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  • Writer's pictureStephanie Blamires

Kitchen Remodel-Step 3

If your remodel turns out to be anything like mine, you are going to have some moments where you are completely grossed out by the mess left behind by previous owners. Working in the kitchen turned out to be one of those types of projects. I hired a contractor to help with this piece, but in retrospect, I wish I had been my own contractor and hired out all of the subs. Hiring a contractor meant that I had (hopefully) an onsite overseer of the day-to-day aspects of the project. For the first few days, everything went beautifully, and skilled craftspeople were on the job site. However, after just a few days, they were substituted for much less-skilled workers. I know this is common, especially when a geographical area is booming, but it was hard to give up that part of the control.

While getting the garage cleaned out to make room for all of the fixtures and furnishings I was purchasing, the kitchen had become my temporary storage space. You can see the feeble attempts at cleaning in every corner, though I tried to maintain order through my carefully managed system of post-it notes!

I was unprepared for the mess and the piecemeal way that projects were approached. Of course, it makes sense that on days when the electricians are available, they will be working all around the house. As a relative newcomer to remodeling, I had envisioned one room being completed at a time, so that it could be cleaned up and then the mess would move to the next space. Fortunately, my sister and brother-in-law let me stay with them throughout the remodel. I had a lot to learn about how this was all going to work out, and even though I came to the house every day after my job as a teacher to view the progress and do my best to clean up, it was hard to keep up with the constant mess. This picture is an example of that! You can see that new drywall has been installed on the ceiling (no more popcorn ceiling), and the electrical has been roughed-in. Cabinet doors have been removed, and a primer coat has been painted onto the frames. The flooring removal is underway. However, the island hasn't been moved, and there is electrical connected to the island. The electrician will have to come back another day!


The appliance removal really helped me visualize the space I had hoped to create. The microwave was one of the first things to go, followed quickly by the stove. The dishwasher was next. My dumpster on the driveway was already filling up, but I didn't realize at the time that it would be filled and re-filled many times before the project was complete. I was really happy to see that my new appliances had been delivered. It was exciting to see all of the choices I had made during the design phase coming to fruition. My total appliance bill came to about $6,000, and was the largest expenditure in my budget for the kitchen. The next largest piece was the kitchen flooring and backsplash tile, followed by electrical and paint.

Now, the flooring was already underway, but couldn't continue until the island was moved. This meant the removal of not one, but two layers of vinyl. After the removal, there were some sections of the subflooring that needed to be replaced. Additionally, there were some portions that were not level. While not an uncommon problem, it was a problem that needed to be addressed. While vinyl is pretty forgiving, the ceramic tiles I had selected needed a level surface in order to lay properly.

This is what it looked like after the removal of the vinyl and the initial steps of leveling. Still waiting for that island to be removed, but kept intact for later reinstallation!

As mentioned, there were some really gross parts of the clean-up in the kitchen. Although my family had worked with me for weeks to clean up the house as much as possible, there was still a lot of dirt and grime yet to be discovered. I quickly learned that every moment of demo leads to about sixty minutes of cleanup. I was glad to have these scary spaces exposed, because I have a lot of allergies, and needed to be able to thoroughly clean these dark and forgotten corners of the house.

Although you can't see it clearly in this photo, the finish on the kitchen cabinet pulls is bronze. Since the rest of my finishes are silver, this became a conundrum for me. The pull lengths were unusual sizes, and I was not able to find other pulls that I liked that wouldn't require redrilling of the cabinets. Having done that in a previous house, I know what a pain that can be, and it is difficult to cover the old holes, no matter how well you try to do so. My solution was to try a Rustoleum Metallic Spray Paint product. I selected a hammered silver, and was totally pleased with the results. This was a huge cost saver for me. If you like your pulls, but want a different color, don't be afraid to try this! The great news is that you know they will fit back on your cabinets perfectly.

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