May I have my old kitchen back now, please?

Maybe this project was a big mistake. Maybe we’ve bitten off waaaay more than we can chew. Weeks go by, nothing much changes. It’s not at all like an HGTV show.  We are still walking on the last layer of 1940s linoleum, we still have plywood countertops, and we still aren’t finished with the south wall cabinets. It’s been five months. Where is our new kitchen? I looked at some of our “before” photos, and I miss the old room … I want it back! It wasn’t so bad. Sure, it was kind of shabby and worn… with woefully inadequate storage and cabinet doors that didn’t close because they had so many layers of paint … but it was homey and mostly functional, well, sort of functional, and I didn’t have to fish plates or olive oil out of a crate in the dining room. (Okay, I did have to store some large pots in the attic, but never mind about that). This tunnel must be curved, because I can’t make out any light at the other end.

The upper cabinet doors are back from the glazier’s and they look gorgeous with their wavy vintage glass. I’d love to see them up where they belong, with our new hardware, but first I have to paint the cabinet where they’ll be installed. But wait—I can’t paint until I fill the holes and chips. Hells bells (as my mother would say)—is any of the paint in this house actually stuck to the surface it covers?? Every little chip is the gateway to a big peel. This house wears its paint not like a skin, but more like a loose jacket. (Is that why it’s called a “coat” of paint?) After troweling on wood filler and wall spackle, I still have to sand again before I can paint this section, and then it will have to cure for several days before we can hang the doors. I HATE prep work!

more peeling paint

And what about Eric? His enthusiasm must be flagging, too. The poor guy is still serving an indeterminate sentence down in the dungeon—I mean the shop. It’s been so long since I’ve seen him that the details of his face are getting hazy. Off and on I hear the sound of power tools, and a series of doors and drawer fronts—and lately the drawers themselves—have made their way upstairs. We must be making progress … it’s just hard to see because we’re too close to it. Right? Tell me I’m right!

Before I could paint the base cabinet doors, Eric had to make sure they fit their individual openings perfectly. He cleverly suspended the doors on homemade metal hangers that are just thick enough to provide the right gap on all four sides.

dry fit door

To attach the face frames to the cabinet carcasses, Eric laid each base cabinet down on the floor on its back and glued, clamped, and screwed the face frames to the boxes (the frames are primed but not yet painted). Using our kitchen as a kitchen became impossible. You can bet Duke was right there supervising, too. No matter how tight it gets, there’s always room for a boxer.

face frames attached

Last week Casey, our electrician, came by to rewire the stove and install a couple of outlets. This nasty ol’ conduit, a serpent from the basement, is now gone, replaced by the neat wall outlet in the baseboard. We can actually push the stove completely back against the wall now, gaining 1.5 square feet of floor space! The old linoleum is in really bad shape here, having been cooked  beneath the stove for decades.

stove outlet

But, the pièce de résistance is certainly our under-cabinet light bar. These dimmable LED lights shed a soft glow that made me fall in love with the kitchen again—even in its present state. I love the way the light softly washes over the battery charger and rotary sander.

night lights

Seen from below …

LED lights

Now that I’ve seen it in a different light, I guess I’ll keep my not-even-half-done kitchen after all. Reality: We are trapped and there’s only one way out of this mess.



5 thoughts on “May I have my old kitchen back now, please?

  1. Anita

    Hmmm…a DYI kitchen remodel must be similar to the gestation period of a pregnancy! You wait and wait, do prep work for the upcoming “birth”, get to the doldrums phase (once your body starts to think this will NEVER happen!) and you wait and wait. But then one day, the birth occurs and voila! You have a new kitchen (er…I mean baby!). I think the only difference here in my analogy of making a baby, is that Eric, as the father, is doing MUCH more of the work! Maybe it’s HIS pregnancy?

    And me, as your friend….well, this kitchen remodel pregnancy is going by fast!

  2. Tom and Judy

    Keep the faith. You don’t have any place to go but forward. Have a beer and keep up the good work. There is a silver lining to this black cloud; you don’t have to cook. See you this summer. Tom & Judy

  3. Kristen Guillette

    I am remodeling my old kitchen as well. Out of curiosity since I have to do the same thing…was the outlet conversion super costly?

    1. D'Arcy H Post author

      Hi Kristen, It’s been a few years so my memory is foggy, but we had at least half a dozen new outlets and a new panel installed. It wasn’t cheap … maybe $2-3K? But it HAD to be done for safety and modernization, so it was well worth it.


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