Faucet Snobbery

I prefer a high-arc faucet.

The tall spigot in our Paris apartment.

Charlie and I learned to appreciate them on our trip to Paris in 2011.

Even the Cottage has an Ikea high-arc faucet in the kitchen area.

We have installed them in the house on every sink.

This bathroom will get a new faucet.

Now that we are planning to upgrade a new old house I have decided to change out all of the faucets while we have a plumber on the premises.

The kitchen could use a new sink as well as a new faucet but for now we’re just switching out the faucet.

The 3 sinks all have old-style faucets.

Delta Foundations high-arc bathroom faucet — $30.

I placed an order with Home Depot for 2 identical and inexpensive bathroom faucets by Delta.

Kitchen faucet

I went a little more upmarket with a Moen Noell kitchen faucet because I also like a lever control in place of two handles in the kitchen.

What details are you partial to?

One More Set

For over a year I have had on my to-do list to stain the remaining 2 sets of closet doors.

The pantry doors (left) go well with the bottom cabinets.

Finally this this morning I was able to stain the doors to the pantry.

The bare wood had become dirty and needed light sanding before staining.

Earlier this week Charlie sanded dirt and stains off the doors.

The doors are stained front and back.

I stained the backs and sides first and finished with the front side.

The pre-stain conditioner darkened the wood slightly.

Step one: Paint the doors with pre-stain wood conditioner.

Varathane stain has a soya-oil base.

While the conditioner was setting I looked at my stain choices.  I had a can marked on the tops “doors”.  Unfortunately when I opened it I realized it was too blue for the doors in the kitchen.

The lower kitchen cabinets are a warm grey stain.

My goal was to use a color that would match as closely as possible the kitchen cabinet stain which is “Silas stain with graphite highlight”.

I originally bought this brown stain to make picture frames.

In order to mix this color I used “Weathered Gray” stain to which I added a tiny can of “Special Walnut” both by Varathane.

Late afternoon sun shines on the newly stained doors.

While I gave the back of the doors one coat the front seemed to need a deeper treatment so I put two coats on front.

First coat of stain.

Step two: Paint on stain.

Step three: Wipe off excess stain so the woodgrain shows through.

View from the kitchen into the dining room

Step four: Allow to dry two hours and repeat steps 2 and 3.

Before
After

Then I hung the doors at the entrance to the recently straightened pantry.

Mudroom closet doors.

I still have the mudroom doors (3 of them) to stain but the color is not as critical there.

How do you choose color?

Useful But Messy

The title describes my pantry. The word pantry comes from the French word pain which means bread. Modern pantries are seldom used to store bread instead it is a small room or closet in which food, dishes, and utensils are kept.

The upper shelves in the pantry hold large serving dishes and useful labeled boxes of hardware and glue.

Ever since the renovation of The Glade we have had a dedicated pantry for such items as oversized bowls and roasting pans, canned goods, dog food, seldom used appliances (waffle iron, extra espresso machine, mixer), cook books, etc.

Charlie loves junk food which he was storing on the floor in the pantry.

Charlie also keeps his myriad snacks in the pantry in old dog treat jars.

The floor was so cluttered I could hardly reach the shelves.

The whole place is a shambles.

There is improvement in this space — although minor.

Today I took a stab at straightening it up just a bit.  Don’t tell Charlie but any outdated food has been trashed.  I’ll never eat it; he’ll never eat it; and it can’t be donated.  Cans have been lined up according to type.

I threw away about 50% of the mismatched plastic in the pantry.

Plastic containers have been matched up with their corresponding lids.  Anything with advertising or missing its mate is history.

The floor of the pantry is much more accessible.

The result is a  more useable and tidy pantry.

Do you have a tip for pantry organization?

Getting Started on the January Task

The January task in terms of cleaning and straightening the house starts in the kitchen.  The kitchen is used to some extent everyday and from time we put a heavy load on its resources.

My side of the kitchen.

Kitchen Drawers 
We don’t have many drawers in the kitchen but the ones we have are packed to the gills with table linens and utensils.

The drawer next to the stove holds a number of unlikely items.

Some of the utensils are seldom used but when I need a cherry pitter I happy to have one. I’m going to try to be ruthless with useless items. Then I’ll organize so the most used items are easily accessible.

Even cluttered cabinets look neat with the doors closed.

Kitchen Cabinets
It can be easy to carelessly throw pots and pans and bowls into cabinets, so I plan to remove all the cookware and wipe off the revolving shelves. This year I did get rid of a bundt cake pan that horribly ruined a cake.

Pots and pans are kept in the corner cabinet near the stove.

There is lots of space in the cupboard but frequently used pieces should be near the front.

The pantry

Pantry 
Our pantry holds everything that needs to be easily accessed or, conversely, is seldom used. It needs an organizational once-over. I can organize canned goods by type, check expiration dates and get rid of foods you’ll never eat. Unexpired and shelf stable foods can be donated to your local food pantry.

We can never find an appropriate container and lid when we need one.

One of the worst areas are storage containers without lids and lids without matching containers. We organize this a lot but it is difficult to maintain.

Spices do get old.

Spice Rack
While I don’t actually have a spice rack I keep a number of spices and herbs in a narrow cabinet near the stove. I’m almost afraid to look at the expirations dates.

Spice cabinet of the far right.

Refrigerator and Freezer 
During the holidays the refrigerator and freezer were used and abused more than usual.  We must eat or store the large volume of food that we prepared.  Everything will come out and we’ll wipe down the insides and clean all the shelves and bins.

We have used up all of this year’s frozen peaches.

Under-Sink Storage
We have 2 sinks in the kitchen under which we store all manner of cleaning products.  Some products like Goof-Off we seldom use but are absolutely necessary when a sticky situation arises.

Under the prep sink

Perhaps I can whittle down the products and reorganize the spaces.

Where do you start in January?

I’ve Been Busy

I’ve been writing quite a few posts about what I’d like to accomplish and cook in the near future.

My go-to meal at our favorite bistro is salmon and spinach.

Sug and I went out to a lovely Friday lunch with a friend.  We all ordered salmon and spinach.

Mary Poppins and Jack the Lamplighter.

I went to see the new Mary Poppins movie and I loved it.  It’s so fun and uplifting and just a little naughty in a child friendly way.

I put a red and green tablecloth on the kitchen table.

I made cranberry sauce, toffee sauce, and tea wafers.  The two sauces were quick and easy.  Unfortunately I accidentally doubled the butter in the tea wafers.  They’re still delicious but a little crumbly.  The crumbly bits we’ll use on ice cream.

We’ll be having Christmas Eve dinner in the dining room.

I arranged some white roses both on the dining room table and in the living room.

We’ll be eating all of these fruits and vegetables during the next week.

In the kitchen I arranged some red and orange foods in Longaberger baskets on the island.

The present pile is getting larger.

It won’t be long now until the Christmas celebrations begin. One more day.

Are you home for the holidays?

Cleaning the Dishwasher

Charlie has been complaining for a long time that our dishwasher leaves a film on the dishes, especially the silverware.

Our dishwasher is at the end of the coffee bar peninsula.

From time to time I have cleaned the filter in the bottom of the dishwasher.

The filter was mucky before we cleaned it.

This time we first soaked the very dirty filter in Dawn detergent and very hot water.  Then I covered it with baking soda over which I poured some white vinegar which did loosen the grime.  We used a brush to scrub the filter until it was clean.

The inside had a lot of black grime.

Unfortunately because Charlie prefers to wash dishes by hand the inside of the dishwasher has become moldy and dirty.

Instructions advised us to use the sanitize feature.

The suggestion we found on the internet was to put a cup of white vinegar on the top shelf and to run the machine on the “sanitize” cycle.

The dirt in the bottom of the dishwasher has been removed.

The sanitize cycle helped very much.

Everything has been cleaned and dried.

Finally Sug used her Magic Eraser to clean all the crevasses and seals.

Do you wash dishes by hand or machine?

Changing the Refrigerator Water Filter

We have had our refrigerator for about 4 years and I felt it’s time to change the filter that cleans the water and ice on the door.

Ice and water are available on the front of the fridge.

The recommendation is that the filter be changed every 6 months which is when the blue light turns red.  I did some research and found out the light does not turn red when the filter becomes clogged.  Instead there is a chip that counts off the months.

The original filter.

Since there are only 2 of us in the household we figured the filter does not become unusable in 6 months.

The replacement filter — $50.

I did a little more research reading reviews of both official Samsung filters and off-brand models.  I decided to get the real albeit expensive filter.

In terms of availability, a warehouse is convenient.

I bought the refrigerator from Best Buy so I ordered the filter from the same store. In our area the “store” could get the item in 3 or 4 days but I could pick it up immediately at the local “warehouse”.  The item must be pre-purchased and the item number and an ID presented to the guard in a booth outside the warehouse fence.

I didn’t have to back up the ramp because the warehouseman brought my item to me in the parking lot.

Then when the order has been pulled I was allowed to drive around to the loading dock where my purchase was delivered to me.  It took about 20 minutes from ordering to delivery.

The filter locks in with a twisting motion.

Charlie screwed the new filter in its spot at the lower corner of the refrigerator side of our side-by-side.

The filter is in the bottom of the refrigerator, not in the freezer.

So far everything is working well.

Do you have a favorite kitchen appliance?

Two More Summer Weekends

While we accomplished a lot at The Glade this summer — renovated 2 bathrooms — I’ve looked back at some of my projects lists from earlier in the summer and more than a few things have been left undone.

Two sets of pine doors need to be stained a medium grey.

In July I had hoped to stain the 2 sets of unfinished pine doors — the mudroom and the pantry.  I bought some light stain to mix with the dark stain I had been using to change things up just a little. Weather permitting, I think I can finish these doors in the next two weekends.

The closet has become a storage spot for lots of stuff that doesn’t belong.

Another summer goal was to organize all my clothes that were cluttering various closets, bed and floors all over the house.  This I have done. But still undone is a serious look at the clutter in the mudroom closet which is also one of the set of doors that needs to be stained.

I’m happy we can close the doors on the pantry because it looks a horrible mess.

The pantry has become a disorganized mess also.  Charlie likes to store things — grocery bags for example — on the floor.  It’s horrible and I plan to take control.

The pile has dwindled but the trim has not yet been totally installed.

Little by little we’ve been whittling away at the pile of trim in the hallway.  When every room has baseboard I plan to make another lumber order to finish the face frames for both the master closet and the master bedroom shelving which is not yet finished.

My main fall project is to get the back bedroom — The Treetops Room — ready for guests.

I know we can’t hope we can accomplish all this in 2 weekends and I’m comforted to have a plan.

Do you have an end of summer plan?

Recaulking the Kitchen Sink

Charlie and I noticed that the caulk between the stainless steel farm sink and the stainless counter started to shrink away from the surfaces it was supposed to adhere to.

In 2014 the silicone caulk had pulled back on this sink so a new bead was set down.

This sink was caulked twice in 2014 because the caulk had shrunk. Now it has happened again.

Behind the caulk was wet board.

So before we went away for a week Charlie pulled the old caulk out and dug out some of the wet board that backs the stainless countertop.

There was a mess in the sink to remind us not to use the water.

The opening dried for about 2 weeks then Charlie recaulked with silicone caulk which was recommended by our carpenter.

Silicone caulk.

After caulking we didn’t use the sink for 48 hours — well beyond the recommended time.

Caulked.

This sink gets a lot of use.

The sides were easier to get make neat than the back of the sink.

The area near the faucet gets the most action of water and debris. Hope it lasts this time.

Do you get behind on small but necessary maintenance jobs?

More Light in the Cottage Kitchen

The Cottage kitchen is small but functional.

The Cottage kitchen gets plenty of light during the day due to a window near the sink.

Unfortunately it was more functional during the day than at night.

The area is bright in daylight.
An under-cabinet fluorescent tube lights up the sink area.

Sug went to Home Depot and bought an under-cabinet light much like the one I used to have in my old kitchen.

What small change can make your kitchen more functional?