SERENICA: Demolition / by Rebecca Tillett

Oh, friends. We've only started on this journey and what a ride. Mike and I have started the demolishing leg of the tour which has involved amputating the hideous bowl-like chair to the immediate right of the entrance, seen here (because that's where my future desk will go should everything go according to plan), ripping out the "living room" carpet (aside from up front in the cockpit; we're leaving the carpet up there), trashing what was left in the cabinets by the previous owners (their gracious offer to let us keep anything they left inside it became quickly apparent we were only in for more dumpster stops), removing the cabinet doors and their accompanying horrendous decorative glass insets (fun fact, that decorative glass, seen here, was actually built into the cabinet frames which means they can't be removed without either cutting into the cabinet door frame or shattering it out; more on this below), and taking out the wood flooring in the kitchen (every single piece is glued down so tremendously that Mike spent at least 4-5 hours with a crowbar last weekend and what you see in the photos below is all he was able to get out, but don't worry, we've acquired some hopefully better tools for the job). We've decided to leave in the bathroom tile for now but we still need to finish removing the kitchen floor as well as the carpet in the bedroom.

Unfortunately, I didn't get any great pictures of the decorative cabinet door inset glass, or the lovely, tedious and fruitless journey to Home Depot, Lowe's, Ace, random Denver woodworking shop/store in the hopes that someone more capable would have a wonderful solution to solve the problem of removing it, or the realization and act of scraping every last piece of the decorative junk from the glass with razorblades. We were actually pretty successful with that so that crap is now gone. Unfortunately, we're now left with mirrors, which isn't the worst thing in the world (we've decided, after trying to also scrape off the mirror backing with little luck, as you can see in one of the photos below - that one might just have to be shattered because I'm not sure it can be saved; isn't it funny what you decide is okay to keep after realizing what you wanna do is either impossible or would require so much work than would be worth it?) but we were wanting frosted glass in those doors. So we bought frosted sheet film and we're going to try adhering to the mirrors and see how that looks. For the remaining openings in the cabinets (which before contained this hideous blue felt (which can also be seen here to each side of the cabinet door) we'll be using decorative perforated aluminum sheets. We haven't yet picked out what those will look like exactly but from the research I've done, there aren't a ton of options in that regard anyway. M-D Hobby & Craft seems to have a corner on the market and they don't have a ton of options, but we do really like this one.

In more exciting news, we've begun removing all hardware and sanding the lower kitchen cabinets and have settled on a stain for those, which can be seen below. In the 3 cabinet/drawer doors Mike's holding, the one on the left is the original finish, the one in the middle is after sanding, and the one on the right is the color we've chosen for the stain. It's a darker gray stain that still allows for some of the natural brown of the wood to show through. We've loosely decided on the paint color for the rest of the cabinets throughout (an off-white of some kind) and have several options we need to choose from for the wall paint (which we'll be putting right on top of the wallpaper).

We've also selected and purchased the kitchen backsplash, the new flooring, and a gorgeous light (which is much more dramatic in person) we'll be hanging over the kitchen table.

Much of what we've purchased thus far is either from Amazon or Home Depot but this project has quickly led to the unfortunate realization that moving forward, Home Depot will be a last resort due largely to the fact that it's populated with idiot employees who can never help us or answer our questions. Seriously, we've learned to count on the fact that anytime we're there and need to ask for help, whomever we're asking will conjure a blank or confused stare followed by "Uhhh, let's go ask so-and-so," or "I dunno. Lemme look at our website" as they pull out their smartphone and search while we stand there with somewhat annoyed and impatient expressions that I'm hoping properly conveys our "Really, dude??" attitudes. Fortunately for us, our RV storage facility is located right between a Home Depot AND a Lowe's (like seriously, each one only blocks away) and the customer experience at Lowe's is WOW especially compared to it's horrible horrible counterpart and competition. I was actually so flabbergasted by the difference in service I recently sent this feedback to Home Depot (I also copied and pasted and sent to Lowe's, just to let them know how shitty their competition is and how much we've appreciated the stark difference in service):

My boyfriend and I have recently begun renovating the interior of an old RV. Naturally, many supplies have been needed so we've been shopping your stores much more often lately than normal. We've now visited 3 different stores here in Denver on numerous occasions and have always needed help locating something. Without fail, every single person we ask for help (after spending what feels like hours just trying to track someone down) has no idea how to help us. Questions like, "Do you carry aluminum sheeting?" and "Where can we find cabinet pulls?" and "Do you guys offer glass cutting services?" have all been met with shrugs, apathetic I-don't-knows, and/or finger points in general store directions with little accompanying confidence. Even more embarrassing is when a store employee pulls out their smartphone to check your website, something we could have done, to see if something we're asking for is available. It's made every visit to a Home Depot a struggle we'd rather avoid. So we recently stepped inside a Lowe's looking for something we couldn't find at one of your stores and were understandably shocked that we were greeted and asked if we could be helped not 10 seconds after entering. And not only that? Employees are everywhere, easy to find, and always stop us to make sure we're finding everything ok. The best part? When we ask where something is? They know. It's almost as if they've been trained or something. Crazy! We now shop at Lowes almost exclusively and have begun referring to Home Depot as "the Wal-Mart of Home Improvement stores." Do better. You're losing business.

And finally, not demo/reno related, but I stumbled across this link today and I think we'll be using this pre-planned route or the algorithm (to create our own) when it's finally time to take this beast out on the road. Maybe I'm getting ahead of myself but hey, that is the ultimate goal, isn't it??

Randy Olson: Lower 48 Roadtrip
Randy Olson: Lower 48 Roadtrip

Anyway, that's it for updates as of now but we're working on this thing every weekend and nearly every evening (I need to be better at photo-taking for this blog's sake) so many more updates to come.

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