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Kitchen Remodeling


Dave Hatfield
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Just a note about tile floors: no doubt the tile floor in my new apartment kitchen is not the highest quality, but in five months I have grown to hate it passionately. I've broken more glasses and bowls in the past five months than I did in four years in my old place, which had sheet vinyl flooring -- ugly but very forgiving. I could (and did) drop glasses and bowls and they survived intact. Here, if I drop anything on the floor it shatters, and I'm picking up shards for days not only from the kitchen floor but from the dining room and hallway as well. Plus, it's dangerously slippery if it gets wet, and it's hard on my feet and back. I used to think tile floors were great; now, I would choose anything over tile.

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Tile = Slippery, omg yes. Moving a colander between the sink and stove creates a nasty hazard. I keep one towel ready for floor mopping at all times. Drink spills are easy to clean, but scary until then. We have a textured tile, not especially shiny. When wet, its like walking on wet ice.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Sketches and pics to come later. Still working on them. Using the Punch software, and it takes a bit to get correct. But they will be posted somehow someway.

One decorating thing we did come up with was to take both our grandmother's recipe cards, scan them and clean them up, then frame the prints all over the kitchen, so the originals can be preserved safely. Maybe even get one of the digital picture frames that would scroll through the scans, since there are far more than we could ever put on a wall.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I really like the idea of scanning in the recipe cards. So much in fact, I think that's my weekend project. I only have a few that my grandmother gave me when I first was living on my own when I asked her how she made this or that. Thanks for giving me a way to remember her.

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One piece of advice: check Ebay for your appliances. I bought a 48" DCS rangetop (new, unused!) from an authorized dealer (authorized dealer = warranty) with 6 burners and a grill for $2K. Retail = $7K. I love it, nothing like high power burners. Also, if you bake a lot (like I do) look into used commercial convection ovens. They do not get hot, they are rated for installation @ zero inches from flammable material, and are built like TANKS. I bought my Duke for $900, can't tell it's EVER been used. It hold 6 FULL SHEET PANS & doesn't use any more electricity than a standard wimpy wall oven. Gorgeous, too.

I also aquired a double door, 50 cubic foot Victory top mount commercial fridge for $400. My wattmeter tells me it uses the same electricity as the 20 cu. ft fridge it replaced, and there is nothing quite like having, in effect, a refrigerated closet. Oh ya, it's gorgeous, too.

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I too like the scanning idea. We have one recipe card (photocopied) from my husband's grandmother. It would make a nice black & white print, and that would help ensure we didnt lose it.

It would need a lot of cleaning up... its for a chocolate cake and it shows that its been used.

Thanks for the idea.

When can you post pix of what's already in place? (the stuff that's going away).

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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Travertine tile? Are you absolutely certain?

Here's a Travertine Tile FAQ that shares this tidbit

Because the minerals that make up travertine are highly reactive with acidic solutions (e.g. orange juice, vinegar), a major consideration is where the travertine will be installed and what it will be exposed to. Sealers will provide some protection to the stone no matter what the environment, but knowing what it will be exposed to will help you decide whether travertine is a good fit for your project.

I'm thinking that orange juice, vineagr etc. are fairly commono in kitchens. My employer just replaced the carpeting in the common areas of our building with an unglazed/matte tile that either is travertine or resembles it. He loves the "look of natural stone". It's been in for only six weeks and we're already finding scuff marks from the soles/heels of certain types of shoes, coffee stains that don't entirely come out when wiped up - and so on. They're already looking into sealing options.

The last time I redid a house - and the first time I ever did tile work - I wanted to use natural Vermont flagstone in the foyer. My brotheer talked me out of it due to his knowlege of the need for sealing and ongoing maintenance. I opted for the Daltile Mardis Gras French Quarter tile. The color I chose (which isn't shown on this page) was subdued and the glaze has such a low sheen that it it had the look of natural stone. I used a contrasting colored grout (dark green) that never ever showed the dirt and wear. And all I ever did for maintenance was run a damp mop over it now and then.

In both that house and my present home I have hardwood floors in the kitchen (#1 red oak although I'd prefer maple for a kitchen if I had my druthers). The hardwood has been terrific. I use some machine made oriental area rugs with non skid pads in the two work areas to reduce wear on the poly finish and provide some cushioning.

Given a moderate amount of care (i.e. damp mopping regualrly with nothing but water that has a few drops of dishwashing detergent added to it) they have held up really well and loook great after years of use. And I've lost track of how many times I've dropped a plate, mug, glass etc. and watched them take a quick bounce but not break. Nice.

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Have you considered those quartz-composite type countertops? I am thinking of it for a re-do. I think one brand name is "Zodiak" (I can't think of others right now). But it does seem to be a better choice to me than Corian or any sort of granite/stone stuff.

Does anyone have any experience with it?

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I'll be out of town for most of next week, stuck in a hotel in Dallas taking apart laser printers and putting them back together (I love training - been doing computer hardware stuff since 1980 - hot shot "trainers" think they know it all. phht).

Maybe that will give me a chance to catch up on the sketches and renderings. Still having digital cam issues, guess I need a new one. The weather may be lousy this weekend, so I'm not sure how much we can get accomplished, plus we only have one day out there this week, since I'm flying to DFW Sunday afternooon.

This will be an ongoing project, it's not like we have a $35,000 home improvement loan. I have the tools (well, most of them), so we'll buy whatever materials we can and make a bunch of weekend projects once we move in. Which will be soon, we're getting the cable installed next weekend, which means I will have high speed internet and Discovery Channel. That's all I need. Well, working plumbing and air conditioning help. As long as I have all of those, I can do what I need to do on a daily basis.

In short, still working on the pics, and I'll hopefully have renderings soon. I think the Punch software will even let me do an animated walkthrough and save it as a movie file. I'll have to double check.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I'll be out of town for most of next week, stuck in a hotel in Dallas taking apart laser printers and putting them back together (I love training - been doing computer hardware stuff since 1980 - hot shot "trainers" think they know it all. phht). 

Don't you love it when the trainer stops dead in mid-stride, squints over your shoulder, and squeaks, "How did you do that?"

:laugh:

“Who loves a garden, loves a greenhouse too.” - William Cowper, The Task, Book Three

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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For most of my adult life, I've lived in apartments. The times I wasn't in an apartment, I was in a rental house. My wife and I have landed our first actual house. It's gonna need some work. It's sturdy and structurally fine, but way outdated in the looks department.

Built in 1970, it's your basic brick ranch house, 1 story, but fairly spacious with a big back yard. Plenty of room for a deck and a big honking grill. The house hasn't been touched since it was built, except for a new roof about 7 years ago and a new heat pump last year. Still has the goldenrod shag carpeting in it, and the 1969 Frigidaire fridge, still running.

To the kitchen - We will be trying to combine kitchen and living/dining space by removing and modifying some walls. I'll be building the cabinets myself, we'll do new floors and get rid of the faux wood paneling everywhere. I'm pretty set on Corian countertops, if I can convince my wife. We know we want stainless appliances, looking at one of the Kenmore lines for that. We are going to have to relocate appliances within the kitchen, as the wall between the kitchen and living room will become a snack bar/ countertop type setup. That wall currently houses the stove and dishwasher. The dishwasher can probably stay, but the stove has to move, maybe replaced by the sink. We want an actual diner style booth for the kitchen to save a bit of space when we aren't using the dining room. I'm hoping to find a Denny's that's closing or something for that, since my skills do not go into upholstery at all.

We will also probably take out a wall between the kitchen and utility room, and just make a small closet type room for the washer and dryer. I also want to convert a short wall between the kitchen and dining room to a countertop with storage beneath. That will add about a hundred square feet to the "kitchen area", since it's not going to be confined to one room with four walls and two doors.

I'll need some input on rearranging this stuff. I'm going to the house this weekend to mow the yard (for the first time heh heh) and take some measurements, maybe some pics if I remember my camera.

Oh, and I'll be converting the stove and water heater to natural gas as well. It's in a semi-rural area (city water, though), and they have been known to lose power. This is going to be a blast. And a pain. But I'm prepared for it.

My wife has her mind set on travertine for the kitchen floor. I've already found ceramic tile that looks like travertine, but is, well, ceramic. Anyone have experience with this stuff?

I'm just finishing up a kitchen re-do (my 5th). I've been through all the issues you're raising including moving walls (including bearing walls), changing fuels, relocating everything, cabinet design, finish selection etc.

Let me take your last question first. I have experience with travertine - recently installed some in a downstairs hall area (about 200 sq. feet). It's beautiful material, but I strongly suggest you avoid this choice for a kitchen. Travertine is at once too hard and too soft. What I mean is it is too hard for comfort as a work-area floor and too soft in terms of porosity. Hard - uncomfortable. Hard - anything you drop will break. Soft - anything you drop and break will stain the floor (red wine, vinegar, etc.). Kitchen floors should be easy on your feet and back and easy to keep looking good. I would also suggest avoiding the travertine-like tile. It may avoid the porosity problem, but it will still be hard to live with. By far the best material with a visual texture along the lines of travertine would be cork. As an added bonus it can be found in many textures and colors.

Now as to the suggestion of moving the stove/sink and combining the kitchen and living spaces. The things you want to be thinking about at this point are mechanical issues that may not have occurred to you. You'll want very good ventilation to remove both odors and grease and you'll want it to be quiet enough so your living area is not impacted too much when cooking. As for the sink, if you're proposing to place it along the LR party wall (with new pass-through/counter/snack bar), you'll have to think through venting the sink. You say the dw is on that wall now, but that appliance is not vented - it shares the plumbing with your existing sink. You should definitely consult a plumber before you start on this. Venting can be a pain. It (the ease/cost) will all depend on where things already are in your walls and floors.

Corian - A nice (if overly expensive) material, but be aware that you can't put hot things down on it directly.

Finally, if I understood you correctly you're talking about removing or revising two walls. One or more may be bearing. If that's the case, you'll need to figure out how you're going to pick up the load. In my most recent kitchen re-do I removed two walls and needed engineered steel in both.

-RetroDiner

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=====snip

Finally, if I understood you correctly you're talking about removing or revising two walls.  One or more may be bearing.  If that's the case, you'll need to figure out how you're going to pick up the load.  In my most recent kitchen re-do I removed two walls and needed engineered steel in both.

-RetroDiner

Thanks for the help. I may have talked her out of the travetine type floors for the time being. Hadn't even thought of cork so much. I'll look into it.

I am a proud overbuilder. Code requires 2x4's? If it's in the budget, I'll buy 4x4's. Half inch drywall? Let's do three quarters.

We're being very careful about what we are doing to which walls. Instead of taking walls completely out, there will still be headers above those spots, with super beefy solid pine to hold them up.

The one sticking point I'm seeing is one corner where the living room, dining room and kitchen meet. It is no doubt a load bearing wall, so I'm looking into going with a steel pipe that can replace a much larger hunk of wood. We'll cover it in a full height cabinet for baking items, tall and narrow.

I really need to get some kind of sketch, even if not to scale so people will know what I'm talking about. More to come on that, should be done tonight.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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FistFullaRoux~

Congrats on what souds to be a wonderful house. Good luck with all your renovations/remodeling. (BTW, hope your wife is well, I think of you/her often :smile: )

Anyway, I just wanted to say how much I love the fact that no matter what we are doing (cooking or remodeling or relocating or finding a new job or looking for a new place to eat ...) there is so much amazing info here and so many people who generously share their experiences.

<sappy> I LOVE this place.</sappy>

Best~

Kathy

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Here ya go. Not to scale, and some things are not quite perfectly placed, but now I think you see what I'm talking about.

gallery_11633_763_68464.jpg

I'm thinking that the utility room will be changed big. Pantry 1 gone, and washer/dryer go against Wall 2. Wall 1 to be shortened to about 5 feet in length to hide the washer/dryer. Freezer to move to garage wall.

Wall 2 to be full wall for 8 feet from the garage. The rest of the wall will become a half wall/snackbar setup, no upper cabinets. Snack bar will dogleg out into the living room about 3 feet, and passageway from foyer to living room will be widened as much as possible, leaving the header intact, and expanding it. I'm pretty confident that we would have some columns over the length of the Wall 2 snackbar, but I can live with that.

Wall 3 will be lowered to cabinet height, with cabinets installed top and bottom, same countertop as the rest of the kitchen. This will leave a passthrough to dining room, and we will widen the current pocket door to a 40" walkthrough.

The trouble spot is where walls 2 and 3 meet near the current stove. That's where the support will have to be massive, since it will be supporting a long part of the roof line (peak of roof runs directly above Wall 2 for entire lenght of the house), plus headers for the Wall 3 cabinets and foyer/living room passthrough. That support will be covered with a full height narrow cabinet for large baking pans and assorted other goodies.

The end result should be a much more open kitchen area, connecting it to the living room, and the big blank wall at the far end of the loooooong living room that is just begging for a HUGE television. Plus more cabinet space than what is there now.

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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  • 2 months later...

Ok, I think I've finally figured out how to post pictures. So, here's a bunch of befores of my kitchen.

gallery_10897_4837_74443.jpg

gallery_10897_4837_11993.jpg

gallery_10897_4837_104874.jpg

gallery_10897_4837_125739.jpg

and finally

gallery_10897_4837_64882.jpg

Can you see why we wanted to redo our kitchen? Cupboards, what cupboards. We don't need no steenking cupboards!

But actually, we do.

Will try and post the after photos in the next few days, along with some of the little conundrums we face(d) - because as you will see, the kitchen is not quite finished, and we haven't really decided on what we're going to do in a couple of spots.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

PS - thanks Judith for your technical assistance.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 7 months later...

I thought I would bump this discussion back up after seeing an interesting new Kohler kitchen faucet:

Kohler Karbon

You can ignore the first video which is just an image piece. The second video shows it off better.

The look of the faucet is a little too "dentist's office" for my tastes but I like the innovation of being able to shape the faucet to fit your needs.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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Geoff,

How is your kitchen project coming along?

Um,

Don't think I saw this back in August. My bad.

Still not done is the answer. Mostly due to financial considerations. It's gone from 95% done to 98-99% though. It's avbout as functional as it's gonna get other than upgrading appliances though.

One little nook that I've decided is going to become a bookshelf is now miscellaneous storage - but will need to be custom made, so maybe 2010 for that.

Still have the electric stove. Gas one in the fall I hope. And some sort of table seating/seating still to add as well.

Will try and post pictures soon. (Yes, I know I said that months and months ago. This time it's gonna happen. I promise!)

Cali, is yours finished now? I recall you posting about it, but I haven't been able to spend as much time here as in the past. Hope it went smoothly.

Cheers,

Geoff

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  • 3 months later...

We have bought a new house (in Ithaca, NY). It has a weeny, barely functional kitchen but it will work fine while my husband guts the kitchen-to-be. I've read most of these threads with much interest, and I'd love to ask everybody's current opinions on cookers. I'm leaning towards a gas cooktop and wall ovens, but I'm looking at these fancy induction surfaces with lust in my heart. Are they any good? Am I missing out? Do I need...shhhh....both? :cool:

My current combo is a Viking Pro 6 burner (thumbs up) and a Jenn Air wall oven w/convection. ( thumbs down) Love the convection roast feature but dislike the oven in general. In the new house there is a Joe Homeowner electric oven...I made pasta there the first night and it took me an hour because I couldn't time everything out, it was so pokey. :rolleyes:

What would you buy, if you were outfitting a new kitchen from scratch? Looks don't matter, it's all about functionality in this house. I don't need matchy-matchy, I need workmanlike and easy to clean, and although bargains would be great I'm willing to pay to get what I want.

Edited by pax (log)
“Don't kid yourself, Jimmy. If a cow ever got the chance, he'd eat you and everyone you care about!”
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  • 6 months later...

Are there any web sites like this that are devoted to kitchen remodeling? We are considering redoing our kitchen and the questions outnumber the answers. I like this type of format-with blogger input but I have only been able to access vendor sponsored type of spots. Any recs would be helpful. Thank you.

What disease did cured ham actually have?

Megan sandwich: White bread, Miracle Whip and Italian submarine dressing. {Megan is 4 y.o.}

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I don't know about dedicated remodeling web sites, but I can say you'll get some very good feedback from the knowledgeable folks here. I'd urge you to start firing those questions of yours in this direction. If nothing more, you'll be in a position of greater knowledge when you start talking to the people who want your money. And knowledge is power when you are dealing with designers, contractors and tradespeople etc.

I hate being at a loss when they start in on something I know nothing about - better to be forearmed with the basics. Then you can respond intelligently and not feel like you are paying through the nose for something you'll regret later.

Edited by cbread (log)
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We've had a number of threads on remodeling, but the big one that is used (and has a leaning towards traditional style rather than modern, with some exceptions) is gardenweb -their home forums:

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/kitchbath/

It isn't the easiest to navigate, but lots of experiences are shared.

Garden Web is fabulous. I consulted them heavily( and I know another eG member Jgarner did as well) before our remodel. I ended up buying my sink ( from a Chicago company) based on many recs from GW. I also put in an airswitch for my disposal( another thing I probably never would have learned on my own).

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Garden Web is fabulous.  I consulted them heavily( and I know another eG member Jgarner did as well) before our remodel.  I ended up buying my sink        ( from a Chicago company) based on many recs from GW.  I also put in an airswitch for my disposal( another thing I probably never would have learned on my own).

I second the recommendation for Garden Web. It was a great resource while I was planning my kitchen renovation. In particular, the threads devoted to specific appliances/brands are endless and exhaustive.

I don't know your aspirations for cabinetry, but if you are considering Ikea cabinets, then the Ikeafans web site is worth getting to know. It's hard to navigate, but once you get the hang of it, it's a great place to cruise for ideas and advice. The moderators include some professional kitchen planners who will critique your design and layout (as will everyone else who reads the site). Also for DYI folks there is much advice and support for the technical side of assembly, modifications, etc. There's a lot of info about the cabinetry and its virtues/limitations--which gave me the confidence to go ahead with Ikea cabs in my otherwise high-end kitchen renovation. I love them, and the cost savings made a number of other upgrade options possible.


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