30 November, 2009


We were supposed to move in tomorrow but the construction is behind schedule.  At this point, the kitchen is holding everything up.  The plumbing has been redone three times now, the stove location is slightly different than the original plan, which means the gas line was installed wrong, and somehow an electrical outlet ended up directly over the kitchen sink.  Yikes.  Hopefully we'll be moving in on the 2nd or 3rd, but honestly, seeing the place like this, I'm starting to regret ever undertaking this project.  There is construction waste piled from the floor all the way up to the 12 foot ceiling in some places, everything is covered in dust, and the wall still has holes big enough for me to climb into in some places.

29 November, 2009


It's really late so I'll be brief.  Craigslist brought us a new friend today.

Yes, they're stackable.
Abt price:  $1322.00, new.

Craigslist price:  $550, only used for 2 months, like new, under warranty.

Do you accept cash?  Cha-ching.

27 November, 2009


Sorry for not having photos to post.  Peter is down at the loft everyday working with the contractors on the kitchen.  I dipped in for visit today and I'm happy to report that the bedroom "L" wall is up.  So is the HUGE gaping opening for a closet.  The entry closet is split up to make room for a washer/dryer that we still don't have, and the kitchen cabinet frames are assembled and waiting for the plumbing, gas, and electric to be finished.  The walls are actually white!  It's starting to look like a home... in a dusty warehouse.

26 November, 2009

Sweating Like A Turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving folks.

24 November, 2009

Bathroom Bonanza.

The bathroom vanity just got ripped out along with the electrical and ventilation.  Aside from a fresh coat of paint, the bathroom is a bust.  No idea what to do with it.  We'll spend some time digging for ideas.  We may have to deal without a vanity for a while.  Joan is pissed.  But no vanity is still better than the abomination removed today:

Urine yellow walls, waterlogged laminate, and a fluorescent light that is at my neck height.
I wish we had a bathtub, but at least this shower's ugly!

22 November, 2009

ABT! Lightining Bolt!

We bought appliances today and we are VERY HAPPY.  For those of you that don't know about Abt.com, you need to get acquainted stat.  Unlike the rest of our projects which we designed and were funded by the building management, they insisted on selecting and buying the appliances themselves.  Unacceptable.

I made them a deal.  If I could find a set we liked at Abt for less than they had budgeted from their supplier, we could go with our choice.

Long story short, I made out like a mob boss at Abt.  Tim, our sales associate initially laughed at the situation, but then started working his magic.  After viewing a few choices, Tim bent a few rules, and knocked the prices of a Whirlpool fridge, stove, and dishwasher down to a ridiculously good deal.  What can I say, we're a cute couple and people want to give us stuff.

Turns out, the number was so good, that I managed to finagle a Microwave Hood in the deal from the management office.  At that point, I peed a little.

 Yep, more black.  Everyone's nervous for us, but we know black is sexy.

Kitchen Madness, pt. 2.

The last few days have been spent losing our minds over the kitchen.  We visited Home Depot, Community Home Supply, a couple independent design centers, and IKEA.  I'll save you the suspense, we're going with IKEA.  Everyone else laughed at the combination of our budget and ambitions.  Whatever, our kitchen is gonna rock.

For the record: No one, NOT A SINGLE KITCHEN SUPPLIER, can offer what IKEA does for the price.  We got an upgraded kitchen from IKEA for less than the cheapest fiberboard with staples junker at Home Depot.

The only beef with IKEA - listen up IKEA! - It's almost 2010!  Get with the times and make your kitchen design program compatible with a Mac.  Driving across town to use my cousin's Windows machine sucks.  WTF IKEA?

Here is the preliminary plan.  Don't judge it too much, it's only a rough draft.

Yep, it's black.  Everyone warned us not to do it, but we pulled the trigger anyway.

The plan shows stainless steel counter tops, which just happened to be discontinued that very day (yay IKEA!), so they upgraded us for FREE!  What did we get instead?  You'll just have to wait and see.

20 November, 2009

Kitchen Madness.

The contractors are already ripping down the old walls and building new ones.  We've spent waaaay too much time scouring the internet for kitchen ideas.  We need to decide NOW. Below are some inspirational photos that we both like a lot.  As usual, our aspirations far outweigh our budget.  If we owned the place, we'd go with an island based kitchen, but since we have to stay within the approved budget, we'll have to stay close to the original layout.  The only thing we're doing is adding a second "wall" of cabinets to make a "L" shaped kitchen versus the "flat" style in place now.

Wood counter tops, symmetrical cabinet pattern, stainless steel, lots of storage, Bertoia gooeyness.
Modern and minimal lines, great color combination (stainless, wood, black), is it functional?
Beautiful wood, functional design, modern design with a traditional feel, does it have enough storage?
Ultra-modern design, super bright, lots of counter space, low on storage.

So much to choose from!  We're trying for an industrial stainless steel kitchen with a modern/natural twist.  It seems that many kitchens are either functional and hideous or "just for looks" modern and pretty much useless for cooking.  There must be a balance!

The best part?  We only have one day to source it.  Busy day tomorrow.

18 November, 2009


Just took the drive out to IKEA.  Got some HUGE green glass sliding doors (they're called PAX) for $50 bucks on clearance.  Regular price: $500.  It looks like we'll have to build a custom rail system for them to fit on anything else except Ikea's freestanding wardrobe.  I think they'll make perfect closet doors for the bedroom, so we incorporated a big enough opening into the building plans for the construction crew.  For now they'll stay in the box.

I'm too tired to think of a witty caption.  Big, green, sleek and slidey.

Big Plans.

Before we get started on all the work, I drew up some plans to get the measurements nailed down and give us (and the contractors) a clear idea of where we're going.  The main changes will be:

-Build a wall to separate our loft from the one next door.
-Build an "L" wall to form the bedroom.
-Create a bedroom closet and shift the hall closets to accommodate our washer/dryer.
-Enlarge the kitchen to include a dishwasher and more cabinets.
-Gut the bathroom and start over.
This is a quickie plan I created of the loft in its existing state.  The horizontal piece of wall at the top left is technically new.  It divides our apartment from the adjacent one.
This is the proposed loft plan which includes the new construction and some furniture placement.

Contractors arrive tomorrow to start working.  We have two days to find a kitchen.  Is that even possible?

17 November, 2009

Welcome To The Loft.

We found one.

2 months of searching and dozens of apartments behind us, we've signed a lease on a converted factory brick loft in Chicago's West Loop.  The space has never been lived in and it shows.  Using Joan's Master's Degree in Interior Architecture as a bargaining chip, we negotiated a budget from the management to remodel the loft into a desirable living space.  Looking at the space, we see we have some work ahead of us.

Each of us has moved EVERY YEAR since coming to the city and we're effing tired of it.  We're staying here, sink or swim.

Empty.  Raw.  Feed me.
That enormous kitchen island? Going bye bye.
Enormous Western facing windows.  Indoor tanning anyone?
What a tasty delight this kitchen is... not.  It has to go.  And yes, that bathroom is yellow.
As you can see, aside from the vast open space, it's not much to look at.  1,275 square feet of pure converted factory potential.  We know it's ugly, but we have big plans.  Our lease includes a budget to remodel the kitchen and bathroom, install washer/dryer hookups, build a bedroom and closet, and make the space not only livable, but rentable in the future.  The fun (read: challenging) part of it will be making something great out of a very measly budget.