Building a Kitchen: Part One – Demolition and Preparation

I have wanted to re-do the Wainui kitchen ever since we bought the house four years ago.  The kitchen, while sizeable, is a summer beach house (bach) kitchen, meaning it is very rudimentary and mainly appropriate for minimal use.    Obviously, we’ve been using it heavily over the past four years and have made do, often stacking boxes and crates on top of each other to make everything fit.

You can see from the photos that we only had six small cupboards and the rest of the kitchen design was ‘open’, ie: we had stackable wooden shelves which served to hold all our pots, pans, dishes, cups, glasses and the like.      We’ve often had four to six people working in this kitchen and we always made it work.

But it was really time to make the kitchen the proper heart of our home.

And so when Bruce returned early from his overseas trip last July, I insisted that we make the push to get the kitchen done before the end of 2011.

Bruce met with an architect friend while in Los Angeles in May and Fro drew up initial plans which we really liked.    During July,  Bruce and I met with a joiner (cabinet maker) here in Christchurch and hired him to make the cabinets.  We selected our cabinet style (shaker style, light coloured macrocarpa) and granite for our countertops.

Bruce took Fro’s initial plans and fleshed out the details to come up with an L-shaped kitchen complete with double stacked upper cabinets.   We’re also having a center island made on castors and we’re extending the kitchen flow into the living room by having cabinets made next to the wood-burning cook-stove.    All up, I think we’re going to have a combination of 55 drawers and cupboards when it’s done.   Surely that should be enough for all our needs!  Considering we have no other cabinetry/closets in the rest of the house, we decided more is better.

In August we gutted the kitchen.  Ollie worked on taking out the hot water cylinder and Shacklock coal range which we never used.

Purple wired up new electrical boxes and Pete put in all the new plumbing.

Ollie worked on putting up a new partial wall and kept on gibbing.

It was a week of chaos as six of us lived in a house with what was now a sprawled out kitchen.  The stove and fridge remained in the demolition zone,  but the pantry and excess items got moved into the 3rd bedroom and the kitchen work area shifted into the dining room.   The bathtub became the washing area.  So in essence, the entire rest of the house turned into a giant kitchen.   Truly a mess!

And then we left on our holiday for two months.

So now we’ve been back three weeks and the boys have been busily working away.  Bruce and Ollie finished putting up the gib.

Last week Ollie made huge progress in moving the kitchen window and opening the outside wall to build an alcove.   We decided to create a little extra space by putting in an alcove which will house all our ‘science’ projects:  jars and bottles in various states of sprouting, fermenting, drying, etc.   We’re adding in a few stained glass windows which should be visually lovely while also letting in a lot more light.    I purchased two six-foot long stained glass windows a few years ago on Trade Me for super cheap.  Some of the panes had cracked and these are getting repaired this week.  The woman at the shop said these were ‘mercedes’ windows and would cost about $1500 each to make now.  Go me!

This week has been sanding week:  the walls had to be sanded and primed and the kitchen floor had to be sanded, stained and left to cure for a week.

It’s a messy job and we did our best to seal off that part of the house so as to keep the dust out (and yes, that is Bruce wearing a vintage 1976 t-shirt which he still fits into!).

Oh the joys of living in a house that’s undergoing a massive renovation!

Cabinet Installation date –  December 13th and 14th.   Stay tuned!