Jobsite, week 13

Sigh. Okay. Some stuff happened this week:

  • support for countertops fixed
  • new electrical system completed
  • countertops installed
  • heat in the floors turned on
  • cable hooked up

I also did a little cleaning on Friday while waiting around for the cable guys. I cleaned most of the windows and swept up most of the obvious stuff on the floors.

There’s also a plan in place for the coming week. I should be able to move in on the 4th. Should. But I’m not taking anything for granted. I need to lather myself with patience as they say here in Norway. I’m off to Copenhagen for work for a couple of days tomorrow.

Countertops

Much to my delight, the countertops were installed late this afternoon. It was a surprise and relief during a week of little progress. Here’s what they look like:

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This is Caesar Stone. Not sure what’s going on with the bucket and fire extinguisher, but presumably it’s weighting the countertop down as the adhesive dries. I think the breakfast bar turned out just right. Here are some details:

My barstools will tuck right under and be out of the way when not in use, the counter itself is just enough space for full dinner plates and glasses (it’s 40 34 cm, which is deeper than the one I had originally), the clearance for opening the window is ample, and I’m pleased with how they handled the corner at the window.

The also put the cook top in, which looks ominously black and featureless:

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Presumably burners will light up when turned on. The most exciting thing about the countertops, though, is the sink. Just look at it!

 

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I’ve never had such a fancy sink before. I love the undermount design. The room is looking very neutral now. I’m actually a bit nervous about the very colorful tiles I have ordered. I hope they’re not a disaster. I kind of like the plain white box look, though I think that’s mostly just reaction to being in a dark and busy environment like the MIL. Eventually I will want some color. I just hope I didn’t go totally overboard.

Electric

The changes today were hard to find. I could tell from the stuff lying around that someone had been in the apartment, but I walked around and couldn’t find any visible signs of work. Then I remembered that the contractor had said that they were going to upgrade my fuse box sometime this week. Boy did they ever:

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I wish I had though to take a picture of the old set up. This is much, much better!

While I was looking around trying to figure out what had been done, I turned on all the lights in the kitchen and my goodness it’s bright!

The jury is still out on whether or not I like the glass doors. It certainly looks better with the light on in it than without.

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I think I’m just going to have to wait and see what I think once the countertops and backsplash are done, and I have things on the shelves. But check out all that under cabinet lighting. I’ll finally be able to see what I’m doing when I cook!

Baby steps

Well, one thing went right today. The guy came as promised to fix the support thingy for my breakfast bar, and he did it right this time:

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It’s now flush with the kitchen cabinets, such that the countertops can go over both. But the people who were supposed to install the countertops didn’t show up! That led to a round of calling to find their phone number, which I eventually did. I talked to one guy who was supposed to talk to another guy, who was supposed to call me back, but hasn’t yet. I’m starting to despair that this project will ever get done.

Sob.

Jobsite, week 12

Another deadline for finishing the project passes, and there’s still a long way to go before it’s all done… Basically no work got done this week after the flurry on Monday, but a heck of a lot of planning happened. The breakthrough was working out what to do with the bathroom walls. It is quite possible that I will be spending my first night back in the apartment next Saturday, even though not everything will be done. The contractor has promised that I’ll have a working toilet, kitchen sink and heat by then. I’ve booked movers for late in the day on Saturday, and I should be able to spend a good amount of time on Friday and earlier on Saturday getting things cleaned up enough so that I can move stuff in. I kind of can’t believe it’s going to happen.

In the meantime, I’m thinking a lot about furniture, and am close to placing some orders for a wardrobe and a new dining room table. The sofa is already on order, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to go for a new, shallow washing machine too, even though that’s a total luxury.

I’m also looking at a new floor runner (another patchwork Persian Turkish carpet like the one in my living room) and shoe storage units for the entry. Just today I happened to notice that the Danish cabinet company Montana is releasing a new shoe storage design in February. I’ve been looking and looking for something that isn’t one of the same three IKEA shoe storage units that everyone has, and this may be it (depending on the price, obviously). I would hang two of them under the Eames Hang it All that I already have on the wall between the front door and the bathroom:

My ex-husband is planning on renting out the MIL to a Syrian refugee after I move out, and that’s such a good cause that I want to donate some of my things to it. So, along with the washing machine, my scruffy little kitchen table will remain in the MIL, to be replaced by a much larger dining table. I’m a little bummed that I’m replacing one IKEA table with another, but I’ve looked all over the place and this is the one I keep coming back to. It’s almost too big for my space, but I want a generous table, and I measured today to make sure that it works.

This coming Monday HTH is supposed to return and fix the support panel (I was right about it being installed incorrectly) and install the countertops. I’m dying of curiosity to see how those turn out!

The only other thing I have to report is that I now know what color was used on the trim, which is handy for touch ups down the road. It’s S-0502-Y, known as “Bomull” in the Jotun color palette. It looks blindingly white next to the wall color, but it’s really quite muted. Color is so weird.

Plan B

I talked to the contractor yesterday and today, and I think we have come up with a workable plan B for the bathroom. To his credit he is being incredibly flexible and solution-oriented. He was even willing to give the microcement a go, but I’m just not up for that. Long story short, the crew will install tiles on the walls, and I am surprisingly ok with that.
I trekked out to the building supply store where my contractor has his account, prepared to spend hours desperately searching for something that would coordinate with the floor tiles. I think it took me all of ten minutes! It turns out that the floor tile are part of a series. They had a display area set up that combines the hexagonal tiles with really big (30x60cm) rectangular tiles in the same material. Reader, I loved it. Here are a couple of pictures, first just the rectangular tiles juxtaposed with a set of bathroom cabinets relatively similar to the ones that will go in my bathroom:
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Next a shot of what the hexagonal tiles look like on both the walls and floor of a shower stall:
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And finally a shot that shows the hexagons juxtaposed with the large tiles, albeit through glass:
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The large format creates a less busy look (fewer grout lines) and really shows off the variation in the coloring. It also has a kind of rough but understated look that I really like.
I have a lot of the hexagonal tiles left over, so it’s possible that I could either have them put them on one wall of the shower stall or maybe just fill in the niche above the toilet and do the rest in the large rectangular tiles. Not quite sure yet, but I’ll consult with the contractor.
It takes three to four weeks to get these tiles once they’re ordered, but my fantastic contractor is willing to work around that too. He has promised to get everything else in the apartment except the bathroom walls finished (even the wall mounted toilet) so that I can actually move in on the 28th. That’s right, folks, I have a moving date!
I’ve hired movers for then and am bracing myself for a couple of weeks of sponge baths while I wait for the tiles to arrive. I think it’s going to be worth it. I may even like the look of these better than microcement!

Pity party

Pretty much everything that could go wrong did go wrong today. I’m not even sure where to start.

First off, the cabinet installer was supposed to meet me at 9am this morning and install the support for my breakfast nook that he failed to install last time, as well as do some other planned finishing work like install the errant refrigerator and the panels for the toe kicks. I had to leave my apartment no later than 9:42 to catch a ferry, so I was sure I had plenty of time. It was freezing inside the apartment because the heat isn’t hooked up yet.

The installer didn’t arrive until 9:35, and then proceeded to sit in his car and take an obviously personal phone call for the next five minutes while I stood out in the freezing cold waiting for him to finish so I could hand him the keys. Needless to say there was no time to have an actual conversation. Perhaps this lack of communication is why when I came back after work I found this:

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What you see here is a beautifully installed support system for the countertop that is supposed to span the window to make a breakfast bar. Unfortunately, it isn’t installed flush with the base cabinets, which it almost certainly was supposed to be. The countertop is going to be a continuous L, so there’s no way this is a correct installation.

Second, the plasterer who is supposed to do the microcement never showed up for an inspection, even though he promised he would come last week, and he didn’t show up during the day today either. I sent him an embarrassingly desperate sms and he agreed to come at 7pm this evening.

I went up to meet him and he had a thorough look at the bathroom. Apparently nothing is set up right for microcement. I have been trying to get this guy to come and check out the prep work, and/or talk directly with my contractor for literally weeks, and he kept blowing me off. Technically he could still do the job, but it would mean that the project would be delayed a minimum of three more weeks. Everything else is on hold until the bathroom walls are finished. Moreover, the price per square meter he quoted me was significantly higher (and in addition did not include tax) than what I had initially been told back in September, and he would also charge me his hourly wage for his driving time (an hour each way), which is exorbitant. He has to make 9 separate trips to finish a job and hourly wages are sky high here in Norway, so that alone would add a huge amount to the total price.

At a certain point in the conversation I just knew that I was going to have to bail on the idea of microcement. I had a strong sense that I need to cut my losses and move on. The guy was kind of squirrelly, he is almost impossible to get ahold of, and he was very vague about a timeline. I just can’t deal with that at this late point in the process, after I have been trying unsuccessfully for over a month to get the details worked out. I need this apartment finished so I can get on with my life. I just sent an even more desperate email to the contractor begging him to help me work out a plan B. I have a couple of ideas, and just hope against hope that his crew has time to pull together a workable solution.

A few good things did happen on the project, despite all this. The biggest is that the errant refrigerator is now installed, and it is awfully fancy, with its integrated doors:

It was almost enough to cheer me up. You can also just see that the toe kick panels are now installed (there’s a vent in the part that’s under the refrigerator).