Thursday, April 7, 2011

Farewell to the 40's
Kitchen Renovation

Here's the kitchen when we moved in. Big Bird yellow and glitter countertops. We installed a wood counter, got new stainless appliances, slid the fridge down to the opposite end, laid a wood floor and painted it. When we pulled off the countertop, written on the wood under the funny little arched island shelf type-of thing, we found, scrawled in pencil in the cutest old man hand-writing, "William and John Martin. Makers. Damascus, MD 1943" I am so sad I don't have a picture of it. I could go on about how this is Nick's fault, but I'll leave it at, "bygones."

This is the best pic I could find of what we've been living in for the past five years. Normally I kept my retro kitchen pretty clean--not on this day apparently. I remember taking this photo to prove some kind of point--why I needed a maid or whatnot. Anyway, our little space served us well and was really cute, I think. Continue on for proof...

(breakfast nook)

Of course it was all pink and green and striped and polka dotted, and I found it a charming and happy place to be. The cupboards were white and somewhat timeless, and I have to say, stood the test of time for nearly 70 years! In all honesty, they were pretty much in above average shape until two years ago.

That's when the dam burst. All of a sudden they just started falling apart, looking and feeling run down, cracked, and disgusting (the state we will all find ourselves in at 70 no doubt). After talking with a few experts, we figured out our plan for a re-do, and we started last month. We initially wanted to bump out the back wall and make our kitchen into one big room--eliminating the hall into the living room, and the breakfast nook. Once we found out that meant tearing down a bearing-wall, and that it would cost a million $$, require steel beams to the basement, and a structural engineer, we opted for plan B: combining the kitchen and dining room into one room--divided by a half wall. And that's where we are.

I took some really awesome pictures of Nick and Paul demolishing the cabinets, walls and soffits. Anjie came over just in time to see it literally RAIN turds out of the soffits, and we both screamed at the deluge of petrified poo falling and clattering to the floor around us! Paul assured me it was most likely from a squirrel (not a rat) and that it had probably been there since my mama was in diapers (whew!) Where are those pics? Well, considering I took them without a card in my camera, they are nowhere.

We are so lucky to have Papin and Paul working with Nick on this project. You will find them both on the evaporated pictures that never existed, but take my word for it--they're both very cute and even more importantly, (almost) talented. Paul has done kitchen and bath renovations for years, and I could never have figured it all out without him. Papin is awesome at wood working and construction, in general. They work for Calleva full time, and are doing our project before the summer and fall craziness begins again. Paul even swore to me in blood he won't leave until it's done, which involves some sorta deal with one of my sisters.... but that's another story.

Two rooms become one. We moved the existing kitchen wall over two feet to make the kitchen space a little more roomy, thus making the dining room smaller, but it works fine.

We are losing our pantry cupboard, taking out the existing radiators, and putting our fridge in the wall--a fabulous space saver!

Our sink will no longer be under the window looking out back, but into the dining room. There will be a counter with bar stools joining the two areas. I'm super excited and am crossing my fingers it turns out the way I want it and that I LOVE it.

This morning I asked Mitchell to go take some pictures of our makeshift kitchen, but he said he was still sick.

Little chick agreed to the job.

Here we are. She's standing in the bathroom to take the pic. To the right you have the fridge, George Foreman and crock pot, and to the left you have everything else. What more do you need?

We actually have a big sink in the basement, but we generally stick to piling up a landfill somewhere. It hasn't been that bad. My kids, who never had cereal more than once a week, are now enjoying it two or three times a day. "They're grrrreat!" Just kidding. Kashi only.

This is the new view from the front entry of the house. Dining room table and chandelier have shifted left. I don't mind it. I think we definitely did the right thing by opening up the two rooms, considering our limited options.

Here's the status of the rest of the house: neglected, covered up, coated in dust. Waiting... just waiting.... to get it's old life back.

The people feel the same.


Ann Marie said...

Ahhh.. I have to wait!!!

This is just what I needed this morning... to wake up and see this exciting step/process/renovation in your house!! How fun to see the changes happening....

I am impressed at your "makeshift" kitchen. I would be all about eating out as much as possible for an excuse. :)

I look forward to the finished loveliness that I know it will be... CAN'T WAIT!!!!
( have I already said that? lol )

jessamyn said...

This is so exciting! I loved your kitchen before (from pictures, I swear I haven't been peaking in your windows or anything) and I can't wait to see what the new kitchen looks like, I love everything you do!! And this is the absolute truth; your makeshift kitchen is the same size as the kitchen in my apartment now, no joke, I believe I have blog proof. No dishwasher, so I am a landfill supporter too. I love your style, it is so unaffected by trends (I mean that as a compliment) and that is what makes for a timeless home! Am I still talking? Over and out.

Anonymous said...

This is so awesome, Jennifer. Sue and Will have been doing their kitchen/great room for several months now and it has been fun to watch. I love your make shift kitchen. Especially the card table. Card tables are so handy most of our lives for one thing or another. All is well here in my cozy little "slice of heaven". I can't imagine living anywhere else. Good luck with your newest endeavor. It will be fun to see it take shape. Love and patience to all of the Markoffs during the project, Aunt Nancy

VEGAS VIC said...

How exciting. I can't wait for the finished product. Dad thinks your makeshift kitchen is a great idea. I of course like the paper plate idea.
Hope Mitchell is better.

jill said...

Great post! I had no idea that the kitchen was yellow when you moved it! Why didn't I know that? Your kitchen is going to be beautiful,and I can't wait to help you decorate the rest of your living area. Good times are ahead! I feel sad that you and your family are making your meals in your hallway, that's a little depressing, but hey no pain no gain!

I want to hear about this deal with one of your sisters and Paul... what's that all about? I have a hunch that the "sister" is Jek.

Kimmie said...

I have truly missed you!! Such happy news...a new kitchen, WOW!!

I love seeing home remodels and I can't wait to see how everything comes together! You have such a knack with design and color and even though our homes are TOTALLY different with style, I love everything you have done to your house. I love all of your timeless white with zebra patterns and pink and green paint and accents all of the clever little details you have added to each room. I can't even imagine having a home with all of the AMAZING trim-work and crown molding that you have your stair banister is something to be coveted. Love it!!

I would have loved your makeshift kitchen. We had a hot plate (and would you believe it, diligently cooked steel cut oats for breakfast each morning). And we definitely used the crock-pot/toaster oven LOTS! Love your little space you have to work with at the moment.

Looking SO forward to what you come up with! I know it will be fabulous and amazing and someone will probably find your finished photos through google and be posting them on their blog as "look at this awesome kitchen that I want to replicate"! (big smile!)

Whether you have a big house, a small house, a new house or an old house, it's the LOVE instead that really counts after all. My favorite moments are when we gather around the table each evening for family dinner and have great conversation and laughter and that means more than anything!! (saying that as I would love a kitchen remodel as well, but my 12 year old cabinets, are going to have to be happy with a fresh paint lift at this point in their life).

Happy that your 70 year kitchen gets to be exactly what YOU want it to be!! Enjoy the fun of creating your wonderful kitchen!