Homestead Kitchen Remodel: Phase 1

You know those times when all you want is just one, small, conciliatory spruce-up and you end up opening a big, fat, putrid can of worms? 

Yeah… That’s my kitchen right now…

Maybe it was the fact that homelessness was looming over us when we bought the place or the fact that I was 7 months pregnant and ready to start nesting, but for whatever reason, the kitchen didn’t seem so bad when we moved in a year ago. But, after having to make due in a space that is both smaller and less functional than what I have been used to, there aren’t  many positive things I have to say about the kitchen’s current state. Except that I have been able to prepare my family’s meals (and hosted both Thanksgiving and Christmas with a newborn.)

All I wanted was to remove the cabinet doors and drawers, sand and refinish them, and then add some fresh paint and decor to make it feel more like a sanctuary than a dungeon… No such luck.

For starters, the cabinets aren’t level. Or plumb, or flush, or basically anything that contributes to making them structurally sound. It appears as though instead of fixing the issue of a sagging (likely water damaged and rotting) floor, the previous owners slapped a bunch of cheap and easy bandaids on the issue(s) and called it good… Except unlike the creation story, it was NOT in fact good.

This is what we’re looking at right now:

For starters, ignore my clutter and mess…

Then draw your attention to the horrible 1970s wood paneling walls that have been polyurethaned to a tacky shine. Then there’s that awful window, duct taped and plastic wrapped to account for draft from a rock shaped hole and the 4 or 5 wasp nests built in and around the frame. (We’re taking care of the exterior ones, but the interior ones are trickier)

Then, take a gander at that monstrosity of a hanging cabinet… it’s just… Awful! It makes the room feel so heavy, dark and imposing. Note the awkward location of my stove/range and the absence of the range hood and vent. That’s just asking for a tiny hand to walk by and grab a hot cast iron skillet handle. No. No, thank you, very much.

And then there’s the atrocious lack of storage, made worse by the fact that what storage DOES exist is hopelessly irregular, splintered, delapidated or otherwise malfunctioning. Hence the Rubbermaid tub in the corner.

The splintering cabinet face… Oh, my father in law… He’s very much a hoarder.

You should save the cabinet faces for patterns of the new ones.

No such luck, Pops…

You could probably salvage the cabinets and put them in the garage or basement.

Or, you know, on the street corner with the rest of the neighborhood garbage. I’m all for saving what can be saved (the countertop for example very well may be turned into a laundry folding table, but one project at a time) and reusing what is salvageable, but even I have my tightwaddery limits.

Oh, and speaking of tightwaddery, there’s the dishwasher I got for $60 at our thrift store. It is totally functional! And has all the parts it needs! I just don’t want to install it before it can be in it’s forever spot. Plus, there’s not an opening for it right now in the current cabinetry, so until such time as we get the cabinets done, it is just acting as additional counter and storage space.

We assume these are covering giant holes in the gnarly paneling… Smooth…

And then these “chic” light switch plate covers

And then there’s this door. This hideous, ramshackle door with plexiglass (?) windows and a latch that barely functions. I’d also like to point out the gag-worthy (plunger in the corner… No idea why it’s there… The toddler maybe?) vinyl flooring that is yellowed by decades of cigarette smoke, and has nice little burn spots where I assume those same cigarette smokers carelessly let their butts fall willynilly to the floor. Eew.

Are you ready for some more eew? 

That’s the base of the floor cabinets. All kinds of eww things get stuck underneath there. Apparently when the previous owners noticed the cabinet facing beginning to sag, they just popped a few 2x4s under it…

Everything settled toward this corner here, which we assume is where the subfloor (please, God, not the floor joists too…) have rotted into sagginess. 

Quite frankly, we have no idea what to expect when we pull everything out, and that’s the scary part. Or, one of the scary parts.

And finally, more drawers, only 25% of which actually open and close. Hooray!

So first things first, the yuck has to come out, and it has to be replaced with something… Preferably something rustic and fabulous that makes the 92% of my life in the kitchen feel more inspired and jubilant.

More to come on that front.

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