The Cook is in the House

This is is what our kitchen looked like, below, at mid-project.  You may recall it’s original state – peeling formica, faux brick, faux walnut paneling, drop ceiling and as it turned out, several layers of flooring: vinyl, more vinyl, brittle wood parquet secured by hundreds of nails, linoleum, more linoleum, roofing lumber used as flooring with still more nails and finally, the original pine plank floors.  Sadly, after 150 years, they had seen much better days.  In one spot, they were damaged by a long ago fire in the basement, in others by wood eating insects, water damage and dry rot.  All in all, not much could be salvaged. 

Demo'd Kitchen

The good news was that behind the drop ceiling was a near pristine original tin one with only two coats of paint on it at most, very few holes and no rust damage at all.  Even better, we found a perfect match on-line for a few sections needed to replace the Art Deco patch job done when the house was electrified.

Once the floor boards were removed, the next step was to level the floor.  At one point in the project before the floor came out we had a small flood in the kitchen from a problem with the eave spout.  The water collected in the center of the kitchen where it formed a deep pool in the middle of the three-inch dip in the floor.  That’s how bad it was.

The next step, after removing the floor boards, was to ‘sister’ the the joists with new lumber to level them.  If you look closely at the photo below, you can see how much the old joists sag at right near the center of the kitchen and the way they come up to the left near the wall.

Leveling the kitchen floor

The existing joists not only had a dramatic sway to them, they were spindly 4×6′s, spaced 20″ apart instead of old ‘to code’ 4×12″ joists at 18″ apart.  If you jumped up and down, the whole place bounced.  Surveying the scene confirmed we were nuts do be doing this – anyone else would tear it down – but somehow we knew hoped it would all work out.

After the joists, a new sub-floor went in followed by framing, insulation and new wallboard. In the photo above, you can see where the old chimney is.  To the left of this was the former sink.  In the new kitchen we built a wall flush with the chimney so we could add a stackable washer/dryer closet to the left, a dishwasher to the right of that and relocate the sink in front of the old chimney.  The stove is in the same place to the far right near the window.

We also reinforced the exterior wall which had a great deal of damage in the corner near the stove with new 4×4″ posts.  In the photo below you can see the new wall, nice and level, a freshly painted tin ceiling with new cornice and the duct for the stove vent.  Along with the floors being off, the whole house leaned three inches to the east and the walls also needed to be straightened.  The upside of this was we were able to fit the hard duct for the gas dryer neatly in the space at the top between the old leaning wall and the new one in front of it.

New kitchen wall

The next photo below shows the kitchen during installation. We chose an Ikea kitchen for the immediate gratification of in-stock delivery and the super reasonable price. Next post, promise, some photos of the mostly finished kitchen. We’re having a whole family paint the kitchen day tomorrow!

Cabinets during installation
Cabinets during installation

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