Home Improvement

This house has needed a new kitchen since about 1970. That's when the previous owners added on to the kitchen by enclosing the front porch, but never finished taking out the old wall. What was left was a tiny galley kitchen, completely isolated from the rest of the house, and an odd hall-like extension to the kitchen which went nowhere. The kitchen sink was below a "window" that looked into this blind hall. The cabinets were from 1951, old and warped, and the ovens no longer worked.

The bathroom, too, was in need of updating and repair.

I contracted with a local Sacramento outfit, Bobby Wynne of Mega Cabinet Co. 916/812-6833, to have the work done. They subcontracted Danny Wong of Superior Stone to do the structural work.

18 December 2006

The original start date for the project was after 01 January 2007, but I got a call asking if they could start early. Why not? I had taken the kids to Ikea for breakfast and to buy a canopy for Matthew's bed. I dropped Matthew off at school, and when Joshie and I got home we discovered that the demolition was already well under way -- I hadn't even had time to take any "before" pictures!

  • The old breakfast area:
    The old breakfast area

  • The weird wall, with the "window" over the sink:
    The weird wall, with the

  • With the old cabinets removed, it almost looks spacious:
    With the old cabinets removed, it almost looks spacious

  • This wall completely separated the kitchen from the rest of the house. The range and some cabinets used to be here:
    This wall completely separated the kitchen from the rest of the house

  • The other side of the weird wall. There's even a drain clean-out in the floor!:
    The other side of the weird wall. There's even a drain cleanout in the floor!

  • The old bathroom. Quaint tile, but the shower leaked:
    The old bathroom. Quaint tile, but the shower leaked

  • The wood surrounding the old shower was starting to rot:
    The wood surrounding the old shower was starting to rot

Even though the original addition had been permitted and inspected, when we started to remove the old wall we discovered that there was a four-foot span where load-bearing structure had been removed and left hanging. It's a good thing it doesn't snow much in Sacramento, or the roof might well have caved in!

  • Later that same day, more of the cabinetry and wall had been removed:
    Later that same day, more of the cabinetry had been removed

  • After school, Matthew inspects the destruction:
    After school, Matthew inspects the destruction

  • The weird wall is now almost history:
    The weird wall is now almost history

Surveying the destruction, I realized with horror that Christmas was only a week away and Mom was coming to see the kids for a few days. Worse, I realized they were probably about to tear out the bathroom and, with it, the only bathtub and shower in the house. It would be an uncomfortable visit, indeed, with no shower and no kitchen. First, I called Whole Foods, which is half a mile away, and ordered a prepared Christmas dinner. I had never really moved into the kitchen, since I expected to demolish it, and I figured that the kitchenette I had fashioned in the laundry room would be sufficient for heating and serving the prepared meal. Next, I called the contractors and asked them not to tear out the bathroom until after 27 December. They reluctantly agreed.

31 December 2006

The contractors made unbelievable progress in the two weeks surrounding Christmas, even given the holiday. They were also meticulous about cleaning up at the end of each workday so, except for having no bath, shower, or kitchen, the house was actually quite livable while they worked.

  • The weird wall (and the rest of the old kitchen) is now completely gone, and the walls have had a fresh coat of Tuscan Terracotta applied:
    The weird wall (and the rest of the old kitchen) is now completely gone, and the walls have had a fresh coat of Tuscan Terracotta applied

  • Wide open spaces!:
    Wide open spaces!

02 January 2007

A new year, and I can't believe the lightning speed and the quality of the work.

  • Most of the floor and some of the cabinets are now in:
    Most of the floor and some of the cabinets are now in

  • A pass-through now unites the kitchen with the living areas:
    A pass-through now unites the kitchen with the living areas

  • The bathroom has been destroyed and is already partially rebuilt:
    The bathroom has been destroyed and is already partially rebuilt

  • A fresh tile floor is already in:
    A fresh tile floor is already in

05 January 2007

They're done! Less than three weeks after starting, I have a whole new kitchen and bathroom, and actually had fun in the process!

  • The dishwasher is all that's left (the contractors couldn't do it, as I was adapting a portable I already owned):
    The dishwasher is all that's left (the contractors couldn't do it, as I was adapting a portable I already owned)

  • The pass-through bar, from the living room side:
    The pass-through bar, from the living room side

  • Spacious:
    Spacious

07 January 2007

We converted and installed the dishwasher and moved the kitchen things from the laundry room. Then we spent a day tidying and cleaning what, for the first time, felt like a real house.

  • The dishwasher and some window coverings complete the look:
    The dishwasher and some window coverings complete the look

  • Looking in from the dining room:
    Looking in from the dining room

  • Can a kitchen ever be too big?:
    Can a kitchen ever be <em>too</em> big?

  • Warm, bright, and roomy:
    Warm, bright, and spacious

  • The bathroom is beautiful, too:
    The bathroom was beautiful, too

  • Ooops, the shower door is special-order. It's curtains for now:
    Ooops, the shower door is special-order. It's curtains for now

  • Matthew inaugurated the new tub this evening:
    Matthew inaugurated the new tub this evening

I've heard so many home improvement horror stories, and even participated in a few. It's hard to believe that this was so quick and painless, and the results so dramatic and satisfying. On time, hassle free, and on budget. My thanks to all the contractors and workers who made it happen.

-- RonRisley - 08 Jan 2007

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Topic revision: r3 - 2007-01-29 - RonRisley
 
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