Kitchen Renovation Part 1

After a lot of early salvos, the kitchen war has finally begun.  First, let’s look in horror and disgust at the kitchen that was.  Painted 1980s particle board cabinets with rotted bottoms, dark blue peeling paint, and no flooring.  Not a pretty set of pictures.

Don’t look too long, you will hurt your eyes.  Granted the next set of images aren’t that much better.  I happily smashed cut and dragged out all the old cabinets, and peeled the various paint layers off.  At least it looks a lot brighter in there.

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Most of the kitchen stuff and appliances had to be spirited away to back rooms and the porch.  What was left was the bare essentials.  I call it Kitchen Base Camp Alpha.

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Next came the sanding of texture.  When the house was built, some kind of roll on orange peel texture was used.  In decades since installation it has turned to powder and sluffs off in chunks.  Every square inch of wall had to be sanded back to the drywall.  It was messy business.

Next came patching of various issue areas, priming, more patching of missed issues, and then two rounds of the brilliant blue/green color that was in the living room.

At this point I got a lot of plumbing and electrical fixtures changed, and even a bit of routing done to account for changes in cabinet location.  With the walls complete I could scrape the floor of any glues or gunks and get to tiling.  As usual odd walls and squareness issues confounded me, but I was able to stitch it together pretty well with the existing living room tile I did last Christmas break.

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dsc_0638I could now work on the small pantry without any fear of getting in the way of cabinet installation.  It would give us a place to put back some of our boxed junk and help out in minor cooking adventures at Kitchen Base Camp.  I went with adjustable wire shelves and wired an under-cabinet light in the top that goes on with the lights over the stove.  Some basic molding happened on the inside, but most will wait till I can do everything after the cabinets are complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Until the cabinets get installed we got to move a few essentials back into the new area.  I call it Kitchen Base Camp Beta.

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Smoker Renoation

My beloved smoker has fallen on hard times.  I bought a traeger pellet fed smoker in the summer of 2009, and have done mountains of delicious meat in it ever since.  All those years outside in florida have taken their toll.

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The paint has faded and is rusting through in places, the outside is quite dirty, and a back leg has completely rusted through. I had to prop it up to keep the thing from rocking.

The inside doesn’t look much better.  Surface rust is kind of unavoidable, but neglect had built up on the walls and in the bottom tub.  I should really clean this thing out more.

My bad behavior aside, this thing is built  like a tank.  Even with all the years of outdoor use, I was able to pull all the screws out.  There is a lot of surface rust, but nothing too deep except for the one back leg.  I started to take everything apart and became even more enamored with my smoker’s build and design.

With all the parts pulled out and the mess cleaned up it was time to get everything back into shape.


Rebuild

I used a wire brush on my angle grinder to strip all the bad paint and rust.  I started everything with flat black rustoleum grill paint.  It covered everything but looked kind of bad.  I was in the hardware store and noticed they have a semigloss.  It matches the original paint job.  I redid most of the parts with a primer, and gave everything another coat with the semi-gloss.

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Once all the paint was down I started rebuilding.  Some of the hardware got replaced, but most of it was actually in really good shape.  The back leg was shortened and fitted with an aluminum extension.  No more rusting off foot!  I replaced the hot rod starter because it is hard to get to and didn’t cost much to replace.

Other upgrades happened along the way.  They have a nice shelf that bolts in with the legs.  It folds away when not in use, and sits nicely in line with the entrance so you can transfer to and from the smoker.

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I pulled out the old controller that only had 3 heat settings.  The new one reads the internal temperature and feeds in pellets accordingly.  It has an autostart-up feature and a shutdown cycle that helps prevent soot.  I also replaced the drip bucket because it was pretty nasty.

All in all it looks pretty good.  Because I couldn’t get all the old paint off there is some odd texture, but it looks way better than when I started.  Now that I have the primer and grill paint around I will make it a point to check every year or so for bad spots that need a touchup.

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Lastly, the accessory I should have bought when I first got the grill.  A cover!  I don’t know how much longer the paint would have lasted with one, but it is worth a shot.

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This smoker rocks.  With a little more preventative maintenance than I had been doing I can hopefully look forward to another 6+ years of service.  Delicious smoked meat posts to follow!

 

 

 

Laundry Room Renovation

A little time off from work means a little time to spend on another home renovation.  Lets hit the laundry room!  First, the before.  We pulled the doors off and all the contents out.  There was no flooring in here when we bought the house.

In removing the door to the garage I found an interesting discovery.  There were two funny patched holes in the top of the door case.  Removing all the case I found part of two broken off drill bits.  In some distant past, the security system installers had a difficult day!

With “demo” done I went to work prepping the floor and tiling.  The first day was rough.  I got delayed and didn’t do prep on the previous day as I had intended.  Thankfully my wonderful wife emptied all the shelves before I got started.  More bad luck struck when the bag of mortar ran out sooner than I thought it would.  Not a great start, but at least I got most of the tiling done on day 1.


Day 2

Ok, day one had some snags, but day two should be more straight forward.  I ran to pickup the mortar, and found out they were out of grout.  I had half a bag left over from the font room, but not enough to finish.  That will involve a long trip to an alternate lowes.  Still, I was able to finish up the remaining tile at a reasonable hour.

DSC_0377 ResizedThe rest of the day I broke out all my doors and molding for a big paint off.  Doing latex with an hvlp gun is a little touch and go.  Every time I mix a new batch of paint, the settings change.  I am really a hack at it, but the results are still a lot better and faster than rolling.

At least it would be faster if I hadn’t put too much down, and then had to deal with Florida’s wonderful 80% humidity winter.  The metal door took hours to dry and ended up having a lot of runs.  I stopped what I could with a brush and tried to even things out.  In the end I had to bring it into the garage, hours later, still wet.  I had to roller paint the casings after I installed them anyways, so it got a touchup with that job.

End of day 2 was not a complete disaster, but I spent a lot of time monkeying with wet paint and driving beachside to get grout.


Day 3

Go go go it is time to grout!  I cleaned up the floor and mixed up a few batches of grout.  It is a messy job, and you have to clean the tiles 100 times to get the haze off.  Still though, I love grouting.  In just a few swipes of the sponge you can making everything look right with the world.  All the madness of renovation settles down into calm (mostly) even lines of beautiful grout.

While I waited for grout, there were a number of other things around the house that needed attention.  Later in the day I braved some walking on the tile to install the two casings.  It is kind of astonishing how twisted and out of square a house can be and still look ok to the casual observer.  I guess that is why we have shims!


Day 4

The final count down.  It is Christmas eve, and I HAVE to finish today.  This is the last of my days allotted to home renovation.  Let the molding begin!

I did a very basic baseboard molding around all the places you would normally see.  No sense in buying another piece to install behind a dryer.  There wasn’t anything before, so this adds a nice touch.  Both the doors had their molding installed and everything got caulked and touched up.  Getting molding to all fit right and have the nail holes filled properly is really tedious but worth the effort.  I was done, stick a fork in me!!!


Day 5ish

After a brief foray to see family we had some time to put everything back together.  Newly installed adjustable wire shelving offers more storage than before and makes it feel more open.  The lighter flooring helps too.  I could have painted it a brighter color, but the walls were mostly in good shape, and I kind of like the color it started as.

No renovation will change the fact that it is a small room in a house with not quite enough closet space.  Still, I am really happy with the results.  The soreness and smashed fingers will pass in days, but the laundry room will last for years.