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Posted by Steven in Colorado Springs, CO on 11/8/2010

Installation of the kitchen cabinets began today, and wow, does it make a difference!

For the longest time of course, the main kitchen has just been this big empty area between the garage and the fireplace. A couple of months ago the framers put up the island and that really made a difference, suddenly "breaking" the area and bringing definition to exactly where the kitchen was going to be... it was kinda eerie, really. Cool, but eerie.

Today the trimwork guys began installing the cabinets and such that arrived a couple of days ago and again the transformation was startling. Focusing on the various cabinets that were going into the various rooms on the first floor, Cabinet Nick and Cabinet Mick (yes, they're brothers) got to work quickly this morning, starting before Colleen even made it up. There was some assembly work needed for the odder cabinets and shelves, but for the most part, they were already fully assembled and only needed some trimming to fit to where they were going. In a couple of instances where they were going over an existing radiant-heat manifold (such as in the master laundry room and in the apartment kitchen) they had to make cutouts in the rear of the cabinets to accommodate the machinery. 

Color-wise, I'd decided a while ago to go with a shade called "Java" for the main house and for the apartment a fairly dark red (rather like the Brazilian Cherry flooring) that had some name like "Tropical Cherry" or some such (my mother picked it out). They look very sharp, and I think complement the house well. All of them look to be the right height and size, and it's amazing to see how much storage I'll have in the kitchen now that I can "see" the space... very nice indeed.

While this was going on, the stonemasons began their work on the "cozy" side of the big fireplace, this being the kitchen/sitting area side of the two-sided see-through unit. This work was a bit harder than the stuff on the living-room side--the crew didn't have to work off a big scaffold way up in the air, but they did have to work around the mantel and corbels. That complicates things considerably apparently, since they provide interruption in the running of the stone and have special requirements (code driven depending on your area) regarding mounting and such. In our case, the corbels have to be attached via very long nails/spikes driven into the framing mass of the fireplace itself, two on each support. This was NOT an area we wanted to skimp on anyway, of course, since that mantel is frick'in huge, but nonetheless it made the whole installation job much tougher than it was upstairs.

A word regarding that mantel. That is a nearly 8-foot-long slab of solid, solid oak that came from Colleen's family cabin. Back when her grandfather was remodeling and expanding the cabin a decade or so ago, he pulled up the floorboards in the kitchen to inspect the framing and install insulation (back in the day when the cabin was built, this "insulation" thing was some weird idea that only city folk did, apparently). He was surprised to see this huge slab of solid oak just lying underneath the cabin, perfectly preserved and (mostly) protected from weather for over a hundred years!  It's a heavy, heavy piece of wood and we can't imagine how in the world it came to be left underneath a modest cabin up in the Rocky Mountain foothills; even in 1888 (when the cabin was built) something like this was relatively expensive and wouldn't normally have been just left lying around.

Anyway, Ray gave it to Colleen, and Colleen brought it with her to Tanglewood, (Okay, I actually carried the thing with her assistance, but it's the same thing right?) and it moved around the property for the next few years. We'd never quite been able to figure out what to do with the thing, but of course we never even considered anything as crass as burning it--this was big hunk of oak over a hundred years old, after all! It was my idea that we needed a mantel on the kitchen side of the fireplace since that area is more "cozy" than the great-room side, and it was Colleen's idea to use this slab as the mantel. It was virtually a perfect fit, requiring only some minor trimming on one end that had been fairly beaten up and ratty.

The plan is to stain it the same color as the trim and such when we get a chance, which will also take care of the coloring of the corbels (which were cut from some leftover 6x6s from the porch work; unfortunately the bits Colleen trimmed from the mantel weren't solid enough to make the corbels out of). The stain should really bring out the color and the patterns in the wood and provide a perfect touch to the area, and it's good to have something from Collen's family cabin here at Tanglewood--kinda feels like a "legacy" thing. We're happy, and it's the perfect, "castle-like" addition to the house.

Excellent progress today. Only 22 days to go!!!!!!!!!

Steven in Colorado Springs


The first cabinet in the kitchen. At first, they merely set the cabinets in place; later they went around attaching them to the walls.
Nice color! The Java is a mostly-black-with-some-brownish-red-highlights color; goes well with the house.
Some repair (?) work being done here, nothing serious.
Nick and Mick begin mounting the overhead kitchen cabinets.
This cabinet goes into the master laundry room, and required a cutout to accommodate the washer/dryer water supply.
Closeup of the mantel and corbels. Straightforward, rough; perfect for that "castle" look.
Better shot of the mantel and the surrounding stonework.
Later in the day. Looking good!
Colleen also took a shot of the master-bathroom shower, all ready for its tile work to begin.

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