...because home doesn't happen overnight.

With all of the kitchen base cabinets installed, Handy Hubby was able to knock out the rest of the hardwood flooring! If you’ll remember, a few short weeks ago this is what the kitchen looked like…

HH researched the installation of a floating engineered hardwood floor and found that it was recommended to install any kitchen base cabinets prior to installing flooring. From what I understand, since the base cabinets are attached to the wall laying a floating wood floor beneath them could cause problems down the road when the floor expands and contracts. It could result in shifting of the cabinets and damage to the walls. {This isn’t the case with a nailed down wood floor since in essence it’s not a floating floor.}

As much as we were aching for the hardwoods to be done already, we weren’t willing to chance screwing up the kitchen cabinets and walls due to expansion/contraction in the future. So, the flooring install was put on hold while HH assembled and installed the base cabinetry in the kitchen. We chose not to worry about the few upper cabinets since their installation wasn’t necessary for the completion of the flooring. {For more details on our kitchen layout, click here.} Normally, it’s much easier to install upper cabinets first then move on to lower cabinets but IKEA has a nifty rail system on which the upper cabinets are installed so we figured installing the lower cabinets first wouldn’t pose a problem. I’ll let you know how that pans out.

We also opted to forgo the drawers and doors until the flooring was complete.

HH assembled and installed all the base cabinets himself…in between numerous business trips. {That’s why it’s taken me so long to get you some after shots.} In talking to him, he found the process to be relatively easy. But you have to remember he’s comparing this project to tearing down walls, vaulting the ceiling, upgrading the HVAC system, etc. AND he’s an engineer so his evaluation of the situation might be a little skewed. I’m sorry I don’t have detailed in progress shots of the cabinet install…HH doesn’t think of that stuff when he’s DIYing and my bed rest has necessitated my absence from the Underdog. But once HH is back from his most recent work trip {tomorrow!}, I plan on sitting down with him and getting all the details to share with you and maybe even trying to capture a few close-ups so you can see how he attached the cabinets to the walls and installed the kitchen island.

For now though, here are the latest pics I snapped a few days ago when I was feeling pretty good. They should give you a better idea of the kitchen layout.

The view from the front door…

I love that you can see all the way through the house to the backyard upon entrance into the Underdog. A window used to live where those French doors are. HH and I debated back and forth between replacing the original window with a set of doors or not. We knew we’d love the doors but hadn’t planned on putting them in right away. We’re both so happy we bit the bullet and went ahead with the French doors. No regrets one bit. At some point, I’ll paint the doors. I haven’t decided what color…black?…gray?…red? Who knows what hue they’ll end up!

Just to the right of the French doors you’ll see two base cabinets. With a continuous length of countertop connecting the two cabinets, this area will eventually become a desk area. There will be a few shallower upper cabinets for added storage. I see this space being used for making grocery lists, sorting mail, paying bills, filing paperwork, blogging, etc. Organization will be key. I can’t wait for everything to have a place!

If you do a 180° and look the other way across the kitchen, this is what you’ll see…

Our kitchen is pretty wide {~25′} but not very deep. It has a galley feel to it but instead of two parallel walls closing it in, we removed one of the walls and added an island in its place to open things up. There’s a nice, wide walkway between the island and cabinets along the wall to make for easy maneuvering.

Moving across the kitchen right to left {sorry, I’m left-handed so I tend to do things bass-ackwards} from the French doors…

The hood will be centered between the sink window and French doors. We thought it’d make a better focal point than the fridge. This did require us to have a gas line installed at the new stove placement. {The fridge will live where the stove used to.} To the left of the stove is the dishwasher then the sink. Have I mentioned that I’ve been hand washing our dishes for the past six months? The apartment’s dishwasher works as if someone is spitting water onto your dishes…dirty water. I used it once and vowed not to touch it ever again. I look forward to the day I can throw our dishes into a fully functioning dishwasher!

The far left side of the kitchen will house the fridge. This was the original placement of the stove but, like I said, we chose to move it, move it. Not only does this keep our fridge from being the center of attention, but it moves it closer to the garage entrance which should make putting away groceries a cinch. A few shallower upper cabinets will go along this wall as well. One will hold our microwave {which we haven’t purchased yet} and a deeper storage cabinet will top off the fridge.

The hole in the wall in the upper corner is wiring for above cabinet lighting. The uppers on the other {right} side of the kitchen will get above cabinet illumination too. That was another one of our electrician’s ideas that we hadn’t given much thought to until he mentioned it, but I think it will be a great investment and make for some lovely ambiance at night.

Looking back towards the desk area from the fridge…

That concludes a little walk through our preliminary kitchen. Let’s get back to that flooring.

After all the measuring, bending, cutting, squatting, and gluing and gluing and gluing, we LOVE this floor! Sure, it could use a good scrub but we’ve deemed it worthy of all the hard work it took to DIY the install. With that one set of black drawers installed on the island, you can get a good feel for how the black base cabinets will look next to the floor. I like the way the black in the cabinets draws out the darker grain in the floor. But I also like that there’s enough contrast between the brown floor and black cabinets that they feel separate. A darker floor would have been too dark. {With the white cabinet frames, you can see how the hardwood could work nicely in a white kitchen too – in case you were wondering.}

With the island and base cabinets in, HH finished up the rest of the flooring just last weekend {on one of the two days he was home in between work trips}. He floored right up to the island…

…and base cabinets…

The island and base cabinets will get a toe kick treatment with black plinth that matches the cabinetry. It will hide the island’s framed base and the lower cabinets’ undercarriage. There was no need to floor all the way under the cabinets. HH cut notches in the flooring for the legs of the cabinets.

By contrast, HH installed the wood floor underneath all appliances.

This is due to the fact that the appliances – while hooked up at the walls – are not ATTACHED to the walls. Their freestanding properties, unlike the screwed in cabinets, give them more wiggle room for any expansion and contraction that may occur with the flooring later on. Again, this is the case for us because we installed a floating engineered hardwood floor onto a concrete slab. If you are nailing down your wood floor onto a subfloor {lucky dog you!}, then there shouldn’t be a problem installing the flooring underneath base cabinets if you choose to do so.

Luckily, our major appliances {fridge, dishwasher, stove} have adjustable feet so that we can keep them level with the cabinets when it comes time to install countertops. HH did take the heights of the appliances into consideration when installing the cabinets, so everything should be flush. Unlike custom cabinetry, IKEA cabinets have adjustable feet on them so you can finagle their height to your requirements as needed. Or you can always build a base using 2×4′s…similar to what HH did for the island.

For fun, let’s take one last look at the flooring done-zo. Well, minus trim, baseboards, thresholds and a good cleaning.

Not too bad considering she once looked like this…

Ack!

Next up? The master bathroom. We’re sort of jumping trains and moving away from the kitchen for a little while. We’d like to get one bathroom completed before finishing up the kitchen, so that’s where we’re headed next. Tiling here we come! Although it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much tiling. I have strict orders to take it easy for two more weeks at least. I haven’t quite figured out how to ‘take it easy’ with two busy-body kids, a traveling hubby and a house under renovation but I’m doing my best. So far, so good. Baby is still cookin’.

I mentioned above that HH was home for 2 days in between work trips this past weekend. You saw what he did one of those days and the other day he was home we were doing this…

…celebrating our older son’s 7th birthday! My dad graciously let us take over his house for a low key, laid-back family party. We couldn’t fit everyone into our teeny apartment. For some reason, this birthday was a real stinger to me. I can’t believe Layne is 7. He’s so grown up! He wouldn’t let me decorate – not that I could have gone all out anyways with the whole bed rest thing. He even turned down balloons saying, ‘uh, Mom, balloons are kinda babyish.’ Everyone kept commenting on how mellow and quiet he was, too. But that’s just Layne. He’s not one to want to be the center of attention.

His brother and my sister have that covered.

Two peas in a pod, I tell ya.

Happy weekend!

**Congrats to Katie whose lil’ guy replies, “I wuv you awww da way to da dirt!” every time his Dad says, “I love you all the way to the moon!” Also congrats to Becky who, ironically, loves her sweetie more than sweets. Katie and Becky are the winners of the Signs by Andrea giveaway.**

images: all Dana Miller for House*Tweaking

36 Comments

17.February.2012

The kitchen looks amazing! My Holden turns 7 in April and is very low key while his 4 year old brother Griffin is crazy! May your 3rd be a mix of both :)

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17.February.2012

ACK is right! I could have used a little more warning before the “before” photo to finish my lunch. Ha! That is CRAZY how far yall have brought your house (so quickly too! even though I know it probably feels like too long to you!) You absolutely must have an appraisal done after you finish and have moved in to see what the value of the house is after your upgrades!

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17.February.2012

The floors look great!! I love their color and how “grounded”, but not too heavy, they make everything feel. Happy birthday to your number one baby. He is a handsome little guy!

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The floors look fantastic! I can’t wait to see the house. It’s coming together so nicely. :)

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It’s really starting to come together! Slow progress is better than no progress right? Taking it easy is so much more important right now. I love the combination of medium wood floors with the white and black cabinets. Swapping the stove and fridge was a great choice and the french doors will be so handy for eating outside in the summer. Congrats o having your floors done!

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17.February.2012

Wow! The kitchen is going to be absolutely gorgeous – as is the rest of the house, based on all your plans, mood boards, etc! Love the updates – keep them coming, bed-rest willing, of course! :)

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I thought your cabinets were going to be dark colored not white. Either way they look great. That boy of yours is going to be very handsome! Congrats!

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replied on February 17th, 2012

Robin – While the frames and insides of the base cabinets are white, they will be covered with black drawer fronts and doors. That’s why you see black drawers installed in one of the island’s cabinets. All lower cabinets will be black and the uppers will be white. Read back through to find all that info.

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17.February.2012

Looks great! What is the name and color of the wood you bought? I love it and would like to use this for our house.

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Melinda – All that info here…

http://www.housetweaking.com/2012/01/11/the-flooring/

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17.February.2012

That last photo of your sister and Everett is adorable! It’s always nice when our siblings and our children have common personalites and can relate to one another. My oldest and my sister are two peas in a pod as well and so she can help me when I don’t always “get” my daughter : )

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17.February.2012

What font are you using for the labels on your photos? I love it! Do share … and I’m crossing my fingers it’s free ;)

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Alli – Currently, I using Picnik to edit all my photos – which includes adding text. It’s a great FREE service although PIcnik is shutting down mid-April. I AM SO BUMMED! The good news is that you can use the premium member package free of charge until then. The font I used through Picnik is “FF Market.” Good question!

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17.February.2012

I’ve really enjoyed watching the progress you guys have made on your lovely house! You’ve done a great job with the kitchen layout… I think it’s going to be super efficient for cooking and pretty as well. Looking forward to more pictures and thank you for sharing your process!!!

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Now is really the exciting part, all those beautiful finishes! I can’t wait to see it all come together!

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17.February.2012

It looks amazing! It hardly looks like the same house. I can’t tell you how fun it’s been watching the step-by-step transformation. :)

Also – I owe you a BIG thank you! I took your recommendation and ordered samples from builddirect.com to refloor the house we just bought. We are definitely going to go that route and will be using the birch sunset finish. Although the one you used was a very close second! Thanks for such great info and saving me some $$$ :)

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Lisa – We looked at the sunset finish as well! Loved it! And I can’t take full credit for the Build Direct recommendation…a H*T reader actually opened my eyes to them several months ago. WE saved a lot of $$$ as well!

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18.February.2012

What else can be said ? Amazing, beautiful, great, fantastic, gorgeous, crazy have all been used … so I’ll say it in French : magnifique ! super beau ! quelle transformation !
I can’t believe HH goes on business weeks then tackles the reno on days off. It makes me tired already … (I’m on bed rest myself these days, not for pregnancy but for wicked rheumatism). You guys must be proud of him. Thumbs up for HH !
I was wondering : will we find A LOT of you Joss&Main picks in your own house ;) ?
Haha. Take care !

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Ariane – We are proud of HH! He works so hard and I try really hard to let him know how much I appreciate it. It will be nice when things slow down a bit after we move in…not sure when that will be though!

The Joss & Main collaboration required lifestyle {real life} photos to go along with the collection, so the collection was a little bit more indicative of what I would have used in our previous home {as real life images of the Underdog probably wouldn’t have sold much!}. I’ll still be using pieces with clean lines and neutrals to furnish the Underdog but I don’t want it to be a complete repeat of our last home. That being said, I have my eyes on a few of the items in my collection that didn’t sell out. I’ll let you know what I end up purchasing!

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18.February.2012

Wow! It looks amazing now — I can’t even imagine what it will look like all finished and tweaked!

And congrats to Katie and Becky!!!

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19.February.2012

Looks so great!! I’m glad you waited on the floors. I always feel bad when our customers have flooring under cabinets (I work in restoration) because it means pulling out counters and cabinets when they have water damage and the floors need to come out. It’s so much less disruption if the floors are in after the cabinets.

Of course, hopefully you’ll never have something like that happen, but always better to prevent problems!! :)

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19.February.2012

Love, love your kitchen and love your DIY ability!
Keep up the wonderful work!
Nancy

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20.February.2012

The Underdog is looking amazing!!! You and HH have done an awesome job!!! Can’t wait to see the finished product and how you’ll decorate! I love your style. :)

My youngest son (6) is a lefty as well… and man does he struggle with the whole bass-ackwards thing in school! :) Nice to know he’s not alone!

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Oh my goodness…The room’s not even done and it looks AMAZING!! I love the sky lights parallel to the doors.

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21.February.2012

It’s looking great. I can’t wait to see more progress. I also hope that little one in your belly is calming down and stays put. Our little family just bought our second home and will be starting rennovations in a few weeks when we close…it’s a 1959 Ranch so thanks for all the inspiration ideas.

A little off-topic Have you ever shown your ideas for updating the exterior?

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Sarah S. – Our priority right now is just getting the house livable, so no I haven’t really touched on exterior upgrades {other than new windows and new metal roof}. We’re just not there yet. Any landscaping will be done over time and we have plans to repair the front and garage doors in the short-term. I’ll share them as we go though!

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21.February.2012

dana- i found 3 embroidery hoops at the thrift store this weekend and am dying to make the hoop pendant shade like you made in your apartment….please please please can you make a quicky diy xxoo love your blog!
marti

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replied on February 21st, 2012

Marti – I’ll see what I can do!

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21.February.2012

I was so excited to see the Build Direct flooring in your house! (I’ve seen it in one other blog house and have been super interested since then.) So I ordered a few samples from BD, but was disappointed today when I got them. They didn’t look handscraped at all and they dinged up really easily when something was dropped on them. I know you have kids, do you really think they are going to hold up? I don’t want to get them and then have to constantly tell my 1 and 4 year old to not drop any toys etc.

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replied on February 22nd, 2012

Lissy – I’ve mentioned before that I don’t expect our floors to remain in pristine condition with 2 {almost 3!} kiddos trampling over them all day. But that’s the beauty of wood…it patinas over time with use and that’s okay with me. I do plan to use a slew of area rugs to provide some protection and soft areas for play. If you are expecting no dings, scratches and scrapes from your flooring then maybe you should look into a tile or cork?? Worn wood is right up my alley though!

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21.February.2012

I love, love, love, LOVE it! Especially all the grain and variations. I think it’s the perfect mix of an all-over dark floor, without being trendy and really dark. Thanks for all the close ups, so happy for you to have it all in now!

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21.February.2012

PS… Hang in there with the bed rest!!

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I think you might be turning that house into my dream home… that kitchen is going to be amazing! And the floors? I have no words… beautiful!

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22.February.2012

I’ve lived without a dishwasher before – including while very pregnant – but there’s no comparison to having one that works! If you haven’t considered/checked it out already, make sure the sprayer arms in the apartment dishwasher aren’t clogged with old food (blech, I know.) Simply rinsing them out often works wonders, if it’s not just a crappy model in the first place (and I’ve had a few apartment models that were.)

Everything looks great, it’s really coming along.

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24.February.2012

The kitchen and flooring looks amazing! I’m so excited, because today I ordered the same flooring from Build Direct! We got a number of samples and liked the Texas Brown the best (too!). I’m so excited!!! We have wanted to do this FOREVER, but it was always just a little to expensive – all the samples we liked were $3+ and over. What an awesome price from Build Direct – I think we paid $2.39, as we didn’t get as much as you guys. I’m so excited!!! Thanks to your post it is now becoming a reality – next weekend!!! Thanks so much for posting about your floors :) I’m so excited!!!!! :)

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26.February.2012

Hello Dana,
I’ve been following your blog for a couple months now and I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. I absolutely love your style of decor and as I’m just starting the process of getting my house built I’ll definitely be ‘stealing’ some of your tips. I really am enjoying your ‘underdog project’ and I look forward to a new post every day! :)
Oh, and CONGRATS on the pregnancy! You have an adorable family! Take care.
-Luzia (from Azores Islands, Portugal)

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