Since inventorying the parts took over an hour, we had a feeling assembling the island would take us quite some time.

matching parts to instructions

We read the instructions several times out loud at each step, because 1) our minds tended to wander during the run-on sentences; 2) we had to check to make sure we were using just the right hardware; and 3) we had to match the parts with the pictures and the words.

Ronak with front frame

Assembling the front and back frames were easy compared with what was to come.

Lisa with back frame

The famous inter-locking mechanism that took an entire extra page to explain. I forget the name of it at the moment. But we became experts in using them. (I might even add that particular skill to my resume - if I can remember the name.)

Ronak assembling the ??

Here is Ronak attaching the hardware, so we can slide the yet-to-be-assembled drawers in. 5 of them!

Ronak attaching drawer guides

Looks pretty good, doesn't it? And then we looked at the next step in the directions.

Lisa with four sides assembled

Uh-oh! We DID need those holes after all.....thankfully we own a drill.

Two areas of the house were lacking in storage space: the kitchen and the master bathroom.

For the kitchen, we decided to purchase an island that would not only give us more space for cooking utensils and pots and pans, but give us additional counter space as well.

We thought we'd like a Catskill Craftsmen island. And when we found out they were available locally at Faraday's Kitchen Store, we decided to go take a look.

Faraday's is located on 620, and it's a beautiful drive past Mansfield Dam and Lake Travis.

Everyone at Faraday's was very helpful, and we soon settled on an island with a butcher block top, 5 drawers, and a cabinet, which we were told should arrive in about a week and which we should have no trouble putting together. And if we did, they'd help us out. (We really hoped the island would arrive during the week Brian was visiting.)

Meanwhile, we looked into bathroom storage and found an online store with a variety of corner cabinets available. I tried to find a local supplier for the model we liked best, but unfortunately our only option was to order it without seeing it in person and hope for the best.

Happily, our kitchen island arrived the day that Brian also arrived in Austin. So we drove out to Faraday's Kitchen Store to pick up the 3 boxes of hardware and wooden pieces.

We brought it straight to the house, determined to put the island together that night, so when we were moving the next day, we'd have a place to put our kitchen gear away immediately.

But when we opened the three boxes, the sheer number of parts and the thickness of the manual made us reconsider. We realized that just inventorying all the parts would take over an hour. And it was already getting late, and it would be better to sleep before moving, not assemble an island. The three boxes were closed and pushed to the side for another day. (A day that didn't come during Brian's stay, much to his disappointment I'm sure.)

Inventorying did take a long time, as Ronak and I compared drawings to boards and screws and other hardware, slowly checking them off the list one by one.

wooden island parts

The boards filled our entire living room floor!

We were thankful that we'd taken a trip to Home Depot with Brian and purchased a hardware sorter. That came in very handy on this project!

Ronak sorting hardware

After Ronak sorted the hardware, we began counting all the pieces to make sure everything was included. We found we had twice as many of one screw as we were supposed to. Then we realized that we were missing another screw of the same length but a different width. Oops!

island screws

So Ronak went back to sorting again.

island parts

There were more parts than compartments, so some of the larger pieces had to remain outside the sorter.

island parts

Then, finally we were done with stage 1: sorting and inventorying. But we had discovered one part that wasn't on the list:

island parts?

We decided these, as cute as they were, resembling metallic chocolate chips, were just manufacturing waste.

We also discovered that we were missing an allen wrench and one of our boards seemed to be missing pre-drilled screw holes. (On the second page of instructions, someone had handwritten "holes not used in this project." But did we trust them?)

We'd have to find out another day, because it was too late that night to begin assembly.

On the day, we decided to start putting the cart together, our bathroom cabinet arrived, so we had a living room overflowing with parts and pieces. Sadly, while inventorying the new box, we discovered far more pieces than intended: two of the boards were broken, nails were sticking out dangerously, and another piece had been gouged by the rogue nails.

After talking to customer service and hearing their unhelpful replacement policies, we decided to send the entire thing back for a refund and find a different bathroom storage solution.

(That cabinet was the only piece of furniture I've ever ordered sight unseen over the internet, and it may very well be the last. The difference between our experience with the online company and Faraday's Kitchen Store was night and day. Faraday's employees were informative and helpful and a pleasure to work with; the online company employees were not.)

So, we re-packed the box of damaged bathroom cabinet pieces and got ready to assemble our kitchen island.

We were glad that Brian was able to see the beginning of wildflower season, while he was visiting during Spring Break.


We visited the trails by the Shops at Arbor Trails again - just like last year.


And we discovered bluebonnets...

wildflowers and a butterfly

...and paintbrushes and butterflies.

Brian and bluebonnets

And now we have a picture of Brian in the bluebonnet patch to match the photos Ronak and I took last year.

Austin skyline

On the way home, we stopped at the overlook on 360 and enjoyed a view of downtown Austin.

We closed on the house!

This house:

Lisa with house

Ronak with house

February sped by and was over before we were even aware that it was time to change the picture on the calendar. So, here's a recap to explain what we were so busy with:

February 2nd

Ronak said, "What do you want to do after lunch?"
"Want to check out those houses at Cedar Park Town Center?" I suggested.
"Sure," he said.
We went, we saw, we liked two houses that we saw, we called Stuart, our real estate agent.

February 3rd

We met Stuart at 12:30 pm. We re-toured the two homes we were the most interested in (the Chadwick and the Newhaven) Seeing the houses a second time, we realized that the Chadwick floorplan didn't have as much storage space as we would need, and we would outgrow it quickly. So we decided on the Newhaven. And then the piles of paperwork began.

February 6

We worked out the financing, signing another large pile of papers while a cardinal butted his head against the office window.

February 9

We measured the rooms of the house and took photographs.

February 15

Our first inspection.

February 17

We blue taped the entire house from top to bottom, and we realized that it's important to check the bottoms and sides of windowsills, the bottoms of walls, and doors very carefully to make sure they are all painted properly. (We also realized that crawling around on the floor with a roll of blue tape can lead to sore legs the next day.)

February 20

Inspection and first walk-through scheduled by builder.

February 21

Meeting with Shawn Nunley, our Nationwide insurance agent.

February 27

Final walk-through with builder. A few items were still not completed, so we planned to walk-through the house one last time on March 2nd, the day before closing.

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)


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