The art of filling up a huge dumpster

Last weekend was “Project: fill up the huge dumpster”. There is no way we were ever going to fill up a 20 cubic yard dumpster so we went around to a few neighbors and offered for them to throw away any junk they may have. ‘Cause 20 cubic yards is a lot of space, y’all.

Step 1: Dump all the tile we’d already chipped. This became more of a production than intended though considering each can weighed a LOT. Like, if I had to guess? 200 pounds. Okay, maybe less, but they were heavy.

Each can took two people plus a heavy duty moving dolly but eventually all the cans were dumped. After seeing how little space the tile was taking up we knew there would be no way we’d ever fill this thing up.

After our cans were emptied we had to finish getting all the tile up off the foundation. It also was no easy task. Ben used the sledgehammer while I was on official baseboard-removal-duty and scoop-up-broken-tile-into-garbage-cans duty.

Oh, and side note, while Ben was working last week I finished removing all the wood flooring and placed it neatly in the garage.

Finally the tile chipping, baseboard removal, and cleanup was complete.

The next day was the really fun stuff. We’ve been keeping a pretty big hoarding secret over here. We don’t have a Monica Closet. We have a Monica yard behind our shed. We didn’t just rent the big dumpster for the broken tile and some sheetrock. Nope. We rented it because we had an ulterior motive – to clean up the crap-storm in our backyard.

Now in our defense, MOST of this *#@! was left all over the yard and inside the shed by the previous owners. We have spent the last 11 months gathering up all the junk all over the place and very neatly throwing it behind the shed. The only real contribution we’ve made to the pile are a few broken mini blinds and some old moulding.

You can also see to the right of the shed a huge pile of stacked wood, which would be great if it weren’t the Cedar trash trees that grow around here. They burn quickly and smoke like crazy. Not something we want to be roasting hot dogs over.

So we spent the entire day pausing the kitchen renovation project and instead working on “Project: clean-up-the-yard”.

Behind the shed has never looked so good. I can’t quit walking back there and just staring at nothing.

Our awesome neighbor came over to pick up a few items he wanted and brought his flat bed trailer with him, so he helped us load all that trash wood up onto the trailer and drive it to the dumpster. It saved us several hours.

I managed to squeeze a few additional projects into the mix because, you know, “we only have this dumpster once so we’d better make good use of it!” We have hated the wooden timbers for flower beds and knew we’d better dump the wood now, so we ripped those out as well.

They were bolted together really well so instead of trying to undo everything we just cut them into small sections and tossed them into the dumpster.

Our flower beds look like compete crap now, but I don’t even care at this point. As I have time I’ve been shoveling the dirt out of them and dumping it on low spots in the front yard. This way when it rains we won’t have a mud river down the driveway.

The flowerbeds will continue to look like crap for probably several more months or more. Personally, I think they look better now than with the timbers anyway, so whatever. Different project for a different time. Right now we are focused on this kitchen.

Back inside the house we also gutted the pantry. We weren’t planning on gutting it, but to put the pocket door in we had to remove a ton of the sheetrock so we took this as an opportunity to toss all that wire shelving into the dumpster as well.

The pantry is now prepped and ready for the pocket door frame to go in.

As for the last-minute change up? I frantically packed all the food into boxes and moved everything around the corner by the washer and dryer. This entire house has because a huge hot mess.

In addition to the pocket door in the pantry, we are widening the hall closet doors. The closet is very wide, but only had a single door which made it impossible to get into the closet. We are adding french doors and floor to ceiling shelving for a big spacious linen closet.

As for that huge dumpster we would NEVER be able to fill up? We filled it up.

We had to apologize to the neighbors for telling them they could use it. I am in disbelief that we filled that sucker up. But we did.

Next up? We’ve got framers, and electricians, and demo people galore.


I bought propane and propane accessories, I tell you what.

Guys, we are getting a propane tank. We have officially graduated to country folk. You might as well call us Hank and Peggy Hill. Travis is now Bobby. I’m not sure I can get on board with Kinsey being Luanne though. Hmmm.

(If you reading from an RSS reader, to view the video embedded you must click through to my actual blog. Sorry!)

Neither of us grew up in the country, so this whole “country living” thing is a learning experience for us. Now that we are renovating our kitchen we figured it wouldn’t hurt to get a quick estimate from a local propane company. Our last house had a gas cooktop (natural gas, not propane) and we loved cooking on it. We have been missing cooking over an actual flame since moving to this new house that came with an electric glass cooktop.

I assumed it would be way over budget to run a gas line into our kitchen, but I was seriously mistaken. The entire quote included running the gas pipes from outside, through the attic, and down into the kitchen, all the labor and parts, renting a 250 gallon propane tank from the propane company, and filling it with 100 gallons of propane for less than $800. Honestly, I was expecting it to be in the several thousand dollar range and was ready to sulk away and accept that we are stuck with an electric range forever, but after his quote came back less than eight hundred bucks, we said, “Can you start tomorrow?”.

They actually couldn’t start until we gutted the kitchen, so he told us to give him a call back once the kitchen was gutted and we had the sheetrock removed for them. That day finally came last Thursday morning when they showed up and began their work. They started by drilling a big hole into the 2x4s into the attic.

One of the guys went into the attic and pulled the flexible gas tubing through the hole and ran it to another hole they drilled on the outside of our house.

Here’s the exit point. They aren’t going to actually install the tank until we are ready to hook up the appliances (hopefully in about 3 weeks… maybe a few more). For now they capped off the end of this tubing right at the base of the roof.

Once all the flexible tubing was installed they began working on the metal piping that comes out of the wall where the range sits. They used this very cool chain vice that was installed on the back of their truck to hold all the pieces while they connected everything. I geeked out about it and took a photo. I’m sure they thought I was weird for getting excited about discovering a vice that uses a chain to hold the pipe in place.

Here’s the finished pipe they built. The far left is where the range will connect to it. The switch on the right will be hidden inside a cabinet and is used to turn off and on the gas.

And here’s the entire section of all the plumbing. I don’t know about you, but I find this type of stuff so fascinating. I was asking them so many questions; not because I was trying to pester them, but because I was genuinely curious. I’m sure they still thought I was annoying though. haha

Like I said before, they aren’t going to actually bring a tank out or hook up any gas until the range is ready to be connected. They will finish everything up when they come back. Gas ranges come ready for natural gas, so we also will have to buy a part that converts the range so it accepts propane. The propane company will come out and set all of that up for us though.

In addition to using the propane for the range in the kitchen, we will have a 2nd line run to the backyard so we can connect our gas grill. They will run the 2nd line when they come back to install the tank and hook up the range. Down the road we have talked about swapping the electric water heater for a gas tankless one, but that isn’t in our plans for this renovation. We don’t plan on ever fully converting the entire house to gas, just those three items I just listed.

We did a lot more work to the house over the weekend, but this post is already too long to I will try to fire off a few more posts quickly to share what else we have done around here. We’ve worked so hard lately though that Ben and I can hardly even walk anymore. I’ll tell you what, I’m definitely not 20 anymore!


The plans for the new kitchen layout

As promised, I am here to show you the new kitchen layout. I talked about our plans in my first “We’re renovating the kitchen!” post last week, but as per the usual, once I published the post with all my plans, I freaked out and changed all the plans. I’m very consistent in my inconsistency. :)

I’m going to show you several before photos first to give you a good feel for the space before I show you all the changes we are making. I used painters tape to measure off the new layout and live with it for a week or so to make sure I LOVED it before gutting my entire kitchen and building the new one only to find out I hated it. That would suck.

I have lived in this house for almost a year now and feel like I really have a good “feel” of the house and how we live here. There were times that I hated this kitchen, the layout, pretty much everything about it. But I’ll be the first to admit I was being just a tad dramatic.

The kitchen layout isn’t really that bad, and once I stopped fighting against the layout of the house and started to try to work with the house, things started falling into place.

I spent months trying to design a kitchen that involved moving load-bearing walls, or adding an addition onto the house for a big breakfast room. I’ve drawn up every possible layout one can conjure up. At the end of the day? It just does not make sense to tear down half the house and move load-bearing walls. It is inefficient and costs loads of money.

So that’s my new motto… to stop fighting against the house and start working with it instead. This new attitude has helped me to fall in love with my new home. The new kitchen renovation will just solidify that this is my forever house, I love it, and we are never moving again. We are working with the layout, but are just tweaking it to make it the best weird layout it can possibly be.

These columns have to stay because they pretty much hold up the entire ceiling. When we bought, I was like, “Oh, I’ll just take those out and open the space up! No biggie!” Um, yes, BIGGIE. They aren’t my favorite, but they are staying and I have some really exciting plans for making them look better.

One more “before” of the kitchen before I get to all the new changes… Those big windows? One of my favorite things about this kitchen – tons of light and a great view of the driveway so I can watch the kids play.

Are you ready to see my vision? I hope you like it because the cabinets are already being built as we speak. If you think of any really awesome change that I could sneak in real quick, I can probably make a few more little changes over the next couple days.

Remember when I said we were doing a separate tall oven cabinet? We aren’t. We were all set to do it, and after blogging about it I just couldn’t shake this terrible feeling about it. My gut was just screaming at me that I would hate it. So it got nixed. So did the appliance garage. We are sticking with a basic range, but trust me, I am much more at peace with this decision and am very happy about it.

We are adding a huge island that will seat 4 people and will add a bunch more storage (plus a pull-out trash can!). All upper cabinets will be tall (42″ tall). The far left, middle, and far right cabinets will be 6″ taller than that. The fridge will have a box around it and the cabinet above will be the depth of the fridge (24″ instead of the standard 12″). All our appliances will be stainless steel (except we are keeping the fridge for a few months because we are already over budget. We will buy a new matching, possibly counter-depth fridge once we have the cash to purchase it).

Looking from the other angle, the awkward area to the right of the window will have a built-in desk that seats two people. We spend a lot of time in the kitchen and it seems like a good space to have the kids’ computer. I will also use one of the spots for my desk and computer area. I’m getting tired of blogging from the couch or dining table and am really excited to have a designated space once and for all. Desks in kitchens don’t make sense for everyone, but it does for our family.

We are adding an in-cabinet pull-out garbage can to the island, but we also went a little overkill and added a 2nd smaller pull-out garbage can to the left of the sink. We need a garbage can next to where we do most of our food prep (the island) but we also wanted a small one near the sink, so we just said, “Why not?!”, and added both. We are also dropping the bar to counter height. The counter will extend between the columns slightly into the living room but will be one continuous counter.

And one final “vision” one to help give you an idea of how everything will flow. After tons of research we made sure to leave about 50″ between the back of the bar and the sink and desk areas. That way there is plenty of room to walk through the kitchen even if someone is at the island and the desk at the same time.

And here’s one final *bonus* photo of the kitchen looking in from the dining room. It doesn’t really go with this post but it’s here so I’ll just throw it in anyway, in case I’ve never showed this angle before.

As I mentioned in a prior post, the cabinets will be dark brown. We went with a very traditional raised-panel door. The wood is knotty alder so the doors will have a few blemishes and knots in them, which makes me weak in the knees. Here’s a very loose rendition of what our cabinets will look like:

They look very red in this picture (taken at a home around the corner being built for our friends) but it was dark so I had to use the flash. In real life they are pretty dark brown. So there you have it. That is the plan, Stan.

To see the other posts in this series, start here:

1. Let’s Talk Kitchens. More Specifically My Kitchen Renovation.

2. Let the Kitchen Demo Begin!

3. More Kitchen Demo & Updates.

Or you can also just click on this –> Kitchen Renovation tag, but they display from newest post to oldest post. Thanks for following along, and as always, I really appreciate your thoughts and input. You guys usually give me the best tips and advice!

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