Kitchen Preliminaries

We lived with our old and inefficient kitchen for quite awhile before we remodeled it. Too long, we both think. There were fits and starts of taking care of some of the more offensive features: like the bathroom sink located at the far end of the kitchen…what was up with that? The window was nailed shut, and being a kitchen without air conditioning and facing west… well, it was Hell’s Kitchen before they coined the name for the show. A new window was first on the nag request list. We opted for a large Marvin casement window. Summer relief!

Winter was something entirely different in this porch-turned-kitchen area. It was drafty and freezing cold- the pipes were threaded through openings cut into the insides of the cabinets- and they tended to freeze. This place had lots of the “what not to do” list of the D-I-Y trade ….

When we finally scrambled enough money together we started the project.

The first thing was the planning… after fortifying with many issues of Kitchen Remodeling magazines and books… my part was to draw up the plan. My husband made a template of the space as it presently was and I began to draw out different ideas that we discussed and scrapped. We finally came upon a plan that involved closing off the back door, moving it to where the windows in the dining room were and moving the basement door, while concealing the bathroom door from the kitchen dining area.Whew! This is the condensed version! About the only thing that stayed the same was the new window and the sink plumbing connection below it. And it was time to fill in the cistern that was half inside and underneath the kitchen and half outside. Mosquitoes in the dead of winter, I kid you not. Funky smells, too.

Some of the challenges included the fact that previous owners had removed lots of the bearing wall- and you could see the roofline was showing results of that fiasco. We wanted a more open design then it had, so took out most of the remaining wall- we put in structural beams and supports – big, thick, specially ordered cedar. My husband totally rebuilt from the inside once we had taken out the old failing particle board walls and whatnot the ingenious former owners had slapped up. We joke now that if a tornado hits everything except this kitchen will go… the studs alone are a backbone few winds will prevail against.

We knew it was bad- we had lived with this kitchen for about seven years, but once you start tearing into the insides of the walls and floors…you get to see just how bad.

So we had a plan, we had the demolition…. next were the innumerable trips to the stores.

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Here’s A Project to Talk About: The Kitchen Re-do

I think both the Handyman and myself would agree that the most rewarding project was the Kitchen remodeling. It was more than remodeling, really, it was a complete, from the studs, changing doors, totally re-built project. But it turned out to be one that our family has most benefited from and with which we are most satisfied.

I’m happy that the DH (AKA “Handyman”…and I have to explain DH to him here…it stands for “Dear Husband”…that is right “dear” ;)- because he will ask. He isn’t really techy online, although he is very techy with the Handyman D-I-Y stuff. Anyway, as I was saying, I am glad He is here on the blog because he can tell you what this involved from his perspective.

From mine, I did the easy part: helped plan it out and did cooking and dishes out back in a storage room for the duration. Remember those days? And the house was open to the outdoors for awhile when the door was removed and the sliding doors in the dining room put in. We made lots of visits to Lowes and to the ceramic tile outlets. Lots of them. The floor choice ended up being tiles that looked liked stone with a terracotta color and glints like granite. I am very happy with it. The drawback is the fact that tile gets cold and everything breakable that drops on it will break. Shatter is more the word..into myriad teeny-tiny pieces. It is death to dishes. But easy to clean, undamaged by the wet conditions of a kitchen, and beautiful.

We used 4×4 tiles on part of the counter and above the stove- it continues as a border across the top of the formica countertop. DH isn’t sure he liked the choice of formica, but we had to cut costs somewhere. I am very happy with it- it is in a harmonizing color with the tiles and blends really well. We bought some Italian art tiles to intersperse and create interest above the stove. I love them- they fulfill my desire for something of art in the kitchen.

I’ll write more on this topic later…. after I let Handyman know about the topic and give him a chance to tell you more of the nuts and bolts of the project.

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