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More demolition and preparation for cabinets

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about the removal of the old kitchen, and now for more demolition and work begun by my contractor.

Once my boyfriend and I removed the old cabinets and tile floor, the contractor started his work. And of course as it always goes with an old house, there was more work than originally anticipated. And it probably didn't help that I added a little project (ummm, not that little) onto the ever growing list of things that needed to be completed before the cabinets arrive.

I've got to start by talking about the amazing discoveries on the walls behind the drywall and wood panelling. I have never seen so many layers of wallpaper and newspaper in one space. We all got a really good laugh out of that. My boyfriend counted 15 different wallpapers on one chunk he removed.

When we discovered newspaper on the walls behind the wallpaper, I was excited to see how old it was and if there were any dates visible. When I bought this house the age was not disclosed and all I got was the inspector's guess that it was about 90 years old. I did find one date, and although the builders may have used old newspapers they had stashed away, it is amazing to think that this house was built so long ago.

So once the kitchen was stripped bare of all the drywall and the plywood removed from the floor, the contractor got to work on levelling the floor. This was a crucial step as the cabinets would have been on a really obvious slant. The contractor nailed down new thinner plywood over the floorboards (the floorboards were in too much of a rough shape to have skipped this layer), then added strips of wood which he used to level another thin layer of plywood. This will mean that the kitchen floor will be higher than the living room floor but there's nothing I can do about it, and with the floors painted the same colour throughout it won't be that noticeable that there is a little step up into the kitchen.

During the process of removing all the drywall, conversations were had about the wall covering the staircase. I was concerned that it would be a tight fit having a table down the center of the space and trying to get around it with people seated there. Before the demo I took my desk out of my office (which would be a similar width) and we tried it in the kitchen. In the photo below you can see a bit of the wall in question on the left side. On the right there is a little brown rug that shows the depth of the cabinets.

At the last minute I decided to ask for the bottom part of the wall to be removed to allow more room to move around the table. When the wall came down I was SO HAPPY with the decision. It opens up the space so much more and will be a bit of architectural interest to this house (which it is really lacking). I contemplated...ok agonized, over whether I should take out the upper part of the wall as well to expose the staircase going to the second floor, but in the end I decided to leave it in case it's holding up the upper floor. :) I don't really want to mess with anything providing support. Plus, this leaves me with a little bit of a wall to get the electrician to place light switches for the kitchen. The thermostat is already there so it can be my electrical wall.

The wall before being torn down

The wall after being torn down

View when coming up basement stairs

There's going to be a door in the floor built to cover the opening to the basement stairs that will open upwards. It will be clad in strips of wood to resemble the hardwood that will be the rest of the flooring (but will be lighter). We're trying to find a latch system that allows you to press the door and it pops up to eliminate the need for a handle. My boyfriend went to see our mechanic friend yesterday and got a hinge from the hood of a BMW and that will hopefully allow the door to open and close easily (with some shocks used too). At this moment it's all a theory that has yet to be tested. There will also be a hole cut out in the door to allow the cats to climb in and out of the basement at their leisure to get to the litter boxes.

There are a couple of things the contractor had to frame around, like the plumbing that is located in the corner of the ceiling. There was wood panelling that was bent around the pipes and drywalled over and I'm guessing there was a hump in the ceiling as a result. Also, the heating duct that was located behind the stove that was built on the outside of the wall needed to be recessed into the wall to allow the fridge to be placed as far back as possible. At the top is the vent going into the floor of the bathroom which needed to remain where it was so a frame is going to be built around it to hide it with drywall.

The contractor also removed the window in the kitchen (to be replaced with a smaller one that is 24"x32") and the door leading to the side porch that I had used as my main entrance into the house. When the window was taken out, it was a very VERY odd feeling to see a huge hole in the side of my house.

This is just about where things are at in my kitchen this week. The walls should hopefully be ready for painting by the end of Monday and the floors installed on Tuesday morning. A couple days for painting the walls and floors, and I've asked for the cabinets to be delivered Friday. Fingers crossed once again that all this can happen on schedule.

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Emptying out the old kitchen

This blog chronicles my entire kitchen renovation from start to finish. Greentea Design has provided me with their solid wood kitchen cabinets, and I'm taking care of the rest.

If you'd like to be brought up to date, check out the archive in the sidebar for previous posts. I posted recently about the beginnings of the demolition phase and my flooring dilemma, and now for lots more demolition.

There's been alot of work going on at my house, and this being my first renovation, I am realizing how tough it is to have your home in complete reno chaos. This is one of the first times I've ever wished I had fewer cats. But I'm coping and praying things will be done in a timely fashion. I've got all fingers and toes crossed on that one.

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I started taking down all the old cabinets in the kitchen. As sad as I was to see the pink go, it felt REALLY good to have at them with a crowbar. I thought I'd show you a sequence of photos of the work we did in preparation for my contractor's arrival. One weekend we started by removing the island (that housed the dishwasher), the wall cabinet above it, and the built-in china cabinet.

Here is the island with the dishwasher removed.

I am totally dumbfounded by the poor craftsmanship of so many things around my house - this island being one of them. This is what the interior of it looked like (with the door removed). And I will spare you the horror of what we found underneath the island once it was taken apart.

This photo is the island and the cabinet above it removed. It was a very revealing process as the island was built recently by a former owner and the cabinet on the wall above it was there probably since the house was built. The island came apart with 2 whacks of a crowbar. The cabinet above took about 20 minutes.

These next photos are the china cabinet before and after it was removed. Gotta love the brick wallpaper we found behind it.

Kitchen sans island and china cabinet viewed from the living room.

During this process we also removed the side porch roof since the door it was located over is being sealed up. It was HEAVY and was added to the pile of garbage on the driveway. Here is the garbage pile as it was about 2 weeks ago, and it has since almost doubled in size.

The next weekend we started on the rest of the cabinets and the tile floor. Here are the cabinets, with the pink doors removed.

Upon removal of the base cabinets, we discovered some old vinyl/linoleum.

Finally, we managed to get all of the cabinets down. We discovered wood paneling in behind - and later learned it was used in parts of the ceiling and along the lower walls.

After several hours of hard HARD work, we took up all the tiles. This may have been my favourite part, because as I've mentionned in past posts, these tiles were ugly, crooked and not cleaned up after having been grouted.

My contractor has done some work this past week, so I will show you some of that in an upcoming post. One last minute decision I made while he was finishing up the demolition has me SO excited as it has made a huge improvement in the space. I'll share that next time as well so stay tuned. :)