Monday, December 6, 2010

Well, I Didn't See THAT Coming....

On Friday our kitchen remodeling process began in earnest. I had only 3 hours while Josie was at school to begin the removal of the hideous 6" white tile countertop in our kitchen. I have no idea why these countertops are the builder standard here in California. I would have much preferred a formica countertop instead of scrubbing every grout line, everyday. One drip of coffee on the white grout seemed to take on a life of it's own, spreading across half the countertop like a virus. I swear I have gone through a case of Tilex in the year and 4 months that we have lived here.

My first task was to remove the top level of the two tier island where our sink is. James and I thought that the two tier island was undesirable - it seemed to interfere with the flow of the room, which adjoins the 'family room'. We thought a lower profile, flat top island would not only look better, but also look bigger and be a bit more functional. As it stands, the higher tier of the island is used to collect junk... mail, toys, and the 'take upstairs' pile that seems to always be in Josie's wake.

Stage One complete in 2 hours

Stage Two, Island countertop demolition complete

The houses here are very small. Unless you want to pay $1 million for a 3000 sq.ft. house, one is resigned to make due with a smaller footprint house for a bit (and I do mean, just a bit!) less money. Since we move so much, I'm always thinking 'Resale'. I would want granite countertops in a house in our price range. I'm sure in a few years, when we sell this house, buyers will want to see them too. We're trying to update the house without losing a chance to turn a profit, so we have to invest in only those items that will give us a return on investment. Kitchen & Bathrooms are where the money is well spent.

Our house was built in 2000 and owed by the same family until 2008 when it went into foreclosure. In April of 2009, an investor bought the property at a tax sale, fixed up the interior by painting, cleaning the rugs and installing distressed, wide plank hardwood flooring on the main level of the house. James put an offer in on the house in July 2009, while the girls and I were still in Virginia saying our goodbyes and taking care of the sale of the Virginia house. We took possession of the house on August 8th of last year.

I completed the island work on my own on Friday. On Saturday, James called in the Big Guns in the form of his childhood friend, Fred. That's when the 'man-sized' tools came out and the real demolition began. Maddie was very eager to vent a bit of frustration, so Fred supervised while she pried, smashed and chiseled a good part of the remaining countertop.

The demolition uncovered two really unfortunate realities of the initial construction of our house. First, once the top tier of the island was removed we discovered the reason it was a two-tier design. There is a return pipe directly behind the sink that must be higher than the drain. So, if we want the single level island, we're going to have to get into the plumbing. That's an expense we didn't anticipate. Second surprise was behind the cooktop and along the backsplash of the full counter... It appears the original builders used a substandard drywall and an equally inappropriate, stronger bonding adhesive to install the backsplash.

All was going great until we hit the backsplash and found the drywall behind it to be the consistency of marshmallow, caving in at the slightest pressure.

This afternoon, we have a handyman coming by to repair the drywall and to give us options on what to do about the island. I'll let you know the outcome... the granite is to be installed on Wednesday. Wish us luck!!

1 comment:

  1. Oh no...there are always those unfortunate surprises that come as you "renovate"...wishing for easy solutions for you:)