Monday, April 21, 2014

Mood Boards

I've been running around like mad lately trying to price out a potential kitchen/bathroom renovation.  It is a LOT of work.  I've found a contractor who gave us a good price on labour and rough materials, which means I've got to source all the special stuff - fixtures, tile, appliances, lighting, kitchen cabinets, etc.  First up - let's see some mood boards, shall we?

I used to think I wanted shaker style cabinets with contemporary, long pulls.  White cabinets, grey floor, grey counter.  Something like this:

As I sat on this, and as I realized that Ikea is probably my best option in terms of price point for cabinets and that I wasn't super into their version of the shaker style (I like a narrow, very clean profile), I started finding myself veering towards flat front cabinets with contemporary tab edge pulls (like in the last two photos).  I'm thinking white cabinets with a slight gloss (Ikea's Applad fronts), light grey tile floor, and a white/pale marble influenced counter with maybe flecks of grey, likely in a caesarstone/silestone composite quartz.  Some open shelving, in medium-warm toned natural wood stain, as in the middle photo.  With all that neutral up in that piece, I've been heart set for a long time on a colorful, graphic backsplash.  Originally, I wanted to carry through the grey-acid yellow-white thing we have going on in the main floor of the house, but then I saw this tile and fell in love:

This tile probably costs a billion dollars a square foot and is obviously out of my reach.  I did find a rectangular tile with a raised prism pattern in a shade of blue/teal that I very much liked.  I think with the rectangular floor tile, the white expanse of the cabinets and all, it's going to look very stark and the raised dimensions of the tile will add some nice texture (I hope).  

The bathroom I'm basically ripping off my massage therapist's bathroom.  LOL.  I hope she doesn't mind!  Very basic - subway tile alcove bath, modern fixtures, a sink/console combination (no vanity), white open shelving and baskets for storing our unsightlies, wide wainscotting, marble hex tile floor:

That's actually the sink/console I'm eyeing

Running around to a million stores has been educational for me, in the sense that it has underscored how weirdly reluctant people are to HAGGLE.  1st rule of being a Lagerfeld is: PAYING RETAIL IS FOR SUCKERS.  Don't do it!  What the f**k are you paying these f**ks for?  To call up the manufacturer and place an order for you and then charge you a mark-up to make that phone call?  Gimme a break.

As an example, I have a small job I wanted done in our enclosed porch.  Basically, we have framing separating us from our neighbour's enclosed porch, and tacked onto the framing is basically like, cardboard, so you can't screw in any coat hooks that can take any weight.  The job is simple, rip out the old stuff, throw up some drywall, some beadboard, and a shelf, over an area that's about 12'x5'.  The job is so small that most of my contractors don't want to do it, so I found the name of some dude on a local community recommendation site and checked his work online.  I have him by, and he looks at the job, showing up with a business card with PAPYRUS font and reeking of butts (basically, he doesn't give you the white-glove customer service experience).  He comes back and quotes me $900.  NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS.  I was like, um, no.  I told him straight up that was more than double what I was willing to spend on labour and I ask him what his hourly rate is.  He writes back that he had included a bunch of time for "staining and finishing" (even though I had shown him pictures of what I wanted and it was white!  I had also specified paint-grade poplar!).  He tells me that his hourly is $50/hour (still high) so I said I'd pay him his hourly to a maximum of $350.  He INSTANTLY writes back "done. I can start on Friday."  !!!!!  LOL!  I felt a little bad about Carpenter Jim being such a sadsack and asked the Dotytron if he thought it was okay that I was lowballing to that extent.  The Dotytron was like, Carpenter Jim brought this on himself.  The sad thing is: some people will actually pay the $900!

Emboldened by my successful recent negotiations.I am officially the scourge of retailers.  Look, if an appliance store takes a mark-up of say, 20% ON EACH ITEM purely for the service of liaising with the manufacturer, then they can get that 20% on ONE item from me, not all.  Further, I'm of the belief that they should be okay getting a tighter profit margin on me, because so many rubes are willing to walk in and take the initial quote.  

The question of the hour now, is whether I can justify getting a 36" gas range.  I'm old school - I want a range that's as close to a commercial one as possible - which means: no fancy self-cleaning, no fancy dual-fuel, just gas on gas.  No computer to break down, no "multiple oven modes."  On, off, simmer, high.  No griddles!  No grills!  No wok functions!


In typical me fashion this post has taken me a solid week to put together.  Thus far, our long weekend has been splendid.  Our friends H & A were visiting from Cleveland and stayed with us.  It's been so nice - like a proper do-over of our squandered March Break.  We ate, we played Pandemic (and won!), we hung out, the boys drank bourbon, my street had our annual Easter Egg Hunt, we went for dinner at Playa Cabana Barrio Coreano:

How cute is my street?  

On Saturday night, the Big Yam came downstairs, and asked me, "Mama, where does the Easter Bunny live?" trailed by the Dotytron giving us the "What was I supposed to say?!?" face and shrugged shoulders.  Parenting Tip: try to anticipate these kinds of questions so that your story checks out and it's consistent.  We said Easter Island.  We don't have a house where the Easter Bunny comes and gives out mad stuff.  I saw one of the Dotytron's cousins had this giant set-up for their kids with Easter baskets and matching mom-and-daughter Hunter rain boots (!) and a strider bike from the Easter Bunny.  WHAT. THE. F**K.  Are you f**king kidding me?  NOT A THING.  I love that the Big Yam has no concept of want.  He got owned at the hunt and came back with the fewest eggs and then asked to open one, ate a chocolate, and then promptly forgot about them in favour of watching BBC's Blue Planet on the iPad, which is his new obsession.  
Belated 10 month Wonder Twin growth pic

Looks who's doing THIS now?!? Lindsay Lou-Lou basically learned to crawl about two weeks ago, and then promptly started doing what you see up there, all the time.  Quincess continues to do his backwards inchworm/sliding on the back of his head technique.  He's really fast at it, so I'm beginning to lose hope that he'll ever learn to crawl properly.  He turns and pivots and kicks off from a stationary object when he needs extra leverage.  He'll stop and check to make sure he's going in the right direction and then continue on his way.  It's hilarious, but also not physiotherapist approved.

Says you.


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