July 31, 2014

How to Install a Dishwasher

Our cabin up North didn't come with a dishwasher.  And really, why would it?  It's just a cabin, right?  So even though we immediately noted that there was a nice, prime location where we could place one, we buried that thought deep down, and tried to ignore it.

But here's the thing you don't realize until you don't have one- dishwashers are amazing!  Seriously they are little magic boxes that wash your dishes for you, why would anyone want to live without one?  After about a year living with this cabin, we realized that a dishwasher might even be more important here than it is in your own home.  Why?  Because at your home it is just you and your family, and your mess is your mess.  But up at the cabin there are three different families sharing the space, and if you don't immediately clean up after yourself, the mess really piles up. So earlier this month when I received a text from my Mom- "I bought a dishwasher", I did my own happy dance. 

The first step was to clear a spot.  As I mentioned, we had a section of a cabinet and a stack of drawers that measured 29" wide, right next to the sink, which accommodates a dishwasher perfectly.  I removed all the drawers and the cabinet drawer, and then used my Dremel tool to cut away the rest of the cabinet and pull it out.

But what's a big empty space without water or electrical?  Not a very good place for a dishwasher.  Lucky for me in this case, the space below our kitchen is a wide open crawl space, so it was easy for me to tap into a very lightly used electrical circuit and sting up a new wire to hot wire directly into the dishwasher. 

 I thought that the plumbing would be really hard, but it was actually a piece of cake, and I believe anyone could do this part of the project on their own.  I found this dishwasher connector kit, with a 4 foot hose that reached right to my location, but you can buy a kit with a longer hose if you have farther to go.

The process was super simple.  First I shut off the hot water by turning that dial on the left.  Then I used a wrench to remove the water line that directly connects up to the faucet.  Then I screwed on the splitter that came in the kit, and tightened it with the wrench.  (It doesn't hurt to buy plumbers tape and wrap your treads with it before you screw it together, just to make a water tight seal.)

Next all I had to do was reconnect the hot water line to the faucet hose, and add the dishwasher hot water hose that was supplied to the other opening.

I just drilled a hole through the cabinet and fed the new dishwasher waterline through, where it could connect directly to the dishwasher.  Piece of cake.  Far easier than getting the new dishwasher into the house by myself was.  I ended up rigging this ramp out of spare boards and pulling it up with an old dolly I found in the garage.

Viola!  Wait... we're not done yet, are we? 

Obviously I have a pretty ugly gap to cover up.  I purchased a 4 foot length of 1x4 oak, which happened to fit the space perfectly, I just had to chop off a few inches of length with my chop saw.  Then I drilled a number of pocket holes into the board so I could connect it to the adjacent cabinet.

Then I rounded up all my pints-of-stain-past and tested stain colors on the wood scrap.  I was worried that I would have to mix a few to get the perfect color, but lucky for me two coats of English Chestnut was a spot-on match.

Once my panel was dry I used the pocket screws to attach it, and I wasn't thrilled.

The color was perfect, but the holes where the hinges used to be really stood out, even when I filled them with stainable wood putty.

It also felt like the dishwasher was crowding the sink, so I changed tactics and moved the board to the right side of the dishwasher.  It was my (Gru voice) "Lightbulb" moment.  The dishwasher looked more centered in the space, and the patched wood really disappeared after another coat of stain.  Looks like it's always been there- no?

That photo is decidedly more enjoyable to look at if you try to imagine that the ugly floors and fake wood counter tops aren't there.  And if you can do that- will you please teach me how?  So it may be "just a cabin," but now it's a cabin with a magic box that washes our dishes for us.  And I couldn't be happier. 

July 29, 2014

Entry Way Decor

We're still really far from the decorate and tweak part of the cabin remodel, but sometimes when the to-do list feels daunting, it's nice to do small projects that improve the space and make you smile.  You may remember that once we installed our new entry door, and placed in the new entry bench I built, there was a space to the right of the bench, behind the door that was feeling pretty bland. 

Not any more.

After a quick trip to Target I found the Lake Home Sweet Home print, which isn't usually my style, but something about it spoke to me and jumped in my cart.  I framed a photo of a beautiful cabin sunset in an extra frame I had on hand, and added Young House Love's skeleton key hooks for the perfect place to corral our keys.

On the other wall I hung this nautical rope mirror, which I think adds nicely to the rustic and laid back character of the place.  It also helps reflect light and makes the space look a bit bigger when you enter. (Not to mention giving you a place to check for food in your teeth before you leave.)

In the photo above the bench is pushed a little too far to the left and is crowding the door a bit.  Unfortunately I can't drive all the way back up north to take another photo, so you're just going to have to give me a pass on this one. :)

Ideally I would have hand made something like the Lake Home sign to look a little more vintage and authentic, but with everything we have going on up there these days, sometimes it's just nice to throw something from clearance in the cart- you know what I mean?

At least Ryder loves it.  Or maybe he loves the squirt guns Grandma got him to play with.  It's hard to tell.

Anyone else do any quick and easy decorating this weekend?  Sometimes I think the little things can nearly make as big of an impact as the major projects.  They take the space from "renovated" to "lived in."