Introducing Blue Lagos countertops by Caesarstone. 


My house is getting more and more masculine by the day.  I didn’t realize how drawn I was toward brown, grey, and white hues. 


Post Move-in Trauma

April 3, 2009

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I simply haven’t had the desire to blog about the house given that my house is SUCH A MESS RIGHT NOW.  Because the house is still not finished, we haven’t been able to completely unpack because we’re constatly moving things … covering up things … replacing things (kitchen countertops).  I simply cannot get settled and it’s driving me crazy.

On Tuesday we must have had at least 8 guys at the house.  Because the baseboards were getting primed, caulked, and painted, I had guys crawling everywhere!  Under my sink, inside my closets, and down my hallways.  There was literally no where for me to go.



Everything had to be pushed toward the middle of the room so that the baseboards could be painted.  If you look real hard, you can see me packed away in one of the cardboard boxes.

The moving ordeal has been especially difficult for me because I am a total control freak.  So having all these guys in my house, touching my things, and moving them all around has been really, really hard for me to deal with.  To calm my nerves, I started drinking in the early afternoon.  By the time the move was over, I was ready to do shots with the movers.

3 Days to Go

March 27, 2009

Ah, nothing is more painful than moving.  Well, maybe a few things are, such as taking the bar exam, eating durian, and being stuck in a hot car when my nephew has just pooped in his pants.   That little boy needs to eat more fiber.


 I stopped by the house this morning to check on things.  Oh boy … I have no idea how the house will be ready by Monday, but I’ll hope for the best!  All the recessed lighting has been installed, along with the light fixtures.  Baseboards are being installed and still need to be painted.  I did not want crown molding (and my architect agrees) because it really doesn’t fit the look of my modern asthetic.  I told me  co-worker this and he gasped, “What?  How can you not have crown molding?!”   I told him to stop watching HGTV.  (I’m such a snob, but I can’t help it!  : D)


Master bath mirror installed.  I’m a bit worried that there’s not enough lighting in the master bath, but I’ll see once I move in.

Another tough decision to be made:  I had to decide what type of material I wanted installed for my fireplace hearth.  City code requires some sort of fire-resistant material.   My contractor suggested using the sand-colored Ceasarstone that was accidentally installed in my kitchen.  While I really liked the idea of reusing the stone so that it wouldn’t go to waste, unfortunately, I decided it woudn’t match the color scheme of the white walls, brown floors, and grey italian plaster fireplace. 


My contractor had originally suggested granite, which is relatively cheap, but he couldn’t find a slab that was plain (i.e.,  sparkle-free).  So yesterday during lunch, I met up with him at a pre-fab marble showroom.  There I was able to select a nice, plain and muted white engineered marble slab for $250.  They had a pure marble slab for $375, but since this area isn’t going to get much traffic and is purely for looks, I though I could go with the cheaper one.   Plus the pure marble slab was polished, so it really reflected light which would have contrasted too much with my wood floors.

4 Days to Go!

March 26, 2009

Yesterday proved to be somewhat harried because a few problems arose during the installation of the kitchen appliances.  Good thing I was not around!  Terence had to deal with it all by himself (he called me 4x at work, which is a new record high for him).  A few unpredicted glitches:  the hood exhaust system  was in the wrong place and had to be relocated, there was not enough clearance for the dishwasher and wine captain so part of the kitchen cabinets had to be shaved down, the kitchen ceiling is not at a perfect 90 degree angle so the hood is not flush against the ceiling (that one is gonna bother me forever), etc.  These are all good/hard lessons to be learned.  Here are some pics from my camera phone.





Wine captain (whatever that means).


Dining room pendant light.  I wanted something functional and industrial (and cheap!).


Dining room looking into kitchen.  I still need to purchase the pendant lights over the kitchen island.


My splurge:  Moooi’s Random Light.


now 5 days to go

March 25, 2009

I was told by my contractor that the house won’t be ready by Sunday (they have lots of cleaning to do), so he asked if I could push my move in date to Monday.  Luckily, I \have till the end of the month on my apartment lease, so I consented.  I want to move into a (relatively) clean house, after all!

Introducing the sand-colored kitchen counters!  Terence says, “They’re not that bad.  Jeesh, you made it sound as though they were canary yellow.”  Then he had the nerve to say that he kind of liked them.  But when you’ve had your heart set on a certain color countertop, anyless less than that would be a severe disappointment.



The kitchen appliances are being installed today.  Yay!  That means Terence had to wake up extra early (for him) today to meet the installers.  His sleepy words to me this morning, “Did you HAVE to schedule the installation so early?”  My response, “In ‘normal-people-grown-up-working-world’ 8:00 a.m. is not considered early, TP.”  That’s what he gets for admitting that he liked the sand-colored countertops.  I am passive-aggressive afterall.  Muuhahahaha.


Luckly my contractor got the color of the Ceaserstone countertop in the master bathroom right!  I ordered “Eggshell” because 1) I wanted something light since this bathroom is so dark, and 2) I thought the hints of grey specks would go well with the floor and wall tile.  I was right!  The countertop looks gorgeous.  It really brightens up the room.


I realized while selecting materials for my renovation, that I really like clean lines and angles.  I don’t like curvy things.   So when picking sinks, I definitedly wanted a square, undermounted sink.  I really liked this Stark 3 sink by Duravit.  Very clean lines and simple. 

I’ll post photos of the fully installed appliances tomorrow.

Heart attack

March 21, 2009

I stopped by the house yesterday to make sure that the Caesarstone countertops were properly installed.  As I walked into the kitchen with my barrier-reef like, super long island, I stopped dead in my tracks.  My eyes darted back and forth across the kitchen.  My hands clenched into fists.  My face turned red.  And my first reaction was to scream, “OH MY GAWD!  OH MY GAWD.”

What did I see?  Not the concrete-like Caesarstone countertops that we had ordered.  Nope, far from it.  I saw YELLOW countertops – everywhere.  Lots and lots of yellow.  I mean, I’m Asian and all, but even this was too much yellow for my blood.

Needless to say, I nearly had a heart attack.  I got on the phone with my contractor right away to clear up the mess.  Apparently, he had ordered the countertops using the product “number” from the sample rather than confirming that the number matched the name.  Did he ever confirm that he had the right product?  Nope.  

So what does this mean?  It means that I’ll have to live with these yellow countertops until the correct colored ones get manufactured (takes 5-10 business days).  And my contractor is going to have to eat the $5,000 cost.  In the meanwhile … anyone looking for yellow countertops?  You can have mine.  

These are the little “set backs” that can delay your construction project.  Totally avoidable, of course. 


9 days to move in day!

March 20, 2009

And there is sooooooo much left to be done.  Aaahhh!

Not much was accomplished yesterday.  The knobs and pulls were installed on my master bath vanity.  I got them on sale at Pottery Barn.


Sorry for the blurry pictures.  Most of my pics were taken on my camera phone.

The shower head was installed in the master bath.  I opted against the fancier adjustable shower head that could change pressure and direction.  I figured with all those different settings, chances are, I would stick to the same setting day in and day out.  So basically I would be paying more money for the option of changing my shower setting to “Spring Rain” or “East Coast Hail Storm.”  Yea…forget it.  I already spent enough on bathroom fixtures.  I estimate that I spent over $18,000 on fixtures for just two bathrooms (and 2 kitchen sinks).  That doesn’t even count labor, tile, or the bathroom accessories, such as towel bar, toilet paper holder, etc.  For the tile in both bathrooms, I would estimate that the total cost was somewhere around $5,000.  Yep, that’s right.  This stuff really adds up.


Right now, the landscaping in front of my house is a disaster!  The only thing I have sprouting on my front lawn is a Jiffy-John.  Landscaping, which is extremely important, is something I’ll have to tackle once construction is complete … and I find an extra thousand laying around.

As for the front of my house, I really like how the front steps have turned out.  For reasons I won’t go into here, the front steps will be tiled.



Unfortunately, I’m not sure how the concrete pads in front of the steps will turn out.  Because my front lawn is sloped, I would have had to pay extra money to haul all this dirt away to make my lawn level.  Yea, ain’t gonna happen because my ass is broke!  I’m hoping that once I finish landscaping, the concrete pads will look better.  I’m sure I’ll figure something out later.


Here are my semi-distressed engineered hardwood floors.  Because my first choice was too expensive, I had to compromise and pick something cheaper.  Overall, I think they’ll come out OK.  I wanted a deep, warm brown color — not that rich, chocolatey brown flooring that all homes have nowadays.  Personally, I don’t like the distressed look, but o well.  These floors were at the right price-point at ~$3.50/square feet.


Window sills were put in. This falls under the category of “Little-Decisions-That-Have-To-Be-Made-Which-Could-Drive-U-Bonkers.”

I am really glad I decided to go with Henry Built cabinets.  For sure they were more expensive, but I really, really wanted to have a nice kitchen so I feel as though it was a sound investment.  I love the warm wood tones and the clean, modern lines.  They’re not fully installed, but we’re getting there.


The long island in the middle kinda resembles a structural piece/dining table.


My cabinets are a mixture of walnut, white veneer, and stainless steel.


I requested a bookshelf in my island so I can easily access my cookbooks.

Two week mark

March 17, 2009

Things are progressing as we round the final bend to the finish mark.  To make sure my contractor finished on time, I wanted to apply some pressure on him.  So I requested a conference call between my architect, contractor, and myself so I could make it crystal clear to everyone involved that the house had to be close to finished by the time I moved back in or else I would be extremely unhappy.  My contractor was so scared of the prospect of the dreaded conference call that he begged my architect not to schedule it.  He even admitted that he was scared of me.  HA!  It worked!  Muuuhahahahah!  Usually, it’s my face that’s scary.  Apparently I can have a scary voice too!


Guest bathroom vanity by Duravit with weird sink.  Self closing toilet installed to the right.


Hansgrohe wall mounted faucet and knobs over my donut shaped sink.


My Stark tub which will be primarily used for washing Nicky.  (See earlier post about how I hate baths and think that bathtubs are a waste of space and money.) The master bath is a bit tight.


Master bath vanity.  It’s not finished yet.  Caesarstone countertop to be installed with Duravit undermount sinks.


Interior door handles installed.  These suckers cost nearly $100 each! There will be no door-slamming in my house!


One final coat before the fireplace and TV insert are completed.  The TV arm needs to be installed.


Nuffin’ like Chinese take-out to power you through the day.  My contractors know what’s up.


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