Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kitchen Redux

Kitchen as I saw it when I first visited the house
When I purchased Tarpon Springs, I knew there was a lot of work ahead of me.  It was somehow like Collingswood had been so many years ago, but well, I was just a little older and would not have (let's say) the same energy as before.  The kitchen was one of the best rooms in this old bungalow, but with old houses you never know what is what until you dig in and do a little demo.  Well, no surprise, there were more suprises than could be counted including my own Tom and Jerry mousehole.

Of course, now I had to empty all the cabinets that I had managed to fill up with everything that came from Jersey as well as the local found supplies in those fabulous thrift shops everywhere here.  Let's face it, Florida has an endless supply of chachkas with all of us dinosaurs coming to the final munching grounds so you can get anything and everything and when I was between houses I could not resist picking up an extra set of dishes, cutlery or well you name it!

All the additional goodies made the job of dismantling the kitchen that much more intense.  Quite frankly the old cabinets were rather sturdy as they were filled to capacity and had never sagged or ?  Packing all the many treasures was as though I was moving again.  I had to wrap and package everything except for the ultimate essentials.  

The cabinets although not in the best shape were good enough to be used in my shed.  Of course, the shed was filled to capacity with crap that I had not managed to get rid of yet so they had to be stored in my garage on the second floor.  I jest, I don't have a garage but I have an entire second floor apartment that may one day provide additional income or be a seasonal bed a breakfast for visiting UU snowbirds or something.  As you can see it has a few things in it.  When I left Collingswood I had a basement filled to capacity with construction materials and supplies and I was not going to buy again when I already owned it so I packed just about everything and put it in my second floor garage.

Eventually I got to the bare walls to realize that they were not the real thing.  Somewhere along the way to avoid fixing plaster the whole room was re clad in sheetrock with furring strips.  In one corner they left it exposed to fit the cabinetry and new wiring.  What lay underneath was a crackled paint cracked by heat, grease and who knows what else.  It is kind of a shame because Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren both sell paints that evoke this old feeling.  Here I had the original underneath the walls.  The job of ripping out the walls to expose who knows what other surprises was something that I could not cope with.  So I finished removing the cabinets and left it for the cabinet manufacturers and installer.

Original crackle paint finish exposed pulling off cabinets

The location for a new electrical switch for the under cabinet lights revealed fun old wallpaper in original wall buried underneath sheetrock

I even found this mouse hole 

Voila,the outcome is modern and practical in a house that has history enough to spare. I am still tweaking but the installers are finished with the installation and what is left are finishing touches and the stripping and refinishing of painted doors and some trim.  

The stove that I purchase several months ago finally looks at home with a matching dishwasher and microwave that arrived for the remodel.  Yes, I did some  plumbing to add the dishwasher that was not part of the scheme.  I added a filtered water faucet and garbage disposal. I also added a fabulous main faucet and a sink large enough to give Limo a bath if I am so inclined.   I lived almost a year in Tarpon without a dishwasher.  That for me is roughing it.  

I painted the walls two shades of yellow.  These colors work to keep the kitchen modern and coordinate well with the patterned silver and gray Formica.  I am in the process of stripping and refinishing the door and frame.  I am not convinced with how it is coming out but I will keep going to see the full effect and if it fails, I will just paint it again.  Having lived with natural woodwork I have a desire to bring out the natural elements of this house if they will enhance the bungalow look.

The floor was almost the most amazing product.  After having a cheap vinyl product that curled up on all the edges from lack of a proper installation. I scraped and removed every square inch before laying down this floating floor that is a wonder.   A vinyl cork product that snapped together with adhesive edges is an unrecognizable from the real thing.  I installed it and am quite proud of the effect.  If you look carefully you will note that there is more gray on the right (along the floor) than on the left.  Well, a hundred year old house sitting on an almost dune is not always level.  It is barely recognizable to the feel but the kitchen is a few inches off from one side to the other.  Fortunately the cabinet installer was marvelous and levelled the counters off.  I suspect that it is not as bad as those rooms you see in a Fun House where water appears to flow uphill, but it may well just!  Happy Gardening.

ps I got rid of the mouse hole


  1. Awesome as always, Rene. Glad to see you're moving right along with your project. Keep up the good work! We're watching!

    JK Peters

  2. Rene, it is beautiful! I am amazed at your strength and fortitude. Wow. What's the next project??