Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kitchen Reno: Demolition!

I have two distinct feelings whenever we're in the demo phase of a project:
  1. Excitement at taking out something we don't like/anticipation of the good stuff to come
  2. Panic at completely destroying something that was otherwise "functional"

Yeah, I have those feelings about my trashed kitchen.  I am excited about what's to come.  I have been reviewing our plans and imagining what will go into each cabinet and drawer...but I am not looking forward to the next 6+ weeks with no dishwasher, sink, or kitchen cabinets.  We bought this house way back in 2007, the kitchen has been on the to-do list that whole time.  And now we're doing it and there is no going back.

So on to demo - we are going for a total gut job.  Depending on your plans for your renovation, you may not need to go all the way down to studs, but for us it seemed to make the most sense.  
  • Plaster walls in rough shape from old wallpaper and formica paneling
  • Tons of electrical work (adding outlets, under cabinet lighting, moving switches, etc.)
  • No insulation

It just seemed like with these 3 big things, it might be best to just get the plaster out, do the work we want to do, then put fresh drywall up. 

The demo was done over 2 weekends.  And here's a few things we learned:  
  • We should have covered the washer/dryer in the basement because they got FILTHY
  • Termite damage in our home was NOT limited to the front of the house (structure was ok, just furring strips need to be replaced).
  • Previous owners adopted the "layer it on" method for flooring.  There were no fewer than FOUR layers of flooring, plus luan.  So 8 million nails.  Yeah.  

Here's a few pics of how things went...

The Beginning:

The End:

It's pretty exciting to have this clean slate.  And we're not completely done with demo - the drywall on the ceiling is coming down because we are moving the lights a bit.  But we're mostly ready to move forward.  It's pretty awesome.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Kitchen Reno: Down in the Dumps

If the first step in a kitchen renovation is planning, the second step is usually demolition.  Demo for a kitchen can vary depending on what exactly you are doing.  Maybe the cabinets are staying, maybe they're going but you're selling them or donating them, maybe they're junk but the walls are good.  In our case, it all goes.  Cabinets, walls, ceiling, floor.  So there's a good bit of debris.  And what to do with it all??

For smaller jobs, you might be able to get away with bagging it with your trash.  That would be a very small job though.

For bigger jobs you need to look at waste removal.  One good DIY, weekend warrior solution is a "Bagster".  These bags are heavy-duty bags, about the size of a full sheet of plywood (4' x 8'), and hold 3 cubic yards of stuff, according to the website.  All you need to do is hit up your local hardware store and buy a bag (about $30 here).  And then schedule a pickup when you're ready.  Pickup in our area would run about $160 making the whole Bagster process close to $200.  It's a great option for those who have just that much stuff to get rid of.

Unfortunately, one Bagster wouldn't hold it all.  So we had to go with the next size up solution - a dumpster.  We called up a local waste removal company and had a dumpster in our driveway less than 24 hours later.  On a Saturday!  It holds more than three times what a Bagster would hold for less than $400, so it's great for our total gut-job and definitely makes sense in terms of our budget.  Plus we have a chance to get rid of some things that have been hanging around:
  • Concrete footers we dug out of the yard
  • Old concrete downspout thingey (not sure what it's called)
  • Crumbling bricks that line the driveway
  • Old metal fence posts
  • Rotten boards
  • Old hardwood flooring
  • Broken trash cans
  • Random junk from the garage and basement
  • And we have the thing for another week and a half!  I'm sure we can find more stuff to eliminate.  


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kitchen Reno: Moving Out!

Now that we've taken a look at the starting point for the kitchen (it's not so hot, lemme tell ya), we need to get the ball rollin'.  Before swinging any hammers or pulling out any cabinets, there's a fair amount of prep work to be done.  I have to get real on you here - a kitchen renovation isn't pretty or fun.  It's a long, stressful, messy project, but the end result is well worth it.

To start the prep work, we moved a bunch of stuff around in our dining room to accommodate as much of our kitchen as possible.  To do this we took one cabinet to the basement, moved a side table & the dog crate to a different corner (to make room for the fridge later). We moved the dining room side board to a spot under a window (this is home to our dishes, toaster and a few other counter top items).  We then moved our butcher block "island" into the dining room (this is for the microwave and other storage).  Finally we moved our tall pantry cabinet into the dining room (this is where we keep pretty much all our food).  
Here's our setup that I shared on Instagram recently:
Now all that work took a whole weekend, a lot of cleaning, and a fair amount of sweat to get the heavy stuff shifted.  But guess what, we weren't even close to being ready to get our smash on.  

Next up was clearing cabinets.  What's really surprising is how much crap fits into a small kitchen cabinet.  I started off by boxing up all the stuff that's hardly ever used.  I'll be honest here and say that a good bit of this will never again see the light of day in my kitchen - it'll end up in a goodwill box or a yard sale.   Once the "hardly ever used" stuff was put away, then I packed up the "can get by without it for 2 months" stuff - these are things we like and things we use, but not critical items. Then we took down the "not everyday" stuff - this is stuff we use regularly and will probably need in the next 2 months, but stuff I don't need every single day.  This stuff wasn't really packed away in boxes but is downstairs and easily accessible.  

The hardest part is trying to figure out how to deal with every day stuff.  There are a few choices to make - do we want to put away all the plates, bowls, glasses and silverware and use paper products, do we want to commit to washing dishes in the bathroom sink, or some sort of combo?  
We're currently still adjusting and there are a few things that have not yet moved (fridge and a few random items), but we'll work it out as we go.
For the immediate future I will be scouring the internet for Crockpot, microwave, and grilling recipes!  

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

As they grow - progress photos :)

It was a few years back that I took the kids for a walk and the light was just so pretty and the buds on the forsythia were just blooming so I snapped a few photos.  Turns out it was one of my favorite photos that I took that spring.  And last year I decided it would be fun to recreate it (sorta) and this year we took another.

It's not an exact recreation, but it's more like just a photo in the same place at the same time of year.  A great way to see the kids grow year over year.  

It's also made me realize that that pink dress may be ready for retirement - this is the 3rd year she's had it!


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The New Workhorse - A Dining Table

It's been too long since updating but we have a new member of the family here - we upgraded our dining table!  This is a long time coming, so let me give some quick deets.
The Old Table was a hand me down from my parents.  It was a solid wood oval extension table with 2 leaves.  It also had 4 chairs that were in some rough shape, needing glue, screws, and new fabric for the seats.  The finish on the table was a bit finicky too, I was usually worried about scratches and whatnot.  

We found our perfect table at Ikea.  Of course!  I usually to love Ikea's simple lines and great prices and this table is no exception.  The grand total for the table was just $329 (of course, it's on sale now for Ikea Family peeps) - you can check it out here.  Considering that the thing will take quite a beating, I figure the price is just perfect.  I'd have a heart attack if my kid scratched up a brand new $1500 dining table.  
We were able to fit the boxes neatly into the back of the minivan.  And assembly was a snap.  
But what to do with the old stuff?  Well we had discussed the possibility of selling it on CraigsList, but the truth of it was that we really didn't want to bother.  A table & chairs would take up quite a bit of space in the basement while we chased emails, so we decided to put the table and chairs out on the front lawn with a big "FREE" sign on them.  Literally as we were carrying the furniture out of the house, we were approached by a neighbor.  He gladly took the table and chairs and gave us a case of our favorite beer as a thank you!  
It's been a few weeks now that we've had the table in place, but since it's always covered with kids eating PBJ, honework, play doh, crafts and other clutter, it's been tough to find a few minutes to take some nice pics.  Well I finally did!

So far we're loving the table.  Without the extension, it's a bit smaller than the old one, which is just perfect for the four of us.  And with the extension, it's about the same size as the big one!  I love the beefy legs and the dark color.  It's already got a few scratches from the dog (she thinks crumbs left on the table are hers for the taking) and from the 2 year old (who thinks it's cool that his fork makes four tiny dots), but we'll call that part of the "distressing process".  LOL!



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