Friday, 16 February 2018

The kitchen becomes a real room!

Full disclosure: I started writing this post February 1st. It is now February 16.

Yeah... I'm sorry.

I'd LOVE to say it's because I have been so busy with getting the bathroom finished! Or the upstairs painted! Or you know, anything else on that insane list of goals I gave myself. Alas, no. We're still slowly moving along in accomplishing those tasks, but not with any kind of real speed or traction. The most simple elements of life keep getting in the way. Things like actually cooking meals, doing dishes, walking the dog, or hey... I'm reading again!

The truth is that I got busier at work and then wanted my lunch breaks (the hour in which I usually write my blog posts) to be a legitimate break.

AKA, I got busy and therefore wanted to be lazy.

The blog was sacrificed.

BUT NO MORE! (How many times have I made this vow? Clearly I am not good at keeping this particular promise)

Last post, I walked you through my insane excitement at seeing the house lit up after dark. Living in Canada (albeit practically as far South in Canada as a person can live), December is a very dark month. Being able to see around the house without a work light or headlamp was such an amazing turning point.

We knew we wanted to move in before Christmas.

Okay, we had a deadline.

What did we need to achieve to meet that deadline? What made a house livable?

Heat - Check!
Electrical - Check!
Kitchen (a place to store and cook food) -
Bathroom (a working toilet and tub) -
Bedroom (a place to sleep) -

Today's post I'm going to focus on the steps we took to getting the kitchen ready. We are still living without a kitchen sink or proper counter tops. And we won't have our kitchen completed until we finish buying cabinets, which won't be until Fall.

I am here to tell you that you can function without a proper kitchen quite well. And here is how you do it!

As you know, we managed to get the kitchen painted before electrical went in. So this post starts with the kitchen looking like this:

View from living room.

Opposite view.
Step One: Lay down flooring.

We purchased our kitchen flooring from an auction for a steal. We got more than enough to do both the kitchen and the upstairs bathroom. It is a laminate that looks like a 12x24 slate tile (although each "tile" was a 12x48 which made it SO easy and fast to install) and I love it. I love it because it was cheap, but it looks like a natural stone.

It also hides dirt really well I am finding since I still haven't brought over my vacuum after my mom and I semi-broke it while cleaning up plaster dust...

To date, I have laid three different types of flooring in the house and by far this was my favourite to lay.

First I had to clear the floor and clean it thoroughly. Then lay down a laminate underlay. This just allows the laminate to flex a little and helps prevent it from cracking if the floor is not perfect. It also acts as a teeny, tiny bit of insulation and sound proofing (not its main point though).

It was crazy what a difference the room was just by having the black underlay down:

I had extra tuck tape from the vapor barrier, so that's what I used to tape them together.

The next step was creating a gap between the floor you lay and the wall.

Heat and moisture will change both the floor and the walls so you need to give them a little room to breathe so to speak. If you were to install the flooring right up to the walls, you run the risk of the floor buckling over time.

Each product is different in how close or far from the walls it needs to be, so make sure you follow the instructions.

I used extra plywood we had as my spacers.

Putting the spacers in place.

Pushing the tile nice and tight to the spacers.
From there it is pretty simple! Just push the next piece into the side and push it down. Then use a rubber mallet to ensure it locks into place. 

The only other thing you really have to watch out for are obstacles like this: 

Plumbing where the kitchen sink will go. 
I have to say that I am very proud of myself for my measuring skills here.

And then it's just a matter of what kind of pattern you want! I really lucked out with the size of the room. It made it really easy to create the pattern I wanted without wasting much flooring.

By far the most difficult section was inside the closet (I don't have a picture of it unfortunately). The closet is a bit of a unique design because is actually an L shape, except the little section of the L is not open to the kitchen. I wanted to make it perfect and took a lot of time measuring it all out to continue the pattern in behind there so it would match up properly.

Step Two: Cabinets!

We still don't technically have any cabinets "installed" except for the kitchen sink one. That is the only cabinet that has been screwed permanently into place. For the very legitimate reason of not messing with the plumbing.

Sink cabinet is under the window on the back wall.
The day before Jake and I moved in, I took the day off work and my mom came over and we worked like crazy to clean the house to the point where it might be livable.

By far the room that got the most attention was the kitchen. And rightfully so.

The cabinets had been stored in the house since we purchased them at an auction in August and had collected so much dust it was insane.

Aside from being much cleaner, this is about the state the kitchen was in when Jake and I officially moved in on December 23.

In the first week of living there (basically immediately after Christmas) Jake and I added some hardware to the doors.

We got the knobs from, yep! You guessed it! An auction!

We ended up getting something like 7 packages of these knobs for $5/each. And each package came with 4 knobs. Not a bad price at all!

We still haven't found drawer pulls that we like yet so they remain as-is.

Step Three: Appliances!

We have been incredibly lucky on this front. My parents had an extra fridge and stove that they have lent to us until they need them back for a charity dinner they run every summer.

This gives us much needed time to not only save, but figure out exactly what we want and not just buy something quickly out of necessity.

We meticulously cleaned these with the help of my mom and dad and then brought them over and hooked them up! The humming of the fridge running really threw us off for a couple of days.

The handles on the fridge and freezer had yellowed pretty dramatically.
With permission from my mom (since she will be taking this fridge back) I will be spray painting them oil-rubbed bronze.
We just haven't had a day warm enough to do it yet...
As you can see in the last picture, we had brought our dining room table over at this point.

It will not be staying in the kitchen. But for now, the dining room is a construction zone and we needed the additional prep space that the table provides.

About a week or two after we got our fridge and stove, my sister texted me saying that they had bought a new dishwasher for their kitchen but that their old one still worked perfectly fine and did we want it?


We designed the kitchen with a dishwasher in mind but had resigned ourselves to the fact that we wouldn't likely afford one for a while.

Let me tell you something... I loathe doing dishes like no other chore. I would clean toilets before I want to do the dishes. A dishwasher is an amazing tool that I covet like no other.

The dishwasher is not currently hooked up, but should be in a few weeks. It will be hooked up the same time we get the kitchen sink installed.

I am REALLY looking forward to that day.

Step Four: Counter tops!

No. We didn't end up buying counter tops. But I did get frustrated enough at the lack of prep space to come up with a simple solution:

Use leftover flooring!

This section of cabinets is between the fridge and the stove and is therefore the most used counter space.

I used clear plastic bin lids over the sink cabinet and that is where the drying rack and dirty dishes go (until we haul them into the bathroom and wash them in the tub. We're living the dream over here!)

Finally: A totally unfinished yet livable kitchen.

It's not particularly pretty right now. But neither is it exceptionally ugly.

The way I would describe how it looks is "unfinished". Which is exactly what it is.

But hey, I can bake in it, so what's there to worry about?!

Peanut Butter Cookies!

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