Monday, July 13, 2009

The $250 kitchen renovation

As you can see, we've decided to do a few things to make the house more comfortable.. Things like the carpet runner, and the storage shelves were near the top of the list, but at the very top was making the kitchen slightly less ghetto-rific.

<-- This is what our kitchen has looked like for the past 2 years.

It's been totally functional, but I have to admit the inability to clean that room has been driving me a little batty. The throw rugs on the floor have been particularly frustrating because they're impossible to clean - the vacuum pulls them up (as do the cats), spills can't be wiped up, and there are areas here and there that I'd accidentally touch floor with my bare feet. It shouldn't be so disturbing to accidentally touch your kitchen floor with your bare feet!

The lack of cabinets was also high on the "we gotta do something about this" list. Especially with the walls open, everything on the shelves would just get so filthy so fast. Plus, I really like being able to CLOSE the cabinet doors and not see everything.

So first things first, we had to clear everything out of the room. The stove and the fridge, which we didn't want to empty, were the two big pains.
Everything else was just a matter of packing up and finding a spot in the house. It was like moving, but didn't involve a truck.

Our 12' x 25' sheet of vinyl was rolled up with the good side out and the short way, which would make it very hard to unroll in the room. So we spread it out and rolled it up the other way.
Unfortunately, we don't actually have a space that big, so we made do with the patio and some extra folding. Even more unfortunately, we got the cheapest vinyl available, and it was so thin that in doing this we creased it and tore it in a few places :-/ If we'd realized how thin it was, we'd've anted up to a little better quality.

We wound up sorta folding it in thirds and carrying it like a dead body into the kitchen.
The sink is the only "permanent" thing in the room, and it turned out to be nailed to the floor with a dozen nails! We swapped out the blocks for something a little less crazy and slid the vinyl underneath.

Then we rolled the rest of it out. Again, this would've been way easier if we'd gotten thicker stuff, but we were still doing ok at this point. We used the table to hold down sections while we adjusted other areas.

Then we sliced it with a utility knife (the one upside to how thin it was) up against the walls so we could finish rolling it out into the entry..

.. and then screwed it into the subfloor around the perimeter.
We decided against using glue, as would be correct for this installation. We scrubbed a LOT of mastic and glue off that floor when we moved in and I'd just as soon not be right back at square one when we're ready to redo the kitchen for real. Actually, correct would've been laying down a clean plywood subfloor first, but that's waaay more than we cared about for this temporary fix

Again, the fridge was tough because it was so heavy but we ultimately just creased the vinyl underneath it and rolled it into place.

Unfortunately, in doing this we tore a hole right in the center of the room (of course!)

Good thing we had our guest house renovator/blogger in the house! Ayse (who kindly offered to hold Natasha so I could work without a baby strapped on my back), made short work of patching the tear with the tape we bought for that very purpose. She had a couple more opportunities to use that skill in this room.

Once the fridge had been moved onto the vinyl, the rest of the floor was pretty straightforward. Then it was time to move everything back in..

.. and then put up the cabinets!

Dan and I installed a whole kitchen at our old house, so we learned a few tricks for making it go more smoothly. The first trick is to get a laser level and a good stud finder, and then attach a ledger board to the studs to set the cabinet on

Resting on the board, even this giant cabinet is able to be held up by the frailest of ladies.

While I held it up, Dan screwed in through the studs, marked by the laser line

And then he sunk a few more screws into a few more studs for good measure

With the big stuff in place, it was time for fun with plumbing.

First on that list was plumbing the water line into the fridge for water and ice!! anyone need a brita??

And then onto the VERY exciting plumbing of the dishwasher!!

Our super-silent model is a little noisier than it would be if it were mounted in an actual bank of cabinets, but it's pretty darn quiet.

<-- Check out the little red light on the floor.. that's the only indication that it's running

And, most importantly, it cleans the dishes!

One of the saddest parts about why I'm so excited about the dishwasher is how much easier it'll make doing laundry.. The washer also drains into that sink, and it's been such a drag to have to wash a full sink of dishes just to do a load of laundry! The odds of the baby still being asleep by the time the dishes are done are pretty slim, which means the laundry gets put off anyway until after the sink fills back up, and we go through the same game again.

This part of the kitchen looks more or less the same as it did before

But this part is very exciting!! Look at the cabinets! All our food is in there, hidden behind closed doors, safe from the dirt. And the cats have to work much harder to knock all the jars over. I found them on Craigslist, and they were cheap and perfect!

I'm thinking of stapling some fabric up to close off the room from the chimney chase. It'll look much better and should keep the room cleaner.



And here's the new counter/sink area. We have a net loss in counter space, but there's much less sitting ON the counters which gives us more room to actually prepare food (ok, please imagine I actually cleaned up the counters before taking this picture..)

The hanging cabinet is from the Habitat for Humanity ReStore, and was a fabulous deal for a well-made brand new wood cabinet.

And finally, the view into the room from the entry. I don't think we'll make it into any magazines with this kichen rehab, but it's SOOOO much nicer! Walking into the room actually feels like walking into a kitchen now.

Each iteration of the room is a million times better than the one before (check out how it was at first, then how it's been), and I expect that trend to continue when we finally redo the kitchen for real.

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