Tag Archives: kitchen

Kitchen Counter, reprise

Okay, way back in July I posted about finishing the kitchen counter around the sink. In case you forget, this is what it looked like:

As you can see from that picture, there was still some work to do below the counter: namely build some drawers and cupboards. The drawers were finished fairly soon after the counter but we had a few delays with the finishing of the whole thing.

Let me share that particular adventure.

After we had put the counter in, I immediately went to work on the new drawers. I used the same technique I came up with while working on the kitchen cabinet. So it wasn’t long before I had the basic drawers constructed and ready for a fitting test.

Here is Fizgig trying out the first drawer.

He had to try it while it was pulled out as well. He matches the wood pretty well.

The high back on that drawer will make more sense in a moment. Moving along, I made the other two drawers that were to be installed above that first one. We put them in and it all looked good.

Of course, after that they headed out to the staining department. Our staining department (Kat) was also busy working at her new job this summer, so finding time for her to get some of these projects completed meant things were delayed more than once.

In any event, the drawer interiors were all stained a nice red and put back into position.

At this point, I also installed the interior hardware for that bottom drawer.

Yes, we made it a drawer for all of our baking trays and cutting boards. It is awesome because those types of things are a pain in the butt to put in a stack in a cupboard. If you want one close to the bottom, you have to shuffle through the entire stack. We knew when we had put in a drawer like this when we lived in Ottawa that having a similar drawer in the trailer would be really handy.

After that, we needed to put the drawer faces on along with handles and knobs. We also needed cut the pieces for the cupboards, put their edges on and finish them as well. You wouldn’t think that would take very long, but it did.

The drawer fronts didn’t take too long, but the cupboards sat around for quite a while. Part of that was Kat working, distractions of other projects and the fact that several measuring mistakes were made. The cupboards were cut to fit the space, but once you put the hinges on it forces them to sit within a certain small area. I ended up having to trim and redo two of the cupboards because they ended up being too big to fit once mounted to the hinges.

This also meant that Kat had to refinish the edges that I trimmed, which delayed things even further. As a result, it was the third week of October before we reached this stage.

We finished all three new cupboards and everything looks rather nice now.

There is that small space between the center pair of cupboards and the one on the right that needs to have something put in it. I do have a plan for that, but as it is cosmetic, it may wait until next spring as we do have some other things that we are currently working on.

I should mention that the cupboard on the right holds a little secret: I mounted our recycling bin to it and it is hinged at the bottom.

You pull it out and have easy access to the recycle bin, and it’s also kept out of sight which helps to reduce the clutter. You can see I put in some stops to prevent the cupboard door from dropping to the floor (they’re just below the white recycle bin).

In addition to this, while we’re getting caught up on things, remember that bed frame with the drawers we built last year? It looked something like this:

It sat like that for quite a while, with no faces on the drawers. That has now been resolved as well.

Kat painted them green and I put them on sometime in August. It’s so nice to have handles on those things, having scraped the flesh off my fingers a few times trying to get the drawers open without handles.

That gets us caught up with the kitchen and bedroom. We have a couple of other things going on, but time is rapidly running out. It is getting colder, we run the fire quite a bit now and we’ve even had a bit of the white stuff.

We’ve also started into more cloudy weather, so we’ve been trying to conserve our solar power to make it last as long as we can. This means no long days using power tools.

Winter is coming. Are you ready?


Kitchen Countertop, part 1

So, I mentioned in a previous post that I’m working on a new counter top for the area where the kitchen sink goes in the trailer. We have made some progress on that front, but let’s start the story at the beginning.

Remember this guy?


That’s my planer. It does really fun stuff. To give you an example, I present exhibit A.


That is a nicely weathered 2×4 piece of lumber. However, after passing it through the planer a few times, I can make it look like this.


It looks brand new, fresh out of the tree, and the corners are really nice and sharp.

So, using the planer, I used a bunch of old lumber I had, planed it down and starting making the framing for the counter. Here you can see I have several pieces in place.


Once again, as with the cabinet we built, getting everything level is a bit of a challenge. I didn’t just measure one spot and cut all of the pieces to the same height. I put the first one in the back corner, which you can see above, and then using my six foot level, measured each post to make sure it would all be level.

Here you can see that process in action.


If you were to zoom in and look really hard at that picture, you’d be able to see the bubble in the level sitting in the perfect position.

I should mention here, that with the table saw that I made, in conjunction with the planer, I was able to do fancy things like this.


I needed to make the post edges 90 degrees to the edge of the plywood floor, and we were working on a 45 degree angle at that spot. So after some playing around in Sketchup, I made that. If you’re wondering why the posts have numbers, if you’re cutting each post to a different length to make things level, it’s important to know which one is which so you don’t put them in the wrong order, or trim a corner off the wrong one.

I finished the framing and it came out looking like this.


In the section on the left will be a series of drawers, the 45 degree part will just be some simple cupboard doors, and the part on the right will have our recycling bin in it. I can’t do much about that big mess of tubes and wires as they’re all connected to that hot water heater you see at the back. Someday, we may actually want to use that πŸ˜›

To cap it off, I put a piece of plywood over the top, so we can at least use it as extra counter space for the time being.


We plan to do a butcher block style counter top, so I’ll just attach that to the plywood.

Unfortunately, that’s all there is at this point. We have a few other projects underway all at the same time, so I put that one on hold while we get some work done on a few other things.

What are those other projects you may be asking? Well, I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but I’ll give you a little bit of a hint here.


Trailer rebuild: almost there

Things are slowing down as we get closer to having a livable situation in the trailer. My posts will be slowing down as well, as we won’t have as many building projects during the winter. More like stay inside and keep the fire going. Time to hibernate, as it were.

We had numerous distractions from the trailer this past week, but we did make some progress with it. We’ve been working on getting some semblance of a kitchen up and running in some form. The first thing I did was reinstall the hot water heater, which is interesting because we don’t have any water in the tank for it to heat. I really only did it because it helps organize the mess of pipes and wires coming out of the wall, not to mention that it fills in the big hole in the wall to the outside where the propane connects to it.


We took our old table that we used to eat at and moved it into the kitchen slide out so we have something resembling counter/shelf space. I also brought in and hooked up the cook stove as well.


Here is a picture of the stove actually running. Yay, we can cook now πŸ™‚


We took the other table we had brought in and moved it into the spot where we used to have the old table. It’s bigger, but it fit really well, and this one isn’t screwed into the floor so we can move it around if necessary.


We also moved the island back into its original position, though we haven’t screwed it down to the floor.


As some of you are aware, it was my birthday on Saturday (Nov 21st). I went back and looked at my birthday post from last year and wow, what a difference.

For contrast, I took this picture.


Nope, not much snow there. On the other hand, we’re much further along with having completed the roof and composting toilet room (I like to call it the smurf house because of the colour Kat painted it, but she hates that name :P) We also have a nice storage spot for lots of fire wood and it has no small amount of wood in it too. We’re in much better shape than we were last year at this point.


No snow over here either. I must say, it has been a great autumn. We have had plenty of opportunities to get outside and do the stuff we needed to get done without being interrupted too often due to bad weather.

It did start to snow gently in the afternoon, but it was one of those lazy snowfalls, so it was quite pleasant. I think you can see one white, blurry flake on the right side of the next picture.


There was an interesting moment I had while standing beside our little pond. If you look further out, so you can see more reflection in the water, I watched as the reflection of the snow coming down was coming up to meet the flakes. It was very neat, but next to impossible for my phone camera to fully capture the essence of. You’ll have to be satisfied with a reflection picture with a few snow flake induced ripples in the water.


Snow on my birthday is fairly normal, and as it turned out, that lazy snow fall turned much more intense over night. Here is a picture of what we woke up to this morning.


Our baker friend, Jaimie Lott, made me a cake (sort of) to celebrate my new age. It was more like several small cakes arranged together. I think it originally said Happy 42 B-Day Dave, but after Kat and I dove in, we now just have 2 B Happy Dave.


Yes, tis a good time to be happy. Thank you everyone who has sent along good wishes.

Tour: Sally’s House

On today’s tour, we will be visiting Sally’s house. I don’t know Sally, but she was kind enough to let us all into her Earthship so we could look around.

Sally has an older U-Module style Earthship. You may, or may not, notice the differences, but I’ll try to point some of them out as we go along.

Here is the shot from outside.


The first thing you’ll see there is that the solar panels aren’t mounted on the house. She just has the pair mounted on the pole at the back. I don’t think she had the auto-tracking installed on that so she would just go outside and adjust the angle of the panels to face the sun as the day goes by. It’s a bit more manual, but it does get you out of the house more often πŸ˜‰

As we enter the house, you get to see the large, spacious planter she has up against the front glass.


… and here is a better shot of that tree you saw at the top of the previous picture.


Next we have the kitchen, right up against the glass. One of the biggest differences between the older models and the Global model, is the separation between the living spaces and the green house. In the global model, there is another glass wall that separates all of the rooms from the green house, which provides a buffer zone to maintain temperature. These older models don’t quite maintain the same stable temperature throughout the seasons. Most of the people living in the older models don’t mind that, though.


If you turn around 180 degrees from the kitchen there is a living room area. Unfortunately, I wasn’t standing far enough back so you can’t really see the depth of the room.


The next room over was the bedroom. You may notice the back walls of the rooms are all curved. That is a distinctive feature of the U-module style Earthships. All of the rooms are in the shape of a big U, with the open part facing south (in the northern hemisphere, anyway).


Once again, I took a picture of the shower. Sally’s shower was very interesting. It was just this curtained off slab, right up against the glass. Talk about showering in the sunshine. It’s also surrounded by plants, so it would feel like bathing in the jungle. You can’t see it in the picture here, but there were other planters that were put beside the steps leading up to the shower, so if you spill any water, they would catch it.


Sally’s house was very low tech and simple. Very small solar power system, very simple water system. There wasn’t even a toilet inside. She had a composting toilet outside the house. I’m sure it was really cheap to build, though.

Here is a parting shot of Sally’s old black Volkswagen beetle πŸ˜‰