Kitchen renovation: Demo

Demo is now behind us, and whew, are we glad!


We have two kind of mantras about renovations that we’re constantly reminding ourselves of during any project:

  1. It has to get worse before it gets better. (Exhibit A above).
  2. Everything takes longer than you think.

Number one definitely held true, but we did stick to our timeline…so far. We’d allowed ourselves 2 weeks for demo and prepping for cabinet install, but I found myself both hoping it would go faster and also worrying that we wouldn’t make it (resulting in pushing back cabinet install). But amazingly enough, we finished in about a week and half of working every night and all weekend on 2 different weekends.

First, we packed the whole kitchen and put everything in the guest bedroom, which of course took longer than expected .


Then the first “demo” night we focused on the area around our now empty water heater closet. We needed to open up the space so that the cabinet people could get measurements to start building the pantry.



The next night we started taking out cabinets.


And were thrilled when we realized our floor tile was installed on top of 1/4″ underlayment. This meant 2 things. First, that our subfloor wasn’t in terrible shape like we thought (it was the underlayment warping that made it feel squishy) and secondly, that taking our tile out went really quickly!


But it did reveal this laminate underneath that we had to to scrape up in some areas.


Then we replaced a full sheet of plywood here. It had a lot of laminate on it, plus water damage from the dishwasher. And it’s going to be in the center of our kitchen where we walk the most, so we wanted to to make sure it was sturdy.


We also replaced a small section where the water heater had been. There were multiple small holes from pipes that had run to it, as well as a cut out for a floor vent that literally just opened into the crawl space. Perhaps for drainage? But weird. And cold.


While it was open, Andrew redid some plumbing for our fridge water line and added a shutoff valve that will be accessible from both sides (as always, that seemingly simple thing took way too long!)

Next up (and this was like a full week later, mind you), was ripping out the soffit and sheetrock on the ceiling and replacing it. It was already messed up around where we took out the pantry and there would be none where the soffit had been, so we figured we’d get the best result if we replaced all the sheetrock in this part of the kitchen.


Luckily, we had an awesome friend that helped Andrew install it. Try as I might, I cannot lift and hold a piece of drywall over my head.


Then (on yet another day) I scraped the remaining walls/ceiling of what was the water heater closet, because for some reason they popcorn-ed the whole thing!


We cut a new piece of sheetrock to fit, put it into the space, and built the wall behind it. That way we didn’t have to use tiny pieces that fit through the door.


Andrew also spent some quality time with our attic redoing wiring, re-positioning insulation, and all kinds of other fun things. We’re moving a few outlets and switches around, so that took a LOT of time.

I’m especially excited about this one! Previously, by the door to our garage we only had light switches for the garage and the laundry closet, but not one for the overhead kitchen light. So you would get home in the dark and stumble across the kitchen to find the switch. Or leave the door open and hope the cats didn’t escape!


Towards the end of last week, we finally were ready to have someone come in and mud the sheetrock. Normally Andrew does it, but normally we aren’t living without a kitchen. And OMG, it was amazing! They were here for like 3 hours and then about 2 the next day to sand and touch up. It’s so smooth and perfect!


It was at this point that it really felt like we were making serious progress! Here are some pictures that show the progression…





The last one was after priming. We weren’t sure if they would paint the wall or not when they did cabinets, plus we wanted to seal all that new drywall and mud.

The mudding people basically ended up tearing out the middle section of drywall from the wall and replacing all of it, and then skim coated almost all of the bottom section so it was really smooth.


Here’s an earlier picture of the fridge/pantry area…


And after.

The fridge will have a panel on that side, so we left it without sheetrock to save about half an inch for fridge/pantry space (which was recommended and carefully measured by the cabinet people).

And of course, we installed 1/4″ cement board over the whole floor to add stability and a moisture barrier for our future tile floors.


We decided to do it before cabinet install so that we wouldn’t cover up too much of the bottom of the cabinets with flooring and because it’s a lot easier. (This factored into the cabinet measurements, too…so many details!)


So there she is in all her glory, just awaiting cabinet install. 🙂

And meanwhile, our pile, which looked way bigger in person, sat outside awaiting pickup from the city for almost 2 weeks. Sorry neighbors! This was a little bit of a cost savings for us, too, since we didn’t have to rent a dumpster or bagster. Our city gives every house 2 free pickups every year of yard/construction waste.


They do have a size limit that our pile DEFINITELY exceeded, but thank goodness, they took it all! Now the real progress has started! And I need to leave my house because the paint fumes are giving me a major headache.

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2 Responses to Kitchen renovation: Demo

  1. Anonymous December 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

    So awesome!!! Great work guys. Super impressive.

  2. Michael December 16, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    You guys are so cool! This is awesome. Good work! Having done a TINY bit of this type of stuff before, I really appreciate the work you guys are putting into this. Super cool.