Everything but the kitchen sink!

Before n’ After

So remember how I mentioned that I LOVE galley kitchens!? When I said I was determined to somehow recreate all my favorite things about the other house, I seriously meant it. The more and more I thought about how much I HATED the layout of this 60’s kitchen, the more liberal I became with the, “this stays, this goes” orders. In the end, pretty much everything’s gettin’ #booted out but the kitchen sink! Granted, the sink would be gone by now too if we had the money to replace it, but that’s a necessity worth keeping around in the meantime! Some would say we have bitten off more than we can chew, but I say, I’d rather choke on trying to swallow too much at once than sit and pick at my overflowing plate of to-do’s for the next however-many years! My husband, on the other hand, is most likely having second thoughts about our overly ambitious approach by this point!!!  He’s the one doing all the work after all. I’m more like a project manager of sorts (I have a lot of SAY in the goings-on around here, but much less DO). However, being someone who really enjoys manual labor and fixer-upper projects, it’s actually been very hard for me to not contribute more in this area. I spend most of my time feeding, changing, and carrying the baby around, for fear that he might find a rusty tack or get splintered from the thick sawdust blanket that now covers our floor! Sigh. It’s both overwhelming and exhausting. The very minute I start in with the paint brush, like clockwork, the crying begins! (How does he know!?) Half these projects aren’t even safe for him to be present, and the others……. one can only leave their child in a playpen for so long before it’s considered neglectful or just plain cruel! So, whenever I start to feel inconvenienced with this reality, also known as motherhood, I remember what my wise mother recently told me: “the most crucial part of this entire process is making sure Ezekiel still gets #1 priority in our lives; all else is futile!”  I wholeheartedly agree, Mom! Thanks for the encouraging reminder 🙂

Welcome to stage 2!

Task 1: Remove Desk!

First thing that had to go was the desk (below intercom). 1. The office is literally on the other side of the wall… no need to have yet another place to collect clutter! 2. It was shorter than the rest of the cabinets so it couldn’t have really doubled as extra counter space. 3. If you look closely you’ll notice it juts out into the walkway as you first enter the kitchen from the main entry. This made the kitchen seem very cramped, plus it was way too easy to clip your leg on the corner as you walked in. God knows this bruise-prone klutz doesn’t need any more obstacles in her path! Bammm!

See view from main entry below

Judging by the chipped laminate, I’m not the only one who has bumped into the corner of this thing!

Task 2: Remove Hanging Cabinet Above

Once we ripped out the desk, the overhanging cabinet looked out of place. So it had to go too!!! #booted!

the damage…

One thing leads to another of course! Removal reveals: old patches of wallpaper, holes in the wall, gaps in the floor, plus a random piece of mismatched Linoleum. Good thing we’re taking up this flooring!

Another little design tangent: If I was going to break up the floors in my house by using different materials, I would have chosen a color and pattern that does not clash with the surrounding rooms! This beige-y selection by itself isn’t bad, but this PAIRED with the b/w marble from the entryway is doing nothing but making both floors look misplaced! Not to mention that on your left is the dining room with oak floors, so now we have 3 different colors and patterns meeting up at the same doorway. FLUIDITY and CONTINUITY are everything in my book!

Normally I love anything with hearts, but this is the exception  ❤

How-to: If you have really old wallpaper that needs taken down, I found the recommended go-to’s didn’t quite cut it…

DIF Stripper = FAIL 😦      The Paper Tiger = FAIL 😦

QEP Razor Scraper  = LIKE A CHARM 🙂

Another patch to add to our collection of 200+

Rather than sanding all these countless patches by hand, we’ve been using an electric sander and it’s been making things go a whole lot faster (and smoother hehe)! I am soooooo glad we have smooth walls so we don’t have to worry about texturing afterwards either! Not only are smooth walls my fave of all textures, but I find it to be almost impossible to ever produce an exact-exact match with those “texture-in-a-can” products! Kinda like Easy Cheese… It’s nothing like good ol’ Tillamooooook!


For the record…. I’ve NEVER tried it.

Task 3: Remove Hanging “L” Cabinet

The next thing to go was the hanging cabinet obstructing the view of the french doors to patio. 1. It makes the kitchen and family room seem too broken up. (Hey, I wanna be able to watch TV while doing the dishes y’all!) 2. It’s eliminating SO much natural light. I hate the gloomy feeling that comes over me when my house is dark and dingy! I’m one of those people who’s mood is totally affected by light… to the point where I refuse to keep the shades drawn even if it’s 100 degrees outside. I’d rather be hot n’ happy than cool and depressed haha! 3. This by no means goes in a galley kitchen. #booted!

Of all the rooms in the house, the kitchen is the darkest and I’m about to do something about it…..


……..After! #booted

Task 4

Removing the oven and fixing the drawers in dire need of some TLC

(My brother came to help on his only day off from workin’ the farm! Love him and his servant’s heart!)

Before the boys’ “experiment”

My FUTURE plan for above the cooktop was to cut a small window looking into the dining room, again, to recreate one of my favorite features from the other house. Of course, you can’t just pick a spot and start “going for it”! Uhhhhh, tell that to my eager husband and helpful father-in-law! I arrived later in the day to find a GIANT hole in my wall and two pairs of sheepish eyes looking over at me. “Houston, we have a problem!” I was a little upset at first, but that emotion was quickly canceled out by the flattering realization of what they were trying to do for me! The guys discovered two issues (and created a third) when removing the wall: 1. There was plumbing from the upstairs bathroom running directly down the center of the wall! Major downer for me 😦  2. The plumbing didn’t have a proper filler around the opening to the crawlspace, thus providing easy access for rodents to get inside our walls!  I apologize for not having pictures of this slightly humorous yet disappointing event… to avoid providing an open invitation to the unwelcome pests, they had a new piece of drywall back up in no time3.  The hole was at least 2x the size it should’ve been. They took out the surrounding cabinets as per my request (notice cupboards above and to the left of cooktop), but when they decided to go ahead and attempt the “window” project, they forgot about leaving room for the chimney hood! You can’t cook without a vent! So even if there hadn’t been a plumbing issue behind here, they still would’ve had to patch this hole and start over with a much smaller hole 🙂

Problem Solved?

(spot the old piece of punched out drywall sitting in the counter!?)

Although the likelihood of having a window peering into my dining room someday is starting to look bleak, I haven’t given up yet! We are going to have a pro come out and look at it before we patch things up, just to see if we can’t put an elbow or something in to redirected the piping over about two-three feet. It’s a long shot for such a ridiculous non-necessity, but to me it’s worth it!

A hole in the wall to fill the hole in my heart

Baby Boredom

Task 5: Remove the LAYERS of Linoleum

The long-term plan is to have the entire lower level be continuous hardwood floors (minus the marble entry), but we don’t have the $ cha-change $ needed to cover the kitchen and family room quite yet, so until then I would rather live on the subfloor than on this clashing Linoleum. “IT GOES!!!!”


First layer came out in 2 giant pieces the size of this one… and I did it ALL ON MY OWN in about 30 minutes!

The last layer however was a different story………

I was happy if I was able to get a small 10″ piece off at once… most of it was coming up in little bite-size crumbles! Grrrrrrrrr

Random Plywood?

More gaps to fill in the subfloor

QEP Scrapper comes to the rescue again!

My oh my! Without the QEP scraper, this would’ve been a 3 day job at the least! After pulling, peeling and chipping away the old formica, there was still glue and paper-backing stuck to the subfloor. Normally this mess would just get covered up with the new flooring material… NBD! But since we aren’t installing the hardwood quite yet, we can’t get away with leaving the surface looking like this! DIY TIP: This scraper was only like $6 bucks. If you plan to live on your subfloors, I would recommend scraping the glue and paper off with this tool rather than buying the expensive subfloor stripper and all the components needed for applying it! This was super easy, plus there was no requirement to evacuate the house due to toxic chemicals! Thanks for finding this tool for me, Dad! Muuaaah!

Old dog hair… yummmmy

Once I reached the first threshold I discovered a nail, which led to another nail, and another, and another… this job called for a babysitter!

The hard formica-like Linoleum wasn’t coming up till the nails were removed… but these suckers weren’t coming out without the hammer and “crowbar”! Lots of loud metal-on-metal clanging going on here! :0

Ten down, a million to go…

In all seriousness, no exaggeration, there had to have been around 200+ nails.

Same problem in the laundry room off the kitchen! Someone was a little “hammer-happy” when laying this floor! Sheesh!

Swing Set – On a Sunny Day – Sound Asleep

Thank God for Kenzi! What would we all do without her!? Best babysitter ❤

by the wee hours of the night

With all these accomplishments under our belt, I think it’s time to head back to the condo and call it a hard day’s work, don’t you?



4 thoughts on “Everything but the kitchen sink!

  1. You guys are amazing. Impressive!! I love that you taking what you loved from the one house and making it work in the one you have, best of both worlds! We aren’t to far from where your house is, Ezekiel is more than welcome to come play sometime 🙂

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