Saturday, February 11, 2012

Stop -- Hammer Time.

So we went from this...
Ehhh... this:

Pretty sweet right?  We think so.

FINALLY.  No more foolin', no more excuses -- we have officially begun our rad kitchen renovation.  The ugliest part comes first - demolition.

In order to keep the pretty part of our nest free of dust and potential lead, we needed to be sure we had the kitchen door "plastic-ed" off.  Though we originally planned to kick-off our kitchen reno with a wall demo, we decided it'd be best to remove all we could in the kitchen, clean up as much dust as possible, then knock that sucker down.  Honestly, I'm proud of the restraint we've demonstrated...having a dusty Keurig is not cool. 
Que Dexter theme song.

Once we had the kitchen quarantined, we were ready to get at it.  We began with the simple things, like removing all of the cabinet doors and drawers.  Then we removed the original metal cabinets from the wall.  This was actually a difficult process, as the cabinets were pretty set into the wall and Chris' Dad wanted to try to salvage them to potentially use in his barn.  There was a faux-wood veneer that was on the cabinet facing, which made it extremely difficult to separate the cabinets.  But the heroes (us) prevailed, and we managed to remove all of the cabinets in tact.  Of course once Chris' Dad saw how friggin' nasty and busted they were, he decided he didn't want pains me to think of how much easier it would have been to take those cabinets out with an anger-driven sledge hammer.  Oh well.  They're out, and we're grateful.
As you can see, we removed the plaster on the inside of the wall that's to be removed.  We'll get the other side later. 

The next day we began working on the counter and floor cabinet removal.  This was a surprisingly easier task than we expected...mostly because I was wielding a sledge hammer this time.  Honestly, it's my favorite tool.  Having difficulty removing the sink?  Bop it with a sledge hammer.  Counter top being stubborn?  Give it a little tap-a-roo with a sledge hammer.  Destruction can be both fun and productive.
Separating those cabinets after 60+ years of unity.

There was some surrrious "ew" behind that carousel.

Here's the "ew".

We also found some mega cool artifacts, circa 1950s and 1970s. Underneath of the cabinets we found a paper doily, a packet of cherry Koolaid (powder still inside), a packet of Carnation Instant Breakfast (powder not inside), a pay-stub from the 50s, and an old-school diet beverage mix. We also found a hammer hidden behind some of the drawers. Oh and mice...mummy mice. They were kind of cute and didn't smell at first.  We disturbed their tomb, and the mummy mice cursed us the next day with a sweet odor. 
Yes, the powder was still inside. No, we did not try it.

Carnation Instant Breakfast mix, red food coloring, and some strange diet powder.

Somebody's paystub! A whopping $129 for 80 hours of work.

Not many people would stop and stare at this...but then you have nerds like me.

Cute little price sticker.

Found a hammer behind the drawers. Wooo FREE HAMMER.

We also had to remove the existing wall tile to make room for our sweet new tile back splash.  They were a little bit more stubborn than the tiles in the bathroom were.  My theory is that the mortar behind the kitchen tiles is newer (thus stronger) than the mortar that was behind the bathroom tiles; it's obvious that the kitchen tiles aren't original and were likely installed in the 70s or 80s whenever the kitchen was "updated".  The bathroom tiles literally crumbled off of the walls, but the kitchen tiles required quite a bit of attention with a hammer and pry bar.  That's okay with me though -- if it's hard to get the tiles off of the wall, then you can probably assume there isn't much rot or damage underneath of them.  Anywho, I'm a tile removing machine, so I owned those kitchen tiles.
Notice the mask & goggles -- no matter how big of a pro you think you are, accidents happen so safety first.

Beat it, tiles.

The existing kitchen closet is parked in our future pantry's spot.  Our new pantry will be more shallow, with shelves about 10" deep, and a little bit wider than the existing closet.  Long story short, we bopped this guy out with a sledge hammer too.
Check out that yummy mustard yellow.  Pretty sure that's what the orignal kitchen color was...Colonel Mustard, in the kitchen with the lead pipe??
And then the pantry was no more.

Our last challenge before tearing down the kitchen wall was to remove a few layers of flooring.  The idea is to get down to the same sub-flooring that the dining room's hardwood is resting on so we can get the new hardwood to match-up.  We found that the only way to get the the floor up in an efficient manner was to saw the floor into small square sections, and then pry up each section using a crow bar.  To do this we used a mini circular saw with a 3" blade.  Most people find a full-size 7", 13 amp circular saw to be a little overwhelming and unweildy -- we didn't even try it.  Essentially we were only cutting through 1" of plywood material, so the mini with the 3" blade was the most ideal tool for the job.  Our mini saw is also corded because we found that our battery powered mini circular saw ran out of juice too quickly (yes, we have 2 mini circular saws).  We then used a couple different crowbars and a lot of muscle to pry each square up off the floor.
We cut the floor into square pieces using a miniature circular saw.

A lil bit of muscle to pry those suckers up.


 Throughout the tiring removal process, we decided that our kitchen floor is comparable to a has many, many, many layers.  The top layer (or the icing...definitely not buttercream either) is a sheet of linoleum, circa the 80s.  Underneath of of the 80s-tastic linoleum is about 1/4" of MDF board.  Under that we found the cream center: some lovely linoleum tiles from a time of aesthetic misunderstandings.  They're sort of interesting, but possess the color scheme of a hotdog. 

Some of our floor's cake layers.

The colors of the old kitchen remind me of a hot dog.  But that's just me.
At first we assumed these yummy tiles were original to the kitchen, but we were surprised to find yet another layer; we found the original tiles from 1953 hidden directly under these mustard/beef frank/ketchup things.  And boy are they interesting.  They were so old and brittle, we had a hard time trying to expose a piece so we could take a picture of it.  The hotdog tiles were stuck directly on top of them, so every time we tried to peel one back the original hidden tiles just crumbled apart.  We managed to find a good piece to show you though...reminds me of birthday cake or the set of Double Dare.
Ohhhhh Marc Summers would be happy to host a show in this kitchen.

After lots of saw, pry bar, hammer, and crowbar use, we finally got down to that bottom layer of plywood.  Whew. 

If you're wondering why the sub-flooring is dark brown, it's because it's smeared with a type of adhesive that helped hold down the original tiles.  I actually find the dark sub-flooring helpful in that I can sort of envision the extension of our dark hardwood floors.  It's definitely a change from the white/gray linoleum tiles.  Awesomely enough, we found that the sub-flooring seems pretty sturdy and we only found a couple spots that we might want to replace/reinforce.

At some point during our beast-mode demolition experience, I had a moment of reflection...I basically just sort of realized that we might be crazy.  What if we just decided this was too much for us and stopped working on the renovation?  Well, we would be stuck with a dusty shell of a kitchen.  It was sort of a terrifying thought, but to be honest I know we've got it in us to bring our kitchen plans to life.  After all, our bathroom stands as a pretty solid example of our perseverance.  In short, we might be insane...but wait until you see our awesome new kitchen.

So now that the kitchen is thoroughly cleansed of decades of design, it means it's time to get at the other side of that wall and bring that beast down.  Of course we'll continue to build the suspense and leave that for a separate post.

Here we go!  Are you as excited as we are???  (Probably not).

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