Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kitchen Walls

Phil gutted the kitchen down to the studs. This was not part of the original plan. In fact, the original plan called for us to keep the original lower cabinets or even some part of them. When we really got down to work, we discovered that the kitchen sink had leaked so long the sink base was beyond saving. We hated the avocado green counter tops. And really hated the dark brown cabinets. Also note, no dishwasher. There just was not much we did like about the kitchen. So we pulled all the cabinets out. And that's when we discovered that we would need to replace walls as well.

Turns out, this house is not insulated. We learned that when we took the sheetrock off the outside kitchen wall. This picture was taken from the former living room. Note the bookcases are not yet built but Phil has started the wall to the pantry. The door to the kitchen has been widened. All the cabinets are gone. The stove is still functional but the kitchen sink will go after the plumber comes. After removing the sheetrock from the outside wall, Phil began construction of the pantry. But it soon became apparent to him that the remainder of the sheet rock in the kitchen would have to go as well due to its condition and age.

This picture shows the corner of the kitchen just adjacent to the the new pantry. Note the hole in
the ceiling. There used to be this tiny little pantry closet in this space. When it was removed, the ceiling was damaged. Phil would end up cutting this sqare and replacing that portion of the sheetrock. The walls were unredeemable. On the other hand, removing the sheetrock made it really easy for Dan, the electrician, to wire the kitchen properly. Prior to this, the kitchen was a typical 1950's style kitchen with one plug at counter level. Definitely not enough electric. Dan took a good look at our electrical system and went to work updating it. We'll end up paying Dan a good deal of money before we are done but at least we will be properly wired...and safely, too. Dan found two bad plugs in the back room, which will become our living room. Both were physically defective--one heating up and the other sparking. We'd like to avoid a house fire if possible. Dan says we have enough power coming to the house for all the things we want to do. First thing on my list, beyond improving the safety of the structure, is updating the kitchen. We will not want for electrical outlets in there. Dan wired us for one quad to the left of the sink, a light above the sink, one outlet to the right of the sink and one outlet on either side of the stove. He also added an outlet behind the location for the refrigerator.

Back to the walls...After Dan did his work, we called in Paul, the plumber. While we were waiting for Paul, Phil replaced the kitchen window. Looks great, doesn't it? Paul disconnected the sink and set it up for installation of cut-off valves and pvc piping. He also set up the plumbing for the dishwasher and refrigerator. Now Phil just needed to work around the new pipes and electrical boxes to put up the sheetrock. He worked really hard to get it put up correctly. Since he had never done this sort of thing before, it was a challenge. Just learning to cut sheetrock was new. I bought him a fine knife for this purpose. That made the cutting a bit easier. Sanding made no small amount of dust. Note the back of the chair in this picture. We seem to have had dust everywhere. Well, we still do. Phil finished the walls in the kitchen and then textured them...another new skill he has learned. He has moved on to the walls on the exterior of the pantry and the other side of the opening to the kitchen. Dust everywhere. I am grateful for the Shop-Vac. That gets rid of a good deal of it but we can't seem to escape it entirely. How do they make it look so dustless on those home improvement shows?

Enough whining. Phil textured the walls while I put the finishing touches on the bookcases. After that, I began painting. We going with a sort of Tuscan theme. The bookcase I painted white flat enamel and I used white ceiling paint for the overhead. You don't realize there are huge differences in white until you put these two side by side. Then I painted the walls a lovely terra cotta. It seemed very strong so I applied golden oak stain using a dry brush technique and a cheesecloth covered sponge. That gave the walls a kind of old look, sort of mottled. Phil says they look just like walls he saw in Italy. I thought they looked a little brushed suede. Either way, we like this technique and will use it on the outside of the pantry and in the dining room. I know it looks a bit garish in the photos but in person the color is quite nice, a good contrast to the white. Note the fan in the background of this picture. Dan put it in for us last time he was here and it has increased the air circulation tremendously. See the shiney spots above the passageway to the dining room....Phil messed up my paint job so today, I get to go back and do a little repair work. Not a big deal, the blue painter's tape did not do as good a job as I had hoped at giving me clear distinct lines so I have to go over those as well. So that is my job today...to put the finishing touches on the paint in the kitchen. Phil, meanwhile, is already ahead of me sanding the outside of the pantry so I best get to work....more later. Deb

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