Archive for January, 2008

How To Unclog A Backed Up Kitchen Drain (It Worked!)

Ok, so remember how we didn’t have a kitchen for 113 days? And remember how excited we were to cook? Well, we were SO psyched to have our kitchen back (and better than ever) that we invited a few of our fabulous-chef-friends over to show our kitchen a little action. The four of us quickly whipped up some veggie hummus from scratch to nosh on while we cooked the main event: a delicious thai curry chicken and veggie dish over jasmine rice. Amazing.


But somewhere between the appetizer and the main course our kitchen rebelled. As in both sides of the sink refused to drain. And then we noticed that the dishwasher was filled with about 3 inches of nasty standing water as well. We had a full-on clog.


So we proceeded with dinner sans sink and it was fun and fantastic. In fact, it was so good it was almost worth the 4 hours we spent the next day taking apart the pipes, snaking the drain, and breaking up the nasty veggie ball that had clogged up the works the night before. (We may never eat zucchini again).

Sink Man

But we’re happy to add drain-snaking to our metaphorical toolbox, and to pass along a great clog-busting tip: boiling water. We dumped gallon after gallon of boiling h20 down the drain and about the 5th or 6th time the clog fully broke up and the water rushed down the drain like a mini tornado. Victory!

And we learned a valuable lesson: the garbage disposal has to be ON if stuff’s flying down the drain. Or it’ll just slip right through without getting chopped up and hang out about 5 feet under the floor in the pipes and have a little dinner party of its own.

So now we know.



How Much Did Our Kitchen Renovation Cost? (& How We Saved)

After our big kitchen reveal yesterday, it seems like the million dollar question still lingers: how much did it cost? (Hint: It wasn’t millions… and it was WAY below the national average spent on a major kitchen remodel, which is $44,000 according to

After crunching some numbers last night we figured out exactly how much our wallets really bled during this project and (thankfully) how much we managed to save in the process. And we’re talking start to finish- wider doors, new floors, electrical, lighting, appliances, etc, etc. This wasn’t just your average cabinet and countertop update.

Here’s the breakdown:

BetterCostsDemo & Construction: $1,400 (negotiated down from $2,400) A local contractor and mason removed old counters and cabinets, widened 2 doorways, and closed off 1 existing doorway.

Electrical: $900 (negotiated down from $2,100) A local electrician wired the microwave, dishwasher, disposal, and added 5 recessed lights and 1 pendant fixture over the sink.

Wood Flooring: $1,200 (on sale from $3,000) Oak floors from Lumber Liquidators were installed by a local contractor.

Appliances & Fixtures: $800 (originally priced at $1,500) We purchased a pendant light, cabinet hardware, a stainless steel hood and microwave, a garbage disposal, a wholesale sink and a faucet (and we got a free dishwasher along with a laundry appliance purchase). We reused our existing fridge and stove.

Kitchen Design: $0 We used Home Depot’s free, in-house Certified Kitchen Designer (thanks Nancy!)

Cabinets: $9,500 (after $500 cash back promotion) We ordered KraftMaid Bel Air cabinets through Home Depot with reinforced drawer slides, Thermafoil protection, one glass-front cabinet door and a wooden two-tiered lazy susan base cabinet. This price includes installation.

Countertops: $3,700 (after $300 off promotion) We ordered Stonemark granite counters through Home Depot. This price includes installation.

***GRAND TOTAL: $17,500***

So thanks to purchasing a wholesale sink and faucet on eBay, buying drawer pulls in bulk, picking up deeply discounted wood flooring, taking advantage of a free kitchen designer, timing our purchases to score promotions, and negotiating with local contractors (and getting second- and third- estimates) we saved $5,500!

Savings aside, this was still a pretty hefty expense for us. But when we look at it as an investment in our home – both in its livability for us and its resale value – it’s definitely money we can already tell was well spent.