Sunday, January 18, 2015

Kitchen Remodel In 6 Phases

Our kitchen has been problematic in our house since the day we moved in.  Besides being tiny, with two long windows taking up valuable base cabinet/countertop space, it was hideous to look at.  We have done some improvements to it, but have never been able to fully get it to functional and beautiful.  This was due to a combination of reasons.  First, kitchen remodeling is expensive, and you need a whole lot of money at one time.  Second, there always seemed to be other projects clamoring for attention (in the early years, basic home systems such as electrical, plumbing, windows, and the foundation; later bedrooms and living areas). Third, the badly placed, ugly, knotty pine wall covering, that went up over half the wall and would require complete wall-gutting to get rid of.  I have been anxious to move to the next phase; Paul not so much.  But a mostly dead dishwasher has spurred us into action.  Rather than replace it with another clumsy portable one, only to spend money again later this year or next year when we would finally have gotten the new base cabinets with a built-in (the built-in will need to be an 18" if we place the base cabinets in a more logical formation, due to our tiny space), we have decided to do another two phases of our kitchen remodel.

The kitchen will never be a fancy-schmancy gourmet kitchen; however, we can do what we can with our small budget and Paul's amazing skills as a carpenter and handyman to make it nice.  The trick here is that it must be done in stages to accommodate the budget and our time.  Plus the inconvenience of having the kitchen torn up all at once.  That would be great in a way (git-r-done!), but then you are without any portion of your kitchen for weeks.  So, below, I will describe our phases of getting this done.

When we first moved in, we made some inexpensive changes just to make the kitchen semi-functional, such as removing the absurd "island" (which was simply some homemade knotty pine wall cabinets set on the floor with a piece of plywood on top - yuck!), and getting some decent base cabinets for the south wall.  We dealt with part of the knotty pine in late 2012, when we did a partial remodel of the kitchen (see here).  I realized I never posted the photo of the "dolling up" that Paul did when he adjusted the level of the middle upper cabinet to make it more reachable.  Here are some photos of that:

Paul moved the center cabinet down, then added trim to fill in the gap above, and then below for symmetry.

Here is a full shot, showing the old metallic base cabinet and the dread-dishwasher-that-died below.

So, here are the phases (a indicates completion):
  1. Make it livable (completed in 1988): remove "island", place south wall base cabinets and cheap countertop)
  2. 2012: North wall gutting, insulating, windows, wallboard, and upper cabinets, west wall uppers
  3. Knotty pine removal, wallboard, and electrical for east and south walls, keep existing base cabinets and cheap countertop
  4. New base cabinets for north and west walls (including a blind corner cabinet with pull-out hardware for easy access), new sink (buh-bye old metallic monstrosity), built-in 18" dishwasher, adjustment of stove on north wall to accommodate new bases, new countertop 
  5. New upper cabinets and countertop for east and south walls
  6. Knotty pine removal and electrical for last portion of south wall (no cabinets here)
I will keep you apprised of our progress.  I am so excited to move on to another (two!) phases.  Although not complete, the new placement of cabinets and stove will supply more storage and counter space, making meal prep so much more enjoyable.  Plus the aesthetic of prettiness, so long lacking from our kitchen.  I feel blessed!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Protected By Angels (and other friends)

I had to get a photo of this. Tyler, who is often a little scared at night, has taken to surrounding himself with protective friends when he goes to sleep at night.  Tonight, I gave him a holy card for Saint Michael the Archangel.  We prayed together, and I recited St. Michael's prayer, and propped the card up by his water glass.  When I went in to check on him just now, I saw that he had placed his protectors about himself: His hat with the scary face (to scare away anything that might decide to scare him), his stalwart birds of prey (his eagle, and one of his owls that Anna made), and I saw that he had moved the holy card to be closer to him. I love this boy.

"Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
and do Thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host,
by the Divine Power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who roam throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls.