A shell of its former self

One day I was sitting at the dining room table and heard a thumping in the cupboard. I had a suspicion that I knew who was in the cupboard, and began recording. Viola! My cat, Racecar, emerged from where she clearly does not belong. I explained to her about cats and clean pots, shooed her away, then did some dishes. Sigh.

Early this spring, my financial advisor told me that in his opinion, I could afford the kitchen remodel I have wanted since I moved into this house. There is great light coming into the house from the north side, where the small kitchen and dining room are. It’s dark as a cave on the south side, where the living room and woodstove are. My idea: knock down the wall and make one giant open room!

My sudden loss of a job last month was unplanned, but much of the upfront fees for this kitchen remodel had already been paid.  I had no choice but to follow through, despite the fact that right now is bad timing for spending money unnecessarily. The bright side is: I am home and available to let construction workers in.

Before photo. From the living room, looking toward the kitchen. You can’t see the kitchen because there is a utility closet (door on left) and a pantry (door on right) blocking your view.

My front room is a very big room, and off in one cramped corner was a kitchen. The appliances are black and the cabinet doors dark brown. Inside the cupboards were particle board shelves on plastic pegs with peeling, wrinkled contact paper. The countertop was old school formica with gold flakes in it. I plan to update everything.

You noticed in the paragraph above, I used past-tense verbs.

First step was to remove the furniture and art, and to empty the pantry.
The next step was sorta drastic.
Everything that had to be removed was removed. The water heater will be replaced with a tankless (on demand) water heater in the future. For right now, they will leave this tank here so that I still have hot water.
This is what it looks like right now, the first week of November. See the extra framing to extend the dropped ceiling?

There is still a problem with light. I just have a dark house. I’ve included some of the better photos above, so you may not notice the darkness. With the room opened up though, it is significantly better, and that makes me happy.

The plan is for the new cabinets (already completed and sitting under a tarpaulin in the garage) to be installed against the two walls you see. From the electric panel to the corner, and from the corner to the big window. There will also be an L-shaped island where the pantry used to be. The floor footprint of the kitchen will match the dropped ceiling area.

Old floors had three styles meeting. The tile has all been ripped up and the natural wood on the right will cover the kitchen as well.
Dark cupboards are gone! I am holding a sample piece of oak with the new light finish.

I am not allowing myself to get excited yet. This project has taken so long just to barely get started. I know construction always takes longer and costs more than expected, but I can’t tell you how impatient I am already. Like I said at the top, this began in the Spring. I settled on a plan with the contractor in April, and it is still only this far. I’m trying not to go crazy, ha ha. He assures me that it will only be another 6 weeks, possibly 8. So there is a potential for this to be done by Christmas. I’m going to plan on a Valentine’s Day kitchen instead!

15 thoughts on “A shell of its former self

    1. Thanks Andrew! It’s hard living without a kitchen, but I know it will be worth it in the end. The workers that have been here so far have worked hard and efficiently, so I feel confident the job is being done right.

  1. Sorry about the job. I’m suer you will find another soon. Fingers crossed. 🙂
    I think you’re doing great with the kitchen. Even if it may look a tad nightmarish now. 🙂 There will be much more light everywhere. Hang on there.

    1. Thanks for your optimism! Yes, I’m sure things will all work out and I’ll have the income I need to pay my bills and to eat! How wonderful it will be when I have a kitchen to prepare something to eat, ha ha!

      Also, I appreciate the encouragement with my kitchen getting along so slowly. I spent the first four months sitting back with my mouth shut and waiting for the contractor to do something. That is not a productive stance. Having never hired a contractor previously, I assumed they were working for me. Apparently this guy needs to be prodded constantly. I gave up on him getting the plumber in and finally called the plumber and scheduled him myself. Next time I see the contractor, I’m going to ask him what I’m paying him for.

      1. You need to be on their backs all the time. Anywhere. 🙂 And if he doesn’t work fast, fire him and get another. Ah. But you have paid a down payment, right?

      2. Right. I’m going to talk with him (again) and ask him to tell me what he sees as his role, and then once he says it to me, maybe it’ll motivate him more to actually do it.

    1. I love the wood!! When I bought the house, the oak flooring on the living room side had never been finished (you may be able to tell from the photo). Me, being human, had procrastinated on having the floor finished all this time. I found a leftover floor board in the garage, and gave it to the flooring man so that he could match it. Now is the perfect time to re-do the kitchen floor, but then to have the whole floor finished, finally!

  2. Contractors are like real estate agents. They want the listing but don’t want to do the work. You being a small, single female makes it easy for them to put you off while they dig up more jobs and put half the effort in each one for a few days. You are going to have to find the General in you and get them to march with firmness. Being nasty just makes them put you off more. Some have had to resort to legal solutions with contractors. I sure hope you won’t be one of them. I really hope you can get them moving. It shouldn’t take that long and you are there to oversee whether they show up and work or not. Keep us posted.

    1. I just realized I have not yet responded to your comment! Well, I was right to plan on Valentine’s Day… ha ha. There has been progress, but it’s still a mostly empty room right now. You are right about inner General. I read the contract carefully, and it only addresses what to do if there is a problem with the work that was done. When my contractor gets something done, it’s done well. It’s just that it’s pulling teeth to get him to do anything. I found out around October that the way to get him to move is to jump all over his case every two days. If I don’t contact him, absolutely nothing gets done. If I nag him, and tell him to call the floor people, to call the plumber, whatdya know? He does it. I’ve got zero training in contracting and I already know I could do this job better than him. Jeez Louise

      1. You could get your contractor’s license. 🙂 I’d bet you could pass the test with flying colors. My stepdaughter got one and she’s not the brightest crayon in the box. I’m trying to be kind here.

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