My Before, During, and After Story, Part 3

This is the story of how we gutted our 1855 home’s kitchen and dining room. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

I have thus far blogged about the kitchen renovation. Originally, gutting the kitchen was my only goal. In an old house, it is SO easy to get carried away with multiple projects, because there is always so much to do. As I planned the kitchen job, I realized I’d have to do the dining room, too. Part of the renovation goal was to wire the house (I’d disconnected the old, decaying wiring in the house three years previously). We’d suffered all those years without any electricity in the bedrooms upstairs, the upstairs bath, and the dining room. I decided to gut the dining room, too. This way, I could wire the upstairs rooms from the opened dining room ceiling.

Wiring 1

The house framing method is balloon-frame, a building fad in the mid 1800s. Studs sit on the foundation sill and reach all the way up to the roof rafters, like a hot air balloon seams. It quickly grew out of fashion because cutting wood at such lengths was expensive; and the drafts produced by the open cavity from basement to attic was a fire hazard. But I was able to snake wiring up the stud cavities.

Since there was no plumbing in the dining room walls, I thought renovating the room would be easy. However, the walls are 155 years old, wavy and narrow. Installing the sheetrock for this room was AGONIZING. If I ever had to hire for a job, it would be sheetrock. What exhausting, dirty, depressing work. Nothing is straight or plumb in this house, so the walls and ceiling looked terrible. Not to mention that at this time, Upstate New York suffered one of the hottest summers on record. We were absolutely soaked through. I drank about 1 to 2 gallons of iced tea every day. It was a big trial for us to work through this. So many times we wanted to quit.

DRcornerceiling1

Wavier than a surfer's paradise, I tell ya.

DR ceiling sheetrock

It was just my daughter and I who did the sheetrock, with later help from my son. It took us THREE GRUELING WEEKS to do this huge room. Never again...

Walpapceiling

The wavy ceiling turned out so poorly, we decided to paste embossed wallpaper on it. That was another GRUELING week of work.

pediment10

I wanted to retain the Greek Revival architecture of the house, so I spent a long time building new trimwork for it. I love my miter saw!

DiningRoomDone2

The room was a tremendous challenge because it has four windows and SIX doorways. But here's the finished product.

Back to the kitchen project. There was a large space- a former pantry closet that was awkward and cramped– and I didn’t want to close it off completely… So we solved the problem by creating a narrow pantry shelf accessible from the side of the closet. The guys from my church got this up in one night!

Narrow Pantry

pantryshlevsquirky

This is after the sheetrock. It's a little quirky, but I love it. I have to build custom doors for it. That open cubby hole to the left will house a closet with a roll-out garbage bin... still not completed yet.

BroomClosetdrywall

I like quirky closets so much that I built another one, between the kitchen and dining room doorways.

The guys from the church helped me install the sheetrock in the kitchen, to save my sanity. I hope I never have to do it again. Woo hoo! It’s over and it looks spectacular!

FirstCabs

Once the walls were closed up, we could start installing cabinets. Yay!

KitchenAug30

Kitchen2August30

It took me a long time to choose countertops. I originally chose laminate (I was on a budget!), but the long run (11 feet) would mean I’d need custom laminate countertops. Time was running out for us– it was already late August– and I knew I could not build custom laminate, nor could I afford it installed. After much research, I bought butcher block wood countertops from an online wholesale dealer. It requires a little more maintenance than laminate, but it’s absolutely beautiful.

installbutcherblock1

The delivery man placed it at the mouth of the driveway, and took off! We had to haul the 350 pound counters 150 feet down the driveway, to the kitchen. Fun.

installsink2

It took three kids and me to make this sink cutout. I was trembling with anxiety the entire time. One bad cut, and my countertop was ruined. Praise the Lord, it came out OK!

Delta Faucet almost there

Delta gave me a faucet for this renovation. I LOVE YOU, DELTA! We love our sink. šŸ™‚

The end is near! Stay tuned for the next section– it’s the best part of all!!

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4 Responses to “My Before, During, and After Story, Part 3”

  1. Karen Says:

    You have so much to be proud of! It is beautiful. You have also taught your kids so many lessons from this. Kudos! Are you fixing Thanksgiving dinner in your new kitchen?

  2. Marg Says:

    It all does look really good. Look at Livvy sitting there snooopervising everything. Good kitty.
    Bet it is fun to talk about the renovation after you are done with it.
    Take care and have a great day.

  3. Jean at The Delightful Repast Says:

    Wow! I am so impressed. This is something you can brag about for the rest of your life!

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  1. My Before, During, and After Story, Part 4 | New York Renovator - October 16, 2012

    […] This is the story of our renovation, the toils and victories through a sweltering summer of blood, sweat and tears. Read all the gory details of Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. […]