On Labor Day of 2005, I had a few days off work and decided to completely gut the kitchen. There was no plan or anything; I just knew I didn't like my kitchen. I did all sorts of crazy things, like trying to pour concrete countertops, and that didn't work, so I called a friend in the industry and we put in granite countertops. The kitchen cabinetry was easy for me; it was the electrical and wiring that was hard. I have no formal construction training, but somehow I figured it out. That project led to building a garage, which I designed myself. All in all it was pretty easy, but time-consuming. Really time-consuming. Make sure you have a lot of willing friends, and you should triple your estimate of time and money. Money is the reason I am doing the labor myself. I would much prefer to delegate. I like to come up with concept and design and then delegate it, but it's just too expensive. [laughs]
The outdoor kitchen has hot and cold running water, a refrigerator, microwave, grill and misters on the pergola. You turn a valve and real fine mist comes off, like outdoor air conditioning. The screen porch has a ceiling fan, recessed lighting and a flat-screen TV, and stereo speakers. When I bought the place two years ago, I was cleaning up the yard. The former owner had concrete trim pieces around the yard, and they were ugly, so I pulled them all out. So I thought, why not just build the patio with that, and extend the deck.
I really love to cook and entertain. There's nothing better than having friends over for a good meal and a few glasses of wine. My goal was to have this all done by July 4, but I missed that. I have my fingers crossed for mid-August that's when the entertaining starts.