Kitchen Progress, Part 1

Let’s check in on the kitchen.

We have been living without a kitchen for 79 days. The absence of a kitchen sink is, decidedly, the most difficult part of the renovation for us. Our diet lately consists of premade soups and sandwiches from the Yes Organic down the street along with so much happy hour food. My skin and waistline have looked better. We love to cook, so no kitchen has been an additional drag on our psyche. But we passed our first inspections last week (!!!), and now we have drywall up (!!!!!) and the light at the end of the tunnel is distracting me from the fact that we are still kitchen-less.




(For some reason it looks kind of okay in these pics. I blame natural lighting. I assure you, it was bad)

So what have last 79 days entailed? Well, the guys demoed our old kitchen a couple days after starting work. We planned to gut the kitchen and remodel when we bought the house. It was not in great shape and we were really excited to design a space for us. The old cabinets were probably put in sometime in the 1950’s. The shelves were uneven and falling down and the walls behind the cabinets were all kinds of a mess. Most of our appliances had serious problems (our inspector taught us how to shoot water through the sink drain just by running the dishwasher!). The only thing we didn’t get rid of is the fridge, which is currently located in our living room along with a million random things covered in plastic. We bought a new counter depth fridge to replace the enormous current fridge, but that will be delivered in two weeks. We are going to see about selling the current fridge on the cheap on craigslist.

(Side note: Can I gush about the delivery guys at Lowes for a second? They have an awesome policy that allows me to continually reschedule my delivery date because we are so far behind on our construction. The Lowes guy calls about a day before the scheduled delivery, but if you are in a crazy panic because your house if full of other appliances in boxes and there is literally no space for anything else, they are super chill and just ask for a different delivery date. I’ve rescheduled five times, and they are so cool about it. Not like Home Depot. Just saying.)



Back to demo. Our construction guys gutted everything then demoed the wall between the kitchen and the living room. I am generally not a huge fan of entirely open concept first floors, which are super trendy with flips in DC right now (just a preference–no shade), but I really love having the kitchen open to a little bit of entertaining space. We cook a lot, so being about to hang out with friends or family while we cook is a big deal. Anyway, the guys took down the walls and it really opened up the space. And it sprinkled out entire house with 100+ year old plaster dust. I completely expected the dust, but until you experience it, you just don’t know.


(RIP walls)


(Plastic, plastic, everywhere)


Our floors were so gross. When we moved in, the flooring was some sort of vinyl wood. Under that was about three layers of laminate flooring on top of the original hardwood floors. The hardwood was beyond repair, so the guys had to take everything out. And, surprise! We found out we did do not have any subflooring in our house. At the time I was like “Oh?” But I had no idea what subflooring was. I now know it is a layer of floor below the nice hardwood floor. A lot of older houses have planks that run horizontally below the hardwood, but newer houses tend to have plywood subflooring. It’s basically to help us not fall through the floors. Our guys laid down plywood for our subflooring. We had contracted for the labor, if we needed it, and the material was only about $250, so not terrible. We are going to lay new hardwood on top of the subflooring, but that day has not yet come.




(EEEEERRRRR! So awful!)


(Okay, last one. Look at that sweet subfloor!)

Once the guys took care of the floors, they framed everything out. We left a little space framed out for our fridge so we could push it all the way back into the wall and, hopefully, not cover so much of our window (you can see it better in the drywall photos). I got the idea from a blog, and it is genius if you hate giant refrigerators jutting into the kitchen. We ended up buying a pretty condensed counter depth fridge (this one), so we might not need all the framed-out space, but it’s there if we do.



(Ready for a peninsula)


The electrical and plumbing work took a long-A time to do. I’m not sure why. I think the “trades” are just a different beast in terms of scheduling because those extra skilled guys are in high demand. We had our rough-in inspection last week (deserves its own post) and we passed with flying colors. The guys spent the rest of that day putting in the insulation, and we passed our insulation inspection the following day. So happy about that!



Once the inspection was finished, the guys flew with the drywall. They had it up in the basement and the kitchen within two days. Now they are taping and mudding all the seams. Our contractor told us the tapping, mudding, and sanding would take about a week. He offered that information out of the blue about three times. I’m pretty sure we are those annoying clients that bug him about everything all the time and he wanted to set our expectations. He’s learning.


(Boxes on boxes on boxes of IKEA)

Our cabinets and most of our appliances are patiently waiting in boxes in our living room. We knew we were going with IKEA cabinets from the beginning, because 1) we love IKEA, 2) they look sweet, and 3) anyone who complains that they are made of particleboard is buying into the cabinet-industrial-complex. We toyed with the idea of semihandmade fronts, because Queen Sarah inspires us all, but we decided some of that cash was better spent in other places. We can always upgrade and swap out the fronts later if we think it is worth it.

I’m sure I will post a recap of our IKEA kitchen experience, because there is so much to say. But that is for later.

So then. We will wake up tomorrow, on day 80 with no kitchen, and we will chug along. In the meantime, tonight is a good night for a Taco Tuesday happy hour.

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