Help me survive a kitchen remodel

So at this moment:

My kitchen has no ceiling. The drywall has been ripped out for the new lights being put in.

A wall is (mostly) missing. We decided to take out a wall to open up the space, but as it has an outlet and such, hubby only removed the drywall–so we have these big wood studs and thick electric cords exposed (all that’s getting rerouted).

There are no pantry and over-the-fridge cabinets–they’ve been ripped out and tossed, leaving a lovely dark, stained silhouette on their former places on the wall.

All the other cabinets are emptied, waiting to be ripped out and tossed.

I have no floor. It’s all been torn up, leaving just concrete.

The dining room is now an assemblage of boxes, cooking utensils, food, and other items removed from the cabinets awaiting destruction. My coffee maker is now on the entertainment bar (that has no sink).

But…for now, we still have a (functional) sink, stove, fridge, microwave, and dishwasher. When all hell breaks loose next week, only the stove and ffridge will remain operational (the microwave is an over-the-stove variety and isn’t meant to function on flat ground–so we’ll be borrowing an extra mini-microwave my folks have).

So fellow Dopers and/or friends, help me retain my sanity–what is the best way to adjust to a mostly kitchenless house? We see a lot of eating out in our future, and a lot of BBQing and crock-potting. How about how we’ll best function without a sink and such–how did YOU do it? I know several of you have been in this position before–what did you learn that would be useful to pass on? (BTW, hubby is doing all the work except the electrical and the installation of the granite countertops, so this means we’re saving $$ but not time–we’ll be living with chaos a wee bit longer. Whee…)

I’ve joked I’ll just move into the barn with the horse until it’s over. Now I’m wondering if that isn’t a bad idea after all…

Paper plates and plasticware, and rubber dishpans (filled in the bathtub or bathroom sink) for what you HAVE to wash.

We’ve been without a kitchen sink and a bathroom sink (not simultaneously!) the past few years, and so have both washed dishes in the bathroom and brushed our teeth in the kitchen. (During the bathroom remodel, we moved the toilet location, and Mr. S wisely left the old one installed until the new one was working. Good thing, because he accidentally cracked the base (big leak) and we had to run back to Menards for a new one. But we could still pee without going out to the woods!)

I’ve been through a kitchen remodel (and facing another one soon), and we ate out a lot. We ate what meals we could at work, and other meals at restaurants. Our remodel took about a week and a half total, so it wasn’t too bad.

I did much the same thing. Started small, trying to redo the ceilings. But that meant taking down the cabinets. And then I needed to relocate a heating duct. So the old lathe and plaster came down. And why not install a new bay window while I was at it? And put in a hardwood floor, even if that meant tearing out the old subfloor? My original guess-timate of a couple of months stretched to close to three years! But this was an older house with non-standard framing, and * everything * from the wiring and heating ducts to the wall studs had to be redone and/or fiddled with. Every frigging piece of drywall was an exercise in shimming. And it was my first (and probably last) time remodeling.

The microwave will be about your best friend. (I referred to this period as my “years of eating dangerously”.) As far as I know, there’s absolutely no reason why your over-the-stove microwave can’t be used – it should have a conventional plug. If it vents from the bottom, just put it on a couple of 2x4’s to get airflow. Go with paper plates and plastic silverware.

You really want to delay detaching the sink as long as possible. Having a sink is a great luxury. (Long after the counter was gone, my sink remained, propped up by 2x4’s)
I’d strongly recommend covering the entranceways to the kitchen with plastic to attempt to minimize the dust. The dust will get everywhere, but at least you can try to control it.

If you want the process to go a bit faster, here are my recommendations:

a. Buy 2 of every tool that costs less than $20.00. I pissed away many an afternoon looking for a hammer or a prybar or a tape measure.

b. Be ready to act as a go-fer. I figure that I could have cut at least 50% off my remodeling time if I had someone willing to hand me tools and/or cut a tiny bit off a stud rather than having to climb down off a ladder and do it myself.

I did a kitchen and dining room remodel years ago. The kitchen/dining was originally a one room miner’s cabin built in 1906. In 1935, a living/sleeping room and the porch were added. In 1956 two bedrooms and an indoor bath room were added. I bought the place in 1970 and remodeled it in 1980.

During the destruction/construction I created a make-do kitchen in the enclosed porch. I ran a temporary 220V line for the stove and temporary water and drain lines for the sink. Worked out well too, until the new kitchen cabinets arrived and there wasn’t enough room to get them through the porch. :smack:

I had to remove a window in the living room and bring them in through there.

I had to use a house jack to level the floor in the kitchen. Back in 1935 a nice multi paned (non-opening) window had been framed in. I didn’t realize how far the the foundation wall had settled over the 60+ years and I as I merrily lifted the sagging corner it tweaked the window enough to shatter most of the panes. :smack:

I also wanted to leave the rafters in the ceiling exposed as had been done in the living room and bedrooms. When the original houses was built it was built next to a huge oak tree and the walls were angled around it. When I had all of the old ceiling down I found that the roof was not framed in normal fashion and I couldn’t expose the rafters. I had to put in a dropped ceiling over the kitchen area and do the exposed rafters over the dining area.

In the end it turned out to be a show piece, but getting there was quite the ride.

I feel your pain. My wife and I went through a kitchen remodel last year. It was an extensive remodel combined with a slow contractor so we had pretty much no kitchen for 6 weeks and a partially functional one for another 6 weeks.

At it’s worst, the only operating item was the fridge. We found the hardest thing to live without was the sink. I’d suggest you do whatever possible to keep a functioning sink. As previously suggested, cover everything and close off entrances to other rooms when the drywall is sanded. Other then that, all I can say is eat lots of takeout/delivery and paper plates are your friend. Most of the advice I could offer would apply to dealing with contractors. Fortunately, you aren’t going to have that hassle. The only parts of our job that were done right the first time were the electrical and measuring/installation of the countertop.

Keep remembering how wonderful it will be when it is done. We’re absolutely thrilled with the final product of our remodel. We knocked out a full wall and half of another - opening up our primary living space to be one large area instead of 3 small rooms. It has completely changed how we live in the house and was well worth the couple months of hell it took to get there.

We’re remodeling our kitchen, dining and living rooms all at once right now (The kitchen and living room are spurs off the dining room. Imagine a big letter H with the dining room as the middle part.) I’m sitting downstairs in the game room, at my kitchen table with my computer on it, munching on my favorite part of remodeling the kitchen. KFC. Makes it all worthwhile.

[sub]Well, I also guess the new kitchen I’m getting out of it is a payoff. But I can eat KFC everyday and not feel guilty about it![/sub]

Very good advice so far. Our kitchen was remodeled by some excellent contractors, but even so the whole process took two weeks. That’s a lot of take-out meals. By day four I could not look a French fry in the eye any more - you learn where you can get actual Food food pretty quickly.

We set up a little “kitchen” on a spare table in the living room - microwave, electric kettle, basically everything we’d need to make ourselves breakfast and lunch. We were lucky enough to have a spare sink; the people who lived in the house before us were considering putting a rental apartment in the basement, so there’s part of a second kitchen downstairs. We put dirty dishes in an empty wash basin and carried them down to wash them in the sink, then carried them upstairs again on a clean tray. Because we had no sink on the floor where we were eating, we filled pitchers and empty bottles with water every night before we went to bed and put it in the fridge.

It was an exciting and trying two weeks - in the middle of all this totnak learned to walk! :smiley: - but damn, it was worth it. Keep your eye on the goal, whatever else happens.