The kitchen was unusable due to faulty appliances, little to no counter space, and water damage around the sink. A lot of work later it is finally beginning to come around. But it did possess some great bones and ample space. Eventually the current kitchen will become the family room and the kitchen will be moved to the back of the house and converted into a massive commercial gourmet kitchen for serving our future guests!
The Kitchen Rehab Begins
After moving in in January 2017 we immediately started work on our large but completely unusable kitchen. The layers of old dirty laminate flooring were removed and a new vinyl plank flooring installed. I had originally wanted to take the floor down to the original hardwood floors but the sheets of plywood subfloor were firmly installed with large nails every couple of inches making the progress darn near impossible. Being that we needed a functional kitchen now, we opted to leave the subfloor and install the vinyl planks as an interim solution. Why vinyl and not nice hard wood flooring? Well, while we were working on the kitchen the plumbing in the upstairs hall bathroom sprung a leak and began pouring water through the 1st floor foyer chandelier. Being that we didn't know what other hidden plumbing time-bombs we opted to go with the waterproof vinyl in the interim.
Installing additional cabinets and countertops
The other main item this big kitchen lacked was storage and counter space. The original kitchen had only about 3’ of countertop space available and that was peeling, rotted laminate. With the floors installed, I turned my attention to installing more cabinets and countertops. Since this is our “transitional” kitchen I didn't want to invest in stone countertops (plus with everything else breaking or broken in the house there just wasn't the budget for it) so I opted for butcher block. At only $190 per 8’ piece this was a super economic option. Plus I could install it myself and save on labor costs (win, win).
Initially I stained the countertops a deep ebony black and painted the cabinets white. But I decided I didn't like that I couldn't see the wood grain because the wood was so dark. Plus I also discovered that polyurethane is not water proof and little white splotches form when water gets on the surface. So I sanded the counters back down and stained them again with a dark brown. After some more research, I discovered a product called “Waterlox” that seals the wood finish completely and makes it waterproof while also being food safe.
Cabinets go from Drab to Fab!
The original cabinets look to be hand made and since they were in functional shape (for the most part) I opted to save the money and keep the originals as they were. To brighten up the kitchen, scrubbed the decades of dust and grime from the cabinet surfaces, sanded them down, primed then painted them a bright white. Painting cabinets is definitely not for the faint of heart! It takes weeks!! Lots of prep work and LOTS and LOTS of coats of paint - 1 coat of primer and 4 coats of white to be exact. Which may not sound like a lot but you need to flip the doors over and repeat on the other side…so it makes it feel like 8 coats of paint. Plus each coat needs 24 hours to dry. So this process went on for several weeks even months as I was not always able or in the mood to paint those darn things…AGAIN!
Since I was painting the cabinets, I took some time to install new wallpaper at the back of the top cabinets, inside the drawers, and on the shelves. I also installed a copper backsplash to protect the walls. I chose the copper backsplash as it was quick and easy to install and budget friendly. There is a really nice brick wall under the plaster on that wall and I wanted to leave the option in the future to easily remove the backsplash and expose the brick one day without having to tear out tile and grout. These large pieces can be easily removed and used somewhere else.
Even though this is a large kitchen, it sorely lacks storage. There is a small room tucked away at the back of the kitchen that I converted to a pantry by adding built in storage (which is still a work in progress). A pipe and barn wood shelf was added over the coffee area to hold all of the coffee related items and some knick-knacks. I even found 2 small matched cabinet sets to hold all our baking items at a second hand furniture store.
The FInal Product!
Little by little over the last 1.5 years the final details of the kitchen remodel have been completed. There still is work to do. I would like to remove the old plaster ceiling to reveal the beautiful hand hewn beams and boards eventually and I still need to finish the built in shelving in the pantry. But at least the kitchen is now not only usuable but also beautiful! An antique ladder hanging from the ceiling has made a perfect pot holder while also adding that great rustic flare that is so true to the Manor’s character.
If you enjoyed the renovation of the old kitchen, the renovations are just starting to ramp up. Every year we accomplish more and more improvements within and around the house. This kitchen will not remain the kitchen for much longer as we have plans to create a commercial kitchen in what is now the large family room (work starting in 2019). The current kitchen will eventually transition to become a family room.