Remodelling the kitchen, or Thank God for Trader Joe's...

As much as I liked my sunny kitchen, it had some serious problems. The first big problem is that, like many older kitchens, it lacked counter space. The only thing that really qualified as working counter space was next to the sink and was usually occupied by dishes (dirty and clean). I covered two burners on my huge stove with a large cutting board and used that (and my table, as in olden days) for prep space. The existing fixtures were also a bit funky - a cabinet made it impossible by six inches to put my refrigerator next to the sink, so the only other place for the fridge was on the opposite side of a 19' room from the stove. This was not a good "work triangle", as anyone who knows anything about kitchen design could tell you. I like having peopleover and feeding them and this setup made it very difficult - the guests tended to congregate by the table and sit in front of the fridge. Bad news. Plus, I wanted a dishwasher not named "Charlotte". So a remodel was in order.

(Before plan of the kitchen goes here when I scan it in.)

After acquiring the money necessary for this project (this is a non-trivial step, by the way), I took a class at the Building Education Center in Berkeley - and figured out that I needed professional design help after all. I hired Beverly Wilson of Berkeley, who has experience with small kitchens and older houses (she lives in a Maybeck cottage herself). She's been worth her fee if only for convincing me that I could do it without moving the exterior windows, which made the permit process much, much easier, and the final cost much, much less.

(After plan of the kitchen goes here when I scan it in.)

I like light rooms, so I had originally wanted a white kitchen with hardwood floors. My designer urged me to consider other surfaces for a contrast with the wood floors elsewhere in the house. What I'll be having is a mostly white kitchen with real linoleum (the old-fashioned kind) on the floor. (Not only can you eat off it, you can eat it.) I did finally decide on Corian counters instead of the more historically accurate tile because they are much easier to keep clean.

I had originally thought that construction might be happening in the fall of 1996, but life took one of those twists and my formerly-long distance sweetie took up residence about that time. Whee! By the time I got back in the swing of things again, the holiday (and flu) seasons were upon us. Construction started January 16.

For the grim (and great) details week by week, click here.


Sympathy notes, unmarked $20 bills, and microwavable casseroles (no ads, though; contractors are all lined up) can be sent to me at clb@rahul.net
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