Jun 16, 2011

Kitchen Reboot - 3, Destruction and Alarm Clock Calamity

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Okay, back to our regularly scheduled program.  Queue the Kitchen Reboot...

It gets worse before it gets better.

Layers of linoleum peel like skin from an orange, dissolving down to plywood subfloor.

Drywall rips and grinds to powder.

A plumber bends over and flashes crack.

Crusty plastic wall panelling pulled to expose drug-enhanced 1950's wallpaper sporting:  alarm clocks, tea kettles, butterflies, strawberries and unidentified objects (what the heck is that on the left, a gravy boat?).  Was Leave it to Beaver's mom huffin' leaded gasoline shots when she picked up a roll of this gem from the sales rack?  Completely ridiculous yet awe inspiring, I briefly considered keeping a small frame of the crazy paper intact as a nod to the past. 



Normally a do-it-yourself dude, I wimped out on this project and hired contractor Dave to spin the saws.

It'd require months for me to tame this beast alone.
I didn't want to be without a stove for half a year.
We hit a couple of cranky snags along the way where I was very glad to have a pro online.

And you pretty much need a licensed contractor to handle the code work of plumbing, electricity and drywall.  This town has a tough code and beefy $$ fines if you fail to adhere.

line above cabinets marks where the whoopsie started
The first zoh mother of God moment occurred roughly 8 minutes, 32 seconds into the teardown.  I asked Dave to remove the soffit topping the upper cabinets.  Slap chopping that section would create space and let us slide the new cabinets higher up.  When he punched it with a Sawzall, ceiling rafters greeted him.  Note to self: there's reason they put a wall there when they built the house.  Maybe we shouldn't have touched that wall to begin with.
bleepin' rafters

Dave shrugged it off and said he'd figure something out.  Dave's the man.

Destruction takes time, 50 years of floor, wall, cabinets and trim were cut and chucked, filling up a large rollaway dumpster.  Couple hundred just for a dumpster, it was clear this puppy was going to bite the wallet.

Dave summoned the electrician, I rattled off my list and watched him wince, then lick his chops:  Recessed can lights x 5, dim em'.  Wire a light over the door for a cheery entrance.  Hardwire lights below and in upper cabinets, ninja style.  I don't want to see any exposed wires or lights.

yeah, let's do take-out tonight
Remove the ceiling fan and button down the wiring box there, remove a couple outlets, add three new ones.  Hardwire appliances, cut ceiling and install circuit for hanging light over table, wire dedicated circuits for appliances that eat the voltage, such as the microwave. 

The above kept a crew of electricians busy for a couple days, they ended up rewiring the entire kitchen and installing a new feeder box in the basement to bring it up to modern code.  $3,000 worth of wire.  Gulp.  Withdraw! Withdraw again from the rainy day!

progress:  wiring, lights, backer board
I asked Dave not to skimp on the subfloor, go with a thicker cement board to shore up and kill the flex that was there before.  Most tile cracks due to a flexing subfloor, not from dropping iron skillets.  Costs a bit more, but laid correctly, the slate floor will last a century.

Particulates from the tearout and backer board install gritted everything, even drifting down to the basement, dusting the couch and TV like a dirty blizzard.  Pigtails and I ate out of a microwave for weeks, pulling plates and forks from the guest room-turned-kitchen.  
It was a hassle and not ideal pumping drywall into the lungs.  But I knew it gets worse before it gets better.
-Beard

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