Maggie & Ed's Reno: Broken Pipes + Buzzing + a Very Merited Meltdown

Maggie & Ed's Reno: Broken Pipes + Buzzing + a Very Merited Meltdown

Tess Wilson
May 8, 2015

Name: Ed and Maggie Williams (of MVW Architect)
Type of Project: Kitchen/dining/music room renovation
Location: Freret, New Orleans, LA
Type of building: Craftsman-style shotgun double

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

Every project requires at least one meltdown- an offering to the gods of renovation, perhaps. After weeks of steady progress, Maggie and Ed encounter a few major issues- and one stinky one...

Cover panels cut and ready to be installed at the island. Bennett had been worried about working with the Ikea panels (since they are foil-coated there is not much room for mistakes in cutting) but it all came together very neatly, with the panels laid out strategically to avoid exposed unfinished edges.
An overall view of the kitchen. You can see the gap above the plinths at the cabinet toekick on the left.

From Maggie and Ed:

This week felt like one small step forward, two giant steps back.

I'll start with the good news: They finished installing the remaining miscellaneous cabinet pieces. The cover panels at the island look especially sharp. The toekicks aka "plinths" went in also, but there is about a one inch gap at the top which is noticeable from the doorway into the kitchen. In order to conceal that gap I decided to get a longer end panel piece that will go all the way to the ground for the cabinet that abuts the fireplace. Hopefully this will be our last Ikea order as shipping is pricey and takes about 2 weeks.
The baseboard in the music room
We also made progress this week with carpentry items: the baseboard was installed and the bedroom and music room doors were hung.
One small victory was that the garbage bin I ordered for the pull-out trash cabinet (after scouring the internet for days) arrived and IT FITS! The options available from Ikea were a lot smaller and I really wanted a bin that could fit a standard 13 gallon bag. Now I'm just on a quest to find a nicer looking dog food container.
Also, a major improvement this week was that our washer/dryer was hooked up. YAY! I can do laundry at home again!
They mockup the ceiling trim pieces and other than a minor tweak (switching the pieces so the vertical goes in first), we loved the look and move forward on that.
I painted the pull out pantry doors with chalkboard paint this weekend and it turned out great!
A close up of the refrigerator/ pull-out cabinet conflict. Since it only hits at the top of the fridge, it must be due to the floors being unlevel.
Now for the bad news: The appliances began trickling in this week. I say "trickling in" because for some reason, which was unfortunate for both us as well as the poor delivery guys, Lowe's brought the stove and microwave one day, the refrigerator another and the dishwasher a third. To make matters worse, we realized the microwave came dented, which meant a whole new round of pickup and redelivery trips this weekend. All of that was nothing though compared to what will probably be referred to as "Fridgegate 2014": I eagerly rushed home from work the day the refrigerator was delivered, but my bubble quickly burst when I walked into the kitchen and was immediately confronted with a loud high pitched buzzing sound. I quickly realized it was coming from the bottom of the new refrigerator, but I tried to be optimistic and think maybe it's just because it's only been hooked up a few hours. Then I reached for the pull-out pantry handle (which had just been installed that day) but I found the cabinet can't open because it hits the new refrigerator! With force it opened, but scraped against the refrigerator. That night while I tried to brainstorm about ways to resolve the cabinet/fridge issue while also trying to ignore the buzzing and also lighting lots of scented candles because there was some mysterious awful smell in the house that I couldn't pinpoint, and Ed is working late in the recording studio, I had my first meltdown of the project. The next day with the buzzing still going strong we contacted Lowe's and they said the fridge must be a lemon and arranged for an exchange. (Yet another two trips for the Lowe's delivery crew, sorry guys!) The new one came and unfortunately was just as loud. Of course now that we were having this issue, when I go back and look at the reviews online, tons jump out at me that are complaining about noise, but decibel level just never occurred to me as an important criteria in a refrigerator before!? Lots more research leads us to what is listed as a super quiet refrigerator that also happens to be 1/8" thinner (which might be enough to resolve our cabinet conflict too!) We went out to the local store to make the return/new order and all the sales associates have heard of us already. I'm sure we are "the crazy people who keep returning loud refrigerators", ha, I don't blame them, I think we really were starting to go nuts with that buzzing!

Two more miscellaneous setbacks occurred: the replacement hanging bracket for the ceiling fan that the manufacturer (Litex) nicely sent out to us for free arrived, but it's not the right part. Bennett called them back, but being unsure if the right part was available, he told us to just reorder the whole fan and he would pay for it. Additionally, the electrician came out to install the light fixtures, but the next day the music room pendant was broken, another item to re-order, but Bennett will cover that cost too.

Lastly, on Friday night we found the source of that stinky smell I noticed earlier in the week: our tenant's sewer pipe was backed up all the way to the street and had caused the pipe to break and the crawl space under the house was becoming a pond of sewer water. TMI? sorry! ... oh the joys of home ownership!

Estimated time for project: 12 weeks
Time remaining: 5 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #11 of Maggie and Ed's renovation.

(Images and diary text: Maggie and Ed Williams)

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