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RE: Steps to Planning Kitchen Remodel (Follow-Up #4)

posted by: live_wire_oak on 12.22.2011 at 10:50 am in Kitchens Forum

1. Rob bank.

2. Rob liquor store---of liquor

3. Plan kitchen remodel while drinking liquor

4. Rob second bank to deal with the "while we're at it's"

5. Interview contractors.

6. Call ambulance to take to emergency room for heart attack.

7. Rob third bank to deal with emergency room bill.

8. Interview realtors to move instead.

9. Rob second liquor store because you are all out from the first.

10. Hire your cousin's contractor cousin because he promises you "two weeks" and is half the price of the other quotes. He has a nice face and is sorta family, so you go ahead and give him half down "for the materials".

11. File missing person's report on first contractor? Does Bermuda extradite?

12. Rob pharmacy for anti anxiety drugs to go along with the liquor.

13. Hire second contractor, and this time pick the most expensive guy because he says he'll show up and he's worth it.

14. Rob another bank, and liquor store, and pharmacy. You've lost count at this point.

15. Learn to love dust as the latest fashion accessory.

16. Learn to laugh hysterically in fear at the words "Look what they did here, that's gotta be fixed".

17. Never mind the piddling home town banks! Find locations of Federal Reserve Banks and enlist spouse as getaway driver.

18. Solve space time continuum problem by writing famous study of "contractor time".

19. Celebrate anniversary of project beginning by creatively combining drywall dust with water for decorative icing for store bought cake because you still don't have any appliances.

20. In a well practiced maneuver with bottle in hand, wave good by to the contractor's truck pulling out of the drive for the last time while you soothe screaming kids who've begun to think of "Uncle Billy" as a cool surrogate father and didn't realize this was only "temporary" * See time space continuum paper.

21. Call contractor back to fix problem of moaning pipes when your new pot filler is used. Refer back to time space continuum when he says he'll be there "right away".

22. Call contractor back about 5 different small things, one medium thing, and what you hope is a small thing but fear is a big thing but you can't remember what he said about it because you were drinking at the time. Get voice mail.

23. Find warranty paperwork and call manufacturer. Get their voice mail.

24. Give up on the 5 small things that no one but you sees, and get on the list for service from the manufacturer for the possibly big thing. Again refer to the time space continuum paper, as warranty work also falls under that.

25. Fix celebratory meal for spouse as all of the issues have been solved and you're ready to get on with life and spouse hints that there is a surprise in the works. You LOVE surprises!

25. Weep uncontrollably while robbing liquor store with spouse because surprise was surviving the downsizing but taking a job transfer to Outer Arctic Frost Minnesota.

26. Contact same realtor who helped you decide to renovate rather than move and find out her office hours so you can firebomb her car as a distraction to robbing the bank next door. Thanks to the reno, you've become quite efficient at difficult multi tasking like that.

27. Find different realtor to handle sale of house for move.

28. Rob another pharmacy for a drug cocktail when the current market analysis says your home is worth less now than before you put that 50K kitchen into it.

29. Do the split commute thing for a year while home sits on market overpriced.

30. Rob another bank to deal with the double responsibilities of mortgage and rent all the while investigating nearest fire hydrant and your home town's fire department's average response time at different times of the day.

31. Rob another bank to be able to bring 100K to closing and be done with the situation.

32. Pack kids and move north where spouse has found another "dream house"---except the kitchen needs work.

33. Claim temporary insanity---that has lasted longer than usual--as you are arrested for assault with a deadly weapon for trying to shoot spouse when he mentioned the words "kitchen renovation".

34. Say hello the nice staff in white. They're there to take care of you.

35. Oooh look! It's an all white room and if you close your eyes just right and take your medication, you can dream that you are once again back in your Christopher Peacock OTK inspired white vision........


clipped on: 12.23.2011 at 12:53 am    last updated on: 12.23.2011 at 12:53 am

RE: Witty Comeback needed (Follow-Up #25)

posted by: mpagmom on 12.16.2011 at 08:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

No diploma????

Must have gotten lost in the mail. Here's a new one:



clipped on: 12.17.2011 at 03:12 am    last updated on: 12.17.2011 at 03:12 am

RE: Forum Info Needed (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: buehl on 02.23.2009 at 05:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

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clipped on: 11.21.2010 at 12:33 am    last updated on: 11.21.2010 at 12:38 am

RE: Another glassfront cab question - pls share thoughts! (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: lesmis on 08.29.2009 at 05:56 pm in Kitchens Forum

You can use lighting that runs down a track mounted to the very front inside of your cabinets. These sit inside the front corners of your cabinetry but most require a transformer because they are low voltage so you'll need to plan ahead for this or talk to your electrician to see if it's possible with your current set up. This allows you to have light running down every shelf. It's purely for mood lighting or to highlight what you have in your cabinetry. The lights themselves snap into the track so you can put as many or as few as is allowed by the transformer and the electrical load capabilities. I have only one per shelf per side.

What they look like when turned on, mine are on a dimmer so I can adjust the brightness.



Kat :)


clipped on: 08.30.2009 at 02:33 am    last updated on: 08.30.2009 at 02:34 am

RE: How do you store a LARGE collection of spices? (Follow-Up #71)

posted by: imrainey on 03.23.2008 at 08:22 pm in Kitchens Forum

BTW, when freshness and using spices up in a reasonable amount of time is an issue there are many spice blends you can do yourself so you don't have to store every possible combination. Make as much or as little as you want. Most of these recipes fill a 4oz. spice jar.

Mixing them up is a wonderful sensory experience.

Here are a few that I do myself:

Apple Pie Blend
cup (or 24 parts) cinnamon
1 tablespoon (or 6 parts) allspice
2 teaspoon (or 4 parts) nutmeg
teaspoon (or 1 part) cardamom, optional

Pumpkin Pie Blend
cup (or 24 parts) cinnamon
2 tablespoon (or 12 parts) ginger
2 teaspoon (or 4 parts) ground cloves
1 teaspoon (or 2 parts) nutmeg
teaspoon (or 1 part) cardamom, optional

Curry Blend
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) cayenne
cup (or 8 parts) granulated garlic
cup (or 12 parts) paprika
cup (or 4 parts) turmeric
1 cup (or 24 parts) curry powder

Mexican Rub for Pork
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon cumin
teaspoon (or 8 parts) epizote
teaspoon (or 8 parts) kosher salt
teaspoon (or 4 parts) freshly ground black pepper
teaspoon (or 4 parts) ground cloves
⅛ teaspoon (or 2 parts) oregano
1 pinch (or 1 part) cinnamon

Emeril's "Essence"
2 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoon (or 2 parts) salt
2 tablespoon (or 2 parts) garlic powder
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) black pepper
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) onion powder
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) cayenne
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) dried oregano
1 tablespoon (or 1 part) dried thyme

Combine all ingredients thoroughly and store in an airtight jar or container.


clipped on: 07.29.2009 at 10:33 pm    last updated on: 07.29.2009 at 10:33 pm

RE: Templating: A beginner's guide? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: azstoneconsulting on 07.27.2009 at 11:53 am in Kitchens Forum


My friend Buehl (as always) has given some great advice with the link -

I will be recording and posting a Podcast on
this week, so watch for it - it will be something that any consumer can use
as a guide line for the templating process.

Here's a couple of other tips that I'd recommend:
1. if you have kids & pets - keep them away from the area to be templated
and especially pets - keep them in an area so that they won't get "let out"
by the templator.

2. remove EVERYTHING from your existing countertops - so that there's
nothing that the templator has to move and potentially break or loose.

3. make sure that the templator has really great directions on how to get to
your home, and insure that there will be a place for him to park his car or truck
close to your home's main entrance

4. if you are supplying the undermount sink - make sure it's on site - many guys
like to take the sink back to their shop on the day of templating, so have it
there for your templator.

5. if you are supplying the sink - open it up and INSPECT IT for DAMAGE -
prior to giving it to your templator - take digital pics with a today's newspaper's
date that's visable in the pics - trust but verify

6. if you are having a coktop - make sure that you have the cut out dimensions
and give those to the templator too - most guys (me included) do not ever
take the cooktop back to the shop, but will require it to be on the jobsite
on the day of install - MAKE SURE that your cooktop is there when the counters
are installed, as there are little screws on the underside of the cooktop assy
that will hang up" on the cutout (each unit is a little different) and the actual
cooktop needs to be tested for proper fit with the stone - otherwise, your
Fabricator could whack you with a "service charge" for him to come back
out and "enlarge the hole" for YOUR cook top to fit right....

7. make sure that ALL of your sink accessories are chosen and that you have
decided where you want any holes drilled for faucets, reverse osmosis, soap
dispensors, insta-hot, dishwasher vents, etc. REMEMBER - ANY hole is easier
for an installer to drill WHILE HE'S STILL AT YOUR HOME - it's WAY more difficult
if he's got to drop what he's doing three days later and come back to drill two more
stink'in holes - hence, another "service charge" .....

Here's a form that I use to help eliminate ANY questions in this department:

8. be there when the templator is there - if there is an aspect of the design that
is really important to you - make sure that the template guy knows about it -
put it in writing and keep a copy for your records. remember that the templator
is the eyes and ears of the Fabricator, and good communication will transfer
your desires for exactly what YOU want - to the Fab shop.

9. if there's something you don't understand - ASK QUESTIONS!!! Remember
that it's YOUR MONEY and YOUR HOME that the stone is going to go into -
YOU are the customer, and YOU are the one that's going to live with the finished
work -not the templator, not the fabricator, etc.....

10. balance number 9 with the understanding that Natural Stone is NATURAL...
God made it, and He has a sense of humor, so not everything is possible when
working with a particular species of stone - ie- fissures, color concentrations,
pitting, veins, inclusions, etc.....

11. a template is a "pattern" that the shop will follow in making an object - the
object (or objects) in this case is your kitchen - DO NOT ASSUME that an overhang
or a radius, or any other architectural feature will just "happen" - unless the
Templator KNOWS what you want, "it" may not get done...... so make sure
that you go over everything that you WANT with your templator.

these are just a few of the things that i'm going to cover in the podcast that will be available at - I'll also post a 10 minute
version of this on Youtube as well......




clipped on: 07.27.2009 at 09:20 pm    last updated on: 07.27.2009 at 09:20 pm

Furniture 101 : Q&A

posted by: dcollie on 03.07.2007 at 11:50 pm in Furniture Forum

I keep seeing repeated posts here asking how to tell quality....which brand is best, what will last the longest, etc. I thought perhaps it a good thread to address the basic things to look for, under the premise that an educated consumer can make a wise decision. So let's give this a try and not target "brand names" so much as general questions on furniture. This could be a LONG thread and make take quite a few posts to cover topics, but let's get started!

First off, my name is Duane Collie and I own a small home furnishings store in Alexandria, VA. I've been in business since 1979 and specialize in high-quality, American-made 18th century furnishings. Because of the nature of my business, I have learned hundreds of things about what makes a good piece, or a bad piece, or even a mediocre piece (just don't overpay for mediocrity).

Let's start off with something easy, the basic building block of all furniture..>WOOD<

Solid wood is preferable to veneers (which are laminates over a secondary wood) Wider boards are more expensive than narrow boards in solid woods, and more desirable. There are different grades of wood within a type. For example, there are over 200 species of pine and while Southern Yellow is not very good for furniture making, Eastern White Pine is. A cabinetmaker selects his wood based on his project and costs. If he is using an aniline dye and shellac coats, he needs a higher grade of lumber than if he is using covering stains that mask the wood flaws and mineral deposit variables.

Which wood to get? This varies by price and characteristics. Just because a wood is soft, doesn't mean its not suitable for a project. Here's a rundown of some common woods in the USA that are furniture grade:

Pine. Soft, but relatively stable. Eastern White has good, tight knots that will not fall out. Shrinkage and expansion is moderate. Dent resistance is poor. Takes stains nicely.

Poplar. Great Secondary wood (drawer bottoms, etc.) and very stable. Inexpensive. Halfway between a soft and hardwood. Takes paint well, but never stains up nicely.

Cherry. A great lumber! I personally find it more interesting to look at than most mahogany. Its a hardwood, but not as dense as maple. Takes aniline dyes beautifully and requires little or no sealer. Cherry will darken and 'ruby up' with age and exposure to sunlight. If you use it for flooring or kitchen cabinets, expect deeper and more red dish colors to develop over time nearer the windows of your home.

Mahogany. Poor Mahogany! So misunderstood! Mahogany grows in every part of the world, and varies greatly. Figured mahogany is highly desirable (aka as 'plum pudding' or 'crotch' mahogany) but you rarely see it outside of veneers due to the cost of those logs. The very best furniture grade mahogany is from Central America and Cuba, but is very hard to source. African mahogany is decent, and the stuff from China and the Philippines the least desirable. Mahogany can be done in open pore, semi-closed pore, and fully sealer finishes. Mahogany is a favorite for carvers, as it carves easily and is not prone to splitting when being handled.

Maple. Both hard and soft maple is an industry standard. Very durable, very dense, accepts many colors nicely and stains up well. Excellent for the best upholstery frames. Stable, and plentiful.

Figured Maples. Sometimes called Tiger Maple, or Curly Maple (one of my favorites). A small percentage of maple will be highly figured and is pulled off at the mill to sell to furniture makers and musical instrument makes for about 2x the price of regular maple. Tiger maple MUST be board matched and typically a single log will be used to make a project, rather than taking a board from this pile and another from another pile. Consistency is key, and you will hear the term 'bookmatched' used frequently in figured maples. Figured maples look best with aniline dye finishes and hand-scraped surfaces. Birdseye maples are in this category as well, but are so unstable that most shops only use them veneers.

Walnut: A hard wood to work with. Not many walnut forests, and most cabinentmakers loathe making walnut pieces for two reasons. First it much be bleached before it can be finished, otherwise its ugly. Secondly, it has to be filled and sanded. Very time consuming to do properly, but quite a handsome wood when done right (3/4's of all walnut pieces I see is NOT done right)

Oak: Another mainstay wood. Very durable, and dense. Not widely used in fine furniture because of the grain pattern.

There are other woods as well, but those are some of the mainstay furniture woods.

Wood has to be milled to make is usable. It is run through planers, joiners and wide belt sanders to get it to size. The larger and thicker the board, the more expensive it will be. Bed posts and pedestal bases on tables are very expensive to do as solid, non-glued-up pieces. So if you buy a bed, check to see if you see a vertical seam in the lumber which signifies a glue-up. Nothing wrong with glue-ups, just don't pay the price of solid 1-board.

Industry standard is 4/4 (pronounced four quarter) lumber, which when milled will finish out to 7/8" thickness. Anything thicker - or even thinner - requires more expensive wood or more planing time if being thinned out.

Once the wood is planed, it either goes to a wide belt sander or is hand-scraped. If hand-scraped (much more desirable) you will feel a slight ripple when you run your hand over the surface. Belt-sanded items will be perfectly smooth. Cutting the surface of the wood gives you a brighter finish over a sanded surface in a completed product.

Solid wood MOVES. The wider the board, the more it will move with the seasons. Expands in the summer, shrinks in the winter. The art of the furnituremaker is to build to allow this movement, without sacrificing joinery strength. Narrow board furniture does not move nearly as much, and plywoods and veneers don't move at all.

Joinery. The gold standard is Mortise and Tenon. That's the strongest joint where you have intersecting pieces of wood. All mortise and tenoned pieces will have one or two distinctive wood pins visible from the outside of the piece that secure that joint. Next up is Dowel joints. Not as durable as mortise and tenon, but superior to a bolt-in leg. Dowel joints look like M&T joints, but don't have the cross pins. Last choice are legs than bolt on, or are held on by screws. Plastic blocks, staples, nails, hot glue and the like are unacceptable as joinery methods.

I've reached the character limit for this post. More later. Hope you like this thread and will ask general quesions!


clipped on: 11.06.2008 at 11:39 pm    last updated on: 11.06.2008 at 11:39 pm

RE: Scared about cooking my turket - help! (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: deegeegirl on 10.31.2008 at 11:18 am in Kitchens Forum

Jeannie - in my last house I had a Gaggenau convection oven and it cooked turkeys and chicken beautifully. In my new house,I've got a Gaggenau Convection/Steam oven and still love the convection feature.

What I've done in the past is to put the turkey in at the suggested temp and it would would be done about 25% faster. I just checked my Gaggenau manual and it says to lower the temp by 20 degrees and maintain the time. This website says reducing temp instead of time is the better option: But, I have to say that I found same temp, shorter time still produced a lovely turkey.

I also found another link (attached) - it has guidelines for different types of roasts as well as baked items. For dense foods (like turkey) it does suggest lowering the temp.

Once the turkey is done, you can keep it perfect for hours, by following a tip from Julia Child. It needs to rest a 1/2 hour anyway, to pull in all the juices. Per Julia,

"Remove turkey to a platter, discard skewers and string...If you will not be ready to serve for some time, turn off the oven and open door to cool it. In 20 to 30 minutes, reset thermostat to 140 degrees, and return turkey to oven, where it may sit for an hour or more. (Or return turkey to oven, and heat it to 250 degrees every half hour, then turn it off.)" One year, it snowed on Thanksgiving and my parents, aunt and cousins, who lived about 2 hours away, didn't get to our house until about 5 pm and my turkey had been ready for 1 pm dinner! I used Julia's method and the turkey was juicy, skin was still crispy, and it didn't get over cooked.

I would reiterate what posters above said - get a good thermometer - turkey is done when thigh meat is 180 to 185 and the drumstick moves easily when you wiggle it.

Better to have the turkey done a bit early, then try to hurry along an undercooked turkey when you've got guests hovering around!

Here is a link that might be useful: Convection cooking guidelines


clipped on: 11.03.2008 at 05:07 am    last updated on: 11.03.2008 at 05:07 am

RE: Tile Back Splash (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: bill_vincent on 10.30.2008 at 11:25 pm in Kitchens Forum

Tell ya what-- how about if I put em all in one place? (or atleast copy em from one place to another!)

Q) What are the different types of tiles you can use in a bathroom and what are the advantages/disadvantages of each?

A) There are several types of tile available. They fall into two general groups: ceramic and natural stone. I'll take these one at a time:

Ceramic tile-- For purposes of this discussion, there's glazed conventional, unglazed porcelain, and glazed porcelain. All three are good tiles for bathroom use, but the porcelain is a better choice only because of its density and lack of water absorbsion, which makes upkeep and cleaning easier. Also, with reference to steam showers, you DO NOT want to use natural stone, being that the steam would tend to permeate into the stone even more readily than liquid water, and could end up giving you algae problems, as well as mold and mildew problems, unless you don't mind being tied down to your bathroom.

Natural Stone-- There are several types of stone that are used in bathrooms. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're all GOOD IDEAS for bathrooms, expecially the softer (and more absorbant) stones, such as slate or limestone. Now, I know I'm going to get a world of flack about this from epople who have bathrooms finished in these materials. I know they CAN be used.... so long as you're aware of the extra upkeep involved. But if you're someone who doesn't like to keep after things, you may want to pick an easier material to maintain. Generally speaking, the softer the stone, the more the upkeep. Limestone being the softer of the stones, and that would include travertine, next would be many slates (although some would actually be harder than even most marbles, such as brazilian and british slates), then marbles, with quartzite and granite rounding off the list as the harder and more dense stones that you could use.

Q) What should I be sure to look for when choosing tile for a bathroom?

A) Short answer-- something that you like! The bathroom is the one place that just about anything the showroom has can be used. The only limitations are basically the upkeep you want to put in, and slip resistance on the floors of your bathroom and shower. Now, although ceramic tile is basically maintenence free, you don't want to use something with a texture to it that will catch all kinds of junk in the shower, making it more difficult to keep clean. At the same time, you don't want to use a polished stone or bright glazed ceramic tile for the shower floor, either. These both CAN be used, but again, it comes down to upkeep for textured wall tile, and doing something to rectify the slippery floor.

Q) Where should I use tile and where not?

A) Tile can be used on every single surface in the bathroom, if that's what you like. This is all a matter of taste... for the most part. About the only place where there's a requirement is any place there's a showerhead involved. If tile is to be used either in a shower or a tub/ shower combo, The tile MUST go up to a minimum of 72" off the floor. Past that, it's up to the disgression of the owner.

Q) What size tile and what layout patterns to use in various areas?

A) Again, this is a subjective question that can really only be answered by the owner. The ONLY place where there's a recommendation for mechaincal reasons is on a shower floor. TCNA recommends that mothing bigger than 6" be used on shower floors due to the cone shape of the floor's pitch. In addition, most installers will request no bigger than 4", and prefer a 2x2 tile to work with on the shower floor. This is also advantageous to the homeowner who'll be showering in there, because the added grout joints will add more traction to the floor.

Now, I've heard many times that you shouldn't use large format tiles in a small area like a powder room floor, and if you have a wide open bathroom, you don't want to use real small tiles. My response to both is the same-- HORSEHOCKEY. I've done bathrooms both ways-- 24x24 diagonal in a 3' wide powder room, and 1" hex ceramic mosaics in an open 100 sq. ft. bathroom floor. The rule of thumb is if you like it, it's right!

Q) How do I find/choose someone to install the tile?

A) Many people will tell you to get names from the showroom you get your tile from. This is no good, unless the showroom is willing to take responsibility for the installer by either having them on payrool, or as a subcontract. Then they have something to lose if they give you a bad installer. Many people will also tell you to get references and to actually check them out. This ALSO doesn't work. I've been in this work for just under 30 years now, and I've yet to find a single installer who ever gave the name of someone they had a problem with. They say even a blind squirrel will find a nut once in a while. The same can be said for "fly-by-nights" and good work.

So if you can't trust recommendations, and checking references is a lost cause, what do you do? REVERSE THE PROCESS!! Instead of finding an installer and getting references, get references, and thru them, find your installer!! No matter where you live, if you drive around, you'll find constructions sites and developements. Stop and ask who the GC uses. Get a name and phone number. Sooner or later, after asking around enough, you're going to find that the same names will begin to show up time and time again. THESE are the guys you want to use. But don't expect a bargain price, and be prepared to wait, because these guys will be in high demand, even in the worst of times, and they may demand a bit higher price, but they'll be worth every penny, if for no other reason, just because of the peace of mind they'll give you in knowing you're getting a good quality installation. Ask anyone who's gone through this experience, good or bad-- that alone is worth its weight in gold.

Q) What are the proper underlayments for tile?

A) There are several, and I'll take them one at a time:

CBU (cementitious Backer Units)-- This is the term that generally covers all cement boards (such as Wonderboard or Durock) or cement fiber boards (such as Hardibacker). This is the most common used tile underlayment. Generally speaking, it comes in two thicknesses-- 1/2" and 1/4"-- and each has its use. !/2" must be used for wall installations, due to the fact that the 1/4" is way too flimsy with nothing to back it up, and would flex too much to last. Besides, the 1/2" CBU will usually match up nicely to most sheetrocks. The 1/4" is used for floor installations, unless the added height of the 1/2" is needed to match up to other floorings. Being that neither has very much structural strength, so long as the subfloor is 3/4" or more, the 1/4" CBU is all that's needed. Keep in mind that even though it's basically fiberglass reinforced concrete, the only thing it adds to the floor is a stable bonding surface, so the 1/4" will do just fine. One place where alot of contractors will try and shortcut is by using greenboard instead of CBU for shower walls. This is expressly forbidden in the IRC (International Residential Code) by the following code:

IRC Greenboard Code:
The 2006 International Residential Code (IRC) states in
Section R702.4.2 that "Cement, fiber-cement or glass mat
gypsum backers in compliance with ASTM C1288, C1325
or C1178 and installed in accordance with manufacturers
recommendations shall be used as backers for wall tile in
tub and shower areas and wall panels in shower areas."

The 2006 IRC also states in Section R702.3.8.1 that
"Water-resistant gypsum backing board [Greenboard] shall
not be used where there will be direct exposure to water."

Membranes-- There are several around that work well over many different surfaces. Most of them are what's called "Crack Isolation Membranes". Just about every manufacturer has one, from trowel ons or roll ons, such as Hydroment's Ultraset or Laticrete's 9235 or Hydroban, to sheet membranes such as Noble's CIS membrane. All will give the tile a little more protection against movement than just going over CBU. However, there's another class of membranes called "uncoupling membranes" of which the most popular by far is Schluter's Ditra, that are made from bonding two layers together, usually a fabric fleece backing and a plastic sheeting with dovetailed waffling to "lock" the thinset in place ( as opposed to accepting a thinset BOND). These membranes will, as their name implies, uncouple their two layers in case of movement, to save the floor, and for thinset floors, it's the most protection you can give your tile floor.

Plywood-- This is one where I get the most flack. I'm one of a dying breed that still believes in tiling directly over plywood. However, I can very well understand the reluctance of the industry to embrace this installation method, even though the TCNA DOES approve of its use for interior installations (Those with a handbook can check Method F-149). The reason I say that is it's a very "tempermental installation method. You need to be very familiar with what you're doing, or you risk failure. There are even many pros I wouldn't trust to tile using this method. Everything you do is important, from the species of plywood used, to the direction the grain is laid with relation to the joists, to how it's gapped, and a host of other specs, as well-- many of which won't be found in the handbook, and if you miss just one of them, you're flirtin with disaster. All in all, when people ask me about it, I tell them that with the membranes available, there's no need to go directly over plywood. There are other methods that will give you just as long lasting a floor, and aren't NEARLY as sensitive.

Mudset-- This is the oldest, and still, after THOUSANDS of years of use, the strongest installation method available. In a mudset installation, a minimum of 1 1/4" of mortar called "drypack" (mixed to the consistancy of damp sand) is either bonded to a concrete slab, or laid down over tarpaper or 6 mil poly with wire reinforcement, packed, and then screaded off to flat level (or pitched) subfloor. This is what most people see when tiling a shower pan. Initially, the mud will be a somewhat soft subfloor. But over time, if mixed properly, it'll be stronger than concrete.

Q) What are the proper tile setting compounds?

A) This is one where I could write a book. It all depends on what kind of tile you're installing, and what the underlayment is that you're going over. I'll give a generalized list:

Polymer/ latex modified thinset: For all intents and purposes, this is the "cure-all". For almost any installation the modified thinset, which is basically portland cement, silica sand, and chemical polymers added for strength, will work. There are some that are specialized, such as the lightweight non-sag thinsets (such as Laticrete's 255 or Mapei's Ultralite), or the high latex content thinsets (like Latictrete's 254 Platinum or Hydroment's Reflex), but with the exception of going over some membranes, there's a modified thinset for every installation.

Unmodified thinset: This is the same as above, but with no polymers added. It's usually used in conjunction with a liquid latex additive, but will also be used mixed with water for going over some membranes. It's also used as a bedding for all CBU's.

Medium Bed Mortars-- This is a relatively new class of setting mortars, used mainly for large format tiles, where the normal notched trowels just don't put down enough material, and with thinset, it would be too much, causing too much shrinkage as it dries, causing voids under, and poor bond to, the tile, but at the same time, there's not enoough room for a mudset installation. This mortar is usually used with either a 1/2x1/2" or 1/2x3/4" notched trowel.

Mastics and Premixed Thinsets: THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! Let me say that again-- THESE HAVE VERY LIMITED USES!! They work well for vertical installations, where the tile used is 8x8 or less, and it's not a wet area. ALL THREE of those conditions must be met!! I know just about every pail of type 1 mastic says it can be used in showers except for the floor. DON'T BELIEVE IT!! Also, both mastic and premixed thinset (which is just mastic with a fine sand mixed in to give it bulk) claim they can be used for floor installations. Unfortunately, for the amount of material needed under virtually all floor tiles to bond to the subfloor, neither of these will fully harden. I had a personal experience where I helped a sister in law across country, telling her husband exactly how to do his main floor, what to use, and how to use it. Unfortunately, he went to the big box store to get his tile and materials, and they talked him into using premixed thinset. I didn't hear about it until SIX MONTHS LATER when his tile and grout joints started showing cracks all over the floor. When he called me I asked him what he used for thinset, and sure enough, this is when he told me. I told him to pull one of the tiles, and SIX MONTHS LATER, IT WAS STILL SOFT!!! DOn't let them talk you into it!! Use the proper thinset, and don't try and shortcut your installation. You're spending alot of money for it to be "just practice"!!

Q) How do you deal with different thicknesses of tile?

A) Whatever it takes. I've used membranes, built up the amount of thinset being used, I've even doubled up tiles when it worked out that way. Whatever it takes to get the two tiles to be flush toeach other.

Q) What are the typical tools required to lay tile?

A) Generally speaking, this is a list for just about all installations. Some may require specialized tools, but this would be for all:

Proper sized notched trowel
measuring tape
chalk line
margin trowel
high amp low speed drill and mixing paddle (best would be 6 amp or better and less than 400 rpm)
several buckets
score and snap cutter for straight ceramic cuts
4 1/2" grinder with a continuous rim dry diamond blade for ceramic, anything other than straight cuts
wet saw (can be used for ALL cuts, ceramic or stone)
grout float
hydra grout sponges (2-- once for grouting, one for cleaning)
24" and 48" levels (for vertical work)
heavy duty extension cords
screwgun or nailgun (where CBU will be used)

Q) What about tile spacing and types of grout?

A) According to Dave Gobis from the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation in Pendleton, South Carolina, there will finally be a new standard for ceramic tile next year. The tolerances are shrinking. There will also be a standard for rectified tile. Along with that, there will be a revision to the installation standards that will specifically recommend a grout joint no less than 3 times the variation of the tile. For rectified tile the minimum grout joint width will be .075 or just over a 1/16".

As for grout, there's only one thing that determines whether you use sanded or unsanded grout, and that's the size of the grout joint. Anything less than 1/8" you use unsanded grout. 1/8" or larger, you need to use sanded grout. The reason is that the main ingredient in grout is porland cement, which tends to shrink as it dries. In joints 1/8" or larger, the grout will shrink way too much and end up cracking ans shrinking into the joint. The sand give the grout bulk, and the sanded grout won't shrink nearly as much and therefore, can be used in the larger joints.

What is the difference between a water based sealer and a solvent based sealer? How do you know which one to use?

There are two important differences. First, the solvent based sealer is a "breatheable" sealer, while the water based is not. What that means is that the solvent based sealer will let moisture transmit back and forth , so as not to trap moisture in the stone or grout, while the water based sealer will not. The reason this is a good thing is that you don't want moisture getting trapped inside of a surface, and growing mold or mildew INSIDE. That's actually even a tougher situation to remedy than if it just grows on the surface.Secondly, both are what's called "penetrating" sealers, meaning they do their job by penetrating into the stone, and stopping solids from getting into the pores of the stone, thereby curtailing stains taking hold. Water based sealers will not penetrate NEARLY as far into the surface as the solvent based sealers will, and as a result, have to be replaced much more often. About the only time I'll use a water based sealer is if I'm installing something like terra cotta tile, or soft limestone, where I need a pre-grouting sealer to stop the grout from adhering to the face of the tile. Any other time, I'll use solvent based.

Q) What's the difference between ceramic, porcelain, and rectified porcelain?

A) Actually all porcelain IS ceramic. The difference is that porcelain is a much denser clay, fired at a much higher temperature, which makes for a much more durable (and less absorptive) tile.

As for rectified porcelain, the main difference is that all other tile is stamped out or cut to size BEFORE it goes into the kiln, where during the firing process, the tiles will experience some extent of shrinkage. Unfortunately that shrinkage is never uniform, and results in the sizing you always hear about. This is why the larger grout joints (3/16"- 1/4") are required for most tiles. With rectified porcelain, the clay is fired in sheets, and then the tiles are cut to size AFTER they're baked, which results in much tighter tolerances, and the ability to use much smaller grout joints.

Q)I read in this forum to use unmodified thinset under the cementboard for our floors before tiling, but DH read the instructions on the board to use modified. Just wanted to confirm that we are to use unmodified and also to ask why?

A)That's kind of a controversy in the industry. Most manufacturers say modified. TCNA (Tile COunsil of NOrth America) says unmodified works best, but then they defer to the manufacturer's instructions. The way I see it, the thinset under the cement board isn't supposed to bond the two surfaces. Matter of fact, you don't WANT them to bond. That's what the screws are for. It's there only to bed the cement board to take out vibration between the two layers, so the unmodified thinset makes alot more sense to me.

Q)Why don't you want them to bond? He asks," Aren't the screws there to hold the thinset while it dries?"

A)Once you bond the two layers together, you've for all intents and purposes, formed a new, thicker, single layer, and you've lost all the benefits of double layering the floor, that being the allowance for the slightest bit of lateral slippage between the layers to allow further isolation of the tile installation from structural movement.

This is the tile FAQ I did for the Building a Home Forum. There may be a couple of places where it gets a little repetitive, but for the most part, it's different questions:

1) Can I lay tile over lino/VCT/VAT?

Answer: There are those who say you can, and in some instances this is true. The problem is in properly investigating whether or not your particular case is one of those instances. There are so many variables, and ANY ONE of them could make your floor fail-- is your vinyl cushioned or not? Is it adhered well? In the case of lino, is it perimeter glued, or fully glued? Was there an underlayment used, or was it laid directly over the subfloor (ALL underlayments used for lino are no good under tile-- any one of them will make a tile floor fail)? When it comes down to it, it's a very risky proposition, and when dealing with the time and money investment required to install a new floor, why gamble with it? You're much better off to do it right and take out the vinyl, as well as any underlayment that might be involved, and then start your installation from the subfloor. This way you KNOW it'll be done so that it lasts.

2) How good is premixed thinset?

Answer: Premixed thinset is nothing more than organic adhesive (mastic) with a fine sand mixed in to give it some bulk. For wall applications where mastic is appropriate, It's fine, although I don't see any advantage over traditional mastic. But for the use it was intended, that being replacing portland cement based latex modified thinset, it's an extremely BAD idea, for several reasons. First, ALL mastics are formulated to be used in very thin applications. The thicker it's used, the longer it takes to dry, and for some of the heavier notches that are used in flooring installations, it never completely dries. I personally know of one case where premixed thinset was used on a floor in april, and the following november, it was STILL soft. ANY kind of pliability will cause flex in the tile, which will cause the tile floor to fail, allowing either tile tile, grout, or both to crack. Seondly, even if it's used in a thickness that WILL allow it to dry, all it takes is a little moisture. All mastics are water based, and any moisture will allow the mastic (or premixed thinset) to re-emulsify, again, causing a failure in the floor.

3) Can I tile right over plywood?

Answer: Yes, you can, and it's done on a daily basis. However, you really need to KNOW what you're doing. There are additional steps you need to take care of, as well as pitfalls to watch out for that either don't exist, or aren't as important when using backerboard (CBU-- cementitious backer units) as your underlayment. The thinset you use, how you lay your plywood down, how you SCREW it down, even the species and rating of the plywood used, all make a difference. HERE is a good article that might be of interest. (hyper link the word HERE to,,131422,00+en-uss_01dbc.html )

4) Do I really need thinset under my backerboard?

Answer: The short answer is ABSOLUTELY. The manufacturer requires it, and if, for some reason, there's a problem with the floor afterward, you've immediately lost any kind of warranty protection. Now, there's a big controversy in the industry right now concerning the TYPE of thinset to use. The manufacturers, for the most part, recommend latex modified thinset, whereas the Tile Council of America (TCA) recommends UNmodifed, or dryset thinset. The reason is that the thinset isn't there to bond the backerboard to the subfloor. If it were, then the modified thinset would make a difference. In reality, it's actually there to fill the paper thin voids between subfloor and backerboard, thereby eliminating another source of flex, or movement, and extending the life of your floor.

5) What size trowel do I need?

Answer: This all depends on the size and thickness of the tile, as well as how smooth or rough the substrate is, and how deep the embossed pattern on the back of the tile is. For the most part, 3/16" v-notch for ceramic mosaics (1x1 and 2x2) or mastic walls, and either 1/4x1/4 square notch or 1/4x3/8 for just about everything else. There ARE some exceptions though. If there is a question as to which you should use in your particular case, your best bet would be to go to and ask one of the pros there. You'll be sure to get a good concise answer.

6) Do I spread thinset on the tile, the floor, or both?

Answer. Either or both. Usually floors are gridded out, and then the thinset is spread on the floor. It's alot easier and quicker. However, for those who would rather backbutter the tile, that's fine, too, as long as you flat trowel thinset onto the floor to "burn" it into the floor. In other words, you want to make sure you get a good bond by pushing the thinset into the "grain" of the floor, be it concrete, backerboard, or plywood.

7) Can I tile right over my brick fireplace?

Answer: Yes, you can. You might want to make sure the brick is clean and free of any contaminants, such as dust or soot (TSP-- trisodium phosphate works well for this). If the brick is painted, it needs to either be sanded, or if this is a renovation, sandblasted. Do NOT use any kind of chemicals to remove the paint, as they tend to leave behind residues that will inhibit the thinset bond later. Once the brick is clean, your best bet would be to flatcoat the brick with a latex modified thinset. This will do two things for you. First, it'll give you a flat surface to tile over, and secondly, it'll show up any errant bricks that might be sticking out too much, and they can be addressed before the tile is going up. Once the flat coat dries, you can take a rubbing stone to take care of any ridges in the thinset from the trowel.

8) Can I tile over sheetrock?

Answer: So long as it's not a wet area (i.e.-- tub enclosure, shower area, tub deck), yes, you can. Even stone tile will adhere well.

9) My tile's/ grout's cracking! What's happening? Can I just replace it?

Answer: ANY time tile or grout cracks, it's a symptom, not a problem, and just repairing the tile or the grout will not take care of it. Until the REAL problem is found and rectified, the same tile or area of grout will continue to crack, no matter how many times you replace it. 99% of the time, it can be attributed to seasonal movement in the structure, either under, or surrounding the tile in question, and the tile needs to be isolated from that movement. Sometimes it can be as simple a fix as adding soft (caulk) joints. Other times, it may be necessary to either add joisting, or beef up the existing joisting to minimize the deflection of the floor. What the fix is depends on the individual problem, but in all cases, again, the problem has to be identified and resolved before the cracking will stop.

10) Do I really need to seal my grout?

Answer: There are alot of contractors who will tell you yes, and still others who will tell you no. The reason for sealer is to make cleaning and maintenence easier. There has been a trend in recent years to use light colored grouts in the main floors of the home in order to match lighter colored tiles, and a sealer is used to prevent "wear paths"-- darkening of the grout joints in areas of main traffic in the home. Unfortunately, sealers will not prevent this. You're much better off to use either a medium or darker colored grout. As for using sealer in the bathroom, sealer WILL help, but again, over time, grout will discolor somewhat, or "age", and cleaners will be, for the most part, just as effective, with or without sealer. (Obviously, I'm one of those who doesn't believe in them)

11) Should I seal my tile?

Answer: Most tiles should NOT be sealed. Most glazed tiles, as well as porcelains, will not allow the sealer to absorb into the surface, and as a result, it dries on the surface as a white haze, which is a BEAR to remove. The only tiles which should be sealed are most natural stone tiles, quarry tile, or terra cotta.

12) What is "preslope" in a shower pan, and do I really need it?

Answer: In a shower pan, the slope is the pitch from the perimeter to the drain. This allows 90% of the water to run down the surface of the floor and into the drain. Preslope is for that other 10% of the water that seeps into the floor's surface to be caught by the shower pan (floor) liner. It's a slope that goes UNDER the pan liner so as to make sure that any water that gets through the surface will seep down the liner to weep holes surrounding the drain underneath the shower floor, where again, it will be directed to the drain's pipe. Without this preslope, the water sits in the bottom of the shower pan, where it can become a major area for mold, mildew, and bacteria to fester and become a bad health problem. So, yes, you really need it.

13) Can I use mastic in my shower, or over my tub?

Answer: Although on just about every pail of mastic it says "approved for wet areas", no, you can't. Mastic is used extensively in commercial projects for these kinds of areas-- places such as hotels, apartment buildings, college dorms, all use mastic in wet areas, because it's so much faster to install the tile, thereby reducing budget costs. However, they also have maintenence staffs, not to mention that these buildings get renovated every 5- 10 years, and from the contractor's standpoint, the work only has to be warranteed for one year. After that, it's not their problem any more. A home is a different story, though. You want your tile to last for years and years. Once it's up, you want it to STAY up, and last. The problem with mastic is that it's water emulsive, and even after being up for a while, it can still reemulsify, become soft, and even wash out, causing your tile to fail. It's one of the leading causes of tile failure in wet areas.

14) Is tile or grout waterproof?

Answer: No. Even with a grout sealer, most sealers used these days are "breatheable", meaning the moisture can transmit through it, both in and out, so even sealer won't make it waterproof.

15) How long do I wait before sealing?

Answer: This depends on the sealer being used. Because of the different formulations, different sealers require different wating times, anywhere from 3- 28 days, and the best advice I could give you is to check your particular brand of sealer for its recommendation. Generally speaking, there are two types of sealer base-- water and solvent, and the solvent based sealers generally require the shorter waiting period, but they're also much more expensive.

16) Should I use an isolation membrane?

Answer: To use an isolation membrane just as a general rule, it's not necessary. If you have any question at all as to whether or not there would be too much movement in your subfloor without it, then yes, it should be used, whether it be over concrete or wood frame. NOTE-- isolation membranes will greatly decrease the chance of your tile cracking if your movement is lateral (side to side-- in the case of concrete cracks, ones that open and close). However, there's not a membrane made that will address the problem of vertical movement. If you have cracks in a slab where one side of the crack is higher than the other, or in wood frame, where an addition meets the original structure, you'd be much better off to put in an expansion joint that that point.
17) Height of TP holders, towel bars, coat hooks etc etc.

Answer: The best advice is wherever they feel comfortable to you. About the only one that would be somewhat difficult to figure out when it's time to install is the toilet paper holder, and the general rule is about 24-30" off the floor, and 18-24" forward of the toilet flange. AS for the soap dish, you'd want to locate it somewhere where it won't be in the direct line of the showerhead spray, even though the traditional location (middle of the back wall, 6" from the tub) puts it right there. Putting it in the "line of fire" just gives water a chance to work its way behind the soap dish and shorten the life of your shower wall.

18) What kinds of tile can be successfully used outdoors (ie: on porches, patios) and any needed techniques for installing.

Answer: There are two types-- Vitreous tile, which has virtually no absorbsion, and porcelain, which only has approximately .05% absorbsion. As for installation techniques, the biggest differences are:
1), you want to use a thinset that gets mixed with a liquid additive, as opposed to one that's already modified.
2) you want to make sure you use either a polymer modified or epoxy grout.
3) You need to make sure the surface to be tiled is pitched atleast 1/4" per running foot, to make sure water doesn't sit on the tile.
4) In the case of wood frame structure (for something like a deck) you want to make sure you use a good quality waterproofing membrane made for exterior applications. Noble's Nobledeck ( ) is a good example of this.
5) In the case of slab, you want to honor all expansion and control joints, making sure that you either position your layout so that a grout joint falls over them, or cut the tile along these joints, and either way, caulk them with a good urethane caulking. Latex or silicone won't be strong enough.
6) If there are any cracks in the concrete, or in the case of slab on grade, if you have alot of sand or clay in your soil, or any other kind of ground that's prone to minor shifting, and isolation membrane designed for outdoor applications would be a real good idea.
7) You want to make sure that you do the installation at a time of year where the temp(both air and surface) stays over 50 degrees F. Otherwise problems could occur.

19) Are there different kinds of sealers for different locations, such as bath/shower, floor, kitchen counters?

Answer: When it comes to protectant type sealers, any penetrating sealer can be used in all places. The differences come in the finishing sealers. Do you want the wet or dry look? High gloss, or satin (matte) finish? Smooth or nonslip?

20) Should granite countertops be sealed? If so, how do I do this?

Answer: Some should and some shouldn't. Your best bet would be to ask your distributor (or installer) whether your particular granite should or shouldn't be sealed. As a rule, though, if you put a wet sponge on granite, and when you remove it, it leaves a wet spot, it should be sealed with a good penetrating sealer, which can be wiped on with a soft absorbant cloth.

21) What is the difference between ceramic and porcelain tile? Which is best for indoor flooring and why? How do I know when I am buying a good quality, durable tile--are there ratings I need to be aware of?

Answer: In all actuality, porcelain IS ceramic tile, just made with a much denser clay, and fired at much higher temps. As for which is best, all around porcelain is the answer. It's harder, will take much more abuse, and won't chip scratch, or stain as easily as most others. In addition, it'll stand up to much higher and lower extremes temperature wise. However, especially for residential applications, most glazed floor tiles will stand up to whatever you have in mind. There are two indicators to the quality of the tile you're interested in, when it comes to glazed tile-- first, the PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating, which rates the hardness of the glaze on a scale of 1-5 as follows:
CLASS 0 - Tiles technically unsuitable for floors
CLASS 1 - Residential and Commercial wall and bare foot traffic
CLASS 2 - Wall and Residential bath floor, soft soled traffic
CLASS 3 - All residential floors and Light Commercial
CLASS 4 - Medium Commercial, Light Industrial and Institutional, moderate soiling
CLASS 5 - Extra heavy traffic, abrasive dirt, chemically more resistant
Secondly, although some may disagree, and there ARE exceptions, price is a good indicator. For the most part, you get what you pay for, and although two tiles may look exactly alike, there may be a big difference in the hardness of the glaze, as well as the density of the bisque, or body of the tile.

Q) We are having porcelain tile installed in our foyer (13"x13" tiles) and in our powder room (6'x6" tiles). Both are heavy traffic areas. Is there one grout that is better for these areas than another grout? New to my vocabulary - "sanded grout" and "unsanded grout"; "Portland grout"; "epoxy grout".

A) Although there are others, for all intents and purposes, there are two kinds of grout-- portland cement based, and epoxy. The portland cement based grouts are the conventional grouts that have been around for millenniums. Although in the last few decades, they've been modified with latex and other polymers to make them stronger and more resistant to mold and mildew, they're basically the very same grouts that have been used since Greek and Roman days. There are two kinds of portland cement based grouts. One is sanded, and the other unsanded. The only difference between the two is, as their names imply, the sand. The ONLY thing that determines which grout should be used is the joint size. NOT the glaze, NOT aesthetics, NOT the material (ceramic vs. glass or polished marble), NONE of those. I'll repeat-- the ONLY thing that determines which is used, is the joint size. Anything under an 1/8" takes unsanded grout. Anything 1/8" or bigger, you use sanded grout. If you use unsanded grout in larger joints, the cement in the grout will shrink way too much as the water evaporates out of it, and the joints will end up shrinking and cracking bigtime. If you try using sanded grout in smaller joints, the grains of sand will literally clog the top of the joint, and not allow the grout to get down INTO the joint, and the grout will flake off in a matter of days.

As for the Epoxy, most epoxy grouts use a much finer "sand", and therefore can be used in any size grout joint. Further, epoxy grouts are everything people say they are. They're much easier to clean, practically stainproof, and also extremely expensive. Most epoxies will cost atleast 4 times the cost of conventional grouts, and the installer will also usually charge a premium of between 1.50- 2.50 a foot for the use of epoxy grout. There are alot of people who will disagree with me, but my own opinion is that for most residential installations, epoxy grout is bigtime overkill. The ONLY times I'll recommend epoxy grout is first, if you're installing a tile countertop, and two, if you have animals in the house that either aren't housebroken, or are prone to accidents. In either of those cases, epoxy might be worth the money. For anything else, though, conventional grout is more than good enough.


Tile info from Bill V the "Tile Czar!"
clipped on: 10.31.2008 at 03:39 am    last updated on: 10.31.2008 at 03:39 am

RE: Bath seat (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: mongoct on 07.03.2008 at 04:16 pm in Bathrooms Forum


Whenever in doubt, go temporary.

Get a small inexpensive stool and use it in your existing shower. See how you like it. See how your hubby likes it.

Built-in benches are great if they are properly sized, sited, and properly waterproofed. If they are not done well they can be a detriment.

Some people prefer the warmth of a wood seat over the coldness of tile. To others there is no difference. In my own shower, which is a pretty large walk-in, I didn't construct a built-in bench. I made a teak bench and my wife uses that. She loves being able to have it wherever she the corner, or under the sharp spray, or under the gentler rainshower head. Or she'll even move it completely out of the shower at other times.

For leg shaving, if you have a hand held, you can buy an additional head holding bracket. You can mount that extra bracket on the wall at knee or thigh height and clip the hand held onto that bracket when shaving legs.



clipped on: 07.04.2008 at 06:11 am    last updated on: 07.04.2008 at 06:11 am

RE: february: call for recipes (Follow-Up #46)

posted by: girlgroupgirl on 02.05.2008 at 08:12 pm in Cottage Garden Forum

Annette, lets say they are Canuck!!

I'm going to add my recipe that I made today. It is a great Gluten Free chocolate cake and it is from "The Best Ever Wheat And Gluten Free Baking Book".

GF=gluten free. Some products get contaminated in their refining process if the factory makes wheat/gluten grain foods too, so that is why one must be so careful.

Chocolate Dump It Cake

1/2 c. pure GF cocoa powder. If you have Trader Joe's their cocoa is GF
1/2 c. boiling water - mix the water and cocoa together
1 c. cornstarch however, to get more fiber I mixed 1/2 c. cornstarch with 1/2 c. brown rice fiber
1 1/2c potato starch (but again, you can mix flours. I used 1/2 c. brown rice flour and 1c. potato starch and the texture was wonderful!)
1T plus 1 1/2t. baking powder
pinch of salt
1 c. sugar

Mix all this together with the cocoa/water mixture

2 eggs beaten or GF egg replacer (this is excellent to have on hand the egg replacer gives great rise and texture)
1/2 c. canola oil
2 t. vanilla and it needs to be GF (again, Trader Joe's is GF)
21/2 t. xanthanan gum however, if you've mixed your flours and/or used egg replacer you can reduce this to a teaspoon.
1 cup plus more as needed. Dairy free and gluten free milk is Blue Diamond almond milk.

Mix all the wet together, and only add 1 cup of the milk. If your mix is too thick, just add a little more milk. You only have to mix by hand, this is so light and fluffy!

I used two small aluminum $$ store pans with plastic lids which worked well. Preheat to 350 and use 9x13 or two small snack cake pans. I bet two loaf pans would work well too. Grease well with canola oil. Do not use any kind of baking spray, none are gluten free - I have a little silicone brush and the oil which works well.
Pour in mix as soon as you mix it up. Don't let it sit as it rises so fast - pour it in and let it sit a minute while oven heats. Bake 22-25 mins. Smaller pans you can bake 20 mins. Toothpick test to see if done.

YUMMY and delicate in texture. Keep in the fridge. You can make a dairy free/gluten free icing by using icing sugar, the cocoa, or vanilla or a bit of strong coffee (no flavorings!) and Natural Balance margerine.



Gluten Free chocolate cake
clipped on: 05.26.2008 at 11:54 am    last updated on: 05.26.2008 at 11:54 am

RE: Demo Now Days Away--Getting Cold Feet (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: pbrisjar on 03.27.2008 at 04:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

luckyj reminded me of something - you CAN cook pasta without a stove. I was jonesing for some pasta so did an internet search and found a method that works. In fact, I think I like it better than stove top pasta.

Here's how I do it:
Take a large microwave-safe lidded dish and put in some water (maybe about 1/3 full) and salt and / or spices if you want. Place in microwave and cook until hot (about 5 minutes for the size I cook). Take out of microwave and add pasta until the water just covers it. DO NOT overfill your container. Leave room for the bubbling/boiling action. Cook for about 18 minutes. The water should become completely absorbed by the pasta. If it's not quite cooked enough, you can add a little more water and cook for about 4-5 minutes more.


Cooking Pasta in a Temporary Kitchen
clipped on: 04.06.2008 at 06:49 pm    last updated on: 04.06.2008 at 06:49 pm

RE: How do you keep your island free from clutter? (Follow-Up #40)

posted by: shannonplus2 on 03.12.2008 at 11:40 am in Kitchens Forum

My weakness is paper clutter - I am pretty good with clearing out clothes/dishes/books/etc. but paper is an obstacle for me that I struggle with. What I found to be the BIGGEST HELP EVER to my paper clutter habit was not to let it into my house. When I receive catalogs or advertisements or other mail I can't help but read it or "keep it to read later". Even though I know it's junk and should be tossed. So I went on a CAMPAIGN not to let it into my house in the first place. It was initially time-consuming, but SO worth it. Here are the steps:

1. Go to the DMA's website (the Direct Marketing Association) to register for the Mail Preference Services by filling in the online form. It takes about 30-60 days for it to kick in. On that same webpage is also a credit card solicitation opt-out service which I recommend both to decrease junk mail, and to decrease chances of identity theft (identity thieves could take a credit card solicitation addressed to you, fill it out, and get a credit card in your name).

2. Call all your magazine subscriptions' 800 numbers, and tell them "Please mark my account so that my name or address is not rented or sold to other companies."

3. Call all your credit cards, and and tell them "Please mark my account so that my name or address is not rented or sold to other companies."

4. Call any catalogs that you want to continue getting, but tell them "Please mark my account so that my name or address is not rented or sold to other companies."

5. Call all your utilities (phone/cell phone/electric company, etc.) and and tell them "Please mark my account so that my name or address is not rented or sold to other companies."

6. Call any sweeptstakes 800 numbers when you get a sweepstakes solicitation and get them to remove you from their lists. Just takes one call to each sweepstakes company.

7. Whenever you donate money, purchase something on the internet or via a catalog, write in the "comments' box in capital letters, "Please do not sell my name or address".

8. Call 1-888-567-8688 or 1-888-5OPTOUT. This will remove you from junk mail sent by Trans Union, Equifax, innovis, and Experian.

Whew! That was a lot of work! But once I finished, after a few weeks my mailbox ONLY contains mail I want. I would say my mail has decreased in volume by at least 70%. Good for the environment too.

And that's 70% less paper on your island, and 70% less work for you every day sorting through your mail. A very nice payback for the time you have to spend initially.

Here is a link that might be useful: DMA's Mail Preference Webpage


clipped on: 04.05.2008 at 08:40 am    last updated on: 04.05.2008 at 08:40 am

RE: Calling all messy, greasy cooks.: what's your backsplash? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: trailrunner on 03.20.2008 at 05:16 pm in Kitchens Forum

Neeter, It is the Benjamin Moore Matte paint which has ceramic in it. It is a scrubbable paint. You can easily care for it with grease cutter ot dish soap. I use a rough wash cloth but you can also use a scrub brush. It doesnot burnish the paint .

The fryer is perfect. It is exactly like what my son has in his restaurant only a 1 gallon size vessel. it is VERY easy to clean and only needs it once in a "blue moon". Believe it or not since it has a tight fitting top and we don't usually do fish in it it lasts months. You drain the oil out , and that takes a couple seconds. Then you wipe out with paper towel and then refill. that is it. It heats quickly and maintains heat perfectly when food is added. I will be glad to answer any other questions. Caroline...thanks for the compliments.


Scrubbable paint for backsplash
clipped on: 03.21.2008 at 12:17 am    last updated on: 03.21.2008 at 12:18 am

RE: how to paint soffits, ceilings, walls? pics anyone? (Follow-Up #10)

posted by: terible on 01.18.2008 at 03:15 pm in Kitchens Forum

Hi Jessie,
Have you picked out your wall color? If so, lets say you picked a color third or forth one down on a paint swatch for the wall, choose 2nd one down for the soffit and the first and lightest color tint on swatch for the ceiling. Don't think you can go wrong with that. I do not have soffits in the kitchen but have architectural elements near the ceiling or to the ceiling throught my home, it all looks very pulled together.


How to choose paint color for walls & ceiling
clipped on: 01.18.2008 at 05:01 pm    last updated on: 01.18.2008 at 05:01 pm

RE: A Holiday Story, Some Elves, and a Thanks (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: claybabe on 12.08.2007 at 10:54 am in Kitchens Forum

Thanks, Bill: I'll work on his gaze...!

Gagesgranny, I bet gage would love them: My family usually devours a lot of them before they make it to cookie day. Recipe is simple (these started out life as candy canes but I made the dough too dry the first year and they wouldn't roll well, so the elves were born):

1 cup sugar
1 stick (1/2 c) butter
Whip those together.


2 eggs
1 tsp baking powder
almond flavor
red food color for the second batch

Whip all that together. Change beaters to something heavy duty and add about 3 cups of flour. Stick it in the fridge overnight. I usually double the recipe. Actually I usually try to triple it and it overflows my kitchenaid mixer (the small one). Now I have a note on the recipe to only double it.

At this point you can make candy canes by rolling and twisting, or make elves. For the elves (or grinches if you use green) I cut up little pieces of red dough (or big pieces if kids are making them: It's easier for them to handle) and roll them into balls and put them on the cookie sheet. When I have a bunch on the sheet I flatten them a bit with my palm and sometimes pinch them with thumbs and forefingers to make a nose. I use the handle end of a spoon to indent the mouth, or the handle end of the crab picker to make a singing mouth. The fork end of the crab picker makes the smiliest eyes, but the handle end works fine. I'm sure there are multiple implements in our old and new kitchens that would work!

Then I cut a piece of white dough (a good sized hunk) and tear off bits for hair or noses or hats or whatever and stick them on (you don't have to press, just put it on and the baking will make it stay). You can put some faces together and make them sing (round wide open mouths), or make a pirate (white patch and a beard) or whatever suits your fancy.

They bake for about 8 minutes at 350. They are best when there is no browning, just done.

I use white icing (little tubes) to add teeth--this makes them look a little goofy or more lifelike or usually both-- and a dot of blue or green for eyes in the holes (you don't want to totally fill the hole if you can help it or they look like zombies, a nice variation for Halloween but less appreciated at this time of year).

Marthavila, thanks for the wishes (and hoping your aga arrives soon!)!


"Elves" Recipe and instructions
clipped on: 12.08.2007 at 03:12 pm    last updated on: 12.08.2007 at 03:13 pm

RE: My KD came in at $180,000 when he knew my max was $150,000 (Follow-Up #14)

posted by: chiefneil on 12.04.2007 at 09:31 am in Kitchens Forum

For overimproving, it depends on where your home falls in general price range for the area. If you're in the high-end, then 150k is probably not overimproving. If you're close the median (even 3x the median), then I would think 150k is overimproving.

Quality should also be consistent throughout the house, e.g. with a subzero and lacornue, I would expect to see hardwood or natural stone throughout the house, granite/marble/travertine in almost all the baths, 10' or higher ceilings, 6" and higher baseboards, low-e windows, french doors, high-quality landscape/hardscape, etc. Otherwise buyers will think "great kitchen, too bad the rest of the house doesn't match". My suspicion is that for a 700k home, the materials you've chosen are probably an overimprovement.

The KD should definitely take responsibility for lowering costs, but I see several areas where you could probably drop a total of 15-20k. Swap the SubZero for KitchenAid or GE Monogram. Swap the LaCornue for Wolf. Trade the plywood boxes for MDF in the cabs, drop the wenge and zebra wood, and get a cheaper grade of wood than premium maple. You can also swap the Miele DW for a Bosch or KA, and swap the Oceanside for a cheaper brand of glass tile. You might also want to find a cheaper granite.

Adding back to budget, if your home is on the high-end, then buyers probably would want a wine fridge and prep sink.


clipped on: 12.04.2007 at 02:20 pm    last updated on: 12.04.2007 at 02:21 pm

RE: Loves2Cook4Six- Question about your pot rack cabinet?? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: loves2cook4six on 11.19.2007 at 08:33 am in Kitchens Forum

We needed more hardware than came with the shelf :)

We purchased bolts long enough to go through the shelf and then through the "slit" of the pot rack where the hooks go. We used a washer to prevent the nut from falling back through the slit.

Then we drilled holes aprox. 3" in from the edges along the long center of the shelf and bolted the pot rack to the shelf. We can adjust the height of the pot rack by adjusting the shelf height. Right now the bolts hold the pot rack so tightly to the shelf that the hooks cannot move. I need to loosen the bolts a wee bit and adjust the hooks better and then retighten them.

In the picture below you can see the bolt between the first and second hook from the left.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket


clipped on: 11.19.2007 at 07:03 pm    last updated on: 11.19.2007 at 07:04 pm

RE: In Forclosure help w/ winterizing-have old water heated regis (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: terribletom on 10.27.2007 at 10:35 pm in Heating & Air Conditioning Forum

I'll be closing down my farmhouse in Maine within the next few weeks. We do this some winters but not others, depending on anticipated winter use and I've done it successfully nearly 20 times over the years, with only a few glitches in the following springs.

Some notes from my "shutdown procedure":

1. Turn off the main water valve (also cut power to the pump if the house is served by its own well).

2. Turn off the valves to toilets and flush each one to drain the toilet tanks. Then reopen the valves to help the supply pipes drain.

2. Begin the draining process by opening every potable water valve you can find (i.e., all basins, tubs, showers, etc.). For "combination valves", put handles in the middle position so that both cold and hot are open to some extent.

3. Turn off the valves to toilets and flush each one to drain the toilet tanks. Then reopen the valves to help the supply pipes drain.

4. To drain the hydronic heating system, begin by turning off the power at either the circuit breaker or the "red switch". (I prefer the circuit breaker since some "red switches" control only the oil burner and can leave transformers, circulator motors and/or supplemental fans with power.) Open the boiler drain valve as well as any drain valves installed in the zones/loops. Manually set zone valves into "open" position.

5. If there is an electric hot water heater, turn it off at the breaker and open drain valve at bottom of heater. Do this early in the draining process as it will assist in draining all hot water pipes.

6. Open any hose bibs on the outside of the house. Also make sure both valves hooked to the washing machine hoses are open. (These are normally open, but just to be sure...)

7. While the water is draining, search the basement for "stop and waste" valves and loosen or remove the caps on these. (Some may be at low places in the piping that won't otherwise drain.)

8. Locate every plumbing trap in the house. It isn't just the toilets and basins, but may include floor drains, the washing machine, etc. Buy some non-toxic antifreeze. (This is NOT the same old "Prestone" you put in your car.) The stuff is expensive, and an alternative is the blue "RV" antifreeze. I don't use that stuff, but under the circumstances, YMMV and you might save a few bucks.

9. Use a plunger to push out most of the water in the toilets and traps. Then add antifreeze. I use about a quart per toilet, a little less for a bathtub and quite a bit less for small basins, etc. A 1 1/4" or 1 1 1/2" p-trap gets about a pint.

10. Put about a pint of antifreeze in the washing machine, turn the knob to the end of the rinse cycle, and start the washing machine briefly. This should pump the antifreeze through the pump and into the trap. Turn off washing machine.

11. You can use a similar process for the dishwasher. I also remove the kick panel and unhook and manually drain the solenoid valve. (I got burned on this one year and had a burst solenoid the following spring.)

12. Allow several hours for the system to drain. Assuming you've allowed the draining to happen for at least an hour or so, start going around to each radiator and look for vents. (You may need a little "key" to turn them, depending upon type.) The more air you can admit into the radiators, the better. Also, it helps if you can open a valve at both the supply and the return end of any heating loop.

13. I do one additional step that you probably won't be doing under the circumstances: I use an air compressor to blow out the heating zones. (I have a four-zone system, and this takes a while, but it's surely worth it to me.)

Sorry to hear about the foreclosure but I think you're doing the right thing here. Sure, the bank may soon own it, but foreclosure doesn't necessarily make for an "even" settlement. You're doing the responsible thing, IMO.


Shutting down & winterizing a house
clipped on: 10.29.2007 at 01:12 pm    last updated on: 10.29.2007 at 01:12 pm

FREE - upload your own photo to plan a room

posted by: lgiorgi on 10.27.2007 at 11:11 pm in Kitchens Forum

Found a great site I would like to share. It is called Shaw Floors. You can also add paint and wallpaper and ceiling color. Usually you have to pay for these sites This is free. Just register.You can even use ceramic tiles, granite, and marble


clipped on: 10.28.2007 at 01:49 am    last updated on: 10.28.2007 at 01:49 am

RE: OK- what about MonaVie- anybody used it? (Follow-Up #31)

posted by: mtnwomanbc on 02.12.2007 at 03:27 am in Kitchens Forum

Ditto msafirstein...Chond/Glucosamine/MSM does it for me, liquid form from Costco. A shot(glass) a day keeps the Dr. away, literally! C/G recommended by an orthopedic surgeon 6-7 years ago as a palliative (sp?) to future knee surgery. Not sure what the MSM does, but I need the liquid, so be it. Case in point, DH and I just hiked 5 miles today in the redwoods (moderate up and down), calves are somewhat achy due to the mud, but otherwise everything feels great!

Not familiar with the Arbonne product, but if you want antioxidants, just take a stroll through your local natural foods store supplements aisle, or the veggie dept. if you're inclined to prep/cook. I bet $45 will go a very long way to maxing out whatever antioxidants you're seeking.


clipped on: 10.19.2007 at 09:32 pm    last updated on: 10.19.2007 at 09:32 pm

RE: cabinet showroom visits - questions to ask? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: live_wire_oak on 10.19.2007 at 02:07 pm in Kitchens Forum

How long have you been in business?
May I see actual installed kitchens that you've done?
What's the most expensive kitchen you've done and what did it involve?
What's the least expensive kitchen you've done and what strategies did you use to stay under budget?
In what order expense wise would you rank the cabinets you sell? Which are the best value? What does best value mean to you?
What's the most expensive line you sell and why?
What type of training does your KD have and how long have they been with you?
Do you work with specific contractors or are you open to working with one of my own choosing?
Tell me about a kitchen that you have done that had major problems and how your firm handled those issues?
Tell me about the most demanding customer you've had and the kitchen that they had done with you?

The cabinets themselves are less important than the KD and the firm you choose to do them. I know a lot of these questions sound like a job interview---and it IS! You need to make sure that the company you choose to do your kitchen is on the same wavelength as you as far as your expectations of budget and problem solving and as long as the cabinets are decent quality, the experience will be OK. Maybe not glitch free, but OK. The best qualty cabinets at a budget price with a firm that doesnt' follow up and lowballed you on the intial price to get their foot in the door won't make for a happy experience. Find out now how they handle the stress of your interview. It's only going to get more complicated as the job goes on.


clipped on: 10.19.2007 at 05:22 pm    last updated on: 10.19.2007 at 05:22 pm

RE: Recommendations for Countertop Fabricators in Baltimore area (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: cooperbailey on 07.31.2007 at 05:04 pm in Kitchens Forum

Welcome to MD! I spent hours(and hours) agonizing over installers. I narrowed it down to 2 fairly quickly. We had our granite installed by Rocktops ,located in Arbutus. Which is just south of Catonsville exit 14 off the Beltway if that helps w the location since you are new in town. Any one of these places or Debs suggestion in Bel Air- are within approx 45 minutes of each other and all will travel the beltway to install.
The other place I would highly recommend is Classic Granite and Marble off Route 1 in Columbia. I got a good recommendation regarding them from a neighbor. And the seams in their displays were fantastic.
My stepmom used Rocktops, so I checked out her granite counters -they did excellent work for her and they were easy to work with. She had only one little seam and it was great.
Rocktops were able to template so we had no seams at all.
We liked Rocktops very much for our install- they were wonderful to work with, their templater was topnotch and dead on. Their quote was less than Classic Granite and Marble in Columbia.
One of the stoneforum members has a shop in Westminster(45 minutes west of Baltimore)called the Beveled Edge. I am sure his work is excellent he is a moderator on that forum- but his quote was $2500 more than either Rocktops or Classic. putting it out of our budget completely,but if you don't have that restraint you may wish to consider them. I hope this is not too stream of consciousness but am at work. HTH Sue


Granite Fabricator in Columbia
clipped on: 10.06.2007 at 01:19 am    last updated on: 10.06.2007 at 01:20 am

RE: How do I protect drawer glides? Granite being installed in th (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: cat_mom on 08.07.2007 at 11:53 pm in Kitchens Forum

Remove any drawers and pullouts beneath any sections that will be cut or drilled onsite, e.g--sink cutouts and/or faucet, soap disp, air gap, insta hot etc. holes, cooktop cutouts..... Then just cover the glides themselves with a few layers of blue painter's tape (or some combo of plastic wrap and tape). If you make sure to cover the top of the glides and attach some of the tape to the cab wall as well (to form sort of a seal)and cover the rest of the glides completely with tape, you should be fine. Usually the fabricators will have someone holding a vaccuum hose right at the spot where they are drilling or cutting, so very little granite dust should be landing on the glides anyway. What little dust escapes the vaccuum, will be blocked by the layer(s) of tape.


clipped on: 10.06.2007 at 12:59 am    last updated on: 10.06.2007 at 01:00 am

RE: High efficiency lighting and design choices (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: jkom51 on 10.04.2007 at 03:27 pm in Kitchens Forum

It's illegal to toss fluorescents into the trash in CA. They must be recycled as hazardous waste product. This is also true of batteries - Japan has a serious pollution problem from the many throwaway batteries in their city dumps.

Also high in mercury are non-digital (oldstyle) thermostats and most button batteries. Always dispose of these properly.

Although it's not fun to be on the cutting edge of some technologies, the fact is CA leads the nation in forcing these kinds of ecological change. We had low-flush toilets ten years before everybody else in the US did. We have stronger pollution laws than the Federal government, much to the dismay of oil companies who would love nothing better to put a lot of oil rigs all along the Central Coast. There will be better quality fluorescent and LED fixtures in the next 5 years, because we need these kinds of change.

As for lots of windows, there is one thing most people don't take into consideration with them. Unless you have sprung for the new UV-coated windows, even with low-E (the old standard) you will have serious fading issues after a few years.

We have an entire back wall of picture windows in the kitchen and DR. I don't have to turn the lights on, even on overcast days, from an hour before sunrise to an hour after sunset.

I also have laminate cabs, the most UV resistant material available for cabs. Even with a window film coating to reduce the UV by 65%, over the last 17 years you can see a phenomenal difference between one side of my pantry which faces the sunny side (but only gets sun hitting it directly for an hour a day), and the other side which never receives any direct sun ever. The sunny-facing side is now at least three full shades lighter.

Had we gotten wood-faced cabs, they would be looking really bad by now - think of old, untreated, faded patio furniture and you can imagine the picture.

The sun will fade your flooring, fabrics, rugs, and cabs. The new UV-coated windows will reduce this fading to almost nothing, but it costs 10-15% more to buy.


clipped on: 10.05.2007 at 02:31 pm    last updated on: 10.05.2007 at 02:31 pm

RE: Pantry shelf spacing - Did you save it?? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: sue36 on 10.04.2007 at 05:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

Is this it?

My pantry measures 4 feet wide by 5 feet deep.
Starting at the top:

18" top shelf to ceiling(Things I don't need often or are lightweight.)
15" to next shelf (cereal boxes, etc.)
10" to next (canned goods, etc.)
10" to next (canned goods, etc.)
16" to next (small appliances)
20" from bottom shelf to floor (extra waters, heavy items)

I made the depth of the back shelf and the right side 12". The left side is 6" and holds my husbands hot sauces and other small items.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pic of Sharb's Pantry


clipped on: 10.04.2007 at 11:18 pm    last updated on: 10.04.2007 at 11:19 pm

RE: DIY update, the end is near (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: bkwudz on 07.01.2007 at 06:53 am in Kitchens Forum

The island is in, They came to template for the granite on Thursday and are tentatively scheduled to install on the 16th. Took the guy about 3 hours to do the template. It is 77 sq ft, there is one seam on the section of cabs against the all and one small seam on the island. The island will be two pieces, one big one and a little 24x12 one over the bookcase in front of the column. So the seam is only 12" on the island. I can't wait to see how they get that big piece in the house.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

The cabinet for the wall ovens is cut (THAT WAS SCARY) and the supports are built. I had trouble finding pictures of the how the ovens should be supported so to help others in the future here are mine. It might be a bit over engineered, but i tend to do that.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Hopefully today i will have the back hall, bath and Landry floors tiled. The wonderboard went down yesterday.


Oven stack support
clipped on: 10.02.2007 at 12:31 pm    last updated on: 10.02.2007 at 12:31 pm

RE: Where to buy granite in the DC area? (Follow-Up #2)

posted by: pcjs on 08.27.2007 at 02:49 pm in Kitchens Forum

We bought ours from Avaniti in Frederick - just make sure you make an appointment if you want to go on the weekend. We bought our Gold and Silver from them - I agree it is Gorgeous - some say it is hard to fabricate but our installers loved it and didn't say that. We used Thomas Marble and Granite in Gaithersburg - they have great prices, and very nice to work with. Stay away from Stone Surfaces - they took our money, didn't hold our stone as promised and it was a huge nightmare - Avanti went above and beyond to find us two more slabs and were so helpful.

Arc stone also had nice stuff. There are tons of distributors - some small, some big. But, by far, Avaniti was the best.


Granite Yard....
clipped on: 09.30.2007 at 04:02 pm    last updated on: 09.30.2007 at 04:03 pm

RE: Designing cabinetry for a small bath---help! (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: igloochic on 09.25.2007 at 07:50 pm in Bathrooms Forum

Pottery BArn makes a very tall recessed medicine cabinet that would hold quite a bit of stuff. Below that I have an antique music stand, which would be ok to hide hair stuff in, but it's really not much space at all. My powder room is too small for much more.

As to the cabinet above the toilet. We've had them for three years in the old joint and they worked fine. But yes, do keep the lid down :) Bandaids are best used dry, not wet!

(A very DUSTY picture)
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

In this room I do not have room for lights on both sides of the vanity so I've gone with a three bulb exposed light fixture on the ceiling. I have an angled wall to the left and could add one fixture on that side if necessary. You could easily do the same and it would look nice. THe fixture I'm using is a reproduction (link below). Because of the way the bulbs are pointed it does shed more light than a normal bathroom fixture and really does light up my 3x7 room plenty. Not having a shade is the key here, but since it isn't a room for make up to be done in :) I'm going to float a large glass bowl under this as well (hard to's an antique piece that you mount a bare bulb under for light).

Here is a link that might be useful: flush mount fixture


clipped on: 09.28.2007 at 07:13 am    last updated on: 09.28.2007 at 07:13 am

RE: Need help w/ gutted Powder Room (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: igloochic on 04.11.2007 at 02:03 am in Bathrooms Forum

My powderroom is probably one of the smallest in America at 3x7. Here's my theory on small powderrooms.

These rooms are for your guests to pee in right? (I know I said a bad word, but forgive me). Let's be totally honest about their use before we spend money on them. Mine is for guests and my husband claims he might use it for unmentionable acts, but I think I'm putting a combo on the door to stop guests...

This is a TINY room, so you have two choices: Make it so unforgetable they'll never remember the small joint, or go way over the top with it, since splashy in a 3x7 or 4x8 place isn't going to cost crap...forgive the pun :)

My tiny powder room will have a vanity made of a very small victorian sheet music stand with an onyx vessel sink on it, with faucets coming from the wall. Total size is 24" x 19" tucked in a corner. The toilet is a high wall tank (think old victorian) and the lighting will be a chandelier (1921 art deco piece). Basically in these places you have just these three big items, and for all of this my budget is (including building it) just $2500.

I'm going to venetian plaster the walls in a gorgeous green I found in the onyx (celery in color) and the floor will be in black slate (honed and polished) with 4" onyx squares set on a diagonal. Splashy, but it's a tiny powder room...I want people to sit down...or stand :oP and look at this room. Not "wow" this is like peeing in a closet....

Just my 2cents...


clipped on: 09.28.2007 at 07:04 am    last updated on: 09.28.2007 at 07:04 am

RE: Built-ins around zero-clearance fireplace? Help! (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: stacylu on 09.21.2007 at 11:25 am in Fireplaces Forum

We're thinking about doing a similar thing with our fireplace but have the same "tunnel look" worries. I did find this picture that I'm using for inspiration. We are talking about doing the same 12" cabinet the whole way down instead of having a deeper area at the bottom however

I hope that helps somewhat!


clipped on: 09.21.2007 at 11:42 am    last updated on: 09.21.2007 at 11:45 am

RE: Resume & cover letter questions (Follow-Up #8)

posted by: sandyponder on 09.17.2007 at 03:42 pm in Kitchens Forum

Sorry, forgot to include my .02 about salaries. IMO companies should not ask for salary requirements in an advertisement, it makes them look cheap and gives the perception that they are looking to find the person willing to work for the lowest money. I would much prefer to see companies screen out employees who are over their pay ranges via an initial phone screening, but that's just me. Some unscrupulous companies ask for this info so they can do a mini salary survey to see what the competition is paying the same positions or so they can offer the least amount to a candidate, so if I were you I would be cautious about this opening. Most "good" companies, large or small, know that salary is but one piece of the puzzle and are usually willing to pay for the right person.

Also, look on the website for the job posting, it may not have the same "submit your salary requirement" wording and you can state in your cover letter that you saw the job on their website, thereby getting around the requirement. Also remember to check websites for any employer in which you are interested, most of the really interesting jobs don't get in the paper. Monster is also a good resource.

For msmagoo, I would say that you might consider one of these options:

If you think the company is just mining for salary data:

"My salary requirements are flexible and I will be happy to discuss specifics at an interview."

If it's a small or start up company and you think they can't afford you, start 5k below your current salary and go to 5k above your current salary:

"My salary requirements are in the $50-60 range, however, career opportunities, benefits and the culture of the organization are as important to me as salary, therefore my salary requirements are flexible."

If you want to be cagey and look like you're loyal, well, as loyal as someone who's applying to another company anyway:

"To protect my current employer I would prefer to discuss salaries until the interview."

Good luck-



How to handle "salary requirements" requests
clipped on: 09.20.2007 at 12:04 pm    last updated on: 09.20.2007 at 12:12 pm

RE: Tell me how you handle storage under your sink? (Follow-Up #5)

posted by: kailleanm on 09.18.2007 at 12:29 pm in Kitchens Forum

We are going to mount our sink cabinet door on pull out hardware so the whole area under the sink will pull out like a big drawer. There is room to accommodate 2 tall, skinny garbage/recycle bins on one side with space for cleaning supplies on the other.

I got this idea from the Ikea Fans site.


Under sink storage idea!
clipped on: 09.18.2007 at 01:46 pm    last updated on: 09.18.2007 at 01:50 pm

RE: Where would you put the prep sink? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: sweeby on 07.20.2007 at 11:25 am in Kitchens Forum

The prep sink should be where you want to do your prep work -- probably the largest portion of your cooking time. It should be reasonably close to your fridge and range, and have a nice stretch of countertop (30" or so) on one, or better - both sides. In my opinion, it should also be a great place to spend time -- a space with a 'view' -- either out the window, open to an adjacent room, or across an island to friends or family members.

The typical work flow of most food items is from the fridge/pantry to countertop (landing zone) to sink to cutting board to range/oven. So placing your work areas in a linear or circular flow following this logic probably makes the most sense.


Prep Sink Placement--Ideal
clipped on: 09.17.2007 at 02:46 pm    last updated on: 09.17.2007 at 02:46 pm

RE: Quartz Countertops...does anyone have them? Pros/Cons? (Follow-Up #62)

posted by: femmelady on 09.12.2007 at 02:15 pm in Kitchens Forum

Just a note on granite, which has been discussed so many times here on the forum. They are definitely not all created equal by any means. We have verde butterfly gold, which was installed over three years ago. We've had nary a stain of any type and we haven't sealed it since it arrived. I was told long ago that the butterfly granites are some of the hardest, least impervious granites you can buy. But this type of granite does have tiny fissures here and there throughout the surface, which just makes it more natural to me, kind of like nature's own scratches. So if you are shopping granite, those are all things to look for. And be prepared to buff it after cleaning. I don't mind that because I stare at the beauty every day, even three years later!

My husband just had a work colleage over last night for dinner and he was discussing getting quartz because he had heard about granite staining. So we just had this conversation, which is why I jumped in here. In a similar vein, we considered marble in the beginning but were scared away by the staining aspect. But Oh, I saw some gorgeous marbles on the countertop hunt.

All the counters here are so pretty! It's such a fun part of the remodel. Good luck!


butterfly granites
clipped on: 09.12.2007 at 05:17 pm    last updated on: 09.12.2007 at 05:18 pm

RE: What does it take for a contractor to admit a mistake? (Follow-Up #7)

posted by: emmie9999 on 09.01.2007 at 04:03 pm in Kitchens Forum

If you have it in writing, you will have a far easier time of getting it corrected. I really like my GC, and he does great work, but once or twice there have been a miscommunication of some kind. If it was in writing, and I could point it out, he fixed it no problem. If it wasn't, my DH and I made a decision about whether to eat the cost and change it, or live with it.

I agree, though, it is frustrating, when someone has made an error and they will not admit it. My friend used this technique with her GC, and it worked well: "I understand it is frustrating to go back and redo this. I am asking you to because you have done great work, and I know you want to honor the instructions we both agreed upon. If we cannot get this corrected, it's going to greatly affect my happiness with the room when it is completed." She put the corrections on the GC while referring to them as a team, and basically reminded him each time that her happiness (and referrals) were riding on his honesty and willingness to cooperate with fixing his errors. It worked every time.



What to say when problems arise between what you've specified and what the GC/contractor has actually done.
clipped on: 09.01.2007 at 04:12 pm    last updated on: 09.01.2007 at 04:15 pm

RE: Help...Any lighting suggestions? (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: ilitem on 03.19.2007 at 06:15 pm in Lighting Forum

With 12' ceilings you will need to get a lot of light down to the surface area. You are probably looking at using 90-120PAR bulbs (which have a whiter light). Forget about the windows, they don't help at night when you really need the light.

What type of light are you using over the counter. How much wattage is there? Also, are you going to do undercounter lighting and other indirect lighting?

Recessed lighting in kitchens are usually placed so that they are over the edge of the counter. It would mean that 1/2 of the can would be over the counter and the 1/2 would be on the floor. The rule of thumb is usually placing the cans 4-5' from center. From there you would place the cans as needed. The only place that the light should be directly in the center is over the kitchen sink, if you plan to place one there. This should be on a separate switch so that it can be used when necessary.

Saying all of this, it looks as if you have thoughtfully planned out this kitchen and I would suggest contacting a lighting showroom to find out if they have a designer that can assist you. Your contractor may have a showroom that he is dealing with. If not, check the web for anyone close to you that can give you information on this.

Another source, if you don't have a showroom within driving distance, is to contact a factory that deals in all types of lighting, like a Sea Gull, Progress, Volume, etc. You can call and say that you would like to use their product but are not sure what you will need. Then they will either give you the name of a person to contact nearby or they might even assist you. Many of these factories have technical assistance.


clipped on: 08.31.2007 at 06:20 am    last updated on: 08.31.2007 at 06:20 am

RE: wattage needed for kitchen? (Follow-Up #6)

posted by: brutuses on 07.24.2007 at 12:19 am in Lighting Forum

According to Kichler here is the formula:

Multiply the length times the width of the room. Then, multiply that number times 1.5. That gives you the armounto of wattage you need to light the room properly for general illumination.

Example: A room is 12 ft. x 16 ft. (12 x 16 = 192) Then multiply 192 x 1.5 = 288 watts. That means an 8-light chadelier using 40-watt bulbs would give 320 wats, which is even more light than needed. For specific task lighting in areas where stronger light is needed, multiply the area's square footage by 2.5 rather than 1.5 to find the needed wattage.

A kitchen work island or a desk area where schoolwork is done are examples of task areas in your home.

These same rules apply to every room or area in your home.

All the above is taken from the back of a lighting catalog by Kichler.


clipped on: 08.31.2007 at 06:17 am    last updated on: 08.31.2007 at 06:17 am

RE: Which Size Chandelier?? (Pic) (Follow-Up #3)

posted by: eweneek1 on 08.28.2007 at 12:57 pm in Lighting Forum

Was looking at chandeliers by Currey and Company and found this information that might help.

How do I know the correct size of a chandelier for a dining table?
A general guideline is to choose a chandelier that has a diameter equal to one-half the width of the table. The general appearance of the chandelier must be taken into account, too; that is, if it is a light airy piece it may be slightly larger than the standard.

How low should a chandelier be hung over a dining table?
Generally there should be 30" between the bottom of the chandelier and the top of the table in a room with an 8' ceiling. If the ceiling is higher, the distance between the bottom of the fixture and the table should increase slightly. Remember that the chandelier should provide light for the table, but not be so low as to block anyone's line of vision when they are sitting at the table.

What guidelines should I follow in choosing a chandelier for a foyer or other room?
Add the room dimensions together. If the room is 14' by 16', add 14 + 16. The answer is 30, which means that your chandelier should be approximately 30" in diameter. Again, remember that other factors such as the height of the ceiling may influence the proper size.

Here is a link that might be useful: Currey and Company


clipped on: 08.31.2007 at 06:06 am    last updated on: 08.31.2007 at 06:06 am

RE: Dewils Cabinets (Follow-Up #1)

posted by: yanalg on 08.17.2007 at 09:45 am in Kitchens Forum

I can't comment on DeWills cabinets, but I can tell you that you should spend more than 3 hours trying to choose such a big part of a kitchen remodeling! I should also say that you would want to look at least 2 different lines of cabinets (and most lines will have the stain/glaze you are after, just a different name) and for each line, get at least 3 bids. You will be shocked how the same cabinet line price may differ from dealer to dealer. The cabinets have a book price, which means absolutely nothing. It is always very high and each dealer has a certain % off they offer. So just because the dealer tempts you with 50%, it doesn't mean that you are getting a bargain. We got our Decora at 55% off, BTW.

Linear foot pricing is typically used by the big box stores and only works well for the most simple cabinets. Every single modification can and will increase the linaer foot price. For isntance, glaze can add 10-15% on top of your order. Tall microwave cabinets, super susans and pantry cabinets are the most expensive. Pull outs on the base cabinets may cost a lot more than the corresponding base with drawers. Pull out trash can be very expensive, especially the fancier recycling centers. Sink cabinets are typically the cheapest, and spice cabinets are too overpriced. It costs less to get 1 larger cabinet than 2 smaller ones (but you don't want a cabinet that is too large). Some cabinets include blum motion, full extension as a standard, but some will add this as an upgrade. There is a huge price difference in door styles as well. Some cherry door styles can cost less than maple with a fancier door. Glass doors cost a lot more than the regular door. Molding, trims, corbells, etc cost arm and a leg. It can be cheaper to get 42" uppers with scribe molding than 36" uppers with 6" of fancy molding. So you can see that the price can vary alot, and the liner foot price is not the best way to estimate a price. It's the whole package :)

Most importantly, do not deal with a dealer who is not willing to give you an itemized list, showing the complete breakdown. Otherwise you ahve no idea how a small modification you just made increased your price by 20%. How else would you know if that super fancy cabinet or trim are really worth the extra money?

good luck!


General description of cabinet pricing...what generally costs more, etc.
clipped on: 08.22.2007 at 01:54 pm    last updated on: 08.22.2007 at 01:55 pm

RE: Overboard kitchens - sociopolitical, nostaglia, funnies (Follow-Up #15)

posted by: Sweeby on 12.18.2005 at 12:15 pm in Kitchens Forum

"See, that's the problem. People don't think they should have to pay any more for good craftsmanship than they should for the crappy crews going around just "slapping" things together, and that's why alot of guys, who would otherwise be good craftsmen, feel they have to cut corners just to remain competitive."

I couldn't agree more, Bill. That's what I was trying to say earlier. Where we live, a lot of the work in the various construction trades is done by immigrant laborers, many of whom are undocumented; so the "market average rate" for most trades is pretty low. The folks willing to accept those rates are hard-working and honest, but they're not skilled craftsmen, and they haven't received much of any training. Essentially, it's the "Wal-Mart" theory of construction work. And too many people can't tell the difference between good craftsmanship and shoddy. Maybe that's the problem -- The average homeowner is 'too far removed' from construction to know the difference.

In a 'previous lifetime', DH was a high-tech welder. He's a very meticulous craftsman, and put a lot of time and energy into learning his trade. He spent his lunch hours and break times watching the old-timers, asking questions and learning, went to night school, and put a lot of pride into his work. Eventually, where the cost of a bad weld was extreme, DH was the man they called, because he never produced a bad weld. (The government would fly him out to weld nuclear reactor cores.) And what did they pay him for those critical welds? Union scale. (Then every Christmas, the union would lay him off early, because they could stretch out the work he would have produced to keep three slower men busy... Gotta love those unions.)

Anyway, since marrying him, he has taught me what to look for in good construction. The neat, tight welds with no pinholes or slag on metal work. Tile work with even, consistent grout joints, no hollow spaces below, level surfaces, flat edges, centered patterns and no slivers or unnecessary exposed edges. Walls with no bows or hollows and even textures, tight mitre joints and smooth, undinged surfaces in trim work. Windows that don't sweat, and doors that don't stick or swing open or shut by themselves. Things I would never have noticed before, and flaws I see all over my friends' houses. We seem to be building a nation of 'disposable houses'.

So where am I going, anyway?... Ah, well -- Bottom line, I'm keeping my eyes open for a good trade for my younger son when he grows up. One where a good attitude and work ethic will pay off, where he can apprentice and learn, and eventually, support himself. I hope by then such a thing will exist, and that a living wage will be a reasonable expectation for someone who's willing to work for it.


Signs of high-quality tile and other work
clipped on: 08.20.2007 at 12:46 am    last updated on: 08.20.2007 at 12:47 am