Tuesday, August 26, 2014

colonial overhaul: kitchen BEFORE

My computers are unpacked and up and running (finally). I'm back and couldn't be more excited to share with you our new project - our 1928 classic, center hall colonial in Cleveland! Aside from being our new project, it's also our new home and we are settling in slowly but enjoying having a bit more space to spread out in.  

This home sat empty for three years before we scooped it up and it has certainly kept us on our toes since we moved in. Getting an old house back up and running after being largely unused for so long has been quite an adventure. From confusing electrical systems (we have four electrical panels) to ancient appliances, we've had a continuous stream of repair professionals in and out of here the past ten days. And now that most all systems are now running well, we've begun to turn our attention our first big project here - the kitchen. Here she is currently, in all of her 1979 glory.

This view was taken at the door connecting the dining room and kitchen looking towards the back of the house. On the right you can see the corner of a built-in desk that juts awkwardly into the room. The old pine floors are actually quite charming, though I'm not such a fan of how orange they've become.

When entering the kitchen through the foyer, you pass a narrow bar area on the left and a door to the back staircase to the second floor on the right (just beyond that door is the built-in desk). There is a small eating area in the kitchen that will probably be eliminated in the new layout.  It's too small for anything larger than a cafe table which makes the space pretty useless with a kid.

And speaking of the back staircase to the second floor - this is what it looked like when we moved in!  It had been covered by the previous owner and was unused.  Because it's constructed right over the stair to the basement, we wouldn't gain anything by removing it altogether, so we decided to re-open it when we had the wood flooring refinished throughout the house.  I'm hoping that we'll be able to open it up to the kitchen a bit more in the new layout so that it won't feel so cave-like and disconnected from the house.

And here's the view from the back door into the space. There is a small peninsula without any seating and extremely low-hanging cabinets that make it pretty impossible to actually use. One great feature, however, is that the range hood is already venting to the exterior so we won't have to cut into the exterior wall to install one.

The kitchen was originally low on our project list - the previous owner had installed new granite and a new deep sink and sink faucet to make the space a bit nicer for resale. However, despite the improvements, it was immediately bumped to the top while I was unpacking and putting things away. The cabinets were very poorly made and don't provide a fully enclosed, sanitary space for clean dishes and food.  We had originally planned to remove some of the upper cabinets over the peninsula and along the range wall to open things up temporarily, but when we discovered that the cabinets weren't constructed as fully enclosed boxes, we realized that the removal of them would have left large holes in the dropped ceiling space. If you look up inside the upper cabinets, you can see the old plaster ceiling - and it's cracking and drops plaster dust on the top shelf of the upper cabinets.  Even after cleaning them out, I've had to cover everything with towels just to keep it all clean in the meantime.

In addition, we don't have access to valuable storage space in the corners of the kitchen.  The doors to these spaces are all of 6" wide.  Anything small enough to fit through those doors would inevitably get lost in the caverns of the corner cabinets that only contain one stationary shelf.  Frankly, I've been afraid to even stick my arm into them for fear of what may be lurking in places I can't see.

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