What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Kitchen Continued

We have finally made a lot of progress in the kitchen but it has not been without a lot of headaches and frustration. It was 2 weeks without a fully functional kitchen. Even though I had a temporary kitchen set up and alternate means of cooking it was still stressful. The kitchen technically will not be fully functional until the final clean-up is completed after the grout lines have been sealed. Until then it is still a work in progress.

Stove Re-installed

The stove (1) is a JennAir® downdraft system. To protect the cartridges, we removed them for the renovation. The centre slot is the downdraft vent that with the help of a powerful fan located under the stove and hidden by the front panel vents the stove when cooking or indoor grilling. The front panel also provides access to the grease cup. A smaller fan keeps the stove vented when baking or cleaning the oven. The stove cannot be simply slid into place. The large fan unit sits up about 10 inches meaning the stove has to be lifted up and over this unit for installation. Let me tell you, re-installing the stove was not quite as easy as you would think. It proved to be very frustrating. We had to make height adjustments because we had raised the counter by a total of ⅞ inch. The stove had to sit just perfectly in the opening and there was no room for adjustments.

Any DIY project should look like it was done by a professional. Although watching HGTV some professionals don't always do a professional job. There was no bull nose tile or finishing tile for the tile we wanted so we decided to do simple edging. The problem was the edge of the tiles were not finished and that showed (2). We planned to carefully paint the edges only to find out that paint would not adhere well and there is a special edging for this type of tile. This is why you should get your advice and supplies from a knowledgeable home improvement store instead of the big box stores. We saved a lot of money on the tile but they neglected to tell us about the edging that is ideally installed along with the tile. Anyway we have two solutions both that set us back. The first recommendation is to remove the grout along the seams, clean out the seams then cut the edging to fit and affix with silicone. We have done a test strip on the breakfast island. It looks great but we want to make sure the silicone holds. The second alternative is to remove all the edging pieces, tack the edging strips into place then glue the pieces in place and re-grout. By now I'm about to pull my hair out! Oh and my husband found an awesome deal on ceramic tiles for the entrance when he was picking up the edging strips. That will be our next project so do check for posts on that. Hopefully it goes smoother than the kitchen!


We bought a Moen® single bowl sink (3), the largest that would fit the space. It is deeper than my old one and a half bowl sink. The first thing we had to do to install the sink was tidy up the edges of the opening. This wasn't difficult and it is better to have pare down a little than find you are shy of support underneath. The sink was set in place to ensure a good fit then removed while the necessary plumbing was done.

What is surprising is that sinks are really not supported by a lot of material in terms of width given how much a filled sink can hold. The width of the sink rim resting on the countertop is only about ⅜ inch all around. That means you need strong countertop that is protected from water damage.

Drain & Water Lines

If you recall our house is older and somethings were not done quite right. We were forced into working within the space we had for this renovation because we cannot add on in any direction and removing the cabinets would have affected the adjoining family room wood ceiling that flows through to the kitchen. We decided to leave the existing drain in the adjoining cabinet then attach to it (4,5). There was two reasons why we did this. First moving the drain by less than 2 feet would mean removing the cabinet floors and going though cement as we are below ground level. It would also mean moving the water lines for sink, dishwasher and refrigerator. Second it would eliminate all three drawers in that cabinet rather than eliminating one. Instead we drilled through the cabinet wall to make the connections. We included a nice slope as well as the mandatory P trap to ensure no future plumbing problems.

We gained space in the original cabinet with the plumbing as well. Removal of the drain lines for the two sinks as well as cleaning up the lines moving them towards the back of the cabinet left plenty of room to install removable shelves for access to plumbing if need be. I will make a separate post on this solution later as well as a post on all the problems we ran into during this renovation.


A little water is capable of doing a horrendous amount of damage. It can cause the press board used in laminate countertops to swell. It can cause molding and rot as well. Any time there is the potential of water damage during the normal use of a room and that basically means all rooms because even condensation can cause water damage, all possible measures to prevent water damage should be taken.

It is critical to seal the area around the sink and the space between the sink and countertop. We used a heavy bead of latex caulk (20 yr durability, weather shield) to fill the underside of the sink lip (6). This is my caulk of choice when possible. The sink was then put in the opening and pushed down tight to form a good seal. The sink was then secured with the included anchors and connected to the drain.


The faucet (7) was connected using flex hose. This is a little more expensive but it is ready to go so all you have to do is twist to connect. There's no soldering or cutting pipes so it really is worth the extra expense. The sink was ready to test.We used 1.5" ABS piping for the drain. This included using ABS solvent cement that take 1 minute to set up. It is rather smelly but it does work nicely. Application is by dry fitting the ABS joints then applying a generous amount of the cement to one piece of ABS then use a twisting action to fit the piece into the joint and allow to set up.

Once the cement has set up the drain can be tested. We let it set up for a good hour before running water through. Clean-up for the caulk was left to the following day simply to allow the caulk to set up firmly. This caulk come off of ceramic tile and stainless steal nicely using a bit of light abrasion. A heavy textured tea towel works nicely for this purpose.

At Day's End

Sunday was a very, very long and frustrating day. We didn't get as much accomplished as we wanted and we discovered a couple of fundamental flaws aka let's do a bit of backtracking. The new drain system (9) worked well so we are pleased. We have to camouflage the wood to raise the stove (10) likely with dark brown paint. There is a lot of I'm being picky for the grout seams, the tile edging and caulking around the window to do. Wherever two different surfaces meet we will be caulking because that is what Mike Holmes says to do. We are also painting the final small remainder of the window frame white. We are looking at another good week of the kitchen not being fully functional.

Ok, we are so close yet so far. An average DIYer would likely leave the project as is out of sheer frustration but we aren't going to do that. That edging has to go on even if it means removing the edging row of tiles and re-installing. So that is where we are as of today. We've tried a couple of solutions but so far things are leaning towards removing and re-installing the edging tiles.

Will this kitchen renovation ever end? I'm so looking forward to our next project, the entrance hall but first I would like the kitchen completed!

Garden Gnome