The Domino Effect

Two and half months after we first decided on a kitchen renovation, it has become abundantly clear that the domino effect is alive and well in our little project.  I’ve already blogged about ‘project creep’ engulfing the entire exterior of our home, and it’s happening inside the house, as well.   As our start date looms closer, we have begun preparations to have our house — and our lives! — turned upside down.

One cannot renovate a kitchen without disruption to one’s daily routine, and in a small house like ours, the disruption will be HUGE.  We just spent a 4-day holiday weekend  — the first of many lost weekends to come — in Phase One of our preparations.  Here’s how the dominoes stacked up:

In order to gut our existing kitchen, and avoid a month (or more!) of takeout food, we need to set up a temporary kitchen area in the basement.  This will include our refrigerator, the existing freezer, a couple of hot plates, and a work table, as well as food storage. The only place that we can possibly set this up is in the unfinished laundry room.  Unfortunately, that area was already filled with overflow office storage that would need to be moved to the garage.

Don't let the paneling fool you -- this is not a finished space.  But that's exactly why it's the best place for food prep -- no worries about spills and splashes.  I am NOT looking forward to cooking in here.  Let's hope for clear weather during my reno, so we can grill every night!

Don’t let the paneling fool you — this is not a finished space. But that’s exactly why it’s the best place for food prep — no worries about spills and splashes. I am NOT looking forward to cooking in here. Let’s hope for clear weather during my reno, so we can grill every night! (Oh, and in case you’re wondering, that IS the Star Trek Enterprise on top of the freezer.)  Here, everything that can be stored in the garage has been removed.  We are left with one shelving unit full of stuff that has to find a new home, and 2 shelving units of files that are due for shredding.  We’re getting closer….

You may remember that we are eliminating an ill-placed set of stairs in the kitchen, to improve the layout of the space and allow us access to the wall where we want to annex the adjoining closet for our new all-fridge and all-freezer.   This means that the space under the stairs has to be emptied.  Like the laundry room, it is unfinished, and has been used for storage and a cold room.  Not any more….

Here's the 'utility room' under the stairs, cleared of most of its contents for the first time since we moved in.  Without the stairs, this space will become a new office space for me, as part of our next renovation.  Removing those stairs is turning out to have multiple benefits.

Here’s the ‘utility room’ under the stairs, cleared of most of its contents for the first time since we moved in. Without the stairs, this space will become a new office space for me, as part of our next renovation. Removing those stairs is turning out to have multiple benefits.  But for now, where am I going to keep this stuff while the work is being done?

Another area that I decided to clear out is a crawl space under the stairs, where I have been storing my Christmas decorations.  This seemed like a good idea 15 years ago, but now I’m that much older, and am enjoying the annual ‘crawl’ into this space less and less.  The crawl space isn’t being affected by this renovation, but it will be affected in the next round, when we tackle the basement. As long as we’re making space in the garage, we might as well deal with this stuff, too.

As you can see, the crawl space is well-insulated.  What's that brown stuff on the floor, you ask?  Why, that's shag carpet, the same stuff that covered the entire main floor when we moved in.  Shag may have made a comeback, but I never want to see it again!

As you can see, the crawl space is well-insulated. What’s that brown stuff on the floor, you ask? Why, that’s shag carpet, the same stuff that covered the entire main floor when we moved in. Shag may have made a comeback, but I never want to see it again!

Before we could empty these storage areas of their contents, we needed to make space in the garage.  After 2o years as an interior decorator, I had accumulated a garage full of samples, as well as a storeroom full of leftover fabrics, half-functioning lamps, stray drapery hardware, and other odds and sods.   It was not an easy task to clear them out.  I started by calling my fabric reps and asking them to come and take away all but a few colour books, and redistribute them to other designers who wanted them.  They were reluctant — they associate a lack of samples with a lack of sales — but they did what I asked.  Since I rarely work with sample books any more (I prefer to visit the  well-lit and well-organized showrooms that are warm in winter and cool in summer, to borrow memo samples instead!) it just didn’t make sense to keep them.    It was much more difficult to sort through everything else, but thankfully, our town has an Environmental Centre, where residents can drop off donations for Habitat for Humanity and Goodwill.  We needed both our pickup truck and my car to haul everything up there, but they took it all — whew! — and we could get on with organizing what was left.

We had a store room built on one side of our garage, shortly after we moved into the house, to store items destined for client projects, as well as excess showroom stuff.  It was overflowing with things we weren't using.

Before:  We had a store room built on one side of our garage, shortly after we moved into the house, to store items destined for client projects, as well as excess showroom stuff. It was overflowing with things we weren’t using, but it was very well built and secure.

After: Those well-built shelves came in handy.  They now house all the items we removed from the laundry room, utility room, and crawl space.  It is no less full than before, but it is better organized.

After:  Those well-built shelves came in handy. They now house all the items we removed from the laundry room, utility room, and crawl space. It is no less full than before, but it is better organized.

Before:  With the samples removed from the right-hand wall, the possibilities for storage have opened up.

Before: With the samples removed from the right-hand wall, the possibilities for storage have opened up.

After: It may not seem like it, but it's much cleaner and better organized.

After: It may not seem like it, but it’s much cleaner and better organized.

 

After: Instead of samples in every corner of the garage, they now fit all on one wall, with a few shelves left over for other stuff.

After: Instead of samples in every corner of the garage, they now fit all on one wall, with a few shelves left over for other stuff.

Next up:  we can’t eliminate a closet in the office/3rd bedroom, without making space elsewhere for the items in that closet.    I’m making the ultimate sacrifice in order to gain that new fridge and freezer — I’m giving up some of my closet space to make room for more of my husband’s stuff.  I hope it’s worth it!

This is where our next 'lost weekend' will be spent -- emptying the closet that lies beyond this door.

This is where our next ‘lost weekend’ will be spent — emptying the closet that lies beyond this door.

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