History of the Headquarters-Kitchen Remodel

Disclaimer-Captain DIY and DIYtoFI.blog highly recommend exercising extreme caution when attempting DIY projects. Not everybody can do everything, and some things should only be done by professionals. Keep your digits attached, and keep the insurance company off of your back. Do it right or call the right people!

Time for a little history lesson, kids. Gather ‘round, we’re going to be taking a look back, way back, in history, when Captain DIY and his crew had just purchased the house that is now known worldwide as the Headquarters.

This was back in the Sunny Utopian days of 2015, when all was right with the world. Yours truly had energy to spare, and a hankering to make a place my own with my own two hands. The first house Mrs. DIY and I bought was a turn-key two bedroom we bought from a flipper, so there was little I could do to really improve it. Well, there was one pretty hefty project that we did, but that’ll be another story some time down the road.

After Private DIY #2 came around, we decided it was time to find a new place to call home, and right around that time a little three bedroom “expandable cape” came up for sale down the road from us. It was on the end of a dead-end street in the same neighborhood we knew and loved, and it needed a whole lot of updating.

The house was built in the ‘50s, and the previous owner had been there since the ‘70s or so. He had done a bunch of woodworking, but mostly making lawn ornaments with little skinny propellers that whirl around in the wind. The inside of the house probably looked, in the spring of 2015, much like it did in the spring of ’55. I still salivate at the abundance of projects I got to tackle upon purchase!

In the interest of keeping this post to blog length, as opposed to steamy romance novel length, I am going to focus today on what I consider to be the most important project: The Kitchen.

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The Original Kitchen, with a glimpse of the Captain and our long-suffering realtor.

The original kitchen was functional, technically speaking. But the peninsula jutting out into the middle of the room was a little confining, and didn’t really serve a purpose. The cabinets were oddly designed, and housed a few hidden and unreachable corners. Fortunately someone had thought to put a light fixture in the rear corner of the lower cabinet, so you could see the food rotting amid the mouse droppings because you forgot about it six months ago.

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Bonus: kitchen sink with no traps. And it leaked. And the floor was rotting.

There was also a rather odd radiator taking up a good amount of cabinet real estate right in the middle of everything. The kitchen/dining room area, while only being around 200 square feet, had about 20 feet of cast-iron baseboard radiator along the walls, so we deemed this stand alone oddity to be unnecessary.

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The oddball radiator is hiding in the shadows next to the stove. Weirdo.

The Fun Part

Along with the help of my brother and some other adventurous family members, we took a sledgehammer to the entire kitchen and gutted it to the walls. The walls themselves were in decent shape, so we decided to let them live.

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I said decent, not great

Out came the cabinets, the peninsula, the counters, the whole nine. I picked up a Bagster (not an affiliate, although they probably should be!) at my local hardware store, and we filled that sucker up with the flattened remains of the kitchen. If you’ve never demo’d a room before, I highly recommend it! Great for stress relief.

Once everything had been torn out and thrown away, we had an empty room and a clean slate. Time for some design work. This is where Mrs. DIY really shines, and she and Guest Expert Tom-the-guy-who-knows-how-to-do-lots-of-stuff started conversing and drawing with fervor.

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The Captain moving an invisible cabinet with the aid of Private #2

I should point out here that we still had our previous house to live in while we were doing this. This was a financially terrifying decision, but helped immensely with maintaining sanity for ourselves and our two young kids. It also put some pressure on the work time-wise, as we were now paying two mortgages. Yikes!

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Using a refrigerator as a door

The bedroom next to the kitchen had two doors going to it, one to the living room and the other to the kitchen. The refrigerator had been unscrupulously parked in front of the latter door, and an odd piece of cabinet/countertop had been stuffed between the fridge and the wall. So we pulled out that stupid and unnecessary door, walled it off, and threw a giant double pantry cabinet in front of it. Hooray, we thought. Now we have more cabinet space than we’ll ever use! Ah, the naiveté.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Again, I fear I’m risking this turning into an overblown Storytime Sleepmaker, so the rebuilding of the kitchen will just have to wait. Check back in for tomorrow’s episode, and see how it comes out! Hint: we had the old sink sitting on scrap wood hovering over the lower cabinets for at least a month.

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