Here is why you haven't heard much from me of late. The arrogance and inflated proposal pricing of NYC contractors led me to decide that I could do this myself. So far so good. I gutted the kitchen and sent it out to the curb on the appropriate night for bulk waste collection. I have an electrician and a plumber recommended by the super so that the co-op will never say that I did the critical stuff myself. I had the super turn off the gas and I have yanked out the stove, dishwasher and kitchen sink. I have ripped out walls that covered the original walls, increasing our total square footage by approximately 15 square feet! In Manhattan, where real estate is typically $1,000 per square foot, this little increase is actually significant. We've been paying for that square footage but not using it because it was behind the walls. I chipped away a concrete subfloor over the original subfloor and this weekend we will lay a granite tile floor. I also tore down a closet and have patched the walls with Structolite followed by spackle and paint. Tomorrow, the Murphy bed, the mattress, the granite tile and the glass tile for the backsplash arrive. They better get here by 4PM because the co-op is strict about not allowing deliveries after that point. At 8:30AM, the electricians arrive to hammer-drill new channels in the masonry walls for the kitchen outlets. Oy. Then the new appliances will arrive (they haul out the old ones) and then they make the template for the granite counter tops (I got the cabinetry from IKEA and it is sitting in a stack of boxes that constitute my only furniture). Doing all this myself has saved tens of thousands of dollars and I have learned the anatomy of a New York City pre-war apartment. Valuable lesson. Meanwhile, I live on salads from the Food Emporium and I drink wine from plastic cups.