Saying goodbye to my kitchen
One week of kitchen renovations

3 days of kitchen demolition

Well, we're now kitchenless in the strictest sense of the word. Here's a little photo-essay of the last 3 days.

Let me say I am dizzy with happiness that I didn't have to do this work myself.  Kenny, our contractor is amazing.  The worksite is pristinely clean at the end of each day.  I only see the results of his work not all the crap he's clearing out.  Amazing.

Day 1

All the cabinets, appliances and some of the dry wall on the walls is removed.  That takes most of the day.

And yes, the freakin' stove was built into the window.  

We'll get to that chimney in Day 2.

Silly sink area is no more.

Day 2: The Floors

I actually felt a bit sorry for Kenny on this one.  Busting up a ceramic tile floor is a lot of work.  I know because I did the bathroom one.  And knowing how Jimmy Thousand Screws works, I suspect that this floor has some surprises.

I was right.

By the end of the day, there was still a floor in the house.  That wasn't what we expected.  That's because there were a lot of floors.


I bet you're wondering about that hole.  I think Kenny *needed* to know what his work was for the next day so he did a bit of cutting.

Here's a closeup:

That's dirt and garbage and THE GROUND in the hole.  And some funky tiles.

Here's the run down of the floor situation from top to ground:

  1. Ceramic Tile
  2. Cement board (it was screwed in with so many closely packed screws that Kenny couldn't get the pry bar in to get the board up.  Not fun)
  3. Plywood floor 
  4. Floor joists.  These were built ON TOP OF what follows next.  What kills me is that they built a whole new frame for the floor and didn't fucking insulate.  I repeat there was absolutely zero insulation in the floor.
  5. Old floor 1
  6. Old floor 2
  7. Original hardwood floorboards
  8. Original joists
  9. Dirt (And apparently a fuck-ton of garbage but it was all gone when I saw it.  Did I mention I love my contractor?)

That's a lot of floor.  And explains the 2 inch step from dining room to kitchen.  That's going to be gone in the new kitchen.

Oh ya, the was surrounded by drywall for about 30cm over the counter, then it was exposed (and the drywall was just sawed off, no trim, special).  Anyway, we expected it to go to the floor, since it goes through the ceiling, is exposed in Xander's room and comes out the roof.


It's floating.  I suspect there used to be a stove where the shovel handle is.  We were going to remove the bricks and support the rest at the ceiling level but whacky enough, this chimney is also on the other side of the semi-detached house.  Weirdness--a shared chimney.  So it stays and we work around it.  I bet Kenny will make sure it's stable though.  Old houses are so funny.

And it turns out the wall between the houses is even thinner than we thought.  It's basically an internal wall--they have plaster and lathe and knob and tube wiring (not sure if it's active or just the remains) and on our side of the timbers we have insulation and well nothing else.  Not to fire code, but I don't think there was a fire code in the 1900's when this was built.

I don't think I posted this before.  This is photo of our house:

See the date? 1913.  Ours is the house to the right of the horse cart (!).  It's the semi-detached on the very right with the steps going up the middle between the two porches.  So while they didn't build them like they used to (ie my house is still in pretty good shape), they also don't build them like they used to (ie they put a full cinderblock wall so both houses don't burn together!)

But I digress...

Day 3

We are floorless.

The worst news is that the house is 2" off level.  The better news is that it probably won't sink anymore because someone lifted the middle of the house a bit and built this nice cinderblock support.  For all I've said about the reno work done by previous owners, this one gets a big thumbs up from me!

Those are also the original joists.  They look good.  And yes, our kitchen sits on dirt (and a lot of junk).  Now it looks almost like a beach (as you can see I focus on the positive--maybe I'll rake it later like one of those zen gardens).

Here's Craig surveying stuff late last night:

You will notice he's almost hip deep to the joists. He pronounced it "not horrific".

I believe there's some insulating happening today.  And some "sistering" of the joists to level stuff up.

The good news is we're into the putting stuff back together phase.  Hooray!


Wow. It's amazing what you find when you start ripping things up, isn't it?

What a cool picture from 1913! When you say "semi-detached" - what does that mean exactly? It looks like what we would call a duplex here. Is it different?

Congrats on the remodel. So exciting!

We used to live in a 75 year old house and I thought we had problems. We didn't have as many layers of floor as you but did have a lot of layers of wallpaper, the top of which was textured wallpaper which had been painted over. I think the person who installed that many-screwed cement board for you also did the carpet in our hall, with about a million tiny nails. So fun. We live in a new house now. That's a whole other thing. Not so may incomprehensible surprises though. Like, why would someone put linoleum in the kitchen cabinets as shelf liner and then glue it down with rubber cement? So many questions.

So enjoy your new kitchen when it's done!

When I lived in Vancouver, two houses stuck together were called a duplex, and there weren't very many of them at all. In Toronto, they are semi-detached, and ubiquitous!

I am realising my big reno was 10 years ago this summer! All my brand new stuff is actually not brand new. But my kitchen cabinets are a joy, still. So nice to have things that are not too weird. My old ones were as deep as a fridge, to make that nice minimalist straight line: fridge, cupboards, built-in oven, more super-deep cupboards.

Good luck, and I'm glad you love your contractor!

I just love me a good reno. Especially in somebody else's house. Thank you for the progress pix. More fun for me than for you, I'm sure!

Wow, that is a big remodeling job! I bet it will be really nice when it is all done.

My parents renovated a 200 year old quaker farm house so your story takes me right back to my childhood. Also sounds like par for the course.

Wow. Your contractor is awesome. If I thought there was a chance he could come down to the Boston area and do a bathroom job, I'd so be financing that!

"In the Kitchen" is almost completely related to hair. However, as you read between the lines, it isn't specifically hair that held the great importance, it's what hair represented. The want for good hair mirrors the pressures on the African American community to Assimilate in the 1950s, to leave their shamed culture behind and become a part of white society.

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