Kitchen remodeling (and still have all my fingers)

It was with some trepidation that I began this project.

Those who know me, will understand, as I have a certain penchant for mishap.

First I installed Armstrong Laminate. This was pretty cool and easy, as it’s basically Leggo. I ripped up the linoleum, removed the yucky particle board beneath, laid plywood on the joists (I actually had to use my circular saw here, and I got the plywood down without falling into the basement.) Removeing the refrigerator was a bit of a bitch though. I put a packing strap under it and carried it into the living room. I had to limbo to get through the door.

Next, I rolled down some moisture seal, and then installed the faux Maple laminate flooring. I had to cut some of the laminate to fit, and learned how to use my jigsaw. It’s best to rest the laminate on a table and then cut. If you try to hold onto a piece in your hand and cut it, the saw just grabs the laminate and hurtles it through the window. This only happened once, as afterwards I found the saw had cut slightly into a fingernail. Onve again, I escaped from my stupidity.

Next I did the walls. Now, an intelligent person would have done the walls before the floor so as not to ruin their brand new floor, but…
I laid down a big tarp, and ripped off the wallpaper. Under the paper was another layer. I ripped that off. Half the dry wall came with it. I tore throught the rest of the drywall. At this time Mrs. Scylla came in and started looking dubiously at my demolition efforts. I silenced her with a look.

Underneath the drywall was crumbling plaster. Several layers, from many patchings. I pulled all this down.

Finally, I had arrived at the original plaster (with horsehair in it,) and lathing. Though that plaster was cracked and had some holes in it it was as solid as concrete.

The house is over 200 years old, and this was probably the original wall. I had removed about three inches of wall and revealed some beautiful cross timbers that originally showed in the wall. I had to move the trim back, pull up the laminate and reinstall to account for this. I carefully plastered the holes (using real horsehair, which I cut off one of our horses,) and used joint compound to fill in the cracks. It was difficult, because it was clear that the original job was done by hand, and it was nowhere near a flat surface.

When it was finished, I put in three layers of sealing primer. I painted the walls Martha Stewart “Sundial” latex, and the trim “Beeswax.” Unfortunately the trim had an oil base on it. I sealed the latex with polyurethane. Hopefully this will work.

I installed a ceiling fan, and moved the appliances and some temporary workspace back into the kitchen. In the coming weeks, I will install cabinets, plumbing and a kitchen Island.

I’ll be pretty proud if it all works out. So far it looks really good, and has restored the country farmhouse quality of the kitchen (I was pretty worried there as I was tearing into the walls.)

Hopefully, when I’m done, I’ll still have all my fingers.

Hey!! Email first!! I have done that for a living for the last 12 years and am now a kitchen designer.
Where are you?

We’re just at the “looking around and deciding what we want to do” stage. What kind of advice can you offer?

General advice:
Get a good builder/contractor. That is, if you arent doing the work yourselves. Being your own contractor can conceivably save you money but is wuite difficult and time consuming.

Prepare a budget. Know what you can afford and get several quotes.

It will take longer than everyone says it will.

I’ll post more, but I’m tired now.

Feel free to email me with specific questions. I have opinions and am not afraid to defend them. :wink:

Some tips for Chef Troy:[ul][li]Flash heated hot water at the sink[/li]
[li]Inline water filter for cold water delivery, separate or through the sink[/li]
[li]A foot pedal on the floor for the cold water in the sink[/li]
[li]Lots and lots of AC outlets with GFI[/li]
[li]Marble pastry block[/li]
[li]Maple cutting block[/li]
[li]Corian counter tops with backsplash[/li]
[li]Non-fluorescent lighting[/li]
[li]Good ventilation system[/li]
[li]Pull out storage units in all lower cabinets[/li]
[li]Built-in wet dry vacuum outlets[/ul][/li]Those are a few on the dream sheet for my own designer kitchen.

It looks like I may have a house in May (the future in-laws are buying a new house, and are giving us the one they are in right now), and I have plans for that kitchen. It’s in poor shape as it is; the stove is falling apart, the oven temperature fluctuates, the counters are severely worn, the cheap linoleum floor is cracked… you get the picture. The good news, is there is a room that the kitchen opens up into–it’s a little big to call a breakfast nook–yet it’s not a dining room, as there is already one situated by the living room.

I have dreams of installing laminate flooring, large industrial storage shelves, a special pastry work bench (with wood for bread & marble for candy-making), deep stainless steel sinks, a large 2-door convection oven, and a Viking 6-burner range… <sigh>

I’m thinking of butcher block for the countertops, adding more cabinet space, and having a center seating/storage island. I will probably have to make my own as those generically available don’t seem to fill the bill.

But please go easy on those hands; they are a true national treasure.

We designed and built a seating/storage island for our brand new, woefully inadequate kitchen, and we love it!! it’s squared at one end, approximately 40" from the original L-shaped counters (stove, sink, DW and cabinets) and the free end is a semi-circle. We can seat 4, store a bunch of stuff in the 36" base unit, and it’s a wonderful size for baking, school projects, reading the Sunday paper, setting out goodies for guests… I love it!! We ran power to it also - handy for hot-gluing them crafty-thingies!

I love my island! Everyone should have one!
OK, I’ll calm down now…