Our Old Kitchen Is Gone!
Last Monday, my contractor and his crew completely gutted our kitchen in about three hours! It’s actually pretty wild to think that they ripped out every appliance, every cabinet, and even part of the flooring in such a short span of time. If only the rebuilding could go that fast! I love a good kitchen demo and I could hardly believe my eyes when I walked into the space after they left…
Doesn’t it look ginormous? Removing all of the cabinets really showcases how expansive this room is and it got me even more excited to fill it with our new cabinets, lighting, and accessories. Our garage was full of our old appliances and cabinets for about one day until my contractor removed it all to be donated. The only things we kept, for now, is the refrigerator to keep in the garage, and the microwave for our basement kitchen setup.
Let’s take a little walk around the demo’ed space to discuss details…
The Basement Walkout
When I shared a few videos of our kitchen demo, the biggest question I got was about the basement walkout. I mean there is a door smack dab in the middle of the kitchen…it’s pretty crazy! If you remember from this blog post sharing the before photos of our old kitchen, I explained what the heck is going on here. But it’s one thing to read about it and another to actually see it!
Our house was built in 1921 and has been added onto a few times. Our kitchen was added onto the back of our house at some point and then the second floor was added about 20 years ago. The kitchen was placed directly over the outdoor walkout from the basement to the outside. To account for the doorway when they added on the kitchen, they just built the door right into the kitchen cabinets. It’s really wild, but it’s not something we can change. We have to have an exit from our basement to keep it up to code. So the door stays and we will make it work.
We ordered shallow cabinets for that area and will do something similar (but better!) to what was there before. We were never banking on using those cabinets for much storage, so if we can fit anything there it will just be extra credit! I’ll keep you updated as we enclose this space.
Bye, Bye Pantry Closet
If you remember, we had a closet near the doorway that we turned into our pantry. Our pantry will now be a part of our cabinets, so we had the closet removed. It’s so wild how they ripped it out so easily! We still don’t have the new door on the back of the house, but once we do, that will give another foot or so of drywall so the pantry can be deep enough. (I’m not sure when that door will be installed, but I’m guessing it will be soon.)
Fixing the Floor
The most frequently asked question I receive when I showcase the kitchen is what we’re doing about the flooring. We actually thought about that way ahead of time and we bought a ton of extra flooring last summer when we redid the rest of the house. We knew the kitchen renovation was in our future, so we planned accordingly and it paid off. The extra flooring has been in our crawlspace and it’s finally time to whip it out!
Because of our leaking fridge, we had a bit of water damage on part of the flooring, so it just made sense for my contractor to rip up the entire area and lay new flooring under the new cabinets and island. You can read all about our flooring over in this blog post. It’s from Stuga Studio and we absolutely love it. We don’t have one scratch or dent on it. This stuff is tough!
Removing the Basement Ceiling
Because we are changing up the layout so much, we have to move the water lines, plumbing, gas, and electric. Basically everything is being re-routed to a new spot in the kitchen! Our crew had to tear open the ceiling in our storage room to make these changes. We certainly didn’t mind because that ceiling was already looking pretty terrible. Remember what it looked like from this post? Now, we’ll have a brand new ceiling down here, once they can patch it all back up. It’s taken them the most amount of time to move all of these vital things and get them in the right spots upstairs.
No More Shower Tile
While they did the kitchen demo, they also removed all of the tile in the first-floor bathroom. Again, here’s another room that suddenly feels huge! I have all of the tile and new hardware on-site for them (you can read more about the plan in this post), but I’m not totally sure when they’ll start to build this space back up. I think it’s low on the priority list right now. It’s gonna be gorgeous when it’s all done!
Who Is Rachel?!
The crew found this tiny gold bracelet with the name “Rachel” on it during the kitchen demo. (Surprisingly, this was the only interesting thing found behind the cabinets and walls.) They went up to Finn and jokingly said, “Who is Rachel? How could you do that to Casey?” Ha! A few of you on Instagram said we should start a #whoisrachel hashtag on social media to find her.
The bracelet is actually so tiny that I think it might be a child’s bracelet! Who knows how old it is? This home was rented out for years before we lived here and there were lots of families who lived here during that time, so I don’t think it’s possible to return it to the original owners.
Living at Home During a Renovation
While we are so pleased with the progress going on in the kitchen, I can’t say it has been easy. If it was just Finn and me and there wasn’t a pandemic happening, it would be a heck of a lot easier. Finn could go to work for the day, I could go work in a coffee shop, and we could leave the crew to do their thing, five days a week. But, we are both working from home and have an almost six-month old daughter, so it’s a tad more complicated than that.
Rory has been leaving the house three days a week to go to my mom’s or over to my brother’s house to be with her cousins and that has been so incredibly helpful. I like knowing that she isn’t around all of the noise and chaos. On the other days, she and I take lots of walks and she luckily has been a champ at taking her naps, even when there is loud banging going on. I’ve set up little play areas in my office, our guest room, and the basement or we sit in the front or backyard to eat and play. The living room is just a bit too close to the action to sit and hang out like we normally do.
We’ve also planned a few more outings to get out of the house. Rory slept at my mom’s last weekend and this coming weekend we’re heading to my dad’s house for a night. It will just be good to be away from the mess and dust for a bit. I keep telling Finn that, if needed, we can always rent an AirBNB if it just gets to be too much. So far though, we are making it work.
I have lots to share about living without a kitchen. So much so that I’m planning to write an entire blog post about how we’re making it work for next week. It actually hasn’t been too terrible and we have a pretty good set up in the basement keeping us going!
As I mentioned, next week I’ll chat about the temporary kitchen and I also have a post about our new electrical plan. I know it sounds kinda boring, but wow – the electrical was probably the toughest part to figure out for the new space! I’m excited to share what we learned along the way.
Catch Up On Our Kitchen Renovation
- Kitchen Before Photos
- Hiring a Designer
- Our New Kitchen Layout
- Design Plan & Mood Board
- Single vs Double Bowl Sink
- Ordering Our Kitchen Cabinets
- Tasks To Do Before a Kitchen Renovation
- Our Old Kitchen Is Out
- Creating Our Electrical Plan
- Our Kitchen Cabinets Are In!
- Kitchen Hardware Guide
- Dining Nook Design Plan
- Choosing Quartz Countertops
- Painting the Kitchen
- Our Dining Room Nook
- Finding a Kitchen Runner
- Our New Lighting
- Our Wood Butcher Block
- The Kitchen Renovation Timeline
- The Big Kitchen Reveal
- What I Learned from Our Kitchen Renovation
- Kitchen Before & After Video
- Our Kitchen Appliances
- Renovation Budget & Cost
I’m Casey Finn, the voice behind The DIY Playbook. I’m married to Finn & mom to Rory and Ellis. Together we’re creating our dream home in Chicago, one DIY project at a time.