When we moved into our home back in 2009, we loved it but knew it needed a lot of work! Sure, it was bigger and better suited for the three, and soon to be four, of us. We got a decent price break but knew any extra money would go towards the TLC our home was desperately overdue for.
The first thing we did was remove the hideous dingy pink carpet throughout the living room, dining room and bedroom hallways and had the hardwoods refinished. Next we cut away the scary thick tree limbs hanging over our bedroom skylight. We changed the driveway from bombed-out rubble to a smooth shiny blacktop. We moved onto the heating/cooling system which required a total overhaul and undid the home’s many electrical “handyman specials” which threatened to turn our house into looking like Dr. Frankenstein’s lab! Basically we’ve focused on one or two big fixes each year – deck, windows, entry doors, lawn sprinklers/landscaping and we even had a natural gas standby generator installed after losing power for multiple days five times in the past four years!
We certainly improved a lot of things, and our house truly is our home, but the biggest, baddest, fix loomed large for years: our kitchen. It was filled with crumbling cabinets complete with razor-sharp magnets holding them closed; a tiny, 1990s inefficient yellow fridge entombed in one corner; hideous ceramic tiles on the counters and floor which had not been properly sealed, allowing for any spill to be soaked up into a rock-like sponge for all eternity; and most puzzling of all, an ugly light above the sink that you had to turn on by finding a hidden switch in a cabinet!
Well, finally this summer, The Hubs and I snapped. We had a little money put aside and we decided it was finally time for the much dreaded/anticipated kitchen renovation! Hooray!
Our kitchen reno would be considered modest by most standards. We’re not building Martha Stewart’s “Dream Kitchen.” It’s mostly a cosmetic remodel — replacing the old tile floor with a wood one to match our other flooring; removing the soffit above our old cabinets to allow for new larger ones; adding granite counters; and tearing down the dust-collecting tchotchke shelf dividing the kitchen from the dining room to create a breakfast bar.
Sounds pretty simple easy and it wouldn’t’ take too long, right? How long could it possibly take? Ten days? Two weeks, tops?
Boy, was I wrong! As of today we’ve been surrounded by tools, plumbing, paint, and dust, eating in front on the TV on a coffee table and washing dirty dishes in a bathroom sink (gross, I know) for four weeks!
Luckily we have a second refrigerator in our basement so we’ve been able to keep some simple staples of milk, yogurt, PB&J, waffles, and of course, wine on hand! We also created a makeshift pantry in our family room stocked with cereal, bread rounds, granola bars and other assorted snacks. Our dining & silverware are very posh – paper plates, disposable cups and plastic utensils that we wash off in the bathroom.
What The Hubs and I neglected to factor into our initial remodel budget was the money we would have to spend eating out. Since we don’t have a working stove or microwave readily available, we can’t cook, so we’ve been eating one to two meals out every day. Aside from the fact that it’s very expensive, we’re tired of eating at local diners, ordering pizza and getting drive-thru meals. We’re all craving a good home cooked meal and the chance to eat some of the vegetables we’ve worked so hard all season to grow! It’s so bad that even this morning even my son declared, “I want to eat at home!”
Week one seemed the longest to me. It was a week of demo, rebuilding of the subfloor, code upgrades to both the plumbing and electrical and of course inspections before any other work could move forward.
Week two was a little better. Each day there was visible progress – drywall, floors and most of the cabinets were installed. One of the highlights of that week was that The Hubs and I went to pick out our countertop slabs and backsplash. It was fun walking through the marble and granite warehouse, with all those raw materials, but it was also overwhelming seeing all the different slabs available. Luckily they had a design consultant on hand to help us with our selections!
Week three wasn’t bad because we were away on our annual beach vacation at the Jersey shore. We stayed in a condo and I happily cooked dinner a bunch of nights we were there-not what one normally looks forward to on a vacation! But when we returned home I was a little deflated. It didn’t seem like there was much progress – sure, the last of the cabinets were installed, the counter top templates had been made and the room was primed and painted – but I hoped there would be more progress. I was excited though that our new, HUGE fridge arrived and the old, hideous one had been carted off! But it was a bit bigger than any of us (including our contractor) thought and we had to cut a little of the wall back so the door would actually, um, open! Details, details…!
Well, now it’s week four and we’re in a holding pattern. We’re waiting for the granite to arrive and be installed because nothing else — installation of appliances, sink/fixtures, or backsplash can go in nor can the last of the plumbing and electrical work be completed. Our contractor is hopeful that they’ll arrive by the end of this week so he can at least get the appliances back in and we can have a functioning kitchen. He’ll just have to work on the backsplash and sand/seal the floor next week.
What this kitchen reno has taught me that living without a kitchen isn’t easy or cheap. I’ve also learned that I’m in no way a “roughing it” kind of girl. I’m a gal who believes that there is a place for everything and everything in its place. Stacks of boxes are driving me crazy and I never thought I’d ever miss the simple pleasures like nuking a bag of Orville Redenbacher so much!
Until the kitchen is completed I’ll just keep repeating my mantra of “I’m going to love my new kitchen,” “I’m going to love my new kitchen”…
I’ll follow-up this post up with some images of our completely finished kitchen!
Now it’s your turn to share. If you could redo your kitchen, what would be the #1 thing you would do?
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