People often post finished pictures with almost no perspective of the process. We live in a fantasy world on social media and just assume these projects almost build themselves. This photo of the finished kitchen above has so much back story to it. Months of anguish, blood, sweat, endless check writing and bleeding bank accounts, living in a camper and then my in-laws basement, and many fights or heated discussions with my wife. What this photo shows is the final product, which is amazing, but it doesn’t represent all the work behind it. The task was daunting, I knew it would be expensive, and there are a lot of unknowns. I wanted to write a series of posts about this to give some perspective, help you in your projects, and showcase something that I am super proud of.
We bought a Tudor in the ’05 a few years ago. We have slowly been updating the home to make it ours. We have landscaped, refinished floors, finished the basement during covid 2020, and much more. But the one project we wanted to take on was the kitchen. Our house is almost 100 years old, so I knew it needed a full gut job, not just a new countertop and sink kind of update.
I will use this first post to show some before photos so you know what we were working with. In the grand scheme of life the kitchen was fine, it worked, we were able to prepare food, and even gain a few pounds, ha. My wife and I constantly went back and forth, and at the end of the day I wanted to make her happy, add some value to our home, and learn along the way.
Here are a few before photos. Again, not the worst kitchen in the world, just not our style. It had really old cabinets with doors that wouldn’t close, a countertop that was falling apart, vinyl floor that had rips in it, and some sketchy wiring that always made me nervous when running a toaster oven.
So on June 17th 2021, we hired a crew to come and demo the kitchen. I told my wife we would probably be out for 2-3 days while they demoed everything and that we would sleep in our tiny camper while the worst was happening…boy was I wrong.
My first learning moment as I call them, Lindsay called it stupidity. She was right. We didn’t live there for 3 months.
I was going to act as the general contractor on the job to save money, learn, and use people that I know and trust. I spent the previous days sealing off rooms, moving furniture around, and cleaning out the kitchen cabinets. At 8am on June 17th they started knocking out plaster, old drywall, layers of flooring, old cabinetry that was all built into place, and kicking off the summer long project.
This is after day 1. What you don’t see or maybe know about the photo, is that the ceiling is no joke a good 4″ or so of drywall, older drywall, and a mesh layer with concrete adhered to the ceiling joists. It was a total pain to remove, basically had to grind out sections. It took the crew days to just get the ceilings all down and the chase. Here is our kitchen after day 1. We filled up a 15 yard dumpster in a few hours.
After demo was complete, we scheduled our framer to help us repair some water damaged wood on the back wall, and create a few arches. We wanted to open up two doorways to be arches to match several other arches in the home. Shout out to Bill Eddleman for doing some great work, more to hear about Bill in the next posts! My original framer had stopped returning my calls, and I was super stressed about not having someone to help frame. I was mowing my yard and my neighbor and I started chatting. They are seasoned remodelers and I was explaining how stressful it was. She passed over his contact and without that moment I am not sure who I would have gotten. So cool to have referrals from people. It’s how great businesses grow.
This is getting long, so I am going to keep writing and gather all of my photos. In the next blog I will talk about the electrical work, plumbing, tile, drywall, cabinetry, countertops, the stupid downdraft hood system, and much more! I will release that in a few days! In the meantime, feel free to comment with any questions or specific things you would like to know about the project?