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johnder's Brooklyn Kitchen Renovation.


johnder
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Last fall my wife and I purchased a small house in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Given the outrageous house prices in this neighborhood, we settled on a single-family frame house that, well -- left a kitchen to be much desired.

I have a fairly extensive background in construction, both from work when I was younger, as also having to do with the fact my parents totally gutted their brownstone when I was a teenager, doing all the work themselves. There is nothing like living in a construction zone for 6 years to appreciate a home renovation.

That said, myself, my wife and a few very very good friendshave been gutting and renovating the kitchen for the past few months with some pretty impressive progress.

We have been living without a kitchen for approximately 4 months now, surviving on a slop sink, fridge and microwave for our eating (and tons of freshdirect food).

I have been taking pictures along the way -- it is quite a show. Given that work has slowed down recently (I failed to mention I have a day job, so this work is taking place after work and 3 day weekends), I thought by maybe opening up this process to everyone would give me some new found encouragement to pick up the pace.

With that said, I start with a old floor plan the realtor gave us showing the first floor layout (it is a 2 story, + finished attic building)

floorplan.GIF

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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As you can see, the kitchen was really pathetic. 7'8 x 8' and the bathroom for the first floor was only reachable through the kitchen. Sad.

Here are some pictures of the kitchen and bathroom. (this was during the closing walkthrough, the previous owners items were still in the kitchen)

old_kitchen.jpg

old_bathroom.jpg

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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The requirements of our new kitchen were ambitious. The back of the house, contains a great backyard. Unfortunately as you can see on the plan, it is accessible from the from of the house via a pathway, or the door on the side of the house off the dining room. Which would be hard to navigate with trays of food for outside dining.

That said we wanted a door to the backyard from the kitchen, as well as bigger windows to let more natural light in.

We wanted a island or peninsula that the two of us could eat breakfast at, or sit and talk while the other is cooking during our nightly meals.

We wanted a large ~48" 6 top stove.

We wanted copious cabinets, containing mostly drawers for storage of kitchen items.

We wanted it to be big, but not too big that we would loose too much of the dining room.

We wanted the bathroom moved out of the kitchen area and replaced with a 1/2 bath further forward in the house.

After several iterations of the house design with our architect, we came up with the final plan.

plan.gif

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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I need to get back to my day job, I will post more details/pics later when I have some time.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So given the new plan in hand, my wife started researching appliances and I along with some friends started the demolition. As you can see from the previous pictures, the bottom 1/2 of the wall was covered in subway tile, while the upper 1/2 was old-school plaster/lathe.

We started by pulling the stove out and working on the east wall, trying to determine what lies under the plaster/tile. I am not sure how many of you have had the pleasure of removing plaster/lathe before but it is the messiest work you can imagine. Dust goes everywhere. Even with a good quality respirator, we were inhaling our fair share of dust.

Turns out the tile was installed over a mortar bed, on top of metal lathe. Not the most exciting thing to remove, but the razor sharp metal made it very interesting.

tiledemo.jpg

timedemo3.jpg

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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So we were happily demolishing the walls and behind the first corner we opened up (the one behind the picture above) we found some evidence of --- termites. We had a pretty extensive house inspection, along with a dedicated termite inspection since the house inspector found slight termite damage in the basement. Both of them said it was damage from several years ago and although they didn't think it was serious, they couldn't tell the damage behind closed walls.

Well -- behold the damage behind closed walls.

termite2.jpg

This was found in the parting wall that seperated the kitchen corner from the dining room. Luckily this damage was in a place that it could be repaired and wasn't structural.

No signs of live critters though, which is a good thing. We ended up treating all the replacement wood going in with borates, which termites don't like, so hopefully this will prevent the nasties from coming back.

On a brighter side, right around this time, my wife found a great deal on the appliances we wanted.

For the fridge we ended up getting Jenn-Air

french door bottom freezer (model JFC2087H). We needed a counter depth model since we had a existing drain pipe which was behind where it was going to be installed. If we got a deeper model it would have ended up protruding too much into the aisle.

For the stove, we were torn between a Viking 6 top, or the Wolf (sub-zero) 6 top. After poking and prodding both in the showroom we decided on the Wolf. Mainly because my parents have a 6 top Viking, and over the past 3 years have replaced the oven hinges twice, and the igniters twice, which concerned me.

There was a noticeable difference between the door hinges as you could expect, and the Wolf design seems much sturdier and well made. I also liked the fact you can get the Wolf with the "french-top", but at this point we couldn't spend the extra $1000 for it, so we got it with the 6top, +griddle option.

For the dishwasher, it was a no-brainer. We ended up ordering the Bosch SHU 66C05

We currently have this sitting at the dealer waiting for delivery. Hopefully I will see them delivered shortly -- but who knows.

Anyway, more pictures later.

P.S. Don't worry SWISS_CHEF, I practically lived with a mask on during that time.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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thanks for posting pictures of your progress. I'm just beginning to plan my own renovation and have never been through one. I'll have good advice on the design from architect friends but there's no substitute for the experiencing the actual process, even if it's vicarious. please keep posting.

ps--i love your plan, esp. the access to courtyard--a connection to the outdoors when you live in an urban area is such a bonus!


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Another great saga unfolds on eGullet! Thanks for the photos; I join the others who await the photos. (The drawings are tough for me to read, I'm afraid.) I'm also intrigued by your Wolf -- lots of folks seem to install those without the proper precautions for heat intensity and ventilation, so I'm eager to learn what you did.

edited to add: Where in Park Slope? In the late 1980s I lived on 4th St just off 7th Ave, so I hadda ask.

Edited by chrisamirault (log)

Chris Amirault

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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Wow! I have to admitt when I saw the original layout, and then heard you mention you were looking for a 48" range, I did this: :rolleyes:

The plan looks really workable ... the backdoor is a great addition!

A couple questions:

  • Where are you sourcing your cabinets? What kind (wood, painted, etc.)
  • The eating bar extending into the dining room ... is it raised or the same level as the other countertops?
  • The countertops to the right of the fridge ... any specific use for them?
  • What kind of countertops?

A.

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Just wanted to add my thanks for posting your experiences. I, too, am on the verge of renovating and really appreciate the shared experiences of those who post renovation threads on eGullet, as well as all the surrounding discussion and suggestions.

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I'm dying to ask...where did you put the bathroom?

Well currently it doesn't exist, but the plan is to carve out a small space next to the steps you see in the plan. The steps actually head up to the 2nd floor, and down to the basement. We are going to take the slice that is near those steps and put a small 1/2 bath along with a coat closet. We have a full bath upstairs which we are using in the meantime.

john

{edit: typo}

Edited by johnder (log)

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Cheers to you for doing this yourselves. We are on our second DIY project; fortunately, this one did not involve any walls. Just electrical and gas work. 'Tis amazing what one uncovers as one digs into walls, etc.

And, our family of 5 lived for many years with just one toilet.

In the meantime, as you live with no kitchen, have you thought about a toaster oven? It really opens up new avenues for cooking...

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Another great saga unfolds on eGullet! Thanks for the photos; I join the others who await the photos. (The drawings are tough for me to read, I'm afraid.) I'm also intrigued by your Wolf -- lots of folks seem to install those without the proper precautions for heat intensity and ventilation, so I'm eager to learn what you did.

We planned to install a "commercial style" range from the start, as you will see from pictures coming up, we planned accordingly.  We installed a 3/4" gas line as well as concrete backer-board throughout the kitchen. (this was mainly due to the fact we are installing subway tile, but also it makes a great heat shield for the stove)

For ventilation, we picked the a commerical style  Broan hood, and the Broan P8 850 CFM blower vented out the back of the house.

We currently live on 15th, just off 6th avenue.

edited to add: Where in Park Slope? In the late 1980s I lived on 4th St just off 7th Ave, so I hadda ask.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Wow!  I have to admitt when I saw the original layout, and then heard you mention you were looking for a 48" range, I did this:  :rolleyes:

The plan looks really workable ... the backdoor is a great addition!

Thanks, it went through quite a few iterations to get to this stage.

A couple questions:

[*]Where are you sourcing your cabinets? What kind (wood, painted, etc.)

This was another big black hole of time, researching cabinets. We looked around for custom, semi-custom and stock cabinet options, an found things we liked and disliked about all of them. In the end, we ended up with Kraftmaid cabinets -- cherry in a style called Deveron Autum Blush. I will post pictures to them later in the series. We mainly picked them because of the range of options the offered, and price. We got a really good deal on them and even with the upgrade of full-plywood construction and full extension drawer slides it didn't kill out budget.

I will post more details about the cabinets later.

[*]The eating bar extending into the dining room ... is it raised or the same level as the other countertops?

It will be the same height througout the kitchen, the pennisula included.

[*]The countertops to the right of the fridge ... any specific use for them?

The plan for that area will mostly be the area we will have the espresso machine I love, which has been sitting in a box for the past few months. Also, it is hard to tell from the stuff I posted, but the cabinet directly to the right of the fridge is a microwave base cabinet. This cabinet will contain the microwave, which is convienent because 99% of the stuff going into the microwave comes out of the fridge.

Also, my wife -- the baker wanted an area she can have all her baking stuff, so this will be her area. The kitchen-aid mixer and sheetpans will be stored in this area.

[*]What kind of countertops?

Oh boy -- we are still "discussing" [arguing] about this item. I really want a quartz countertop, while my wife wants possibly butcherblock. As of this date, we still don't have a decision on the countertops.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Cheers to you for doing this yourselves.  We are on our second DIY project; fortunately, this one did not involve any walls.  Just electrical and gas work.  'Tis amazing what one uncovers as one digs into walls, etc.

And, our family of 5 lived for many years with just one toilet.

In the meantime, as you live with no kitchen, have you thought about a toaster oven?  It really opens up new avenues for cooking...

We have thought about making out kitchen more hospitible, but at this point we are trying to make it at the point where it is somewhat difficult to live with, as it helps with the motivation. :biggrin:

Luckily it is just the two of us, and our somewhat anxious dog. (picture left)

So far he seems to be dealing with all the commotion pretty well.

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Just wanted to add my thanks for posting your experiences. I, too, am on the verge of renovating and really appreciate the shared experiences of those who post renovation threads on eGullet, as well as all the surrounding discussion and suggestions.

Good luck Marmish -- just remember, as you can see, once you start -- there is no going back

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Just wanted to add my thanks for posting your experiences. I, too, am on the verge of renovating and really appreciate the shared experiences of those who post renovation threads on eGullet, as well as all the surrounding discussion and suggestions.

Good luck Marmish -- just remember, as you can see, once you start -- there is no going back

Thanks. My biggest problem is how much of the original architecture to keep. Once that is negotiated, the rest should be easier. There is a pointed arch into the breakfast area and an interesting cut out over the sink/window. I'm tempted to remove the wall with the arch and the entire soffit, but The Mister is vetoing. He's much more flexible about the rest of it.

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Ok, ok! Sorry, I spent the entire weekend working on the house. It's hard to slack off at home when there is so much work to do. (It is much easier to slack off at my day-job) :biggrin:

So let us pick up where we left off. As the demo continued, we started gather a huge pile of debris. We ended up throwing most of the wood debris out the window into the back yard as you can see:

pile1.jpg

As far as all the tile, plaster debris we ended up just bagging it all and throwing it out.

In New York City a dumpster is a very expensive proposition. It will run $800-1000 bucks for a 5 cubic yard dumpster, so in the hopes of saving money we used a clause in the NYC department of sanitation guidelines. This allows you to dispose of 6 garbage bags of construction debris as long as they are securely bundled and weight less than 60 pounds each. (We have pickup twice a week) The tile / plaster demo ended up consuming almost 110 contractor bags worth of debris.

Needless to say, the garbagemen dreaded pickup at our house.

The demo continued, here is a picture of where the sink used to be, when we started the demo we found some remnants of old lead supply pipe behind the sinks, which you can barely make out in the corner of this photo.

tiledemo2.jpg

Here is a picture of some more termite damage. This was in the wall that seperates the old bathroom and the dining room. The big drain pipe you see if a drain from the roof. Yes -- that is a lead downspout connecting to a cast iron pipe.

termite1.jpg

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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Once we got all the demo done, we found that the back of the house had a bad sill plate which was water damaged and in a place or two termite eaten. So what is one to do? Jack up the back of the house and replace it of course!

We used these handy jacks to take the load off the back wall enough so we could temporarily shore it up while we replaced the bad timbers.

These are the jacks we used

jack.jpg

and after it was jacked and the temporary supports put in, we started removing the sheating.

jacking.jpg

John Deragon

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I feel sorry for people that don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day -- Dean Martin

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