Jumping in the Kitchen Headfirst

As name implies – there’s no going back. We’re kitchen committed now. Mike… my poor guy. He’s going to need a serious break after all this.

Let’s roll the clock back to Saturday AM. My monumental task of the day is a mission of epic proportions. The entire kitchen needs to be emptied. The contents of the entire kitchen cannot be in the kitchen. Dangerous, sharp, and spillable/breakable items cannot be within the reach of our 2.9 year old. The entire house needs to be meticulously cleaned. The entire kitchen needs to be meticulously cleaned. Why? Well, here’s a portion of the big kitchen secret. It’s all being filmed.

I can’t divulge more then that at this time, but, very HGTV-like, we needed to prepare a proper “before” shot. Clean, clutter free, but still appearing as though someone really truly uses this kitchen. (Can’t clean the counters completely, can’t remove pictures from the wall or plants from the window sill.)

It took the entire day. Literally, the entire day, to do this. First, I cleaned areas not the kitchen. Bathroom, mudroom, living room. Did the dishes. Did the laundry. Made a quiche. Started marinating a pulled pork to put in the crock pot Sunday AM. (Preparing for a difficult-to-cook situation. Can you tell I’m an old pro at this??!)

Once that was accomplished, it was on to the kitchen. I started with the clutter. The stuff on the fridge, off. The pens/pencils, vitamins, and other junk on the counter, off. Then, time for the cabinets. I took a deep breath and went through them one by one, stuffing stuff wherever stuff could be stuffed. I threw out some things. I brought some other things to the basement for storage. Discovered I had at least 10 Coors Light cooler bags. (No new cooler bags this summer!) And slowly, all the cabinets were emptied.

There’s stuff on the piano. There’s stuff under the piano.There’s stuff on the wall of the mudroom where I removed Mikey’s easel and our shoes. The glasses and tupperware are in the laundry basket, in the laundry closet.

There’s stuff on top of the kegerator. 

There’s stuff on the living room shelf thing – and on top of it.

There’s stuff on top of the entertainment center. Plates and bowls are in one end table. Pans are under the couch.  

There’s stuff in and on the bar.

There’s fondue pots in the hallway. I felt like some sort of super-organized hoarder. Stuff, stuff, and more stuff everywhere. And yet the house was still clean.

I discovered the original yard sale price tag from when we purchased our current cabinets. $200 for the whole set w/sink. We didn’t take the sink. Either that or we took it and threw it out.

Without much time to reminisce, I continued on. Once the kitchen had been emptied, it had to be cleaned. I was exhausted, but cleaned and tidied what I could before calling it a night… because that’s what it was at that point. Night.

Sunday morning, we were all up early. After breakfast, Mike got out the buffer (yes, an automotive buffer) and cleaned the stove and all our stainless steel. (Refrigerator, stove, and dishwasher.) And if you think cleaning your stove with a buffer is crazy… well, you should see what an awesome job it does. Just put a little glass cooktop cleaner on there and have at it. (Make sure you’ve wiped the surface free of all crumbs, etc first – else you could scratch your cooktop.) Meanwhile, I tidied up more, cleaned more, vacuumed, and swiffered. 

In a groundbreaking first-time-ever event, we were finished before the film crew arrived. (Usually never finished on start time – whether it’s a party or any event.) Then, for the next hour or so we did all our “befores” and even took down a few cabinets for show. It all went surprisingly smoothly and the crew was out and on their way on time, leaving us to do the rest on our own.

Everything went very well at first. The tops all came down no probs. There was a little mildew on the upper wall by the stove. Ok. No sign for alarm yet. The bottom on one side of the stove, no probs. Sink – pain in the butt, but not really a problem. After everything was disconnected, it wouldn’t come out. We had to use a sazall to cut the countertop around it off. Dishwasher unhooked with no problem. Shelf demo was fun and exciting.

Then we got to the rest of the cabinets on the back wall, on the left side of the stove. Problem. The cabinet right next to the stove pretty much fell apart as it was taken out. As in, all the sides collapsed. Why? Water damage. Behind the damaged cabinet, more bad news. Moist and spongy drywall. (Three words you never want to hear together in the same sentence.) Behind the moist and spongy drywall, yucky insulation. More bad news. Prognosis: the ceiling is leaking down the wall. How do we know? We can see the trail of cracked paint on the ceiling and now moist & spongy drywall, yucky insulation, and a damaged cabinet on the wall. Treatment: immediate removal of grossness and immediate emergency roofing.

Cracks in ceiling paint - mildew on upper part of wall

Potion of no drywall = bad. See that blackness on the insulation?

First, of course, we finished removing the cabinets and countertop and hauled them all away. Then, we ripped out the entire kitchen back wall. Drywall and insulation. Mike examined the sill and the studs for water damage and luckily, everything looked good. He spent the rest of the afternoon on wiring, since the new layout moves the stove over and incorporates a microwave on top. (A couple outlets needed to be moved… and we had an extra wire in there already, having planned for possible future stove-vent wiring. Smart, huh?) I spent the rest of my afternoon doing what else – cleaning up.

Hope future generations appreciate my insanity

So, changes in the wiring + no outlets in stock = no stove. Smart again with the dinner in the crock pot! The refridge is of course on its own breaker, no problems there. We did however have insulation in stock, extra from the basement bathroom. Most of that went up Sunday night before we called it quits.

We also put a call into our roofer/builder, Timmy. He did our entire other roof – everything but the kitchen, which we held off on at that time. He also did much of the finish work on our farmer’s porch. And let me say, he’s a great resource for questions or advice in either of those fields. Bruins fan – great guy. Another asset to the neighborhood. Anyhoo, Mike briefed him on the situation and they agreed that a rubber roof was the only way to go on a poorly sloped roof like our kitchen’s. Problem – you can’t rubber roof in temps under 50 degrees. But, and this is good prep for a new rubber roof anyway, he advised us to ice & water the entire thing. That should hold us off until spring.

Now, it’s the end of Sunday night. There’s stuff everywhere. There’s tools and building materials everywhere. The stove is off. The drywall is down and insulation is up. The truck is full of demo. In prep for the new kitchen, we had not planned on replacing any drywall. We had only planned for fixing cracks along the adjacent wall and re-painting. (No paint behind old cabinets.) We had certainly not planned on a new roof! The wiring, we knew about, and that was relatively easy. There are two pipes for the upstairs heat that need to be re-routed that we had forgotten about. Kitchen sink plumbing can come after the fact, thank god.

And the new cabinets are coming – this Thursday! Gulp. Everything must be completed by this weekend.


Reuben Collins said...

cool project! Can't wait to see it when it's done.

Question, though: How come your sink drains don't have any p-traps? Are you going to be adding them as part of this project?

Anonymous said...

The kitchen countertops is one of the most favorite areas of the house by the household members and even visiting friends and relatives. The materials used to put up a kitchen must be of good quality given the fact that it is the most used room in the house.

kitrainia said...

Believe it or not, the traps are down in the basement. Weird setup. We'll be fixing that mess when our first mess is taken care of! =)