Opening Up A Kitchen

Much to the chagrin of anyone who lives in a 1980s traditional two-story home, rooms are not meant to be shared. Each space is separated by a doorway, a wall, a fridge. While it’s nice for each of us to have our own space at home, we also entertain quite a bit and love natural lighting. Something had to be done. Be gone, 1987!

As is the case with every single project in this house, we have a budget of zero dollars. That means it will take longer than normal, cause marital “discussions,” create permanent dust throughout the entire house, and will. not. be. perfect.

Here’s what we’ve had since we moved in: you walk in the front door, there’s a short hallway that passes by the biffy, and then this wall.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the little gallery wall I created here. Some pieces I made, some were crafted, some were bought.

*Side note: I read somewhere recently it’s out of style to have the word “EAT” in your kitchen anymore. Thank goodness I’m keeping up with trends.

But I digress. You can either be in the kitchen or you can be at the table. You cannot be both because you can’t see around this corner wall that contains plumbing for the entire upstairs. And here’s the thing – we can’t just drop the whole corner wall because pipes.

We debated a long while whether we should take on this project. Then one Friday night, our neighbor said to me, “If you need help tomorrow, let me know. I like making messes.”

Um, what?

“Yeah, this wall. I’ll help.”

So….Captain S, I guess we’re starting this? The very next morning my kitchen turned to dust and chalk and 2x4s sliced in half and exposed pipes and no true plan moving forward.

See the wires for an outlet in this photo above? We decided to move it to the pillar wall. You can see the cutout on the half wall. Remember this for later…

Somehow every time we DIY the crap out of a project, McFluffin is staying over. Here he is, curled up and sleeping a mere two feet from the construction zone because he doesn’t know what to do with himself. ‘Do I bark at the saws? Do I lick this chalky dust? I want to cuddle! Hold me. I need snacks.’

Here’s the fun part – seeing before and after.

We got the entire corner wall taken out, electrical box moved, and Captain S was cutting the tiny little filler piece of drywall from the old outlet box. It was cleanup time, late Sunday evening, and we were tired. The teenagers were starting to circle looking for food. Last slice of that filler piece was all that was left and Captain S sliced right on through his thumb.

The ER does such a nice job stitching and wrapping on Sunday evenings. Can’t wait for that bill (which absolutely will be worked into the expenses column of this little weekend warrior DIY project).

I admit, all of the work to this point was courtesy of Slice Boi and a friend with a good saw and good brains. I stayed out of their way as best I could. We all know the finishing work is done by me, so it’s a win-win. I think.

My plan was to board and batten this thing into oblivion. The challenge lies in the design of our half wall/counter level trimming situation. I can’t wrap a horizontal board all the way around this pillar and have it look right. Here’s where I ended up on Sunday night. It’s enough to cause migraines.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! So all the work I did over the weekend resulted in a disaster in the kitchen, the wrong boards in the wrong places, and two very sore knees. Am I too old for this shit?

Monday evening after another stop at the hardware store, I did it correctly. Phew! I still cringe at my first attempt above.

Apparently this is my thing to do. I do this a lot more than I should, knowing the projects I take on.

Next step is to fix the ceiling and soffits where the wall used to be. I’m incredibly horrible at ceiling patchwork and it has been sitting for about 5 weeks of pure avoidance. I know it will take a string of patience-sanding-spackling on repeat.

Here’s the best part of this whole project: Now that the pillar is done (except the top piece on the half wall – I’ve been busy), we’re waiting on several vendors to get their collective act together to make our new counters. DM me if you want the insider scoop on what’s been going on. I’m just about ready to blog about the train wreck of a system they’ve got going.