Kitchen – electrical, plumbing, insulation…

Electrical – The electrical was the final nail in “The Plan” coffin. The project sat vacant and unmoving for several weeks while Tad decided whether or not he was going to hire out the electrical. Tad had taken and passed the electrical test when he applied for the Homeowner’s Permit. I assumed we were going to do the electrical ourselves. I had taken a class a while back and can do the basics. Tad had rewired the entire house a few years ago (we had old knob and tube). Though I shouldn’t even bring that up. I still regularly am subjected to the story of Tad sweating in the attic for weeks – all those years ago. Anyway, long story short – the bid for the electrical was very expensive. We sucked it up and did it ourselves – with the advice and assistance of Joe (an electrician friend of Tad’s – he was also present for the knob and tube replacement 15ish years ago) – it was quite a bit of work but well worth the savings of about $2000.IMG_0050

This is a sketch of the new vent hood – including the electrical work needed for the hood.

Electrical Drawings


I wired all the recessed light fixtures – it took me hours and hours, but they all work!

Tad and Joe did the more complex wiring – like the box below with a 2 way switch…


Plumbing – I debated whether or not to do the plumbing myself – I had also taken a plumbing class so could sort of do some basic plumbing (a few years ago, I replaced the hot water heater and an exterior spigot). The sink remained in the same spot though the drain needed to be rerun as the slope was wrong. We also needed a new vent for the sink – even though a studor vent would have been code, we decided we wanted a vent to the outside – kind of a long story but I don’t like studor vents. The gas line for the stove needed to be changed since the stove location changed in the new kitchen layout. I ended up hiring a plumber to do the work – because of the permit and it was a bit out of my comfort zone with the gas line and new vent. I had budgeted for plumbing but it ended up being about twice what I expected – about $2000 (and this was a bargain – one of the other bids was $8000!!!). This brings me to Lesson #2.

Lesson #2 – It always costs more than you think. We all hear this and I know this from previous experience. For some reason (again), I still had hoped that this project would stay on budget…it didn’t.


Insulation – Insulation is definitely a DIY project in my opinion. It takes time but it doesn’t require any special skill for the most part. We did foam insulation on the outside wall – insulation on this wall was not required (it is a double brick wall) but Tad is a bit obsessed with heat conservation – so foam insulation it was.  We saved $400 by doing it ourselves – and it was kind of fun!


We also replaced the ceiling/attic insulation with cotton batting (recycled blue jean scraps) – this stuff is great – not itchy and you get better R value per inch than the fiberglass insulation – and it is a pretty blue color. We also added insulation to the wall between the kitchen and the bedroom for sound dampening purposes (again – not required, but Tad also has a bit of an obsession with minimizing/eliminating noise). The cotton insulation is a bit more expensive than the fiberglass insulation but we saved about $250 in labor by doing it ourselves.


The stuff behind the walls is finally finished  – yeah!