Showing posts from 2013

Solid quartz

We ordered silestone quartz countertops through home depot before thanksgiving.  They subcontracted the job to Stone Systems in Mundelin, IL.  There were many people involved with the complete job:  Home depot kitchen and bath sales, HD special services desk, SS templater, SS fabrication, SS scheduler, SS installers, and finally SS sales.

Attaching Face frame with Kreg Jig

I ordered our hallway hutch face frames from Tape-Ease in Wisconsin and the cabinet boxes from another source.  I could have just glued and clamped the face frames on, but I didn't think that wouldn't be sturdy enough.  I didn't want to put any nail holes in the front of the frame either.  At least a year ago, I came across an inexpensive solution for drilling pocket holes call the 'Kreg Jig'. It allows you to drill pocket holes in the adjacent piece.

Nip and tuck

Once spring finally arrived in Chicago, it became clear the front parapet wall needed to be repaired before a city inspector looked up.

I already had a quote in hand from Stan Guzik for rebuilding the top part of the wall, full tuckpointing, and brick cleaning.  I hoped to have Marion Restoration out for an updated quote, but no call back from them.  I was very concerned how the brick itself would be treated throughout the process, since they don't make the same face brick anymore, and the joints are not your modern 1/4" joint, they are 'butter joints' which are about 1/8" thick.  The typical electric grinder used to remove the old mortar would surely destroy the brick.  I didn't get any verbal assurances from Stan that the brick would be untouched before the job, and i didn't press for any answers, either (more later).

I decided to call Stan to do the job, I couldn't wait any longer.  He was out at our house within a few weeks, and went right to it.…

bricklaying and tuck-pointing with Stan Guzik

Not long after the TPO roof was installed, we saw the ceiling drywall joint in 2nd floor kitchen was still discoloring from water damage.  There was still a leak even after spending $10K on new roof!  I went up to the roof and couldn't find anywhere the water could get in from the roof.  I then looked at the adjacent brick wall and rear chimney, and found many holes where water could get in from the side (blowing rain).   So, i figured having this brick fixed might be the next remedy.

My friend Steve and his family own a few 2-flats near Loyola.  He was also in the middle of multiple rehabs and just happened to be working with a brick mason as part of his re-roof.

OK, enough about Steve's house.  On to our brick problems..  Photos below are BEFORE and AFTER , as noted in captions.

built-in cabinetry pickup

The largest unfinished portion of the rehab is the cabinetry.    I have too many custom sized items for me to have gone to big box store, or even semi-custom order.  After getting quotes from full-service cabinet supply showrooms in Chicago ($2000 for 2 cabinets?), I decided to go a completely different route.

Since there are many 'refacing' options available online, I figured I could build the cabinet box and then buy the doors/drawers/hardware separately.  It took me some time to realize to build a perfectly square cabinet box is no easy task, especially with the precision required to create frame-less (European style) cabinets.  Just having a decent table saw is not good enough.

I contracted Heartland Cabinet Supply to build the boxes to my specs, using the Blum Process 32 (32mm cabinetmaking) system for drawings.  Gary, the owner, was nice enough to work with me on my 'odd' project, and he seemed happy to help.

The cabinets were all made using 3/4" plywood on…