And so began demolition on the kitchen. What was supposed to be drywall removal in a small corner (where Rob is cutting out drywall in photo below) to check for water damage, turned into a much larger project. First, we took that wall out from walkway to inner corner to make sure water hadn't spread further than we first assumed. Thankfully, it hadn't and replacing some studs was all it took to shore up the area. We did find a "fun" secret door (the old garage exit pre-kitchen-add-on) that wasn't sealed up correctly when the original construction had been completed. My Dad was so so helpful in this process because he knew just where to stop or dive a little deeper into a problem so it was solved the correct way! Dads are fantastic!
After this wall was torn apart and the studs were repaired, we started removing the cabinets. Our hope was to remove cabinets and *snap* just like that put the new ones in their place. Well of course that isn't what happened as you might have read in our previous post but we didn't share how gross the situation was.
Take a nice long look. Couldn't you just shed a tear at the awful sight of mold/mildew, improper plumbing and water damage? We could, I'm surprised that we didn't, but we certainly could have! The top left photo was our first glance... It was right as we pulled the dishwasher and first cabinet out. Our first reaction was to hope it got better as we continued cabinet removal but with every cabinet that we took out, our hopes sunk more and more. Behind the sink we could see that there had been some major water damage that the previous owners hadn't properly cleaned up (not really a surprise at this point unfortunately) and the drain plumbing hadn't been installed correctly. If you can see in the picture with Rob working on the floor, there was a very noticeable water mark on the floor so it was obvious some sort of flooding had occurred. Thankfully, that underlayment wasn't at all soft or mildewy, so we were actually able to leave it in place.
As we moved along with the cabinet removal, we learned that at one point there had clearly been some sort of small rodent infestation. Now, let me note, our home is not disgusting or filthy and there are no longer rodents living in our walls but boy-o-boy, at one point... I don't know how the previous owners didn't hear them. It wasn't just something we found under the cabinets either. Every piece of insulation that we removed created some sort of "fecal rain" - gross I know - but it fell down on Rob and my Dad every time a run of insulation was pulled out of the ceiling. [Many many showers were taken during this part of the project!] It isn't something that we knew about before this construction started, so ignorance was bliss for a while, but now our house feels so much cleaner and we have such a greater peace of mind that everything is sealed up tight and is nice and clean!
Once all the cabinets were removed, we had our first "while we're at it" conversation with my Dad. He's great at giving us options that we wouldn't have thought about; the soffit above the cabinets was the first topic we needed to make a decision about. We hadn't realized that this soffit was just a style decision made when when kitchen was constructed, but Dad did. We thought that it would make the room feel larger to extend the ceiling to the full size of the room so within an hour or two max, we had the soffit out!
The next decision was whether or not to replace the ceiling. There were two factors to this decision: one being the ability to re-center the lights and fan since the soffit was now gone and the second being the knowledge that the ceiling was probably icky and poop filled. YUCK. So it seemed like the right decision. We would be able to reconfigure lighting to what we wanted it to be and it would be much cleaner, both great perks! The picture below is post dry-wall removal and pre insulation removal but the room already looked larger than before!
After this, we removed all remaining drywall (except for a small section on the left wall). Rob and I got to work, with masks on of course, cutting and installing drywall in all the newly open spaces. We also sealed the old door area so that it couldn't be an entrance for little creatures if that had been their entry point. If you haven't had the pleasure of filling gaps or cracks in your home, let me tell you how awesome Great Stuff Foam is; it's so easy to use and honestly it's kind of fun. It expands to completely fill gaps and once dry, it's hard but can be trimmed if expansion gets in the way. We don't get paid to say this stuff, we just really like it!
Once all the new insulation was in we started to feel like we were on the upswing of this project. When demo lasts much longer than expected it can start to feel like no progress is being made. With our lighting newly centered, pendant cans in place (a new addition for us) and all the insulation in place, we were ready for drywall to be installed. This is not a do-it-yourself project for us, we always call the best guy we know, Bill! He's super honest and trustworthy and does such fast, awesome work! The drywall process is so exciting because the space goes from construction to looking like a legitimate room again. Never have white, splotchy walls looked so great to us!
We decided to freshly paint the ceiling and put one coat of primer over the walls before doing any other insulation so we didn't have to worry about splatter. Ceilings are the worst to paint but it's much easier when there is no need for drop cloths.
We are almost ready to reveal the final kitchen, but it's a work in progress for a little while longer!