General, life, Personal

House Crazy-Land

As I mentioned in my previous post, we’re in the midst of a major remodeling phase. There are a lot of things to fix in this house, but one of the biggest was the kitchen. I’m going to post photos, but the truth is that you just cannot comprehend how poorly this kitchen was laid out unless you stood in it. Once people came over and saw for themselves, they all said “This is crazy!”

I KNOW!!! It is totally bizarre! Here are pictures of the old kitchen:

Standing in the “eating area”, which by the way – they didn’t believe in overhead lighting anywhere in the house but those little recessed lights you see here. So, no light over their kitchen table, or any bedrooms, or the dining room, etc.

The house has some strange features, one of which is different flooring all over the place. This area has SOFT pine, so it’s dents and scratches galore here. This strange peninsula blocks everything (you can see Lily hanging in the walkway, completing the traffic blockade, which is super helpful.) They also put the walkways through working areas, as you can see from where the refrigerator is at and the doorway.

The oven is TINY, like a normal cookie sheet doesn’t fit. Also, it has dials which freaked my son out (HOW are you supposed to USE this thing?! You know what temp it is at with a temperature gauge that you put inside it.) I think this couple must have really liked the late 1970’s to early 1980’s and built a house that embraced that even though it was the mid 1990’s when they built.

The previous owners also stuck an island with a sink right in front of the doorway to outside. I have NO idea what they were thinking, it’s completely bizarre and people have to walk in wonky figure-eights around this stupid set-up:

Sink island in the center, blocking the doorway and traffic. Oven also opens up into the open doorway, so you have to be careful about incoming or outgoing traffic and the hot oven.

Also, I know the cabinets look fine, but they’re REALLY NOT. They’re painted with an oil based paint that has gone sticky and rubs off on you if you touch it. It’s like green greasy ick now, and they’re a lot rougher than they look. However, some friends of ours took ALL of them and they’re going to rework them for their own kitchen. This is awesome, because I don’t want to just create more trash for the dump. They took the appliances too, for their son who needed them – so, YAY for reuse!

Built across the walkway is the refrigerator and a closet-pantry and utility closet.
Looking from the walkway at the window in the kitchen eating area (see? No lights over where a table went.) Excellent window, though!

Given the crazy layout of the kitchen, a normal replacement type of remodel wasn’t going to happen. Those drop-soffit things over the cabinets needed to come out, exterior doors and windows needed to be moved, etc. This is beyond my husband and my skill level. I mean, I think we could do it, but it would probably take the better part of a year, and I’m not too sure how great it would look either. Plus, who knew what we would find behind the walls? Just, no.

So, we actually hired a contractor. This is hard to do when you’re used to being pretty handy. There’s ego involved, I guess (and it’s not cheap, which is hard to face, too.) We went to Lowe’s and were going to have them do all of this, but it got a little hinky and Lowe’s was getting out of the contracting business altogether and just switching to the rip-out and replace model like Home Depot does. So, we missed that option but ended up going with the contractor we were going to be assigned through Lowe’s anyway.

People, this contractor is awesome! I think we were super lucky to get him, to be honest. I don’t think I would have found him if it hadn’t been for the Lowe’s situation.

Because of the huge changes required, it was a complete tear-out of the kitchen – all the way to the studs:

They were still ripping out the floor at this point, but this was the end of day ONE. Isn’t that amazing? Walls/closets/pantry knocked out and everything.

Oh, side note; that floor was glued, nailed and screwed down. Overkill, much? NO saving that for anything, sheesh! It was just splinters afterward, and also ripped up chunks of the subfloor, which wasn’t great.

Now, a huge part of this is trying to create a workable kitchen space. The previous owners had something set up that was shaped like the number 6, and most kitchens should be an “L” with a triangle of some sort. That means that we needed a wall back instead of that door in the middle of things. You can see the door and the window in their old places up above in the before pictures. Now, you can see that we have a new window where the sliding door was, and a sliding door where the big window used to be:

That big window that used to be there? Well, we wanted to reuse it on the opposite side of the kitchen to bring in more light. So that meant cutting a big hole in the side of the house:

Hole for the old window to go in. On the far left you can see plywood, that was where a second front exterior door was that went into the mudroom. No idea why they did that, it’s another completely bizarre thing.

The little side window there on the right, that was pulled out and reused by putting it where a useless door was on the left (which is in the mudroom. Only a little being changed in there, but it’s part of this remodel too.) So, here you can see the old big window installed in its new spot across the way, and the small window moved to the mudroom just beyond it to plug up the old door, and a wall where the small window used to be:

New window locations, also the doorway to the mudroom shifted all the way to the left, instead of jutting out around that pantry/utility closet that was there before.

They’ve worked for 2 1/2 weeks (1/2, because of the holiday) and this is where things are as of Sunday night:

This is the same viewpoint as the second picture in my post from the before shots. Quite a difference, yeah?
Butler’s pantry area, the kitchen table will go between this and the island. WITH an overhead light.
This is the floor tile we found, and I LOVE it!

We’re going with a light gray on the walls. The backsplash is a reclaimed wood-look tile, but that goes in very last, apparently. Tomorrow, the contractors are back to continue working, and we have an appointment to go figure out our countertops (we’re looking at fantasy brown – if you google that, you will see slabs come up with the type of stone. It’s so pretty! It might be too busy for our kitchen though… we will see.) The countertops will be what causes the most delay now. I likely won’t have a workable kitchen until early August.

Now, you would think that with other people doing the work that I would have plenty of time to get my own work done. Well, that’s just not been the case. Between needing to be available to answer questions, to hunting down the cheapest this or that (for example, Lowe’s wanted more than TWICE what I paid for that exact same tile from a different supplier), to having to look at things like cabinet knobs (seriously, this should be easy – WHY is this not easy?!) And then just family management stuff, well. Yeah. No time.

We’re also living like broke college students without a kitchen. In the guest bedroom, I have a college mini-fridge and a college mini-microwave. We’re using paper plates and plastic spoons, and washing certain dishes in the bathroom sink. This was like camping the first few days, and now it’s just depressing. Also, no washer or dryer. Things are getting dire over here (hoping that comes back tomorrow night!)

We’re also getting ready to start in on our own projects too. This includes tearing out more floors and trim, painting, and maybe even some stone work around the fireplace. I can totally pull off stone work… right? (Yeah, we’re doing a lot of research right now. Anyone work with Norstone before?) Oh, and we also discovered some basement flooding over the last storms, so we’ve been dealing with that too. Just, ARGH!

I am lost in house-crazy-land.

My hope is that by Christmas this house looks completely different and feels like our house. That’s the goal! Will everything be done then? No. But a lot will! Next year is supposed to be the year of the outside of the house, fixing the deck and things like that, but I have a feeling it’ll be indoors part 2. There’s just way too much stuff going on.

I am trying to bring some order back into my life, however. My husband and I have started exercising again, and we’re trying to work on our food (no matter how non-prep ice cream may be, it turns out that it’s not the right choice for meals during a remodel.) It’s a little hard to do without being able to do true food-prep, but we’re trying. I’m also trying to work on forcing a work schedule for myself too.

I guess I may be under a personal remodel, too. *sigh* One day at a time, right?

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5 thoughts on “House Crazy-Land”

    1. RIGHT?! It’s horrid! I have no idea what they were thinking. It’s such a strange non-flow set-up. The house is pretty cool, but the kitchen absolutely sucked.

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  1. Girl, that’s massive work; the kitchen! But your contractor (and judging from the pics) seems to work like a magician. It will all be so grand, when finished. And that should put a smile on your face. 😀

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