Kitchen Renovation: Progress Report

As you probably know (if you live or go online within whining distance of me) Dan and I are in the process of remodeling our kitchen.

We have been in the process for 8 weeks now, including Thanksgiving, Christmas and the great norovirus adventure of 2018 (not to be confused with the great norovirus CRUISE adventure of 2017).

We are not even close to done. Define CLOSE.

If you have lived through a major renovation before (for example, one that forces you to wash dishes in the same room where you take a shit) then you understand how much of a poor choice you made. If you haven’t ever done this to yourself before, don’t. Move out. Never look back.

As with all renovations, ours started on Pinterest. It was a pipe dream that would never come to fruition, mostly because the entire house needed to be re-sided instead. In case you haven’t recently re-sided your house, the price tag for that is somewhere in the range of 30 fucking thousand dollars.

So we refinanced our house and cashed out 30k to re-side it. And then everyone was like, your kitchen is so bad, why don’t you renovate that instead. And I was like, I know but the siding is falling off the house so I feel like we should probably fix that. And they were all like, but have you considered quartz countertops? So then I brought our realtor over and I was like, give me a financial justification for remodeling the kitchen instead of fixing the siding. And she was like sure, ok, whatever you say. And that was how our kitchen renovation came to be.

If you’ve ever met me you know that I have similar patience to a rabid squirrel, so once I decided to re-do the kitchen, it was already re-done. The Pinterest boards were groomed and the estimates were fetched. Twenty-thousand trips to Hancock Lumber were made. A budget spreadsheet was created and Dan was totally overwhelmed and stressed out.

Everyone in the whole entire world was like, take it slow, reserve at least 25% of the budget for contingency and plan on it taking twice as long as the contractor says.

And I was like you guys DON’T KNOW ME. I am a planner. I have already thought of everything and this renovation is going to be completed on schedule and on budget on December 12th.

My parents were like, umm, that sounds awful close to Christmas. And I was like you guys, I’VE GOT THIS.

Flash forward to December 25th and Dan is rolling out new temporary floor protection as Harley licks Lucy’s vomit off the previous roll. I carry the puke bowl to the temporary sink and balance a roll of trash bags on the top of the cabinets that have no countertops. Christmas wrapping paper covered in construction dust is overflowing the broken laundry basket converted to a temporary trash can. And everyone laughs at the fact that I though this would all be over with two weeks ago.

It turns out even the best made planners (ha!) cannot beat the reality of remodeling. I am as controlling as they come (just ask our contractor) and still we are 8,000 dollars over budget and two weeks past our completion date with the end barely in sight.

It all started with 4 layers of flooring, one of which contained asbestos.

The price tag for testing and removal was 4k. So I made Dan do the tile demo to make up a little bit of that cost.

Who knew removing tile was so difficult.

Dan. Dan knew. But he did it anyway because I was in a state and he decided backbreaking tile removal was easier than dealing with me in a state.

So the flooring came out. And then the asbestos was removed by a hazmat team, including a temporary decontamination shower IN MY LIVING ROOM. Luckily I was at work for most of this because I get heart palpitations when the kids leave their toys on the floor so this….just about put me over the edge.

After the asbestos was the plaster. Dust freaking everywhere. Breathing inside our house literally felt like licking a wall. No amount of plastic draping or taping could control this beast. I was warned not to use a vacuum or an air purifier because the plaster dust would kill the motor. I choose not to think about what it did to our lungs.

Then came the homeowner electrical. The structural wall with no header. And the walls and ceilings that were curvier than my 5 year old’s attempts at writing the letter S.

It felt like forever, but eventually we did start putting things back together. The floor went in (and presented it’s own adventure because we had to move out to escape the toxic polyurethane fumes)…

…and then the cabinets were installed which in case you are considering it is NOT a DIY job. I thought in the beginning that maybe we could handle that part ourselves but THANK GOD we hired someone because I would have had a serious meltdown and our cabinets would NOT be even and I would have needed to up my anxiety meds to handle it.

We did do the painting which I think definitely is a DIY job as long as you have some patience (I do not) as well as precision (also no).

We are 8 weeks in and probably still at least 2 weeks out (assuming I give up on painting the trim and hire someone – otherwise we are like 8 million years out) but things are looking a little better around here. I can see the light. But it still doesn’t have the glass globe on it.

So close and yet so far.

Eventually I’ll do a full before and after post with completely staged Pinterest-worthy pictures that include fresh cut flowers that never exist in my home in real life. But today is not that day. And neither is next week. So hang onto your flowers folks…and stay tuned.

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