All stainless steel appliances!

For quite a while, we’ve had 3 stainless steel appliances — the fridge, dishwasher, and microwave — and 1 bisque (the range) that came with the house.

All of the first three stainless appliances were bought out of necessity, when what came with the house died.  Initially I had a hard time with the idea of prematurely replacing the bisque range.  I wanted a stainless steel dual fuel range, but the existing range had a gas cooktop and it (mostly) worked, so it was hard to pull the trigger.  Eventually, this Christmas convinced me.

On Christmas Eve we were hosting the annual 7 fish gathering, and were trying to cook on 3+ burners of the stove and in the oven at the same time.  I was trying to get pasta out of pots on the back burners while sautéing on the front burners, and needed to reach the oven controls at the same time.  With how low the microwave is, and with how much depth is eaten up by the rear dash (where the oven controls are) there just wasn’t space.

I came away with a few little oil burns and a new resolve that it was time to hit an appliance sale in the new year.

I’ve known for a while exactly which range I was pretty sure I wanted, and we spent only a little time shopping to confirm before buying.  We needed a freestanding range, since that’s what we’re replacing, but I wanted the look of a slide-in, and the controls on the front.  I also liked not having the big dash in the back, because it leaves more space for pots to not be so close together.  The GE Cafe range was the only one we found that fit all those wants, came in the right size, and was available in a dual fuel model.

In order to switch to dual fuel, we had to have a 220v line installed, because our previous range was all gas, and only needed 110v to run the clock, etc.  We had an electrician do it, partly because electrical work isn’t my bag, and partly because we also wanted a separate circuit run for the microwave so we could stop periodically overloading the circuit that previously had the microwave, range, and the basement lights on it.  Once that was done we ordered the range, and had it delivered.

DIY install was ok in the end, but didn’t go as smoothly as it could have.  We needed a dolly to move it from the garage into the kitchen, but at least it fit through the necessary doorways.  When we finally got it unpackaged, we discovered that it fit between the cabinets, but the opening in the countertops was about 1/16″ too small.


We ended up removing the small countertop from the cabinet and re-screwing it to the cabinet after fitting the range in.  No big deal, but there was certainly a little panic involved for a brief while.

This is the hole in the cabinets that the range goes into.  Please admire the awesome stock cabinetry in the corner, that never got painted.

Sealing the natural gas line threads went pretty smoothly.  We used this stuff to seal:

and when we tested for leaks

we were good to go.

When it came time to push the range in, we arrived at the first problem that we couldn’t readily solve.  We’re not 100% sure, but we think it’s the gas line that’s in the way:

but we can’t push the range the last 2 inches or so, all the way back to the wall.  It’s a problem we’ll have to figure out how to fix in the future, because we have a gap near the backsplash, and we can’t open the drawer under the drain board without opening the oven door too (the drawer hits the oven door handle).  There has to be a solution, we’ll just have to figure it out.  In the meantime, not bad:

I love how much less cramped it looks above the range.  The white tile backsplash is nothing to write home about, but it’s so nice and clean looking to be able to see it!  The bisque appliances/white tile never did much for me either.

We have not baked anything yet to report on the electric oven, but I do really like the gas cooktop so far.  Now we just need to throw a party to take it for a test run!  Marcy and Guinness insist.

The old range, which does still work, is out in the garage.  I plan to call Habitat for Humanity to donate it.  Hopefully it will be useful to someone.


Outdoor progress

The side garage door is purple.  We like it!

Final verdict: SW Dewberry

The onion globe light fixtures are installed:  we like them too, although they don’t look as different as we imagined they might.

We also installed a new closet door, which will be the first of many.  We still need to paint it.  If I have time later I’ll do a whole post on that project.  We are doing slab doors rather than pre-hung inside, so we’re going to get good with a router.


We will be replacing all 14 lauan interior doors (including closets) with solid pine 6-panel doors, and all the brass hardware with Schlage satin nickel knobs and hinges.  Now that the first one is up, it really shames the lauan doors!

Hopefully that will motivate me after the holidays to do the rest.  It will be a big project to hang and paint them all.  They will all be painted white, along with all the trim around the doors.  We stocked up on white semi-gloss at the Sherwin Williams 40% off sale this weekend!


Outdoor lights

The exterior lights for the front porch and garage are ordered!  And at 10% off no less.

For the porch:

and for the garage (x3):


Purple picking

One of this weekend’s projects was to pick the purple to use on our front door and garage side door.  We got samples of three to try:


Top: Dewberry SW6552
Lower left: Concord Grape SW6559
Lower right: Blackberry SW7577

Blackberry, the most burgundy, was eliminated right away.  The other two were much harder to decide between.



It was hard to tell them apart (Dewberry is on the top and Concord Grape on the bottom), and even harder to decide if this was really the right direction to go in.  The bright, warm red front door makes it so hard to independently assess other colors.  I even broke out the Sherwin Williams Paint Visualizer to see if it would help.  (I’m not sure it did.)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 6.17.36 PM InScreen Shot 2013-10-20 at 6.18.03 PM

In any event, the consideration goes on.

DSC_0167The other, related question to ponder is whether to paint the red door or just replace it.  I unscrewed the ugly yellow plastic window frame just to see how it came apart (so I could paint it later), and was pretty appalled by what I found.  The screws going from inside to outside through the plastic are the only things holding the window pane into the door, and the plastic is cracked in multiple places.  Plus, there’s no insulation behind the plastic frame.  For about an inch around the edge of the glass, it’s just plastic frame between the warm indoors and the cold outdoors.  We could try blow-in insulation when we put it back together post-paint job if we want to stretch the door’s life a little longer, but I’m not really sure that’s the best road.  I’ve never liked the potential security issues associated with such a large window in the door, so close to the lock and knob, so this could push us over the edge.

There are three styles at Lowe’s that I like the look of:

Any comments on the purple debate or if you have a favorite door are welcome!


Exterior doors, etc.

What started as a quick project to replace some rotting trim around our garage doors has gone the way of the usual DIY:  it has spiraled out of control.

First we replaced the trim around the main garage door.  We wanted to use PVC, so it would be low maintenance.  We needed 2x6s to replicate the old trim, though, and we couldn’t get those in PVC.  So we went with pressure treated lumber.

It’s still aging, unpainted, but we plan to prime it and paint it white later this fall.  The old trim was red, but we thought it looked kind of random like that, and called too much attention to how narrow it was.  The hope is that the white trim will just blend in.

Next up was the side garage door, which looked kind of a fright.

The red was faded from the sun and no longer matched (if it ever did?) the red of the front door.  Probably more relevant, in 5 years here, we’ve never succeeded in opening it.  We weren’t sure why it was stuck shut, but it was.  Plus, the door frame was rotting, which we initially sought to fix.

It turned out, though, that we couldn’t get the framing out without removing the door too (since it was stuck), and when we got the whole thing out, we discovered that the core of the door was rotting too:

At least it made the decision to replace with a new pre-hung door an easy one.

6-panel was an easy choice, and a step up from the old commercial-looking flat door.  But now we were faced with a whole slew of unexpected questions.  Door color?  Hardware color?  Type?  Since we could no longer lock and secure our garage, these questions had to be answered right away, and at Lowe’s.  No time for online ordering here.  (MY BIKE IS IN THE GARAGE, FOLKS.)

Our garage is now secure, with a new 6 panel exterior door, with an oil rubbed bronze Schlage deadbolt and knob set.  But the white is SO BORING.  Subdivision houses built in the 80’s and 90’s have a predisposition toward lacking character, and so often I think too much plain, functional white vinyl can add to that.  White vinyl trim and gutters make sense, white garage doors may too, but white doors just feel lazy!  No personality at all.

So now, for the first time in 5 years, we can reach out the door to throw trash out without walking outside.  It might be nice in the winter, if we ever remember we changed it!

Since our front door could also use a paint job (and eventually replacement, but let’s start with the gateway drug), we started talking paint colors.

We talked about red, black, white, blues, greens, teals, and so on.  Blue was largely out because our next door neighbors’ house has the same siding, same white vinyl trim, similar roof, and mid-blue trim.  I like red on the front door, but I didn’t like its randomness on the side door, nor did I like its inevitable clashing with our front yard flowers.  Green didn’t do much for us, and neither did black or white.  But purple?

I don’t know – maybe?!

(It has been driving me crazy ever since we took the storm door off, how the step doesn’t match the door.)

Of all the purples, the more eggplant hued colors seemed to look the best with the brick.  Our favorites so far are the darkest shades of each of the two vertical Sherwin Williams chips resting on the step:


Dewberry – SW 6552 (left)


Majestic Purple – SW 6545 (right)










I think I might like the relative warmth of Dewberry compared to Majestic Purple, but I could be swayed.  I’ve found a couple examples online of people who have tried each, and it isn’t really helping sway me.  Dewberry looks great here, but not as warm as I would have expected.  Majestic Purple looks great here too.  Incidentally, that siding color is very close to what I’m aiming for when we eventually do that.  We may need to do the sample thing to decide.

The third aspect of this project that has surfaced is really only tangentially related.  When you spend enough time staring at exterior doors and trim, you start to notice the light fixtures at each door.  Ours aren’t pretty.  I especially hate the flush mount fixture on the front porch.I picked these out as possibilities for the wall fixtures on the garage (2 front, 1 side):

but I’ve had some trouble finding shallow fixtures for the porch light that I like to coordinate with them.  I don’t think we have the vertical space for a pendant, and the flush- and semi-flush mount options are just so unappealing for the most part!The closest I’ve found for the porch is this:which is probably the best one I’ve seen yet, but I’m not 100% sold that it coordinates with the wall fixtures I liked.  There are wall fixtures that do coordinate,
but I’m not sure I like them quite as much as my original choice.  All of that probably means I need to keep looking, which is frustrating, but on the bright side is cheap thrills.
I guess we can chalk this up, though, to yet another expanding project.  Amazing how some rotted trim led to all this.  At a minimum, I’d really like to have the doors wrapped up this fall.

It occurred to me that it’s been a while since I’ve posted any pictures of our family room. Although none of the updates are brand new, I figured it’s time to get around to showing them off!

1.  Media cabinet

The biggest change happened in December, when our media cabinet was delivered.  Ta-da!

For all the furniture in our house, it’s the first piece we’ve picked out and bought because it was exactly what we wanted.  Exciting.

We’ve intended to buy a media cabinet to house the receiver, cable set top box, Blu-Ray player, etc. since we bought our current TV and wall-mounted it.  That was, ahem, almost 3 years ago.  We finally decided to start seriously looking when we knew Marcy would be joining the family.  All those accessible wires under the sofa table seemed like a puppy dream – and a puppy parent nightmare.

We shopped pretty extensively, online and in store, across a variety of price points.  We ended up splurging a little on the piece we chose.  It is an Ethan Allen piece, the Jason buffet with glass on 2 doors (it’s also available with 4 wood panel doors) in the caraway finish.  It came about 2 weeks sooner than promised when we ordered.  In an ideal world, we might have found a piece that sat flush with the floor rather than on legs, so tennis balls (and paws) wouldn’t find their way under.  But such a piece was not to be found.  The legs on this piece are removable, but there’s a support piece under the rear middle that prevents it from sitting flat on the floor.  Unless we have as yet unforseen trouble with the legs, we’ll leave it as is.

2.  Pillow covers

I used leftover fabric from re-covering the dining room chairs to cover the throw pillows on the couch, two each in hounds tooth and paisley.

3.  Table runner for the media cabinet

I found enough of the hounds tooth fabric still at Joanne Fabrics (on sale, woot!) to sew a table runner for the top of the media cabinet.

4.  The puppy gate

The gate was a custom made birthday present from my dad.  We’d been keeping a baby gate leaning in that corner for the occasions on which we needed to keep Guin in one room – because we were brewing beer, moving groceries in/out, painting, trick or treaters were at the door, etc.  That gate became a full time thing when Marcy came home, until she gets a little older and a little more reliable with the house training.  I thought a permanent gate would be a useful thing to have, but I didn’t want anything that would restrict the width of the doorway.  Dad made the sliding gate out of cherry, and mounted it to the studs under the cutout.  Permanent puppy (and little kid) boundary!

5.  Recessed lighting and surround sound wiring/speaker installation

These were actually two separate projects, that happened a couple years ago.  I started a post on the project a long time ago, but I never got around to finishing it.  So, white flag.  In brief, since there is attic space above the family room, we were able to go up and relatively easily run the wiring for 5 recessed lighting cans, and rear and overhead speakers.  The 5 lights are on 3 switches – one for the row over the TV/media cabinet, one for the row nearest the exterior glass door, and one for the one spotlighting the fireplace.  The lights are all on dimmers, which makes for great “movie theater lighting.”

Eventually, we’re looking forward to a new sofa (brown leather?) and coffee table.  The ones we have are serviceable, but they were hand-me-downs and are showing their age a bit.

We’re going to hold on new leather furniture, though, until Miss Marcy outgrows some of the fiendish puppy chewing.

I’m also feeling a little undecided about whether the walls need something.  Looking at most of the photos above, I think they do.  But I like keeping the fireplace the center of the room, so we’ll see.

So there you have it, that’s our family room these days!  To wrap up, since today is Sunday,

Happy Sundogs!


Introducing Marcy

Guin’s Yard has undergone some expansion this holiday season, and we are pleased to welcome Miss Marcy home to Guin’s Yard!

Marcy joins big brother Guinness at the center of life in Guin’s Guin’s & Marcy’s Yard.  Our house has undergone a few temporary changes to accommodate her, including lots of baby gates, and her crate under the kitchen table, which will eventually move to the family room with Guinness’.

Guin and Marcy are well on their way to being best buddies, even now at 9 weeks for her and almost 6 years for him.  He has been very patient with her barking, noisily missing her littermates, and playing, sharp puppy teeth and all.

She was born November 2, 2012, and joined our family just in time for New Years 2013.  She is named for Mt. Marcy in the Adirondacks.  Watch for the blog name to change, although the URL will remain the same.

Welcome to the Yard, little fur girl!