Island House: kitchen cabinets & wheelbarrow work

Kitchen cabinets

This past week we’ve worked primarily in the kitchen, building the plywood substructure of the cabinetry. What a difference it makes to see an empty room, that could really be any room, develop a shape that is unmistakably "kitchen". It’s pleasing to see the skeleton of its future become apparent. Shawn used ¾” urea formaldehyde-free ACX plywood and together we cut the pieces down using both a track saw and a table saw and then used pocket hole joinery to put them together using a Kreg jig. Once in place, they could be affixed to the walls and floor. The lower cabinets went together easily and the upper cabinets were not difficult to install, as the plywood keeps things so square.  Yesterday’s coup was to install the oven in place, looks beautiful and works! The range hood is also installed. Now it’s time to put on the counter tops so that the sink can be placed (looking forward to this immensely as it means goodbye to dishes in the bathtub!) as well as the cooktop. So later this week we should be able to use a genuinely semi-finished kitchen. It will be fun after moving about the downstairs room with my portable kitchen (which actually works beautifully despite being an assortment of mini appliances sitting atop plywood over sawhorses).

Outside with my wheelbarrow

I took some of the good warm days this week to lay down a cover layer of ⅝” crushed rock from a nearby quarry on the backfill around the house. We used cleaned construction rubble as the fill for our stone retaining wall (a huge savings over gravel) which was highly effective but grating to look at after many months. The crushed rock is a beautiful blue black and settles to a smooth, packed but permeable surface that soothes the eye and is wonderfully free of little exposed chunks of brick and concrete and stones. I’ve a bit more work to do with the gravel, but 12 yards out of 15 are settled in their new homes. Somehow it’s a bit sad to be coming to the end of the enormous gravel pile (although our ancient wheelbarrow may disagree with my sentiments).



Coming soon: stairs & treads

Once the basics of the kitchen are up and running, it will be time for Shawn to shift gears and finish the stairs (we’ll be installing permanent stair treads and risers this week) and think about installing the main floor ceiling, which will be tongue in groove pine. Then will be casings for windows and doors (we are in the process of ordering doors) and trim moulding. Shawn decided that he wanted to focus all of his attentions on the cabinetry (which he enjoys building) without a lot of small projects knocking on his door.