Friday, September 28, 2012

Changing the Hardware

After almost a year of drooling over the Richelieu handles I had picked out for our cabinets, last week we happened upon a knob we like better. It's much more minimalist and quite contemporary, so this is the style we'll be ordering. It's made by Top Knobs and it's small, only uses one finger to pull.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Construction Mascots



Duncan the guard dog

Basil cleans up
Our furry kids are always supervising the kitchen renovation.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Inconveniences of Reconstruction

After two weeks of construction a few inconveniences are starting to get old. Mostly having all our belongings packed up & shifted to the center of every room so that the electrical outlets can be rewired. It makes for annoying flow patterns throughout the house. I already have matching bruises on each hip from bumping furniture corners. And of course as the rewire progresses, we're shifting boxes from one room to another, thus loosing track of where the hell to find things when we decide we need them. And then there's the constant drywall and plaster dust. Even with most things covered in plastic and their sweeping up after almost every hole they make, I still see a constant layer of dust everywhere I look. But hooray hooray, yesterday we passed the rough electrical inspection, so now we can proceed with patching up the holes and moving some things back. Of course, I'm wishing I had time to paint behind some of the larger pieces of furniture so I don't have to move them again later, but I'm needed to finish the floors, walls & cabinets in the kitchen.

Our New Bamboo Kitchen Cabinets

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Removing Ugly Old Wallpaper

My husband spent a few hours working on getting rid of the ugly old wallpaper on the kitchen ceiling. As you can see in the BEFORE picture, we had attempted to take it down a while back. We pulled off one strip of the vinyl paper and the backing just dropped a tremendous bunch of dust down everywhere. So we decided it was best to wait till the kitchen was cleared out. After the rest of the demo, we pealed off the vinyl sheets, leaving a layer of the woven backing still on the ceiling. He used a spray bottle of water & white vinegar, let it soak in a while & scraped it off with a paint scraper. Thanks honey, so so happy to see that ugly stuff go!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Total House Rewire

This is what happens to your walls when you need to rewire your whole house. Since our 1947 home had mostly cloth insulated wire, lots of holes needed to be knocked out to accommodate the new electrical wires & to pull out that old unsafe, ungrounded antique stuff. That old woven covering gets caught up on nails, in tight holes in the studs & any sharp splinters on the old wood studs. Our house luckily has wood floors & joists and a crawl space under it which I hope made the job a bit easier for the contractors doing this messy job. Since we ripped out the kitchen floor to the joists, it gave them better access under the house although it's a tight squeeze with plenty of dirt and the Florida heat is killer. Before they started I was expecting we'd have long runs of wall gouged out between every outlet. But fortunately in our case the wires came down the wall under each outlet and draped under the crawlspace to the next outlet. It seem the electricians had a tougher time when the wires ran up the walls to light switches & into the ceiling, that being another horrible place for them to work since we have blown-in fiberglass insulation up there. These guys have been doing an excellent job keeping the holes to a minimum and cleaning up debris all along the way. I am so pleased with the work they are doing, as I was expecting a much bigger mess.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

All The Way Down to The Floor Beams

half gone by BaubCat
half gone, a photo by BaubCat on Flickr.
Our new floating floor for the kitchen needs to be on a solid and level sub-floor. After walking around & feeling sections give & squeak under his feet, our contractor recommended that we go all the way down to the floor joists & reinforce them. Opening up the floor also make it much easier for the plumber to extend the gas line to the far wall for the new location of the range and a little easier for the electricians to crawl under for that complete house rewire. So all in all, we took up 3 layers of vinyl & original linoleum, one layer of 3" wide pine tongue & groove sub-floor and the final layer of 8" diagonal cross beams. The kitchen looks so much smaller now that everything is gone.
(you can follow the link from this photo to Baubcat's 'Kitchen Renovation' Set on Flickr)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Kitchen Demolition

This is what we’ve learned about how to demolish a kitchen:
Most important is proper safety equipment. Work boots to protect your feet, especially from protruding nails that may end up on the floor. Work glove so you don’t wreck your hands. Eye protection and a large supply of dust masks (as our contract says, you should change these after about an hour because they fill up with small particles faster than you think and then you are really just breathing the dust through the mask). We also had a heap filter to suck up some of the dust.
To begin, remove the appliances, disconnect the sink & if necessary use some shark caps to cap the supply lines. Cover the drain pipe end, so sewer fumes don’t come back up the pipe. Also switch off the breakers and remove the cover plates, outlets and light switches. If you wish to leave one or more outlets for use of power tools, etc. tape around the wire connections & shove them back in the outlet box. Next finish wrapping the room openings in plastic (we wrapped a plastic corridor from the entrance to the front door to carry out the debris and covered the hallway floor to protect it).
Now you’re ready for the fun part (the stronger you are the better) I’m a real lightweight, just the weight of a hammer is a lot for me, so I felt more like a useless observer alongside my husband & the 2 pro’s working on this job, but I got right in there & helped where I could. First step, rip out the countertops, sink and backsplash, our rotten old formica we just pried off in broken sections as needed. Then take out the base cabinets. We had to smash up one in place because the gas line for the stove came up through the bottom of it. Then remove the screws holding the upper cabinets to the walls and any screws through the sides holding them together. If you’re lucky and they aren’t glued to the walls & come off unbroken and if still in usable condition you can recycle them. We are donating our upper cabinets to the Re-Store. If not in good condition, take them outside and smash them apart to make room in the dumpster. Our old kitchens had a soffit above the cabinets on two walls that we were removing, we were surprised to find some huge holes on the under sides of it. To keep from wrecking the ceiling too much, use a utility blade to score along the seam at the ceiling, the joint at the walls and any corner joints. If possible figure out where any electrical wires or other line such as plumbing or other utilities are running behind the soffit and try to avoid them. Take a heavy duty claw hammer and smash through the drywall or plaster & try to knock out a piece. As you work, keep checking for utilities so you don’t damage anything along the way. As you work, used a chisel where needed to keep a clean line along the ceiling seam or adjacent walls you plan to leave in place. After the wall surface is removed, then use the hammer and/or screwdrivers to remove the furring strips that held on the drywall. Now you’re ready to take down the walls. If you can tell from the opening where you removed the soffit where the wall studs are its helpful, otherwise tap with the hammer or if you have metal studs try a stud finder. Then take the claw end of the hammer and smash a hole next to the stud. Try not to thrust too hard as you don’t want to break through any wall surface on the other side. Also, again try to be aware of where your electrical wires & utilities are behind the wall and work carefully around them. Keep clawing holes in a line next to the stud and then wrap that claw behind it and rip out chunks of wall. Remember to use your utility blade to score along seams at joints where you are keeping the adjacent wall. The cleaner the line you can make at the joints the better. After all the wall board is removed go back and remove all the nails or screws from the studs. All that debris gets bagged up or dumped in a wheelbarrow and hauled out to the dumpster. When all the big stuff is gone, sweep and shop vac and admire your hard work, you should be completely spent. If you have that hepa filter keep it running to collect more dust. Our next step was to remove the floor, but I’ll save that for another post.


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