It’s weird to tear down something that you just bought. We knew from the start that the kitchen had to go- but that didn’t mean that we weren’t also kind of sad about it. Countless meals had been prepared here with its fake brick backsplash, 42 inch sink, and 20 inches of counter space. The kitchen had survived many families and ultimately we were going to be the ones to put it out of its misery. We had bought the Old Yeller of kitchens. Best to make quick work of it. The week after buying the place we paid our super $500 to demo the whole thing to give us a clean slate for our kitchen renovation. No looking back. Except a little.
These were 3 hardest details to let go of.
It was in poor condition and just too big for a 16×7 foot kitchen. It just didn’t make sense to salvage it. I was torn but then when I learned it was dishwasher versus sink? Sink bye. Now if I had a farmhouse upstate would I have saved this monster sink to wash my delicately gathered wildflowers in? You betcha. But hoarding a sink for an imaginary farmhouse feels a bit, how do I say it, insane.
The built in cabinets had this deliciously ornate trim for an otherwise pedestrian space. It reminded me of the lace found on pantaloons. Anyone else? Guess no one else spent their misguided youth working at Renaissance Fairs. During demo I may have stolen some trim back out of the garbage pile. Keeping a whole sink is crazy but a piece of trim with nails sticking out of it? That I can get behind.
Definitely the hardest to part with. We couldn’t figure out a way to save it given that it was built into the cabinets and that we wanted to extend the whole kitchen out further into the “nook” (technical term). It killed me to nix it. Killed me as defined by having to make a difficult decision that’s a luxury to begin with. I fantasized about calling up a historical renovation expert to have the arch rebuilt in the new kitchen. I took dozens of photos. For reference! You and I both know that this will never happen. The arch is gone and I killed it. Our budget doesn’t have a whole lot of space for Tiina’s whimsies that are entirely nonfunctional. So no arch. But I have photos. Just in case.
After the brute work was done this is what we were left with. The walls were in awful condition and we realized that we had no electricity on one wall. Fun! In my head I was thinking the stove uses gas and the dishwasher uses water. Simple right? Didn’t really think about the fact that they both probably use power as well. Whoops.
I’m getting ahead of myself though. Before we dealt with that unexpected awfulness we had flooring to contend with. No, I didn’t decide to keep the peeling linoleum. Less nostalgia for that bit of prewar-ness. Underneath the linoleum were virtually unrecognizable pine wood floors. I decided to refinish them (not me, Zoltan of course) and keep wood flooring in the kitchen. Controversial, I know! Here’s my thought process… A) I like wood in the kitchen (remember this?) B) we’re already getting the floors refinished and C) it’s one less decision to make. Also, if I change my mind down the road I can always turn to our lord Emily and her list of affordable vinyl tiles. For now we went with same golden oak stain we used in the rest of the house. Rustic and shiny. Love them so much.
Now back to the disaster that was the electrical situation. Probably the scariest part of this process whole process so far. We got a couple of different quotes that ranged from $2000-2600k to upgrade the fuse box, switch out the outlets from 2 to three pronged, and to add 5 lines of electric (four to kitchen, one to bathroom) in the apartment. Honestly. I was shocked that the price wasn’t crazier. It was an expenditure we didn’t plan on making in the first month but thats life- I like electricity and Danny wouldn’t let me get rid of the microwave. So we added those lines, to save our marriage.
Apparently one of our walls is concrete! Fun. They had to use a jackhammer. We’re already “those neighbors” and we haven’t even moved in yet. But look at all that electric! It’s a dream come true. Now I can make my hot pocket, smoothie, coffee, hummus, and toast all at the same time. Just kidding. I don’t make my own coffee.
Finally we’re ready to start painting. I don’t know much about painting but I had an inkling that a coat of paint wasn’t going to do much to help the kitchen. So I quoted out skim coating. Some of the painters we asked were just like “nope, uh-uh, we don’t do that” and others felt like it was the obvious decision to make and all gave us similarly priced quotes. It’s hard to break down the cost of this one room since we quoted out painting for the whole apartment (crazy concept) but I’d wager to say that this one room probably cost us around $1500-$2000. I know that sounds bad, but it’s the truth.
So to recap. The kitchen was demo’ed, pine floors got refinished, 4 lines of electric were installed, and the walls were skim coated. It almost looks like a kitchen could go in there. Next up on the kitchen renovation to-do list: schedule IKEA’s Individual Kitchen Planning service, make a ton of design decisions regarding fixtures/finishings, select paint colors and appliances.
Whew. We’re getting there. Thanks for hanging in there with us.