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The Great Remodeling Project (2010)
Page 2

I've already documented how bad my kitchen and 1-1/2 bathrooms are right here. Now we'll start to follow the progress of the improvements.

The first step was to remove the back porch. The area at the right of the porch was the laundry room. It wasn't heated (and in this photo no longer has a back wall). The pipes to the washer froze often enough that we finally moved the washer to our creepy basement. The dryer stayed. The space taken by the laundry room will become a downstairs bathroom. It will be on the small side, but it will have a tub/shower. Right now we have but one place to bathe in the house, and that's scheduled for demolition later on in this project. We can't tear out the upstairs bathroom until we have a new one to replace it.

The rest of the porch will be added to the kitchen. The porch has to go so we can put in a proper foundation.

The yellow you see on the right side of the porch was the old laundry room. The new laundry room will be upstairs where our current bathroom is.

Behind me you can see the new foundation. You can see where the back door will be. That will enter directly into the kitchen. Immediately over the bookcase I'm holding is the space for 3 sash windows. The kitchen is going to have so much more light than it used to! What am I holding? These are two pieces I made. On my right (your left) is a bookcase for cookbooks and stuff. On my left is a spice cabinet. I designed it to hold the many different sized jars, bottles, and cans I have.

In the kitchen, backing up to the bathroom, will be a pantry. On the outside of the side wall of the pantry will be the bookcase, which will be built into the wall. The spice cabinet will be on the outside of the long wall of the pantry. The unit I built will go right into the wall and fit between the studs. The cabinets both have one coat of primer on them. I haven't decided how to paint them yet. Total cost of materials for these two add-ons was $134. If I had had them custom built by the cabinet company, they would have cost considerably more. I'm rather proud of myself! This is just like quilting: You measure it, you cut it, you put it together, and because you do the first two things accurately, the third thing happens almost on its own.

My downstairs bathroom is starting to take shape. We're looking at it from the back door of the house. It's like having X-ray vision and being able to see through the wall. On the right is the bathtub/shower. Next to the tub will be a toilet, and next to that will be a pedestal sink. It will be crowded, but it will all fit. We felt it was important that the house have a second tub or shower, so we packed it into this space.

Now things are happening! In the background is an extra-deep tub. The tiles on the wall are a little different than the ones on the floor, but both are 12 inches. Going with the larger tile is less expensive than smaller, and we're all about finding ways to save money on this project without sacrificing the integrity. At the top is some trim tile to break things up a little. In the foreground is the back of the sink, plus a lot of clutter from the sink and toilet.

The downstairs bathroom is now functionally finished. We don't yet have the real door up. We have a temporary door in its place. Consequently some of the trim is unfinished until we get the proper door frame in. (Our current back door, a large wood paneled thing, will become the new bathroom door. It has to stay in place for the time being, otherwise squirrels and bad guys will have unfettered access to our house! The only new door we're buying for the entire job, upstairs and down, is a new back door. Everything else is being redeployed from our current situation. Another way we're trying to save money and keep some of the character of the joint.)

The toilet is a low-flush job from Toto. It doesn't have a handle for flushing. Instead it has two buttons on the top, one for normal use and one for "heavier" use. That's one way it uses less water. The sink is curved to echo the curve of the tub. Also, note the shower head. We put it up pretty high so my tall husband or taller son don't have to duck under it to get their hair rinsed. They hate low shower heads. What we didn't realize until it was in was that it's too high for little Kate to reach and adjust! Live and learn. She'll make do. The mirror, which covers the medicine cabinet, is 36" high. There aren't a lot of mirrors that successfully accommodate the range of heights found in our family. This one does. The toilet paper is on a stand. There was no good place to add a holder to the wall. We're still working through where to position the stand.

That's a shelf over the toilet. We'll put something decorative there if we don't need it for something functional. I've since added a couple of pictures for the walls. One is a photo of our house taken in the 1920s. Our neighbors found it at the Historical Society. The other is a print made by Marsha McCloskey's sister, Nancy Davison.

The wall color is a little less yellow than it looks here, and the tile is less pink: "Sandstorm" and "vanilla" are the official color names, whatever those may suggest.

Now that the bathroom is usable, demolition will begin on the kitchen and our upstairs bathroom. The sink and tub you see will be our only running water for awhile!

This is our interim kitchen/dining room/library. The refrigerator is just out of view on the right. The pie safe is filled with cans of food, toilet paper, light bulbs, and such. The white shelves you see are Metro shelves that I use when I have a booth at Quilt Market. So far we haven't done any cooking; just reheating. We have a double hot plate sitting on a work table underneath the window. I guess we used it once for grilled cheese. Boy, was it slow! Just like you would in a school cafeteria, we put our dirty dishes in a plastic tub. After we eat, we carry the tub to the bathroom, where we wash our dishes in the new bathtub. It's not great, but it's not the worst thing I've ever done, either.

Our real dining room is filled with boxes. The oven is in the living room. Steve is storing games in the oven.


This is a view from the front hall into the kitchen. Immediately to the left, where you see the jagged edge of a wall, is our new downstairs bathroom. Looking into the kitchen, you can see a workman pulling the trim surrounding the back door. That door will become the bathroom door. We'll put frosted glass in it. In the hall, on the right side, is a door to our broom closet. The broom closet will cease to exist, but that door will cover the spice shelves I made (third photo from the top).

More tear down. That wall where you see the stove hood doesn't exist anymore. That blue door leads to a bathroom that is gone. That's all kitchen space now! Note that the stove hood doesn't vent to the outside. It just blows things around the room. Good riddance! The kitchen used to be an ugly yellow color. The blue and white we did wasn't a lot better. There's only so much lipstick you can put on a pig. Whatever you do, it's still a pig.

This view is essentially the same as the photo above it: You're looking through the stove hood and into the bathroom, except, hey, the hood is in the dumpster, and the bathroom is no more. The old bathroom window will be covered up, so we can put cabinets there. The other window stays put. The kitchen will have a lot more light, both natural and man-made. We're adding triple-wide windows on the south side. We're adding an outside door on the west side that will be all glass.

Demolition in our upstairs bathroom. I'm not sure the tub looks any worse in this photo than it ever did.

This room is upstairs, next to the bathroom. Sadly, it was the best insulated room in the house. That wasn't enough to save it from the wrecking ball. It was redone just before we bought the house and billed as a nursery. We never used it for that. At various times it has been a play room and a music room. Most recently it has served to house my old computer, various boxes of stuff, and nearly half my quilts. This room will become the new upstairs bathroom. The old bathroom will become an upstairs laundry room. That will be so convenient! No more having to slay the dragons in the basement just to do the wash.

Let's go on to Page 3.


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