The once and future kitchen

Sink side, after teardown.

This is why I’ve been quiet the past few days. I had to remove everything from my kitchen this weekend, because it’s RENOVATION TIME! Yes, I am living without a kitchen, probably through the holidays. Luckily we’re pretty low key and no one expects me to actually cook anything.

My house was built in the 40’s and has been in my family since the mid-50’s; I moved in about 3 years ago. It needed some updating, but most of it so far has either been outside or stuff we did before I even moved in – nothing so extensive as this.

My father pretty much grew up here, so between us we have a pretty good memory of the kitchen decor. The kitchen as-it-was before Monday was a 70’s renovation. It wasn’t pretty, but it was perfectly functional. I miss functional, but it’s going to be worth it… Right? (Oh, if only I had a bigger bathroom! Or just a bigger bathroom sink, because washing dishes is… a production.)

The floor – mostly covered with cardboard now – is brand new, because the original plan was to just refurbish the existing cabinets. (Ha ha.) The wallpaper in the link was 90’s replacement, covering a 70’s yellow/orange flower one that I remember from my childhood. (It wasn’t quite as cracky as what was in the bathroom, but same sort of thing… My grandmother had, um, interesting taste.) There were five layers of wallpaper on those walls: 90’s flowers, 70’s flowers, something ivy, something pink with (more) flowers, and a really cute 50’s teapot thing that’s so delightfully 50’s I really wish it had never been covered up.

According to my father the kitchen was green when they moved in, and you can see a dull olive under some of the yellow. And then, of course, the pink. The eye searing, Pepto Bismo pink. The past is a weird, weird place.

I took most of those pics Monday night – the electrical stuff has all been redone since, and the drywall/plaster guy is coming tomorrow. The cabinets will be in on Monday, and the countertops? No idea, but almost certainly not until January. Thanks, holidays. (I will have one bitty piece of counter until then – the tiny bit of butcher block that you can just barely see between the fridge and the stove is going to be sanded and reused.)

Of course I’ve got a good idea of where we’re going with this, but… More later. Not pink, though.

12 thoughts on “The once and future kitchen

    1. I was originally thinking a more modern version of the yellow… but then the floor went in and even before the wallpaper came down it was clear to me that anything in that family would make it look orange… So none of that, either.


    1. Barring any actual disasters, this is probably the biggest thing I’m ever doing to this house… The only interior thing that really needs updating now is the ‘finished’ area and bathroom in the basement, and that’s so not a priority. Thankfully we did the main bathroom before I moved in!

      The hardest thing is keeping the cats out. Louie does NOT approve of shut doors.


        1. I thought it was just about the litter box – the only way into the basement is through the kitchen, so they have a temp one upstairs – but the first couple times he ran past me he didn’t go near it. Then when I did leave the doors open, he still used the upstairs one! I don’t even know.

          They haven’t been in since the plaster work started, but he was significantly less beggy last night. We’ll see.


  1. Good luck on the kitchen renovations. Are you doing everything yourself? We are in the beginning stages of a redo as well. The kitchen is mid-80s to a “T”. We are going through Home Depot as I don’t feel comfortable enough to mess with a kitchen. I’m going to redo the floors and backsplash myself though.

    Again, good luck and keep the pics coming!


      1. Awesome! Good luck. We meet with the Home Depot designer this week. Any tips on making the process go faster? They say this is going to be 6-12 weeks. I’d like it to be less :)


        1. I’m afraid I can’t – we actually ended up having to delay because my father (who’s retired and can be there during the day) was out of state, otherwise this all would have started at least two weeks earlier.

          The good news is – and you’ve probably heard this – that they don’t tear down until you have the new cabinets on site, and since then it’s gone pretty quickly. (And would have been faster if we hadn’t asked for a gap to fix the walls.) The biggest wait will be the countertops – about two weeks, probably more for us due to this being over the holidays, since they have to do precise measurements once the cabinets are installed. (We’re getting quartz, may be different for other materials.) So basically, don’t do it over the holidays! But you can’t schedule a damn thing until you have a delivery and install dates.

          But so far the contractors, delivery people, everyone has been very timely, which shocks my father since he’s dealt with independent contractors for years.

          If it’s an option, the Home Depot refinisher guy told us that would only take 3 days, if your base cabinets are solid and you don’t want to make any major layout changes. We ended up going for the full thing because the idea of extending cabinets along the back wall was just too tempting, but the refinishing would have worked just fine as well.


        2. I’m in the same boat as you on most of these things. We are doing quartz counter tops as well and are starting this whole thing over the holidays. We had the guy measure but are waiting for the designer to call us. I want to get all the design plans done with ASAP so we can start destruction. I have my apartment for about another month so I’d like to get as much done as possible before I have to officially move out. Good luck and I can’t wait to see some pictures!


        3. Designers probably vary from store-to-store… Alas.

          The cabinets are done, I’ll try and get some pics tonight! Maybe I’ll even dig out my real camera.


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