When Adam and I looked at our house when were moving to Birmingham in 2007 his mom commented several times, “It has a small kitchen.” It didn’t seem all that small to us, but it did have a large island in the middle providing a lot of counter space and cabinets. After a while though, I grew tired of carrying plates and food from the kitchen into the dining room, so we decided to remove the island in order to make the kitchen in eat-in kitchen. As our family grew in size and number it got a little crowded around the table, but my dad came to the rescue by building a bench for the table which allowed the three boys to sit on one side, Adam and I on the other, and Gabriel in his high chair on the end.
Fast forward three years. We moved back to Alabama, back into our house. We now have five children joining us at the table who are considerably bigger than they used to be. Our old table no longer comfortably fits us all and the kitchen did indeed feel small. I began to dream about someday remodeling the kitchen.
Enter Mike, my father-in-law, who does remodeling construction for a living. He calls one day to say he is redoing a kitchen, tearing out a large amount of white kitchen cabinets. Did I want them? Yes! So one day he pulls up in his trailer as I am frantically trying to make room in our garage which is still messy from moving in and we unload half a garage’s worth of cabinets. The next weeks are filled with measuring and drawing up plans and measuring and rethinking. I finally decide nothing can be done until we replace the large picture window in the front of the house in order to allow for counters and cabinets across that wall. The boys enjoyed having the old windows removed before the new space was framed in. They thought it was fun to freely go in and out without using the door.
Once the window is replaced I resume measuring and drawing. I look at the doorway that opens into the kitchen from the entry way. The pantry is across from it in the foyer. I am constantly dodging children as I go in and out. Children climb the doorway blocking the path completely. If ever there is a time to change the doorways, this is it. Just close in one wall and open the other. No big deal. I know a good construction man.
Moving the oven which was positioned where the new doorway was going to be revealed there was no hardwood under the oven and the cabinets. There was also rotten floor under the dishwasher. So out went the old floor, out went the cabinets, out went the wall for the new door and in went a new sub-floor. The new arrangement also necessitated relocating the refrigerator to accommodate the new cabinets. And the new cabinets didn’t quite fill in all the newly available space by closing off the old door so a pantry was added. Changing the doorway meant the light switches were now halfway across the kitchen and had to be moved. And somehow I forgot that closing in the doorway in the foyer meant needing to repaint in the foyer. (I still haven’t gotten around to that.) A few other plugs had to be moved.
I picked butcher block counter tops out at IKEA. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law went with me to Atlanta and made a day of it. We spent the whole day exploring the Atlanta IKEA. Unfortunately, there were no counters in stock. On the plus side, we got another excursion back to IKEA a little later.
The first cut on the cabinets to fit them into my space was a bit nerve-racking. So was cutting the counter tops. Thankfully my handy father has a wonderful thing called a track saw which helped both in cutting straight lines and not cutting off my fingers. The cabinets went up with Adam’s help and I got the dishes off the mantle. This was a great victory!
The old back splash to my very small counter space was tile which all came down when we tore out the cabinets. The boys had a great time helping remove it. Of course, the wall behind the tile wasn’t pretty. Rather than trying to smooth the wall out we put tin ceiling tiles up. During the whole process Mike kept telling me I should wear gloves. It wasn’t that I was unwilling to follow the advice, but I didn’t have a pair of gloves that fit well and never thought about it while I was out. As I was installing the backsplash I tripped while holding a piece and sliced my fingers. Eight stitches worth. I stopped on my way home from the urgent care center and bought some gloves. (I’ll spare you the picture and give you this cute one of Sebastian enjoying the counter space instead. You can see the back splash in the background.)
Finally the cabinets were in, the counters on, the sink hooked up and the floor went down. There are still a few things yet to do–crown molding and painting the new trim–but the kitchen is functional and we are all enjoying the new space.
And there is one cabinet left over that will fit great in the laundry room. 🙂