Yes I’m Still Here…

Posted on September 3rd, 2011 in Uncategorized

…just lost the blogging bug for a while. All summer we’ve been buried in a mess around here due to our kitchen renovation. I try not to complain because I’ve been waiting for this new kitchen ever since we bought the house in January 2005. The kitchen was the least-desirable part of the house, but everything else ticked the boxes on our list so we decided to buy with the intention of imminent kitchen demolition. Well, one thing turned into another and we did lots of other renos first: we had the downstairs bathroom gutted and rebuilt almost right away, then we replaced all the windows and doors in the house and replaced the furnace and installed bathroom extraction fans upstairs. We upgraded he attic insulation, changed out most of the interior doors…well the list goes on and on.
So, this summer we got the chance to start the kitchen. I’ve been planning and plotting my new kitchen for YEARS, so it was really exciting to see it come to life. Here are a couple of photos I took back in 2005 when we had just moved in. You can still see boxes lying around from the move, but it shows the ridiculous layout of the room.

Just to the right in this photo is the rest of a very large (23′ x 17′) room, so the kitchen itself is closed into this very small corner by the wall and the peninsula. It is a crazy design, but I guess kitchens were built only as work areas back in 1980. Too bad only one person can work in there at one time. It was a constant frustration for us. You want to see me going insane? Making Christmas Dinner in here! Ugh!!

Kitchen in 2005

In the next photo you can see the peninsula with the bulkhead or…what is this called?…soffit? above it. I think there were originally cabinets attached there. Wow, can’t imagine how closed-in the kitchen must have felt when they were still there! Don’t you love the old-newspaper-looking wallpaper? (because oh yes, we want to draw attention to these useless empty soffits along the ceiling- pfft!)

Peninsula area

So, I spent years planning and designing what I dreamed of having in this room. Ikea has an online planner that lets you lay out cabinets and appliances to get a feel for how things would fit and how it would look. I tried a few different combinations, but I knew I wanted an open kitchen with a huge island. This is the basic idea I had:


It’s hard to see in the ‘before’ photos, but the original kitchen had a pocket door opening on the wall where the stove is in this plan (into the dining room), and another one where the wide doorway is shown here farther along that wall (leading into the hallway). We decided to take out both pocket doors (they no longer functioned anyway) and make one wider opening instead.

Over the years, we made a few changes to try to make it a bit more comfortable. We changed the light fixtures, painted over the wallpaper and the walls, and changed out the ugly old light switches and plugs. We replaced the old stove and fridge at different times when they died on us. This is how the room looked the night before ‘demo day’. Of course, it’s empty because we had packed everything away already.

Kitchen almost empty

Kitchen almost empty

In this next photo, you can see that our contractor had already taken out the small pocket door and widened the opening. This was to make it easier to unload the furniture before demo.

kitchen almost empty

On the wall to the right in this next photo, you can see one of the three windows along this wall. It’s a very bright room with lots of natural light. (and little Molly who always seems to get into the photos) but this was in the evening with not much light for photos.

kitchen almost empty

Finally- DEMO DAY! Here’s me taking a few (pathetic) swings at the hated bulkhead/soffit box-thingy over the peninsula. It was nice to get the chance to wreck that thing finally:-)

Goodbye ugly bulkhead!

Here’s how the room looked after the first day of hammering, ripping and sawing. The huge hole in the wall is where the other pocket door was removed. This has become a solid wall, as later photos will show. The dining room became our makeshift kitchen area, but at this point it was a disaster area too.

End of Demo day 1

Next came the electrical work, so lots of drywall was torn out, and the new section of wall was framed in. You can see where the ceiling is being cut up to put in the new pot lights.

Day 5

By Day 4, all of the flooring had been torn up. We were conflicted about taking out all of the hardwood floor, but we couldn’t come up with a good way of saving it without having an odd transition into the kitchen area and we didn’t want to try to match the wood since it has yellowed quite a bit from light exposure, and there were areas where the finish had worn off (under my office chair from the casters- guilty!) We decided to go with cork for the whole room, which of course added more $$ to the job…like everything does!

Day 4

By Day 11, we had new drywall all over the place and things were looking much cleaner.

Day 11

Day 16 and we have a new sub floor and the footings for the base cabinets are being installed.

Day 16 Base Cabinets

Base cabinets and the island!

Day 17

Day 16 Base cabinets

Day 28 was pretty exciting- granite countertops! Oh my gosh the island looks MASSIVE!

Day 28

Then we had a visit from the plumber and we’re back to having running water. We had a filtered water tap and a soap dispenser added too. We love our new pull out sprayer faucet and the new sinks!

Day 29

Subway tile backsplash with glass tile accent strip. I agonized over the grout colour and finally decided on Delorean Gray. It turned out exactly like I wanted:-) Just enough colour to show the pattern but not too graphic.

Day 35

The new cork floors! I love the pattern- it’s impossible to see crumbs:-) We decided to go ahead and replace our foyer flooring at the same time. Renovations are like a virus, once you get started they keep spreading!

Day 40

Foyer Before: Ugly, damaged parquet floor:

Day 41

Foyer after: Lovely cork, yeay! It feels so good on the feet too.

Day 41

Here’s where we are today (Day- oh sheesh, let me count- yep, it’s Day 58!) We have some of the cabinet doors and our garbage and recycling pull-outs are installed. The crown moldings are up (but not yet painted) and we are still waiting for the island cabinet doors, the cabinet and drawer handles, the glass fronted cabinet doors and glass shelving, the baseboards and a fresh coat of paint on the walls,  the painter to finish the ceiling, the electrician to install the ceiling lights…then I get to decide about window coverings.

Along this set of base cabinets there are two which we decided to change to drawers. Base cabinets drive me crazy- I can never find anything wayyy in the back of them. The drawers are built but not yet switched out.

The upper cabinets on either side of the sink will have glass fronted doors, glass shelves and interior lighting. We decided on a cross-hatch patterned glass to disguise the cabinet contents a bit.

Day 54

The hood fan still has the protective paper on it and it still needs the cover for the chimney pipe. Stuff is all over the counters because we aren’t using the cabinets yet. Hate the mess but we are LOVING the kitchen already!

Day 54

Later today I think we are getting the cherry doors installed on the island and all of the cabinet handles put on. At that point I think I will feel safe enough to start bringing everything back in and organizing the cabinets. We’re on the home stretch- more photos to come soon!

If you’re like me and you want to see all the nitty-gritty details and lots more photos, I’ve been photo blogging the whole renovation since we started in a set on Flickr. You can check it out by clicking HERE There’s an option there to watch them as a slideshow but then you don’t get to see my rivetingly interesting written commentary :-)

Comments welcome!

4 Responses to “Yes I’m Still Here…”

  1. Wow Helen! It takes a strong person to work a renovation like that for as long as it’s been taking you. But it’s beautiful and I can’t wait to see the final result! Just in time for the holidays!!!

    Oh and I saw the comment you left on my YT channel earlier today. Thanks for watching and I think you should get some soap made. You could even video it if you wanted… :)
    Holly´s last blog post ..Question For You

  2. Hi Holly-thanks for popping in:-) We are fast losing patience over how long this is taking, believe me! Two steps forward and one back lately but hoping for it to be done in the next couple of weeks. Fingers crossed!

  3. Glad to see you are blogging again! I am living vicariously through your removation as I hope to do my kitchen this winter/spring.

  4. should be “renovation”- typo