In addition to figuring out what makes me happy, calorie counting, and working 50 hour weeks, The Irishman and I are resuming our home renovations. Specifically, redoing the kitchen and making the ground floor open plan in what we're calling Project Casserole.
I know a lot of you have been clamoring for photos of the house, but as of right now it's sort of a mess. I mean, the house isn't mess-y but the ground floor is in a state of suspended DIY. All of this is sort of abstract, so let me take you on a little virtual history tour of our home.
When we bought our house, the layout of the ground floor was like this:
There was a built-in kitchen diner in the front, by the window, and a pass-through window (with venetian blinds, UGH!) from the kitchen into the lounge. Here's how it looked just after we moved in, at the very beginning of our refurb process. We'd ripped out the built-in table and chairs, and our farmhouse table is visible squished under the window.
You can't really tell, but all of that white around the kitchen is wall.
When we bought the house, we saw the potential of it to be open-plan on the ground floor. We both like to cook and entertain and it was a real priority for us during our house search that if one person was in the kitchen cooking, they wouldn't be sequestered in a separate room while everyone else was partying in another room. This conviction was held up when we met one of our neighbors who bought her house (identical to ours) and it was already open-planned. So we stopped by her places a few times to get ideas, and then went to town.
First, The Irishman took all of the cabinets off the wall we want to remove and reinstalled them where the built in table was, creating one long worktop and all of the appliances in a row. The fridge also moved down to that end of the kitchen, and a spare Billy bookcase went in to hold our cookbooks and booze – the most important things in life.
The Irishman then started poking around in the wall before trying to completely remove it, because as he suspected not only did it contain electrical fittings but also pipes that still ran water. Oops. Before we could take the wall down, we'd have to reroute the water and electricals.
But that didn't stop us from a light demolition work; we decided that we were pretty set on going full open-plan and that we might as well at least open up the pass-through completely. So in late September/early October, The Irishman broke through the half-wall between the kitchen and the lounge. It's so nice living with a DIY-friendly-hunk.
So basically this is the kitchen we've been living with for the last three months or so.
But now it's time to go whole-hog and redo the entire ground floor.
We've been having plumbers and electricians and general contractors come in to quote on Project Casserole. The first things we need to have them do are:
- Move the boiler
- Reroute the water so that it goes directly upstairs to the bathroom from the boiler (and not circle around the kitchen - byproduct being a much warmer shower much faster!)
- Move the radiator
- Get a building control officer in to tell us whether we can leave the remaining wall (the one near the window) as-is or need to make it more compliant with the fire code (possibly extending it? possibly insulating it?)
- Ripping down the main kitchen wall as well as the parts of the wall near the ceiling where the doors used to be
- Quote for installing the new kitchen (but we may do that ourselves depending on the cost)
And while we're getting these quotes, we're having fun playing with IKEA's online kitchen planner application - designing the budget kitchen of our dreams! My next Project Casserole post will be about the look we're going for, and how we're learning to compromise on form versus function.