Thursday, June 16, 2011

Kitchen Renovations: the Before (...35)

It's time to take advantage of this extra time via layoff to do some major DIYing on the kitchen.  I'll leave the plumbing and electricity to the Pros but I'll get my hands filthy dirty with demolition, scraping, painting, hanging, and anything else I can do.  And, I play the part of general contractor, so there's no end to planning, re-planning, and disaster prevention work.  It's a satisfying gig and I developed some good skills on my last project, the bathroom renovation:

DIY vanity and toilet install, & kitchen faucet plumbing (shh...inspectional services wouldn't like this)

DIY door and drawers refinishing.

I ordered my appliances during a Memorial Day weekend super sale for a celebration-worthy price.  I think I settled on a sink, faucet, and garbage disposal today.  I have two $50 coupons to spend at a local lighting store.  I sold my microwave already.  And today I've been emailing with folks on craigslist who I hope to sell my old appliances and cabinets too.  Getting some cash for the old stuff will be icing on the cake.  Not only does it mean money toward me kitchen budget, it's a whole heck of a lot easier than disposing of it myself!

As I'm measuring and planning the layout I'm putting blue painters tape in areas where new items, like the kitchen island, will go.  My housemate Alex comes home to find a new odd change daily.  One day it's more blue tape, another day the island or range has been shifted around.  It helps me visualize what it would be like with a new layout.

It will be a welcome change to have a garbage disposal and dishwasher.  I can't wait to get rid of my dish drying rack and the old dishtowels under it!  Better storage will be convenient.  I'm sure I'll grow very fond of a fridge that won't require a pie pan to catch internal drips.  But I'm most excited to see how the floor will look when it's refinished.  About 5 years ago I pulled up a layer of laminate from the kitchen floor, only to discover a layer of plywood underneath.  Laboriously I pulled up thousands of tiny, thin, long staples holding the plywood down.  After that, a layer of glue was removed with hot towels and and focused scrubbing.  Finally, a real wood floor was revealed.  It's old, splotchy wood with a few splinters that show the age of this circa 1900 home.  After it's sanded and coated with polyurethane, I expect the result will be spectacular.  I'm not anticipating "new," I'm hoping for that old Irish pub type feel that has had a slight face lift.

In a home, I like the combination of old and new.  Period charm plus contemporary function makes the perfect combination.  Terence Conran is one designer geek I admire for making this combination work beautifully.  His books are stacked high in one of my cabinets.  If I could, I'd text him right now to ask what he'd suggest for a kitchen island.  I dislike the typical kitchen island made of cabinets and a counter top, but it's functional and easy and straightforward when trying to do a quick reno on a budget.  If I could I'd browse every antique market and craigslist to find a deal on a funky wood piece that could be topped with butcher block or granite remnant.  It takes a lot of time and a lot of luck to find a piece that works.  My goal with this kitchen is to improve function and looks but not make it my dream kitchen.  That's for a different house.  Some day.

Just looking at these "before" kitchen pictures makes me miss my lovely red kitchen.  Even as decrepit and dysfunctional as it is, it's a charmer.

Blue tape...not sure how wide to go with the island...

Pantry plan:  replace base, DIY upper shelves.

Great stove served made many a grande meal.
Old wood floor and ugly tile:  get out of here.

What I hope to make happen is a kitchen layout pretty close to this layout.  It was made in photoshop today.  Pretty straightforward but with huge function upgrade.  Crossing my fingers it's a good investment!

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