Remodel Part 1

I think I’ve mentioned that we’re getting our kitchen remodeled but I haven’t gone into details. We’ve lived in our 1928 house for 15 years and the little nook in the photo below held our small dining table, refrigerator, and most of my small kitchen appliances and whatever else I couldn’t find room for in the kitchen. It was tight. When the kids were younger we ate dinner together at the table a lot but over the last decade we probably only ate together in that tiny space a few dozen times.

Other issues besides lack of space included the placement of the windows (not a fan of windows that butt up to the corner of the house), the location of the backdoor on our basement stair landing, and a very low ceiling inside (it’s really a converted porch). Anyway, I’d dreamt from day one of making it a better space. Finally, this year, I felt like we were ready to take the plunge.

Before construction began
The fridge and all the other stuff that we could shove in there.
The dining room doesn’t look so small as long as there isn’t anything in it …

The new design involved removing the old nook and making a new, well-made addition that doubled the space. While we were at it we decided it was worth it to update the rest of the kitchen. New flooring, appliances, cabinets, countertops. Everything. A pretty expensive endeavor that has caused me more than one sleepless night.

We hired a design-build team and they are taking care of everything. I love it. They made quick work of the little nook on day 1 (May 2):

Our backyard became a staging ground for construction materials (and our front yard holds a porta-potty and a large dumpster). They removed concrete, dug out the crawl space, built cement forms, poured concrete, put in a french drain, and framed the walls. We saw a lot of progress over the next 2 weeks (and meanwhile, we still had access to our kitchen, which was nice).

I kind of freaked out when they put up the roof. It swallowed most of our dormer (which we knew would happen but seeing it in real life was still a surprise). We might get around to converting it to a larger shed dormer in a few years (which would give me more closet space upstairs) but let’s see how our budget is doing before we commit …

The new saltbox-style roofline. Notice how horrible our south-facing 15 year old paint job looks.
Hello dormer. I can (barely) see you!

We also got pretty new fiberglass (on the outside) and wood (on the inside) windows. They’re “ebony” and we’re going to have the house painters come in and paint the rest of our windows the same color to match.

1 of the 2 large windows – 4′ x 5′

They opened up the space between our living room and the kitchen by about a foot and it makes a huge difference. I’m not a huge fan of open concept floor plans but being able have a nice big view to the back of the house is really nice.

Next came electrical and plumbing. No photos because boring. We have 5 new can lights, plus wiring is in place for under cabinet lights, a dining room chandelier and 2 pendant lights for our peninsula. After everything passed inspection they insulated and put up drywall, plus started the back porch. That’s where we’re at today. New siding is being installed and mudding and taping are happening. The cats love it. Vespa inspects all the new things and Gus has jumped out into the backyard twice (once while we were out of town but luckily he’s a chicken cat and cried at our front door and our neighbor was able to rescue him).

Door + the start of the deck/stairs
Vespa inspects. She’s walking where the peninsula will go.
The new dining area which will have a built-in 7′ bench

Part 2 will be more fun. We’ll have hardwood floors, new cabinets (they’re white – I’m kind of nervous about them being white), new countertops and all the other pretty stuff. Hopefully less than 6 weeks to go!