The Kitchen… pt 1

Destruction is fun. Destruction is satisfying. Destruction is dirty and results in way more material and/or waste than originally anticipated.

We’ve been having a really good time ripping everything out.

the cabinet and drawers as we first saw them; cabinet has been sawed off and plywood is visible as the material between the cabinets and drawers

Cabinet (well…top half)
At some point there was a large cabinet and chest of drawers (at least partially original) that formed a wall between the kitchen and the prep room (mud room).

Had these been intact and not had bits cut away and other bits replaced with plywood over the past 100+ years, I would have probably left them alone. But since they were already kind of butchered I decided to remove the cabinets* and relocate the drawers in order to open up the floor plan.

Amazing giant combo kitchen/prep space, here I come.

This has proven (mostly) fun and satisfying – demolition lets you see your progress immediately and get some rage out with a variety of crowbars.

Little by little we actually made great progress.

We all pitched in: Wes enjoyed scraping linoleum off of the drawers (he loves jobs like that – satisfying; seeing your progress immediately); Elliot and I had a good time whacking plywood with hammers and crowbars.**

The process was a little muted by the fact that I didn’t want to actually break things (even crappy plywood paneling can be reused!), but the whole thing was still awfully fun.

We got the top half largely removed but the nutty thing was jigsawed into so many other pieces of the room throughout the years that we eventually hit an impasse and had to take on the…

At some point, a drop ceiling was added over a newer-than-1800s wooden ceiling. Since that time, the drop ceiling has collected god knows what and has somehow become even more gross than your average drop ceiling.

I’ve wanted to rip this out (and the fake brick veneer you can spot in the background) since we first bought the house, but things like water and electric took priority.

With cold weather limiting some of the other priorities, my antsyness to rid our house of those nasty toxin-infested ceiling panels returned full-force.

Because we all walk through the kitchen every day (kids, too),*** Sergiu wanted to wait until the kids were away so we didn’t accidentally poison them. This impasse seemed impossible to surmount, until I selflessly sacrificed my own time and planned an epic (but totally selfless!) 12-day trip to Europe.****

Not sure exactly what happened while I was gone, so I’ve created another dramatic reenactment:

Elliot: Sergiu! Aly is suffering through the horrors of a 12-day trip through Paris, Malta, and Spain! We can't let her sacrifice be in vain! Let us hasten to remove this foul material that literally hangs over our heads before she returns... if she even survives!
Sergiu: Of coures you are right, but first let's repose and watch several days worth of the Walking Dead!
Elliot: Agreed, though you alone will shoulder the blame.  

This interaction was most likely repeated several times over for the first nine or so days, but they did eventually rip out those pernicious drop ceiling panels.***** …which were approximately 3x heavier than normal because of all the bacteria, viruses, and fungi that had accumulated over the past 40+ years. 🙂

Thank Zeus that Elliot has a pick-up truck, or the waste disposal for this project would have been a nightmare (his truck will be put to the extreme test when we get around to ripping off the rotten bits of porch roof/porch!)

The rest of the kitchen was a jigsawed mess, and the plywood/veneer/random other pieces of wood (not the original wainscotting, but a lot of other random wood) were no exception. My guess is that too many previous renovations just kept adding walls/ceilings on top of everything else.

After what I can only assume was a few more seasons of Walking Dead, the guys removed several of the remaining veneers, plywood, and patchwork coverings that still remained. When I got home I was decidedly impressed with how much they actually accomplished, and was secretly pleased that they’d left some demo for me 😉

All the bits or remaining wall that I got to rip from the wall 😉

Elliot and I wasted little time; jet-lagged me got to enjoy some good ol’ fashioned destruction.

But eventually we ran out of walls to rip down and had to revisit the elephant in the (literal) middle of the (future open-floorplan) room:

Cabinets (bottom half; aka, epic fail)
The drawers and counter that make up the bottom half of the cabinet (which doubled as a separating wall between the rooms) are the most confounding thing in the entire house. They are beautiful and, in many ways, really well made.

But in other ways they seem to be shambled together out of scraps.

eg, the drawers are beautiful, but the back is oddly shaped.

In addition to the back being uneven (by design! The drawers on the two ends are different depths!), the frame seems to be made of different types of wood.

Some of which extend through the floor and into the basement!

We took a few more bits off (and came up with some cunning plans for what to do with the thing, if we ever get it out!), but we’re currently at a loss as to how to actually move it. It’s a solid frame (which I love), but it is so solidly attached to the house that nothing has so far made it budge.

Oh well. We’ll figure it out, and hopefully we’ll still have a house when we’re done.

*We were careful with the original wood and will be reusing it/rebuilding the cabinets elsewhere.
**Wildly ineffective method to demolish anything, btw, except maybe glass.
***The door out of/into the house is in the kitchen.
****No, we couldn’t use any of the other like 6 doors that lead outside. That’s just crazy talk. Trip was the only way!
*****In fairness to Elliot, there were some other things that popped up (or gushed out) while we were away, too. And honestly they might have ripped the ceiling out on the first day. I have no idea. Just making assumptions based on prior experience. 😉

3 thoughts on “The Kitchen… pt 1

  1. I can somewhat sympathize with your continual discovery of “over the years” embellishments/renovations/odd ideas that you are encountering with this project. Granted, Bonnywood Manor was only built in the 1950s, a mere wee bairn compared to your elder stateswoman of a manse. But there’s been some creative machinations here as well. It can be annoying. But I also find it fascinating, the process of uncovering layers of happenings, pausing to reflect as we stumble upon this or that during our next-century remodeling. Why would they do this? What was the issue that caused them to do such?

    Found History is a gift, in a way. What has happened before are lights in a string of what happens next…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is a great perspective – it is so easy to get bogged down in the impact to my immediate plans or progress, but it is also an opportunity to evaluate and imagine the reasons that led to these decisions 50, 100, or 150 years ago. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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