good food + awesome travel & occasional odd bits

Kitchen Renovation: Part 1

If you’ve been wondering why there hasn’t been much in the way of food posts for a while, here’s why:

There is no good place to start this. The beginning is too long ago and
the present is a bit too late. Lets start about 5 or six years ago. When
we bought our 1924 Craftsman, we were excited. The house was small yet
charming, we didn’t exactly fall in love with it but it was pretty much
what we were looking for and was comfortably within our budget.

Among the house’s many flaws, (most of which we can overlook) its most
glaring, was the kitchen. The house originally never had a formal dining
room. There was just a small square room with an eating corner, a bit of
counter space by the sink, some space for a stove and California cooler,
aka the “fridge”. Now the kitchen is located in what used to be the
backyard enclosed porch. It was a massive empty space with all the
countertops shoved up into one edge. A perfect example of poor design.

We knew we’d have to tackle it sooner or later and we knew it wouldn’t
be cheap. We talked to a few architects and realized we’d never get the
amount of money it would cost to fix it back in the end. We decided to
go “budget” and do the work ourselves.

The first item we tackled were the walls and ceilings. We ditched the
drop ceiling, replaced the florescent lights with cans, traded in the
wood paneling for drywall and closed up the massive gap above the
cabinets. Not necessarily a great success but definitely a big
improvement.

We then moved on to the countertops and new sink. The formica
countertops had to go. No matter how much you cleaned it, it always
looked dirty. These have found a new home at the city dump to make room
for marble. This work we did not do ourselves and as such its turned out
great! The original cast iron sink was not horrible, but has since been
replaced with a farmhouse fire clay sink.

This is just the beginning of the kitchen renovation which was a long time coming. Above, you’ll see our kitchen in its most current state. Believe it or not, this is quite the improvement from when we first moved into the house. Originally, it had wood paneling ALL OVER the kitchen walls. The kitchen looked like someone slapped a double-wide onto the back of the house. Not pretty. Needless to say, we lived with the 1970’s wood paneling for a good 2 years until we decided enough was enough. In the first phase of a minor fix we tore down the panels (felt so good to rip it out), put up drywall, and painted.

Fast forward to a couple years later and we’re doing more serious renovations here. See the hideous photo above? Good thing there’s no close up for you to view the counter/sink in all it’s glory. The counter top had stains, scratches, and I’m pretty sure it was rotting where the counter meets the backsplash.

So here we are with new marble counter tops and farmhouse sink in, formica backsplash out. It looks scary with the ancient electrical boxes hanging out and interior walls exposed.

See the wood panels above? Now, imagine all 4 walls of the kitchen covered with it. Uh- huh. That was not a major selling point for this house. Now you see how happy I was after we put up drywall (our first time).

Hello hardi backer board! Don’t you look good on my kitchen walls.

Even better, those fresh and clean subway tiles look amazing. I love it already.

We’ve since started on tiling the floor. This is not simple work, and
so, its another tale for another time. Stay tuned…

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