Sunday, August 22, 2010


So...To finish out the kitchen, I needed to move the 300 pound refrigerator sideways down a hallway and then across my living room and then into the kitchen. This was going to take some brawn to avoid scratching the new-ish Pergo and the brand new cork floor I put down in the kitchen... Or some brains...

My kids have been watching Phineas and Ferb lately, so I decided to create a hovercraft like device to move the refrigerator. First attempt: Disaster. Second Attempt: Mild success. Third Attempt: Success.

This was the first attempt. I had some scrap wood lying around, but nothing big enough for the top, so I had to put a couple of pieces together. The bottom here (that you see) is 5 mm plywood I had lying around (I was using it to shim up the cabinets). I drilled holes in it similar to an air hockey table. I plugged it in and it wouldn't work, the design seemed too complicated, so I simplified it on my second attempt.

I went and bought 1/2 plywood for the top and then I stapled some spare tyvek house sheathing to the bottom. I used gorilla tape to keep the air from leaking out around the staples. In the middle of the bottom I screwed that small piece of 5mm plywood to create a cavity (when the tyvek is inflated). I put gorilla tape around the wood to reinforce the tyvek as I cut holes through it. I used the fan from the kids bouncy castle. It inflates the tyvek and then air leaks out the holes to the center cavity. It then leaks out under the tyvek and the creates what is known as an air film bearing for the contraption to slide on.

When I first turned it on with me on it, the bag inflated right away, but it wouldn't slide, so I cut some more holes in the tyvek on the bottom. That seemed to do the trick. But it wasn't as free sliding as I hoped. You really had to be balanced to slide and I wasn't sure if the fridge would balance well on it.

I had some constraints in the design process. My hallway is 36 inches wide, but with the base moulding and quarter round, I lose a good bit on either side, so my width had to be around 33 inches (the fridge is 32" deep). The fridge is 36 inches long and I needed some room on one side for the fan, so I made the length 48 inches (and I rounded the corners).

Our first attempt to move the fridge down the hall was disastrous. The bag wouldn't inflate because the fridge had the thing trapped against the floor, so I had to put some wood under the side, so air could get under it. Once we got it up, ABL pulled it down the hall until it got stuck. The door handles jammed it. So we backed it out and I pulled the doors off. On the third attempt, the refrigerator lost a lot of weight and once we got it balanced on the board, it easily slid down the hall and into the kitchen. eezy peazy (as my daughter says these days). Here's me and my son on the board:

And a pic of the tyvek inflated.

Crazy Three Days

The plumber, Renny Offutt, showed up on Tuesday (8/10) and quickly connected the dishwasher and sink. He needed some extra parts that he didn't have in his truck, so he left to finish another job (gas leak) and returned a couple hours later and finished up. We highly recommend him if you need a plumber in Fairfax county.

That got us to complete working kitchen status. The following day, My in-laws showed up to help. My MIL watched the kids while my FIL helped me mount the microwave on the wall. I wanted to vent the fan outside, so I needed to cut a hole through the wall and that was a huge Pain In The @ss (PITA). We put the microwave up on the wall around 5 times trying to get it right...

When I rebuilt the floor for the double wall oven, I put the supports in without checking to see if it would interfere with the drawer. It ended up interfering and my FIL and I had to rejigger the support to get the drawer to work.

I put in a hard day working on the kitchen and then I packed for our trip to Maine. Then I had to pack the truck up after ABL got home from work. It was a long day, including a couple trips around 9pm to Target for a new larger tent. We left for Main at midnight and arrived in Old Orchard Beach at 10am.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I was expecting the plumber to show up in the afternoon today (but I think it will be early next week), so I put the floor in while I was waiting. Here is a view of the oven powered up.
The black plastic you see on the floor is the vapor barrier. I'll trim that back to two inches and hide it behind the trim. Here are some more pictures:
Right before I put the floor in, I realized the dishwasher was too tight, so I took out my router, put in a flush trim bit, and went to town. The opening is now exactly 24" and the edges look pretty good. While cleaning up at the end of the day, I tried to put the drawer under the oven...It wouldn't go in, then I realized I had lowered the supports for the oven and they are blocking the drawer.

To close out Phase 1, I need the plumber to show up and I have to go through the final inspection. I'll schedule the inspection for Tuesday.

Phase 2 Complete

Thursday, bright and early, Jose and his buddy showed up to install the granite countertops. In our nook area, we meant that to be a desk, so there is a gap between the cabinets. When Counter Intelligence cut up the stone, they put a seam pretty darn close to the edge there. So, I had to put in a support member along the back.
 They had a vacuum pump going and when I went to investigate, this is what I found.

The white blocks are like suction cups and I believe they are pulling the two blocks together here.

Later that day, the electrician showed up and while he was looking around he asked, "Is that oven going to fit? Sometimes you need to cut these up a bit..." I pulled out the installation manual and sure enough, I had to make the opening wider and taller.  I panicked a bit and then went to Home Depot and purchased a jigsaw. I spent about an hour trying to figure out how to clamp wood to the cabinet to guide the saw, but in the end, I just marked the line and cut it freehand.  I then had to lower the base that supports the oven and I did that rather quickly (and did not notice that I created a problem).

We got the oven in place, it was a beast to lift and the opening was a little short on width in the bottom, but we eventually got it. The cooktop went in fine, but the support brackets that are supposed to hold it in place don't fit inside the cabinet, so I'll have to put L brackets in their place. The Electricians put covers on all the outlets and since I have paint on the walls, Phase 2 is complete.

Thursday, August 5, 2010


Tuesday, there were a couple areas that looked really bad, so I hit them with another coat of joint compound. I sponged them down a couple hours later, so they would be ready to go when they dried. Also, I stopped in at Rentals Unlimited and picked up a Floor Stripper. The description on their website says, "Remove up to 200 sq. ft. per hour of vinyl or other related soft material"

Your Mileage May Vary...It picked up around 100 s.f. in 2 hours. BUT, it got the job done and the results look awesome, so I'm not complaining. I had to buy a specialized blade that I will most likely never use again for $11 and the rental was $25 for 4 hours but well worth it. Did I mention that sucker is heavy? I strained my back getting it out of the car and had a real tough time getting it back in.

Wednesday, I put primer over the areas with the new joint compound and I put caulk in the corners between the ceiling and the wall as well as a few other inside corners. Later that day, I put a coat of white ceiling paint on the ceiling. It was a Valspar product that goes on pink and dries to white (so you know which areas still need paint). A couple hours after that, I put the paint on the walls. Earthy Cane, here are pictures.

The unpainted areas are getting a tile backsplash.