Monday, May 20, 2013

So Long, 1986 Kitchen

When we moved into this house, the kitchen was mostly functional, but ugly.  Our house was built in 1986, and the kitchen showed everything that the 80s had to offer by way of style.  Grainy oak cabinets, heavy hardware, beige laminate countertops, a white tile backsplash with little flowers painted on, and a weird tiny eat-in area that had been converted to a useless tile countertop that was impossible to keep clean.

In the three years that we have lived here, I complained about the ugliness of the kitchen approximately 8,888,888,888,888 times.  We discussed several iterations of this renovation ranging from taking down load-bearing walls, reconfiguring the layout, and gutting everything to just getting new cabinet hardware.  This winter, when we had a few months without too many commitments, we tackled the renovation.  Obviously, by we I mean that Jon did the bulk of the work, I complained about how many times I had to clean tile dust off the spatulas and Colin did everything he could to climb into the cabinets and followed our contractor around giving him about a foot of space. 

It started on President's Day weekend, ended on Mother's Day (I was fully expecting it to be an anniversary present... in July), and was worth every second (and penny).  We did as much work as we could ourselves because we wanted to and it's the most cost effective.  We were lucky our contractor, CJW Home Improvement (major recommendations!), was willing to work with us while we muddled along and called him in to do all the complicated parts.  In a (large) nutshell, the steps were as follows:

- Empty the cabinets, remove the doors, sand, degloss, prime and paint.
- Get a new refrigerator.  Realize that the new fridge won't fit under the cabinet above it.  Move the cabinet.  
- Sand, degloss, prime and paint cabinet doors.  2-3 coats of paint on both sides with 24 hours drying time, this took the longest.  Many a night we spent in the basement. 
- Remove weird tile counter in tiny eat-in area.  Discover that it was designed and installed to last forever.  Glue, cement, nails, stripped screws covered with wood filler.  They had it all.  

- Take down old tile backsplash.  Have fun using a chisel and use this as an opportunity to get out any aggression.  Completely destroy the drywall. 
- Get new cabinets, assemble, sand, prime and paint.
- Contractor sees sketchy electrical behind our now-destroyed drywall, so we end up adding a couple outlets and thanking our stars we didn't have a fire.  
- Contractor puts in new heating blower and air conditioning ducts and removes old scary baseboard.
- Contractor installs new cabinets, which requires him to cut the floor tile, thus creating a noise and a mess I'd never imagined before.
- Order granite counters.  Look at hundreds of slabs of granite in huge warehouses.
- Granite guy comes to make the template and tells us we need to have the old counters removed.
- Contractor removes the old counters and the sink.  Things look bleak when I'm washing dishes in the bathroom sink.

- Jon goes away for a bachelor party and I flee to my parents house where they have counters and a sink. 
- Granite gets installed.  It's so pretty.

- Contractor installs the sink.  It's large enough to swim in. 
- We spend several weeks agonizing over the backsplash.  Samples are purchased, propped up, and stared at.  We finally pick one.
- Home stretch.  Contractor installs backsplash, ties up loose ends, and grouts.  We're so close.
- Repaint the walls and call it done.
- And by done, we mean that now we need to replace the windows because the wood trim looks bad, and we're repainting the dining room.  But, DONE!
-Oh, and I love it! More counter and cabinet space than I know what to do with!


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