Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Kitchen: 1

Sometime back in October of 2015, we began a total renovation of our large kitchen.

I could share 'before' photos but I won't. Before photos would show a disheveled and sagging kitchen last renovated in the 50s or 60s. When we got the house we knew it needed a complete overhaul but it had to get in line. We've been using the kitchen as it was, plugging away at the rest of the house–moving from crisis to crisis. Then, the kitchen cut in line. It fell apart all at once, crying for attention. The taped-together floor and broken tile was the least of our problem. There were leaks, and the oven gave up. We'd been making do for over three years. It was time. 

We started talking kitchen. The renovation had been so far off in our minds that we hadn't given it much thought. I guess we'd just take everything out and put new stuff in? I have never replaced a kitchen.  Luckily, we thought about it long enough to realize that was not what we wanted.

I packed everything nonessential in boxes, and we began to remove cabinets, the broken stove, walls and ceiling on one side of the room. Karl had hung plastic sheeting down the center so the dust would stay out of our new makeshift kitchenette- we called it the 'play kitchen'. It was quite sophisticated for an interim kitchen, I must say. There was a plumbed mud sink, and plywood box enclosing the dishwasher and serving as a counter, our dining table as a counter with shelves, the fridge, and our cutting table with a camp stove. I set up two crock pots and a toaster oven as well. One could barely move between the tables and counters, but it was a kitchen. In this configuration we were demoing the (old) kitchen area while inhabiting the (old) dining space as our play kitchen. This seemed the best way to proceed, and it was lucky too. Using the dining area as our kitchen, cramped though it was, is what pressed us to change our design.

I wish I could share a 3d representation of the room that is our kitchen. Below is a drawing of our new plan, the new design. Before, the dining table was on the right (vertically) while the stove, sink, and counters were along the left top wall. We thought we'd just replace the counters and cabinets, leaving the design alone. But once we'd had a taste of the switcharoo we knew we had to fix things.
The new layout.

We started measuring and planning. We moved the kitchen–in our plans–towards the center of the house. We put french doors out to the backyard, something we couldn't have done with the old layout. Large windows around the dining table. We made the dining room it's own beautiful thing, opening out to the play structure and garden. It's still open to the kitchen, but it has a pleasant locale that the old table never had.

We created a kitchen layout in the old dining space, extending a bit towards the dining area where we had the width. (See above, the lower wall, where the refrigerator  and pantry cabinets are.)  The drawing doesn't accurately depict the bottom left corner, where there are three doors leading into the kitchen. Once to the hall, the other to the upstairs, and the third to the rest of the main floor. This new kitchen was now the center of the home, as it should be.

Later, we'd find it was also the original kitchen in the house. The old wood-burning cookstove even had its own chimney, which Karl is using to vent the range hood.

We finished the new dining area, 'left', first. Then we moved our play kitchen over there, rehung the plastic, and started on the 'right' side. As I write the walls in there are open to the chimney, the ceiling to the attic. We aren't nearly finished, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. This is the final leg.

I'll write more about the kitchen. For now, here are some photos from demolition.

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