Sunday, September 8, 2019

The Kitchen Remodel

Hi Again.  Yes, I'm still alive. HA!!! Yeah, I decided I should finally finish up on my last post.

As you may recall, my last posting on our home's renovations was Year One's projects which included replacing the bathrooms, replacing the paneling in the closets with drywall, replacing the wet subfloors in the bathrooms and installing new, and then painting the bathrooms, closets and hallway. 

Year Two we tore into the kitchen and living room.  We removed the kitchen's new tile floors (which were covering rotting soppy subflooring), cabinets, and tore down the hall wall separating the foyer with the kitchen along with the half-wall separating the kitchen and living room.  We scraped off the popcorn ceilings throughout the house, removed the carpet and vinyl flooring, and installed crown-molding throughout the house.  Before all those projects, I painted the fireplace which I posted about here.

So, let's begin the tour...

My dear hubby scraped all the pop-corned ceilings and we both worked on prying up the kitchen tile floors after knocking down two walls:

Living room before - note hallway door and pony-wall on the right which opens to kitchen.  This room had vinyl floor.  the Hall had new carpet.  And the Kitchen had new ceramic.

Hallway before - I'm standing in the living room doorway.  The wall to my right will be torn down...the door to left leads to garage and has 9 panes.
Kitchen (before) looking toward living room - We're starting the teardown here
Don't worry....we had 2 engineers and 2 contractors look at that long hall wall to make sure we weren't  removing a load-bearing wall.  Even so, we checked the level of the ceiling daily for 3 weeks before continuing on.
Lets destroy some stuff...

Here's the kitchen before...these cabinets are just doors placed over shelving.  Behind the shelves are the original wall papers from 1985.  The entire house's walls were papered without any kind of sizing or even a coat of paint which makes it impossible to strip.  Attempts have been made through the years,  especially in the hallway, but the drywall paper just peals off...what a mess, ugh.  Why the builder did this???? Who knows.  But we couldn't afford to replace all the drywall even though the wall paper was starting to peal away at the ceiling joint.  So, we decided to infuse some more glue and then cover up the seams with crown molding throughout the house....something more substantial than the puny stuff the previous owns used in couple of rooms.  You can see their attempt in the following before picture of the kitchen.

Kitchen (before) looking from ponywall's window in living room

Hubby scraping off the popcorn in the foyer

Using our new hall bath as a storage room...we used the two bedrooms and garage as well.

Wallpaper behind the "cabinets"

Hall and pony walls removed (garage door on right)
Now, lets build stuff....

We decided to build a cubby along the hallway and move the refrigerator from right side of the kitchen (next to the backdoor) to this spot.  Boy that was a great idea.  It gave us so much more area and storage, too.

Hall wall removed, New wall (straight ahead) to house the refrigerator.  

New subflooring painted with mildew retardent for good measure, new cabinets going in, new stove and a make-shift coffee bar.  Awaiting the new dishwasher.  New sink light installed.

View from kitchen into the living room.  Note new crown molding and the ceilings are all painted.

 Let's do some lighting.....

So, here's what we chose for our dining table light. It's on a rheostat to tone down any harshness (Note I tried to hide the chaos of the garage with some window decorations on that door).  I like the way this fixture is a minor intrusion in this new space.

Dining Area light (Note new wood floors)
Bedrooms Lights replacing old grimy ceiling fans.  Huzzah.

Under-cabinet lights.  Countertops and backsplash in place.  We used the bronze hardware from the original cabinets.
We finished up with new wood floors in the living room, kitchen, hall and master bedroom.  We kept the newish carpet in the other two bedrooms.  We also decided to replace all the ductwork which was falling apart and pretty nasty.  While we were at it, we replaced the heatpump, too.  Big expense, but a necessary one.

Now, I wish I could share the TA-DA picture, but I'm ashamed to admit that I haven't finished painting the kitchen yet....yeah, I know, I know.  So, I'll have to share that at a later time, but I think you can get a good idea how we changed things up.

Would we do it again?  You betcha!  It has made this place so much more livable.  PLUS...its done, and we don't have to live with cramped and musty conditions.  Even though it was not easy living amidst the construction zone for over a year, and we were pretty broke after all was done, it was well worth it. Financially, we've rebuilt our emergency fund again after being here 3 years, and an added benefit is that we have built-in equity if we should need it in the future. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Remodeling/Fixing Our New Home - The Closets

To recap so of the reasons it took so long for us to "officially" move into this place goes back to that leaky pipe and the nasty flooring issues I addressed in previous posts.  Yes, we did find that the floors in the laundry and the kitchen were soppy and warped too, so we had to rip up those floors as well.....yeah, so the saga continues on here.

One of the peculiarities of this house was the closets.  Even though this place was built in 1980, the closet walls (ceilings too) were made of paneling instead of drywall.  Thin, dark paneling.  An added bonus was that the wood had developed a pretty funky smell over the years, too.  Have you ever opened a drawer from an antique dresser and catch that pungent "old wood" smell?  Yeah, that's the smell we had going on here....especially in the master bedroom, the laundry and the pantry.


foyer closet before
Along the way, someone had tried to paint some of the closets, but it looked like they just gave up.   Most of the inside trim had never been painted and it didn't look like it had been varnished either....just stained and rough.
half-painted trim inside closet

half-painted trim inside closet
The doors of the clothes closets are these louvered ones, and only the fronts were painted.  I'm guessing that's because the insides needed some finish-sanding, too, and that was too much trouble for the original builders, sheesh.  All the dust and lint since 1980 was clinging to those unsanded louvers.  Lovely.
Closet door inside being painted finally
However, the previous owners did install new solid bi-fold doors on the laundry closet (below)....but they only painted one of them.  Why?  Besides being hard to open, they scraped the wood trim.  

Laundry Room doors befoe
Laundry Room before
Laundry trim rubbed by door
So, after the bathrooms were finished, Bruce, our handyman, ripped out the old shelves and yellow linoleum flooring in the laundry "room".  He and his son then hung drywall, boxed in the plumbing nicely, and helped me hang up these stock-cabinets that I found and painted white.  Later we cut the old shelves to fit in between the cabinets and voila.  Much more functional.  To finish off, he rehung the doors' track and that fixed the binding problems, and of course I painted.

Working on Laundry redo
Laundry nearly finished

Bruce and his son redid the bedrooms' closets with drywall and new shelving as well.

So, while they were working on the master bathroom (before they had started on the closets), I tore out the grimy, gummy wire racks from the master's closets and started hand-sanding the louvers.  They finally got painted on both sides, and the trim on the inside of the closets got painted, too.  When the guys dry-walled the closets, they hung cleats for wood shelving which, of course, I painted white.  While I was at it, I painted the bedroom's trim and the walls, changing them from a dusty green to Carolina Blue. (If you're wondering, we had moved our bedroom into one of the other (kids') bedrooms temporarily until we got our bedroom finished).

Master Bedroom new paint

Master bedroom inside closet doors unpainted
The two kids' bedrooms were a light brown/dark beige color.  Once all the stuff that we stored in them while working on the rest of the house was moved out, I painted those two rooms a buttery-cream and white.  It surely brightened things greatly.  One of the rooms has this chair railing, but the other doesn't.

Kid bedroom before
Kid bedroom new paint

Speaking of Closets again -- The foyer has a really nice-sized double closet that had been converted into a desk/office area by the previous owners.  They had been using the tiny pantry as a coat-closet. (Three kids and two adults!)  So, we tore out the office and returned the pantry to it's intended use with the addition of new shelving after replacing the paneling with drywall. We added lighting in the foyer and the pantry closets, too.  Ahhh, so nice to have a light in a closet.

Foyer being changed back to a closet
Pantry as a coat-closet, before

The attic access had been located in the pantry ceiling.  It looked like they just sawed a hole in the old paneling on the weird, and CRAMPED.  We closed it off and moved access to the garage area making it a bit larger and finished off with trim. Until then, climbing into the attic was a real pain.
Attic access before in pantry
We were so thrilled when the closets got finished.  One by one, we finally could start to unpack some and get some of the boxes out of the garage and the kids' bedrooms.  The whole redo took the better part of a year to complete with the help of our handymen.  We didn't work continuously on it though, because Bruce had projects to do for other clients, and we needed to take a break, too.  We ended up splitting it up into two major parts; the first phase was the bathrooms and closets, the second was the kitchen and living room. 

Yes, you guessed it...the next installment will be about the 2nd stage...the living room and kitchen.  So, until next time....

                                             ~~ Karen ~~