THE GREAT Kitchen Remodel
I think it’s a constitutional requirement in the US that every home owner, once in their lifetime, must subject themselves to a kitchen remodel while living in the house. When we bought this house back in January, we knew that the kitchen was poorly laid out, and that the appliances, were not quite what we wanted. The range-top took up half the small island, and took a good twenty to thirty minutes to boil a pot of water. It had no medium setting, which made it impossible to fry the perfect egg. The dishwasher was falling apart, and the temperature in the oven, was inconsistent at best. It was impossible to have two people in the gap between the island an the oven at the same time, and you couldn’t get past the dishwasher door if it was open.
Admittedly, these are all first-world problems, but they were serious enough for us (especially my wife, who loves to bake), that we agreed when we bought the place, that we would undertake the renovations in the first year. In our last house, we waited to fix the various issues until just before we sold the place. We never got to enjoy the features we added. That seemed a bit backwards.
So in late September, we started the process of removing everything from the kitchen, dining room and living room. The upstairs bonus room was filled with boxes and the kitchen table, the spare bedroom with kitchen items, and my office (my OFFICE!) with extra bookshelves, boxes, and even the piano! We cooked meals in our laundry room on a single burner hot-plate and a microwave sitting on a cooler. We ate off paper plates with plastic utensils (sorry, Mother Earth), and set our dirty dishes, if we had any, on our dryer. Our fridge was moved into the dining room (which had to be kept fairly empty as we were replacing the floors in there as well. We ate out so much, that even the kids got tired of it.
The remodel was was supposed to be done in late October, possibly early November. Unfortunately, we had some problems with the contractor we hired (the flooring wasn’t ordered/delivered on time, the countertops were cut wrong, the communication was poor, at best). So instead of wrapping up in first week of November, we’re still not quite done yet here in the first week of December. But since we have just one cabinet that needs a needs work on the interior shelves, I figure it’s okay now to post the before-and-after photos. By the way, the old cabinets were all given away to someone who was going to use them in a rental property they were remodeling, so we saved what we could.
We love the new island. It’s big, has plenty of storage with cabinets on both sides. My wife insisted on a Wolf range, which is both beautiful and amazingly fast at boiling water, with a plethora of burner settings available for making the perfect fried egg among other things. We’ve got a new KitchenAid second oven (like I said, my wife loves to bake), a new dishwasher that washes water bottles! (the scourge of parents with kids in sports everywhere). Under the sink, we installed a compost bin that opens when you open the door for ease of scraping plates clean, and a pull-out garbage can to the right of the sink. Recycling is in the pantry to the left.
The drawers and doors are all quiet-close, so no more pinched/smashed fingers. The hardware on the doors and drawers are friendly to those of us with bad thumbs (I can’t really grip things with my thumbs due to CMT).
The hardwood floors now extend to the rest of the first floor except my office, the bathroom and the laundry room, and it looks pretty, though we have a few more echoes than we used to. That’ll go away once we add some new furniture (we’ve been holding off on that while awaiting the remodel).
Overall, remodeling wasn’t the worst experience ever, but it did add a lot of stress to our lives. We’d love to never have to do something like this again—at least not while we’re living in the house—but in the last couple of weeks we’ve discovered a water issue in our master bathroom. We need to tackle that next, and sooner rather than later. So it looks like we’ll be living in a construction site a while longer after all.