Here’s Where We’re Headed

I feel like I’ve been in a holding pattern for the last few days as I gave my hand time to rest and heal (it was injured in a drill attack, which you can read about here), and then waited for the contractor to get back with me with an estimate for the work that needs to be done in the studio.

He got back with me yesterday morning, and let’s just say that the number was about $3000 more than I had expected. For finishing the electrical work, rerouting the ductwork, insulating the ceiling and walls with spray foam insulation, and drywalling to a smooth finish, the total came to just under $11,000.

That price includes the drywall and all of the drywall supplies, and it also includes the contractor’s markup, which he’s always very upfront about. Of course contractors have to include a markup. That’s how they make their money. But they earn that markup by being the one to schedule the subs, make sure the subs do what they’re supposed to do, handle the subs when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do, making sure that all of the supplies are at the jobsite when they need to be, plus carrying the insurance and workman’s comp needed to protect a homeowner against liability in the event that a sub is injured on the job site.

And while I understand all of that from a practical standpoint, my DIYer’s heart wants to cry because I want to save money.

But in the end, Matt and I agree that going ahead and hiring it out is the way to go. There might be some money-saving opportunities in there somewhere. For example, Mike said that he estimated a two-day job for the electrical, and a two-day job for the HVAC ductwork. I personally can’t see either one of those taking two days (especially the ductwork), so those line items may be much less.

Mike also estimated three weeks for the whole job, depending on when the subs can be scheduled for the project. So that means I need to find other ways to occupy my time while they’re working on the studio.

I’ve decided that I’ll primarily focus on my kitchen and get the remaining three or four projects in there finish.

Remember how I was working on some organization projects at the end of last year? I transformed the cabinet to the left of my stove from this mess…

Build DIY pull-out customized shelves to store pots, pans and lids

…to this organized cabinet with three pull-out shelves…

how to build organized and customized pul-out shelf for cookware - lower shelf with four most-used pots and pans

If you missed that project, you can see more of it here…

So I want to continue with the organization projects and finish the other three that I have planned.

The first one will be a similar pull-out on the right side of the stove for my frying pans and lids, as well as my cast iron grill pan. It’s going to look more like the slotted bakeware drawer that I did in the pantry…

DIY pull-out vertical storage drawer for cookie sheets, pizza pans, cutting boards, etc.

If you missed that one, you can see it here…

In addition to that skillet cabinet, I also want to turn one of the three-drawer cabinets into pull-out cans for trash and recycling.

teal kitchen - plan to turn three drawer cabinet into pull out garbage cans

And finally, I’ll be removing the dishwasher and creating pull-out basket drawers using the three custom-made baskets I ordered from Amish Baskets at the end of last year…

custom made kitchen basket from Amish Baskets

So while I’m disappointed that I won’t personally be making any progress on the studio in the next few weeks, it will feel good to finally get all of my organization projects completed for the kitchen.

And if I get all of those things done, and they’re still working on the studio, I can always start reupholstering the chairs for the living room. I finally ordered…and received…the fabric for the two chairs that I plan to use in the living room…

I had been planning on taking the chairs to the upholsterer and having them done while I worked on the studio, but now that we’re paying to have so much work done on the studio, I think I’ll save that $1200 and reupholster them myself.

So that’s the direction I’ll be heading in the next few weeks. I just didn’t want y’all to be shocked and think that I’ve forgotten about the studio, or that I got sidetracked, or that I’m procrastinating. And of course, I’ll keep y’all in the loop as things progress on the studio over the next few weeks as well.

Helpful sources and products:

  • Amish Baskets – This is where I ordered the baskets I’ll use on the pull-outs in my kitchen. This is the only place I could find that will make custom, made-to-order baskets in any size you need.
  • P/Kaufmann Paint Palette Punch – This is the floral fabric shown above that I plan to use on the living room chairs.
  • Lux Velvet in Azalea – This is the solid velvet fabric that I’ll use on the living room chairs.



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    1. I’ll get rid of it. Not sure if it’s worth selling, or if I should just find someone who needs a dishwasher and give it to them. Either way, I won’t be keeping it.

      1. Wow. Honestly, I can’t imagine doing without a dishwasher! I actually put in two when I redecorated! But that’s your house, and you probably don’t wash the number of dishes as I do – the kids are gone, but I have two dogs and 4 cats, so there are a lot of dishes to wash. Can’t wait to see your chairs!

        1. I have 5 kids and hand wash all the dishes! It’s my quiet time away from the kids LOL I hate dishwashers. We’re out there 😉

      2. Why don’t you donate it to Habitat for Humanity! I know they take them. The one in my area has a lot of used appliances as well as furniture.

        1. Locally the Re-store won’t accept used Dishwashers, the cost to sanitise it to re-sell (like a mattress but water using appliance) is too high. My trash service will pick up a bulky waste appliance once a month. We did buy our replacement used though a facebook buy sell group, from someone renno-ing a kitchen. So you can resale it, if you price it right. If you are getting rid of the fridge still, see if you could sell it as a set.

  1. I can’t say that I am surprised at that price, especially if it includes the purchase and installation of the drywall. That’s a big space and the ceiling especially would be a pain to do.

    I don’t think you are going to be sorry to have hired all that work out. It will allow you to concentrate on the fun stuff.

  2. Love the fabrics.
    The baskets turned out very nice. I live in Northern New York and have all kinds of those baskets available all of the time. They are beautiful and well constructed.

  3. Good morning Kristi.
    I’m curious, do you plan to eliminate your dishwasher altogether? If not where will its new home be?

    1. Yes, I’m getting rid of it completely. I’ve only used it about three or four times since I remodeled my kitchen, so it’s mostly just a huge drying rack.

  4. Drywalling a vaulted ceiling is a PITA…even with the correct equipment. The “up-side” of having it done is the use of 4′ x 12′ sheets, making for way less seams. Hanging horizontally on walls is also preferred for the same reason. While the cost is more than expected, I believe your studio deserves a Pro look, esp. if you may be meeting clients in the space.

  5. It’s so refreshing to hear someone else doesn’t have a dishwasher! I’ve been doing my dishes since forever. I will NEVER get a dishwasher!!! And I agree – that really is not all that shocking of a quote for electrical work. That’s a huge space and why not live someone else to get up on the ladder, break their neck etc, why you do the more left-brained, creative and fun things??!!! It will save you in aggravation in the long run.

    1. Haha! Sign me up for Team No Dishwasher too! We do all our dishes by hand and use the washer as a drying rack only.
      Our machine is really old and we’re thinking of replacing it with something like Krisiti’s basket idea… but with hidden dish racks still. We don’t have the counter space for a standard rack.

    2. I’ve been hand washing dishes since I was old enough to pull a chair up to the sink (around 5/6 years old). Fifty years later, I’m still the dishwasher.

      1. LOL also team no dishwasher! I set up my phone with Netflix and watch a show while I wash dishes. I look forward to it!! Haha

  6. Kristi, I like the idea of pull out trash bins (I have those) but I’d choose the bank closest to the sink. Less wet spills that way. Just a thought. I don’t know where you create your most mess. Are you going to keep the drawer fronts?

    1. I will be keeping the drawer fronts, so hopefully when it’s finished, it’ll look pretty much the exact same as it does right now, but the drawer fronts will just be a false front for the cans.

      The reason I chose the bank of drawers on the far left is because that are just to the left of the sink is where I stand to do about 95% of the food prep while I’m cooking. So I’d like to be able to prep with the cans pulled out so that waste can be put right in the trash as I’m prepping meals rather than accumulating on the countertop.

  7. Good for you. I am sure you have sticker shock but I think it is a wise decision. Just try and focus on the thousands you have already saved and will do so in the future with your very capable talents. I am surprised about the dishwasher but that’s probably because I love having one, lol. You know what is best for your needs. I am sooo excited for you!

  8. OMG, every time I see it I’m thrilled, your entryway is so perfect. If it were mine I would never get anything done, I’d be just sitting there staring at it all day. And so much of it you have created from scratch or nearly that. Your talent and eye for colour is sublime <3 Your whole home creates (in me) a yearning for colour and beautiful design. Kristi you rock!

  9. Those chairs are going to be fabulous in your living room! That fabric is vibrant and beautiful. Can’t wait to see them done!

  10. Having some of that heavy-duty work done by contractors will save wear and tear on your body! And, it will leave you some time to complete the projects you enjoy doing and for which you have so much talent. I love your bright cheerful colors. It’s a cold, rainy day here, and just looking at those brightens my day!

  11. Kristi, I am actually relieved you are outsourcing all that. And yes, you will enjoy doing the living room furniture yourself. Love the fabrics!

    As for the dishwasher: I had to smile. I had one in my houses and apartments in the States. When I didn’t take on a big cooking project I filled it once every two days. When I cooked a lot in one day I ran each day.

    I moved here to Ecuador 3 plus years ago and I thought I would moan over not having a dishwasher. Boo hoo, poor me.

    I am in a city of twenty-five thousand, called, Macas, in the Amazon area. (No monkeys to be seen nor dishwashers, to my knowledge.) Well, here you cook everything from scratch. And I bake bread about 3 times a week for myself and son and daughter-in-law who live in an adjacent apartment to mine. Food flies in both directions because we cook a lot. So there are lots of dishes to do. But, I don’t miss my machine at all. Warm soapy water makes me happy. A total surprise for me. Plus, I have a great kitchen to work in—full of happy colors.

    Thanks for the update. With you all the way!

      1. Thanks, Colleen. How nice of you to reply!

        You know the most fun thing for me has been to show the paint company people in a store here what Kristi has done along the way. It’s a family business and they are lovely people. They marvel at her skill and love of color. A personal addiction for me too.

        I think we are all enjoying the vicarious journey we get to take with her as she goes along. I have learned so much from the comments, yours included, in addition to Kristi’s clear explanations of her steps on the projects.

        Stay tuned…

  12. YOU MADE THE RIGHT CHOICE!!! You are actually multi-tasking by having the studio stuff hired out HE HE HA HA! As a DIYer it is so hard to pay to have others do what you can do. . . but sometimes it is worth it!! You will not regret that decision! I love how you embrace what works for YOU . . . you have inspired me in my own home to do the same! I love that you are getting rid of the dishwasher because it works best for YOU . . . I, on the other hand, am going to install another one – so I have two – because that is what works for ME. I love that you inspire us to do in our homes what we love and what works for us. Love your blog!

      1. I think your reply ended up in the wrong spot. If you were asking me how I recommend printing the bird illustrations, I used my photo editing software on my laptop to resize the ones I wanted to 8″ x 10″, and then had them printed on matte photo paper at Walmart. It was really pretty inexpensive.

  13. I think getting the infrastructure work contracted out will give you time to finish up a couple of other rooms so that when they are done, you can really go at your studio creatively and you’ll have a lovely kitchen and living room area to enjoy when you are resting. Love the baskets, by the way.

  14. I’m so excited to see your upholstered pieces. Gorgeous, lush fabric. ENVY!!!! LOL. It’s cold winter with another frigid snow front heading in so those pieces put a smile on my face and warmed my heart that spring is coming!!!!…. well some day!
    Awesome decision to hire out. I know that bid sounds like a lot but living in Minneapolis I find it a pretty good deal. Having just hired a 6X9 bathroom done those numbers add up fast.
    I am so excited for you. Enjoy allowing yourself to get some support. As a fan, I don’t want you to wear out!!!!

  15. You and Matt have made a very wise decision to hire out the work for this. Can’t imagine that you will regret it. Actually, I think that’s a pretty good price for all that they will do, plus…..having someone you already have respect for and know the previous work he’s done, is totally a huge thing. Can you finish your draperies pretty soon?😉

    1. Those will probably come later this year, after I have my studio in working order and have my workroom table built. If I sew draperies right now, I’d have to disrupt my breakfast room again and set up a makeshift work table, or I’ve have to work on the floor somewhere.

  16. I’ll be interested to see how you convert those 2/3-drawers into one pull-out! I’ve been waiting to install my drawer fronts on my bathroom vanity because I decided that in order to be able to access plumbing I’d have to make the bottom 2 drawers into one pull-out (so that rail wouldn’t be in the way when getting in the cabinet). I have an idea but seeing someone else actually DIY it would be great!

  17. I am glad that your accident with the drill was not as bad as it could have been. I always enjoy everything you do to your home.

    You always inspire me with the projects that you do.

  18. Kristi……. you are worth way more than $11,000….. frankly you’re “priceless”…….. delighted that you are saving yourself for the “fun” stuff that you enjoy. And…..HIP HIP HOORAY for your sweet Matt for always thinking of you first…..

  19. Good going on the studio – love your chair fabric – but the dishwasher; you may want to think about that again. When you are all done decorating and find to cook oh the washer will be soooooooooooooooooo nice

    1. I’ve thought about it plenty. 🙂 I cook every single day, and yet I’ve only used my dishwasher about four times since I did the original kitchen remodel and added the dishwasher. It’s just wasted space right now. And keeping it isn’t suddenly going to make me start using it.

  20. Estimate is get compared to what we pay in NY “ suburbia”. It will help speed up your finishing touch ( which are major projects by themselves!)
    Kristi, remember when you finish doing all you plan to do. You WILL have the party house! Dishwasher may come in handy.

  21. We did the same thing with our dishwasher when we remodeled the kitchen. I did not average using it twice a year. Needed the cabnet space more. Take care and hope your hand is healing good.

  22. As so many others I am glad you are having someone else do the heavy work. Have fun with the redo of the chairs. I just finished redoing my mothers baby chair that is over 100 yrs old.

  23. Kristi,

    I love all that you have done! I would love to know where you bought your drawer slides for the kitchen cabinets? I didn’t see a link, Thanks Sally

    1. I found them on Amazon, and they’re just over $6/pair, which is the best price I found anywhere. They’re not the soft close kind, but I can live without soft close as long as I have full extension. Here’s my affiliate link for the exact ones I bought:

  24. I think I you guys have made a very wise decision, and the great thing is you will have the time for the more fun projects! Reupholstering your chairs, working on origination for the kitchen, and planning for all the design elements for your studio!

  25. Well worth the $$$ to have them finish the hard work for you, you are irreplaceable, and you need to heal thoroughly. Don’t overwork your hand just yet, deep injuries take longer to heal. I’m sure you are dying to “jump back on the horse” as it were, but take it slow. Have you settled on the flooring for the studio? I can’t remember if you decided. Sometimes I think I could do without a dishwasher with just two of us here, but I’m not there yet. I do wash pots/pans, large items and knives by hand, so the dishwasher is for plates/bowls/drinkware and sliverware. When I write that, it seems as though I should just wash it all, but no, I don’t. Habit I guess!

  26. Kristi, I am loving the fact that there are so many “doing dishes by hand” out there!!! I love it!! We’re working on preliminary plans for our kitchen upgrade and it WILL NOT include a dishwasher. Hugs/kisses everyone!!