A few weeks ago, I found canned pumpkin on sale at the grocery store, and since my family loves pumpkin pie (I can live very well without it, thanks) I stocked up.
But then I got to thinking about muffins. First thing in the morning, when my blood sugar is low, I am crabby and I just want something to shove into my mouth to make my stomach stop growling. I don't make good food decisions in that state of mind. I hate breakfast cereal, and most fruits served raw, and the traditional bacon and eggs is too much hassle before 10am. I would totally eat brownies for breakfast if that was the easiest food-like substance at my disposal.
The kitchen photos in the real estate listing almost prevented us from even looking at the house. Not so much because it was ugly and full of brown paneling, (which it was) but because there were doorways everywhere. I had a lot of trouble envisioning how we would ever arrange cabinets and countertops in a functional way.
The cabinets were obviously built in place, many moons ago. The only 2 cupboard doors showed evidence of at least 4 different paint colors, and they didn't close completely. That's one of the curses of a humid climate.
We knew the paneling, ceiling tiles and rusty light fixture had to go, but we didn't know this kitchen was hiding a secret.
Once the cupboards came out and the paneling came down, we were left with the interesting wallpaper. And a lot of old, cracked plaster.
The next step was removing the ceiling tiles, and then the plaster. That was a really no-fun job. Lots of work with a hammer and pry bars, lots of plaster dust and lots of rubble. Getting down to the lath revealed some voids in the insulation, the old chimney, and also a small pantry that had been covered up before the kitchen cabinets were installed. It also made wiring so much easier.
Have I mentioned most of the house still had knob and tube wiring? We were delighted to be rid of that old wiring.
The laundry room had several large soft spots in the subfloor due to water leaks, so those had to be replaced before we could install the flooring. But first, we had to pull up the old hardwood in there. Also not a fun job.
It was a very happy day when we were able to begin installing the new kitchen walls. We decided to use beadboard plywood paneling. It's sturdy, and it looks like something that a house this old might have once had. It didn't go up particularly fast or easy, because nothing in this old house is plumb or square, but it did go up.
We made the decision to close up the doorway just to the left of the paneling. We gained wall space in the kitchen, and a whole lot more floor space in the bathroom. There are still 2 other doors leading in to the kitchen.
Once the paneling was finally up, we painted it a bright glossy white so the walls would be easy to clean, and it wouldn't feel like a cave in there. We put up crown molding throughout the house, mostly because it was the most attractive way to deal with all of the gaps between the walls and ceilings. We still went through a loooot of caulk to make everything nice and smooth.
We originally planned to buy some cheap cabinets and create a built-in cupboard on this wall, inspired by Sarah of Thrifty Decor Chick. But then, we found this cabinet at the ReStore. With only a slight modification, it fit the space perfectly, and it cost a whole lot less time and money than if we'd built it ourselves. A piece of beadboard on the end, and a fresh coat of Behr "In The Moment" and now it's like it was always there.
John completely bowed out of the cabinet and countertop installation. He finds that kind of work extremely frustrating, and that is one of the few areas where we don't work well together. So my Dad came over to help. He's mellowed a bit in his old age, so even though this was a very frustrating process (and I saw red more than once), we got through it and are still speaking to each other.
Later this week, I hope to show you some "all done" photos of the kitchen.
The front porch on the tea room was in pretty rough shape when we bought it. Peeling paint and broken glass were the least of the problems. Those storm windows were attached to rotting wood. If you wiggled one window, 3-4 would move because they were only anchored at the top. The header across the front was sagging because there was no support in the middle. Worst of all, the floor was rotten and buckling in a couple of places.
I promise, I don’t hate trees. I spent far too many years on a dry, windy, treeless prairie to hate trees. But I do hate trees that create navigational difficulties, pose a risk to buildings and power lines, obscure a driver’s view of oncoming traffic, or hide the front of a business. Which is to say, there were a lot of trees at the tea room that had to go.