $500 later and I got an “80% sure the wall can come down. Call a structural engineer.” I called a structural engineer and got the okay; the walls can come down, but don’t be surprised if cracks in the ceiling show up due to settling. He also suggested I consider taking out my old insulation and replacing it up to code. I applied for all the permits ($400 in total): electrical, and a building permit that covered removing and replacing the old insulation, as well as taking down the two walls.

Next up, I heard the local electrical company was giving out rebates for improving your attic insulation. I could tell this was something we needed badly…keeping warm air in the home is a big deal up here. We were at about an R4, when we needed to be at R39. I contracted a company to remove the old insulation (which I had had tested to insure there was no asbestos in it), and replace the insulation after the electrician came out to install the ceiling lights. This came to the tune of $2300. Ugh. I did the math, for me to do this myself it would take $400 in materials/rentals and two days of hard labor to do the work myself. Plus, $1200 and another two days of labor to install the new insulation. I couldn’t take another 4 days away from homeschooling the kids.

Currently, the insulation has been removed, and we have started the kitchen demo. The wall cabinets and some of the base cabinets have been removed (two trips to the dump later). The drywall on the walls has been removed, mostly, as well as some studs. I removed the dishwasher yesterday, and just narrowly missed flooding my kitchen (which is on the upper floor). The water supply valve (yes, I had shut off the water, but it) was corroded and failed.

How are we feeding ourselves? I set up a camp-like kitchen in my bathroom on the lower level. I tore out the old vanity and installed a utility sink (scored for $15 at a second-hand store), and a make-shift counter space. I bought a Ninja 3-in-1 cooking appliance, and my neighbor gifted me an electric oven. We’re making due. I am thankful for running water and a space to cook.

I’ll share some more about the finishes I chose, tile, counter, etc. next time.


The statue said, “May Peace Prevail on Earth,” from the Seattle Space Needle garden.



The mushroom pushes
Its soft skull
Up through the soil,

Spreads its frail
Ribs into full
Pale bloom,

And floats,
A dim ghost,
Above the tomb

Where an oak’s
Old dust lies
Flourishing still


by Valerie Worth from all the small poems and fourteen more


I can’t get enough of this album. Great for those quiet, passionate evenings. I’ve been singing into my broomstick.


I like trees because they seem more resigned to the way they have to live than other things do.

Willa Cather (1873 - 1947)O Pioneers! (1913)


horse chestnut

Almost the best

Thing about a 

Horse chestnut

Is that it just

Fits the hand,

And can be

Held hidden,

A secret

Shining brown 

In the mind.

-Valerie Worth

Lock and load, baby!

Lock and load, baby!

""anyone out here who doesn’t drive a Volks is either ostentatious or stupid" -Jack Nicholson, according to notes by writer Judy Fayard"



How fun would this be?! Now where’s that type writer?