After months of waiting, using a utility sink to wash dishes and random book shelves to hold everything, we can finally say we have a real kitchen! There are still a few things we have to do to finish it, but I am over the moon HAPPY with how it turned out!

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First, the truck showed up during our housewarming party. It turned out to be a good time since we had to many strong guys available to help. Four of them went outside and began taking apart the custom trailer. The one hanging off of the trailer in the picture is the one who made both the trailer and the cabinets. He was so concerned about the cabinets making the 9 hour trip up here from lower Michigan that he had them braced and screwed into the trailer walls. It took about a half hour to get the trailer taken apart enough to start getting the cabinets out. Then this happened…

Before

Before

After

After

The four guys outside brought the cabinets up one by one to the two guys waiting inside. As each one was brought in from the mild snow storm we were experiencing outside, my mother-in-law and I got to work wiping them down and drying them off. We really had to move the entire house around to fit all of the cabinets inside! Our 400 square feet of entertaining space in the great room shrunk down to the area immediately around the couch and dining table, but folks seemed happy to witness the birth of our kitchen while they munched on yummy homemade food.

The next day, my mother-in-law, her husband, and her father-in-law (the cabinet maker) came back to start installing everything. This is what the kitchen looked like after about 8 hours of work and two trips into town for odds and ends:

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We had a few problems, mostly with the sink. First, the P trap didn’t line up with the drain. Then we didn’t use enough plumber’s putty around the drain so it leaked. My husband just finished fixing it this morning. I should be able to use the sink now without any issues.

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The second day, they worked on getting the island anchored to the floor. Since we have a floating wood floor, they anchored one row of the island with large enough gaps in the flooring to allow for expansion. Then they connected each of the six island cabinets to each other so it will “float” as one large mass of cabinetry. Next up was the butcher block top for the island. It is 300 pounds of solid, unfinished cherry and absolutely perfect for the room! As an aside, for those who are curious, the cabinets are all Michigan tiger stripe maple cut down, milled, built and finished by one man – that awesome man in the green shirt helping my husband install the butcher block top.

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After two days of solid working, lots of cleaning, and much good food, this is what we are now enjoying…

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Outlets built right into the island

Outlets built right into the island

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Like I said, we still have a little work to do. The butcher block needs to be coated many times with mineral oil. It’s light right now, but I already attacked one of the scrap pieces we cut off and it’s going to change A LOT with the application of the oil. Plus, being cherry wood ensures that it will darken as it ages and is exposed to light. I will post updates on what it looks like once we’ve given it some TLC.

We also have to redo the window frame. The cabinets cut pretty close to it, so my husband has been busy modifying the frame to fit inside the line of the cabinets. We will probably stain that window to match the cabinets, but the rest of the windows in the house will continue to get the clear coat like our ceiling.

All along we have been wanting to do poured concrete counter tops for our kitchen and bathroom, hence the lack of counter tops in the kitchen. We can’t do it inside, so we have to wait until warm summer weather is here before we can even think about starting that project. In the meantime, I will probably get some plywood to cover the cracks and protect the tops of the cabinets. We may also look into various stone counter tops to compare prices with our concrete. If it’s cheaper to have someone else do it – we might go that route. We’ll see.

Aside from the kitchen, we have also finished around the wood stove. It looks pretty good, I think.

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I will be grouting the surround tiles today since I haven’t had the time or sink space to do them the past couple days. This is the last week that my husband has home. He leaves Friday (not Thursday like we initially thought) morning for Afghanistan again. The next time he comes back, it will be spring, we’ll have chickens, and I’ll be busy putting up fences and getting the garden going. Hopefully he’ll be back for good then.

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