The Great Kitchen Makeover – Part One

It all started when we went to Home Depot in the Fall of 2012 to get a gallon of paint. While there, we saw a refrigerator we really liked. It wasn’t just that it was stainless steel and it wasn’t just that it had the freezer at the bottom.

No, what really appealed to us was that it had a third section, a pull-out drawer for fruits and vegetables. Even better, it was on sale, so we bought it. The only problem is, it’s about 30% larger than a normal fridge and doesn’t really fit in the space where our old refrigerator lived.

When we first got this house, our kitchen was a disaster. It was built from reclaimed materials and featured cabinets with sliding wood paneling instead of doors. The ceiling was a fiberboard product from the 50’s and the floor featured honest to gosh linoleum.

We ripped that old kitchen out and built our dream country kitchen. With the help of a neighbor who was a carpenter, I made the cabinets and doors and counter tops myself and we were pretty proud of it when it was done.


But that was 20 years ago. What looked oh so sweet back then was beginning to look a bit dated in 2014. Besides, we have this big new refrigerator that needs a permanent home and the only place it actually fits is where the sink is right now. Sadly, our beautiful pine floor did not survive the ravages of time very well and looked shabby. So we decided to rip it all out and start over. Again.

The first thing we agreed on was that we wanted granite counter tops this time. We spent the next several months visiting every granite company between Portland and Poughkeepsie. Ultimately, we found a slab we liked just a mile from where Carolyn works. Right now, it is sitting inside, waiting for us whenever we are ready.


But the granite is the last step in the process. Before we ever get to that point, we need to select the tile for the floor, settle on a kitchen design we like, do the electrical and 1,000 other things. We sketched out a design we thought was just what we wanted and sat down with Mike, a kitchen designer at Home Depot. Mike was very skillful and patient with us. Occasionally, he would look at our plan and say things like, “That’s very nice. But do you realize that you will never be able to get the refrigerator out if you ever need to replace it?” Or “That’s very nice. But do you realize you will not be able to stand in front of the oven with the door open and will have to slide your turkey in standing sideways?” He saved us from making several embarrassing mistakes. Thanks, Mike.

DSC00055Eventually, a final design was agreed to, the cabinetry was ordered and we went home to start construction. Or deconstruction, to be more accurate. First, we had to rip up the pine floor that we put down to cover the old linoleum. Then the linoleum had to come up. Except there wasn’t just one layer of linoleum; there were two. And they were installed using some kind of heavy tar-like substance that had bonded itself to the old finish floor below. We tried scraping. We tried a heat gun. We tried a blow torch. Nothing worked. Finally we gave up and ripped up the old finish floor, only to discover yet another layer of old linoleum beneath that. I began to think we should open a linoleum museum!

Once the old floor was up, it was time to put down plywood as a base for the new tile. We elected to use a membrane between the tile and the plywood. Why? Because we saw it done that way on Holmes On Homes and if it’s good enough for Mike Holmes, it’s good enough for us! The plywood has to be fastened with screws ever 6″. That’s 153 screws per sheet of plywood times 8 sheets = 1,224 screws. We hired some local kids to help us with that part.


After the plywood was down, and the membrane installed, we could actually begin putting the tile down. It looks terrific!


You may notice that the tile begins in the dining room. That’s because there simply was not enough room in the kitchen area alone to meet our design requirements, which include a central island. So we added a set of cabinets in the dining room and made it all one big cooking/dining area.

We spent the last couple weeks finishing the tile work, stripping the old wall paper off the walls and painting the walls to match the new cabinets. Then all the trim work had to be re-installed.


On Friday, the cabinets arrived. There sure are a lot of them!


We got them all unpacked and organized and then started installing them on Sunday, beginning with the wall and base cabinets for the dining area. Now our new French Provincial dream kitchen is actually starting to take shape.


There is much work yet to do and we don’t expect to be finished until early May. But we are pleased with the progress so far and excited to see what it will look like when it is finally complete.

The piece de resistance in the whole kitchen redo rigamorole is the range we have picked out to complete the project.

We will post an update on the project as we get closer to completion. And then you will all be invited to what the TV shows like to call the “reveal”. Can’t wait!


About Steve Hanley

Totally enamored with my family, my grandkids, and seeing the world.
This entry was posted in Cooking, Family Life, Food, Personal and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to The Great Kitchen Makeover – Part One

  1. Wow! I can’t see the final result of your remodel.

  2. Ellen Dunn says:

    It looks awesome! All of your planning and hard work is paying off. Congratulations on a job well (almost) done.

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