The transformation of a kitchen

Oh people, wait till you see where I get to cook for my family and friends!

As many of you know, when we returned from Africa at the beginning of December our house had flooded and we had to move out. The major repairs that followed prompted us to finally do the kitchen remodel we’d been putting off for two years. Although it seemed a crazy time to be under construction, that’s how life goes sometimes and we decided to make the most of it and start the project while the repairs were going on.

The living room went from looking like this:

To this in a matter of weeks:

In that last photo the floors, which were cupped from the moisture in the wood, had been sanded down to dry completely before refinishing. Today the floors and trim are done and the room is painted and looking beautiful again.

To begin the kitchen remodel we invited our local Habitat for Humanity store (the ReStore) to take everything in the kitchen for resale at their store. I just heard from them yesterday that they’ve sold everything but the fridge and made a couple thousand dollars for Habitat for Humanity. Win-win because they came and dismantled everything carefully and took it away! If you are planning a major project like this, consider donating your old cabinets and appliances to the ReStore or your local Habitat for Humanity!

Here’s what the kitchen looked like when they came to dismantle:

We had it all: Dropped ceiling with florescent lighting, gold formica, busy tile work, an electric range, matching yellow/gold fridge, sink and dishwasher. The linoleum floor was in a yellow/gold pattern as well. We even had a built-into-the-wall electric can opener. And for the size of our house, the kitchen was a tiny place where one could get easily trapped.

I sound ungrateful, but honestly, I’ve cooked in that kitchen for lots of people I love for over two years and it worked just fine. Oh my, though, was I happy to see those cabinets and appliances go! Here’s a progression of what happened next:

Once we got all the demo done we were able to bring in an electrician to rewire everything and carpenters to adjust wall openings for our updated layout.

After rough-in electrical comes insulation. Our house, built in 1901, had a lot of blown-in insulation in the walls. What a mess! So we had to put new insulation in everywhere the old stuff was pulled out to make way for electrical and plumbing.

Drywall is the step that starts to make everything look like it’s going to be ok after all. It’s the skin that covers up all the guts not meant for public view.

Next comes mudding and taping. I tell you these guys are artists! Their prep work makes the finished walls look fantastic.

When the mudding and taping was done and sanded smooth, on went the primer and a coat of paint.

Next the hardwood for the floor were installed…now it starts to get a little cleaner!

That funky vertical thing on the wall in so many of these photos is an ancient brick chimney that goes from the basement to the roof of our home and adds structure to all three floors. We couldn’t remove it without major implications. Unfortunately it’s in a most inconvenient position, but our cabinet guys are outstanding and they made it look great.

….which I will show you in the next installment! Finished floor, cabinets in and countertops installed coming very soon!


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