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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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Hell, I couldn't be satisfied with my story of buying a knew chef's knife -- now I'm about to start a kitchen renovation. Whereas the Perlows told their saga beginning with demolition, I'm still in the planning stages.

First of all, my kitchen is a maze. It is utterly dysfunctional. Two people cannot pass by each other in parts of the kitchen unless both of them are anorexic or extremely friendly. The dishwasher resides under a marble slab that hangs nearly a foot over the door plane. I cannot open my lower wall oven unit if the dishwasher is slightly ajar. The ancient Jenn-Air cooktop with a non-functional downdraft vent sits 2 feet below a cupboard. The kitchen is lit with incandescent canister track lights (and some nasty recessed cans). Unless you see this kitchen in person, you could not believe it. I'll eventually get around to posting pictures.

The house I live in was Mrs. Varmint's family residence -- we bought it from her parents 5 years ago. I agreed to buy the house on one condition: that we renovate the kitchen. Well, 5 years later, and the time has come.

This will be a fairly simple renovation when you get right down to it. Most of it involves a single day of demolition and a couple of weeks of moving things around, a couple of appliance installations, and some carpentry and floor laying. The end result will be profound -- it will eliminate the maze, open the kitchen to the living and dining room areas, and give me some functional appliances.

I initially wanted to go with a 6 burner gas cooktop and 2 electric wall ovens. Unfortunately, because this process will remove a bunch of existing wall space, I won't have enough remaining for any ovens. Thus, I need to go with a range. I've looked at 48" dual fuel ranges that have double ovens, but I can't stomach paying $8,000 for them. I want the dual fuel so the ovens will be self cleaning, which are generally not available with gas ovens (except for Viking). I may have to live with a 36" single oven range instead. I use both ovens simultaneously about 8 times a year, but I think I can manage with just one for now. Or can't I???Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so -- I despise maintenance. I'm leaning toward a DCS for its power, but is it really worth $1800 for a self cleaning feature between the gas and the dual fuel????

I've met with two contractors already and have appointments with 2 more. The first guy is really just a cabinet maker who does renovations in conjunction with a contractor. However, I've seen his work, I know people who have had him do their kitchens, and he's really talented. Also, he may be the cheapest. A couple of contractors told me that my project was too small for them.

I'll add some of my thoughts over time. Oh, and my budget for this renovation is not to exceed $20,000, including the appliances. I think we can do it. I hope so.

I'll need the contractor to run a hood through the roof and ceiling. Fortunately, the distance isn't too great.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Trust me. You can't live without two ovens. Especially if you are already used to the extra one being there when you need it. If you're going to have any kind of island, consider putting an oven at one end of it. and have the complete range for your other cooking needs. You'll be sorry if you don't :biggrin:

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Why don't use just use a covered outdoor natural gas grill as a second oven? Mine turns out everything from bread to turkey, and our climate is a lot less accomodating than yours.

Arthur Johnson, aka "fresco"
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Trust me. You can't live without two ovens. Especially if you are already used to the extra one being there when you need it. If you're going to have any kind of island, consider putting an oven at one end of it. and have the complete range for your other cooking needs. You'll be sorry if you don't :biggrin:

What I might do is to have them run the wires in the small peninsula that will remain from my current sink area. That way, I can add an oven in the future.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Much luck to you, my friend. Hope yours goes smooth, Indeed, if it does, it will be the first I have heard of. My latest friends were six months in kitchen construction, five months without a stove, $35 000 later, with another $15 000 to go (and who knows how much more time). Almost caused a divorce, talk about high tension. It appears the key is to do the homework to choose a word-of-mouth recommended contractor. You are indeed brave and I admire you. I'm interested to hear about the process and progress. Sounds like you are off to a good start.

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Trust me.  You can't live without two ovens.  Especially if you are already used to the extra one being there when you need it.  If you're going to have any kind of island, consider putting an oven at one end of it.  and have the complete range for your other cooking needs.  You'll be sorry if you don't :biggrin:

What I might do is to have them run the wires in the small peninsula that will remain from my current sink area. That way, I can add an oven in the future.

That might be a good idea. Just make sure the peninsula is big enough to accomodate the oven. don't worry about the horror stories. Mine went as smooth as silk, and was much more extensive! Have fun with it!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Can you post a floor plan of what you have now, and what you want?

I was just going to say send me a floor plan. I've been in construction most of my adult life!

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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This will be a fairly simple renovation when you get right down to it. Most of it involves a single day of demolition and a couple of weeks of moving things around, a couple of appliance installations, and some carpentry and floor laying. The end result will be profound -- it will eliminate the maze, open the kitchen to the living and dining room areas, and give me some functional appliances.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: 'nough said.

You really should check out GE Monogram. Dual fuel, the smaller oven in the 48" can proof bread and make yogurt. They are made by DCS but I have to admit that the GE service is what tipped me. I have a couple of friends with the Monogram line and minor service for adjustments etc. was prompt and efficient. I haven't looked at the bottom line on them but I think they are cheaper than Viking etc.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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This will be a fairly simple renovation when you get right down to it. Most of it involves a single day of demolition and a couple of weeks of moving things around, a couple of appliance installations, and some carpentry and floor laying. The end result will be profound -- it will eliminate the maze, open the kitchen to the living and dining room areas, and give me some functional appliances.

:laugh::laugh::laugh: 'nough said.

You really should check out GE Monogram. Dual fuel, the smaller oven in the 48" can proof bread and make yogurt. They are made by DCS but I have to admit that the GE service is what tipped me. I have a couple of friends with the Monogram line and minor service for adjustments etc. was prompt and efficient. I haven't looked at the bottom line on them but I think they are cheaper than Viking etc.

I have looked at Monogram. Right now, their 48" range is an open burner on the cooktop, which would be a bitch to clean. I know they're about to come out with a new cooktop in the next week or two that is almost identical to the DCS cooktop. Ranges are not coming out until the end of the first quarter, and even that's not a guarantee.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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It's all a big compromise when it comes to the range. What I WANT costs about 8 grand. For around 5-6 thousand, I can still get the right cooking surface, 2 ovens, but not self cleaning OR I can get all the right stuff but open burners OR I can get a cheaper range such as a Jenn-Air with inferior performance. Ick.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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First of all, my kitchen is a maze. It is utterly dysfunctional. Two people cannot pass by each other in parts of the kitchen unless both of them are anorexic or extremely friendly.

But Varmint! This was half the fun of getting to know each other at the Pig Pickin' :biggrin:!

Having had the pleasure of your hospitality and actually having seen your kitchen, I can totally understand what you mean about the reconstruction opening up that area, though. You're just talking about replacing stove and oven(s), right? As I recall you had some serious high tech refrigeration already happenin' at the far end of the kitchen.

If the contractor is truly reasonable perhaps he could put rolling wire baskets and such into your pantry. Or some of those funky pull up drawers and shelves like your out-laws have in their gorgeous kitchen in whatever island is built. If there's a tiny bit of space left you could install one of those very reasonably priced wine refrigerators that are less than $200 at Home Depot. I'm thinking of removing the trash compactor I never use and doing exactly that in my island.

I wish you Godspeed and no delays on this project. Home kitchen renovations, like restaurant construction, is inevitably over time and over budget. :wacko:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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This will be a fairly simple renovation when you get right down to it.

:laugh:

My friend, more famous last words have never been spoken :blink::wacko:

Yep. :rolleyes::rolleyes::rolleyes:

My advice:

The cheapest bid isn't always the best idea. You know the expression, you get what you pay for... I'm guessing you are planning to live in this home for a long time, right?

I have never had two ovens and have never missed it. I've never had more than four burners, either, and it is rare that I even use all four. So it all depends on WHAT you cook, not how much. I don't do a lot of multi-pan meals.

My favorite quote-get a counter than shows the dirt and a floor that hides it.

I love having a huge chopping block worktable-mine's 3 ft x 5 ft. Handy for all sorts of food prep, including plating food.

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Most of it involves a single day of demolition and a couple of weeks of moving things around, a couple of appliance installations, and some carpentry and floor laying. 

When's the count down begin so we can track it? :biggrin:

My little interior improvement last summer was going to take a month. Then I'd think, well while we're at it we might as well.... Two and a half months later I moved back in. :cool:

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The cheapest bid isn't always the best idea. You know the expression, you get what you pay for...

I would not rule this guy out for that reason but it's safe to assume that not a single one of the contractors will really bid accurately (they will all be under but by differing amounts). I would rule out the guys who say it's too small a job - even if they hint that they might "do you a favor" by taking on the project.

Three words: references, references, and references. If you can speak to folks your prospective contractor has done work for, they say he brought them in remotely close to on schedule and with no more than a 20% overrun on budget - you got yourself the right guy.

On projects like this I add 30-40% to what I think it will cost and double the time. Recognizing the worst case scenario and actively working against it helps me reel in the spending and tighten up the time. I did a far smaller and less grand kitchen myself but did bring it in far under budget - even my own rather parsimonious budget of the time - it can be done.

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First of all, my kitchen is a maze. It is utterly dysfunctional. Two people cannot pass by each other in parts of the kitchen unless both of them are anorexic or extremely friendly.

But Varmint! This was half the fun of getting to know each other at the Pig Pickin' :biggrin:!

Having had the pleasure of your hospitality and actually having seen your kitchen, I can totally understand what you mean about the reconstruction opening up that area, though. You're just talking about replacing stove and oven(s), right? As I recall you had some serious high tech refrigeration already happenin' at the far end of the kitchen.

If the contractor is truly reasonable perhaps he could put rolling wire baskets and such into your pantry. Or some of those funky pull up drawers and shelves like your out-laws have in their gorgeous kitchen in whatever island is built. If there's a tiny bit of space left you could install one of those very reasonably priced wine refrigerators that are less than $200 at Home Depot. I'm thinking of removing the trash compactor I never use and doing exactly that in my island.

I wish you Godspeed and no delays on this project. Home kitchen renovations, like restaurant construction, is inevitably over time and over budget. :wacko:

We probably won't be ready to start for a few weeks.

Oh, and I forgot to mention, we're replacing the siding on the house as well. We currently have a mix of unpainted pine and cedar planks. We're replacing everything with new cedar planks.

Katie, I already have a wine fridge! But then, you were in the liquor cabinet when you were here. :raz:

I'm not going for anything fancy on this, except for the appliances. Our cupboards are made out of plywood and painted. Thus, Mrs. Varmint could replace the doors on those. I'm actually going to end up with less cupboard space, but we currently use only half of what we have. Plus, we're not utilizing all the space in our pantry.

I've given it a month, because everyone has told me 2 weeks to this point. Seriously! It's not as much work as it sounds.

phaelon: I've gotten impeccable references for the first guy, and I've seen his work. Same with the guy who's coming to look tomorrow and Saturday.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Katie, I already have a wine fridge! But then, you were in the liquor cabinet when you were here. 

trink22.gif

Who, me??!!?? OK - so I'm utterly busted for not paying attention.

:laugh:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Can I live with a non-self cleaning oven? I don't think so

I think you would regret not having a self cleaning oven - unless you LOVE cleaning :wacko: I wouldn't even consider it an option.

We currently have a non-self cleaning oven. It's a living hell. It takes the better part of a day to clean. And Blovie has burned himself using the chemicals. Oh, and the chemicals stained some tiles by the stove.

I can't emphasize this enough....Get thee a self-cleaning oven!

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

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anything fancy on this, except for the appliances. 

Varmint, you mentioned a six burner range.

A simmer plate large enough is not really fancy, but great for all cooking on low heat.

You can crowd there a lot of pans and casseroles at the same time.

But please don't ask me where to find such apparatus in the US.

Make it as simple as possible, but not simpler.

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