Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something New Underfoot

Another installment in the thrill-a-minute (or, on our timetable, thrill-a-month) tale of our kitchen remodel.

Once we emptied all of the old crap cabinetry and fixtures from the room, it was time to begin on the floor. To remind you, here is a shot of our old, skanky vinyl:
And after pulling that business up and chipping away at the ever-filthier layers of crumbling linoleum beneath it, we were down to the layer of paper over the kitchen’s floorboards.
After we decided that we not only wanted to lay hardwood in the kitchen, but also to refinish the floors in the adjacent rooms, we decided to integrate the new kitchen floor with the adjoining dining room. (If you’re putting down a new floor in one room and would rather not deal with the floor in the next room, you can always install a threshold or other piece of flooring to visually separate the two spaces.)

How do you lure your friends and neighbors over to help with floor installation? Sometimes the lure of working with pneumatic tools is excitement enough. A promise to return the favor is always good, but barbecue sure helps.

Here is a shot from the (red! It looks so different!) dining room looking into the kitchen. That nasty black glue shows where the kitchen's vinyl floor and metal threshold had previously been adhered to the floor. Note the staining on the wood floor in the dining room.

We replaced the stained and well-worn boards in the dining room entrance, allowing for a seamless transition between the two rooms:

Integrating a floor like this has to start with the pieces that fit into your old floor. As you work your way into the "floor-less" room, because of the nature of tongue-and-groove flooring, you also have to have a piece of wood called a "spline." Or you can call it the much racier-sounding "slip tongue," if you want a saucier way to talk about floor installation. A spline is tongued on both sides, allowing you to work in each direction toward both ends of the room. E-how has a better explanation of this process.

It's looking better already, don't you think?
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Demolition Derby

The kitchen saga continues!

So, after our big whirlwind trip to Ikea to order everything (keep in mind we couldn't actually take anything home with us--that would require another 5-hour trip. Well, actually several trips, but that's no fun to read about), we waited weeks and weeks for our truckload of flat-packed goodies to arrive in Atlanta. We didn't want to demo everything too early because we needed a functional kitchen.

Eventually, most of our cabinetry arrived. We assembled it in our basement, moved our fridge and stove into the dining room, and began demolition.

The first thing to come up was the floor. We scraped up a little chunk of the three layers of linoleum and sent them to a local lab for asbestos testing. When everything came back okay, we spent days scraping and chipping and tearing away at the linoleum until we got to the 60 year-old paper that separated all the linoleum from the angled floor boards underneath.

Somewhere in this process we learned that ceramic or stone tile was not an option for our kitchen. Angled floorboards that sit over an open basement like ours, not a concrete slab or subfloor, are too flexible to tile over. So our options were wood or vinyl. We decided on hardwood since that's what's in the rest of our house.

Our existing hardwoods were in dire need of refinishing. When we had ripped up the glamorous forty year-old avocado shag, we had left the hardwoods with their old wax finish from four decades before. I wanted to give them some a darker stain and some polyurethane protection, but first we had to get the rest of the kitchen removed.

Au revoir, upper cabinets! You weren't even deep enough to hold a standard twelve-inch dinner plate!

Bye-bye, bespeckled backsplash! I will not miss your sassy gold flecks, but you were very easy to clean.

So long, sink. I will not miss your paltry nine-inch depth.

And finally, farewell to the base cabinets. I am sorry my husband saw it necessary to hack at you with random tools to accommodate our temporary dishwasher. Apparently I didn't think enough of you to take a picture of your departure, or of your charming temporary residence on our front porch before your trip to the dump. But you will be remembered all the same.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Kitchen Bitchin'

Oops, I really did intend to keep up with this blog better. I am trying, though. Paired with my sporadic posting, the story of my long and lazy kitchen renovation reveals a lot about me, I guess.

Well, two years after we started our cheap and cheerful kitchen renovation, we're almost done. You would think we were remodeling the Biltmore's galleys and dining hall, not just slapping some Ikea up in a 9X11 room. Oh well, that's sort of par for the course in our DIY history, and having a toddler running around isn't doing much to speed up our progress.

The new kitchen is pretty cute, but to really appreciate it, you have to look at what we started with, and then you have to remind yourself (or I have to remind myself) that we did all of this work ourselves.

We bought our house, which was built in 1942, in 2003. The kitchen was updated sometime in the early 60s and then left untouched for the next forty years. On moving day, we wer greeted with glittery laminate countertops, tragic and stained linoleum, and cabinets painted in a color scheme that I call "dirt and dust."

We did not want to take on any debt to renovate our kitchen, so we made do for a while with some cheerful paint, and later, a poorly rigged up dishwasher that lived in a hole my husband hacked in our cabinetry. Charming!

In January of 2007, we decided to take the plunge and begin our renovation. Using the Ikea home planner program, I figured out what would work best in our oddly-configured space, and we ventured down to the Atlanta Ikea on MLK weekend to place our big order. Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. We had a lot of work to do, and we didn't get it all done as quickly as we wanted, but it's done, it's paid for, it's ours, and it's cheerful and functional. I think it's pretty adorable, myself, especially considering we have a completely new kitchen for under $5,000.

As a preview, here is a Polyvore mood board of our renovation:

EmCov itchen Remodel Preview

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