The "Can't Leave Well-Enough Alone" Club revisited

We have been discussing the merits of leaving the kitchen alone vs remodeling it as our next project. The big factor that makes us hate the kitchen is the carpet. Yes, carpet. And it's as disgusting as it sounds. I've cleaned it MULTIPLE times with the carpet cleaner, sometimes using just water to make sure all the soap is rinsed out. No matter what, the water comes up black. And with two dogs and two klutzes living here, there's no way it's going to stay clean, even if it had been to start with.

This prompted Shayne, with very little encouragement from me, to start ripping up the carpet as I was eating lunch. The conversation went something like this:
S: So you want the carpet ripped up?
D: Yeah, it's pretty nasty.
S: Now?
D: Not necessarily...
S: Huh. ::Starts cutting carpet with utility knife::

An hour later, after ripping up the carpet and a an OSB overlay, the kitchen looked like this:

Under the nasty carpet padding-covered adhesive, there's '50s linoleum. I guess the PPOs liked carpet in the kitchen so much, they did it twice... We found some remnants of '70s carpet around the edges. That must have been what was just glued over the lino.

We contemplated stripping the padding and adhesive off the linoleum. It was in pretty good shape, and it would be much easier to keep clean. We decided to check out Home Depot, just to see what kind of flooring options we could afford to lay down and rip out in a few years.

Option #1 was peel-and-stick tiles. They're much nicer than they used to be, but they're still cheap looking. At $.88 per square foot, though, the price is hard to beat. They wouldn't be at all easy to remove, though, so we kept looking. In the next aisle, we found floating laminate floors. We already have one laminate floor in the dining room, and I don't really like it much. It's noisy and cold, and it looks like fake wood. But... It was cheap ($24 for 25 square feet), it's easy to install, and it's easy to remove.

Guess what we bought?

For $130, we have a new floor that's moppable, decent-looking, and can be removed in a few years when we have the money to put down a real linoleum floor.


It took both of us 6 hours to install. Considering we had no idea what we were doing, I don't think that's bad at all! We still need to get new toe-kick material for under the cabinets, and molding for aeound the edges, but it's pretty much done. How's that for quick and dirty?


Giving up the dishwasher?

Since I'm chronically unable to focus on one thing at a time, I've been thinking about the kitchen again. Specifically, bringing our old, original cabinets back into the house. The real reason I'm even considering un-remuddling the kitchen before we've done the bathroom is the back porch/laundry room project. We need to rip out the carpeting that runs from the laundry area into the kitchen. I'd like to replace both with some nice, new Linoleum, instead of some cheapo temporary flooring. And if we're replacing the flooring, it only makes sense to get rid of the '80s cabinets and have the new gas line run at the same time as the dryer hookup is moved.

It would be a relatively cheap remodel. We fix up the cabinets on our own (~$200), buy new hardware (~$300, but we may be able to polish the old stuff), install flooring (~$1200 including labor), get a salvage sink (~$50)and buy a new range (~$500). After lighting and such, we could probably bring it in under $3000. Best of all, we could do it in stages, so it wouldn't be an all-at-once cost.

Here are the old cabinets, unhappily banished to the garage:

Imagine them a nice, clean cream or white. The refrigerator goes on the left, the stove on the right. The dishwasher goes...in the trash?

Dishwashers use a lot of energy. I found statistics online that said if you fill both basins of the sink with water for wash and rinse, you use 50% less water, and less energy to heat that water. We don't entertain often, and we usually run the dishwasher twice a week. It's rarely completely full when we run it, but we've run out of silverware, glasses, or bowls.

To help you visualize, here is the kitchen right now:
The door at the bottom leads to the stairs and basement.
And the original layout:

The original layout is good for the kitchen. It keeps it from looking cluttered and cramped. Right now, the refrigerator is right next to the door to the laundry room, and it feels very closed-in when you're walking through. It will be worse when we put back part of the wall that used to separate the dining room and kitchen.

Another pro is that when we take the cabinets and appliances off of the west (bottom) wall, we can have a heat vent back that is now covered by the stove.

A third plus is that the old cabinetry leaves room for a 40" stove. And I really wouldn't complain about having a nice, antique Chambers range... (And I just made the mistake of looking "Chambers range" up on ebay. There's a beautiful one an hour away in Valparaiso. I'm trying not to hyperventilate... Why did I look?!)

I'm just not sure if there's enough storage for a modern cooks. Granted, I don't even use all the storage in the kitchen now... And even though some cubpoards are full, I know I can pare it down if I have to. We could also install some shelves or cupboards between the studs on the west wall.

So, what do you think?


If you can't say something nice...

I'd really like to say nice things, but I've really been in sort of a funk lately. I'm pissed off at the world and the apathetic attitudes so many people seem to have. About everything. Politics, religion, crime and punishment, taxes, the economy, old houses... You name it, I have something crappy to say about it. I hate when I get like this.

Work on the house is coming slowly, as usual. We've had a pretty cruddy couple of months financially, getting hit every whichway with unexpected expenses. And now today Bach had to go to the vet for a back problem. I'm so thankful that our house has been well-maintained overall. The major stuff (electric, plumbing, heat, air conditioning, insulation) has already been done, so we don't have to worry about those failing. Thank God. I'll feel much better when we've got our tax return back and in the bank.

Shayne and I have the next 3 days off together, so we'll be working on the house a bit together. One of our goals is to make a timetable with small, attainable goals on it, so we can actually feel like we're making progress, even when we're just picking away at a bigger project. I'm an instant gratification kind of gal, so that should help me see that I really am getting somewhere!

I'm nearly done painting the little front bedroom (it only took a month...), and I'll put the second coat of paint on the trim tomorrow. Even knowing we'll strip the trim in there someday, I still feel bad painting it. But hey, white is much better than lime green!