Monday, December 01, 2008

Home improvements: The Kitchen

Long time readers know that I've been slowly refurbishing and even rebuilding my house a bit at a time. That wasn't the plan when I moved in. The place had just been refurbished and new appliances put in the kitchen. But it wasn't done well. It was done like a Hollywood set. It only needed to look good for a little bit. In the case of Hollywood it's until filming is done. In the case of my house it's until the sale is closed.

I did my own inspection. Generally that's a bad idea, but I knew what I was looking for. Alas, none of it could be seen because everything that should be seen was sealed up. I'd have had to take a crowbar and sledgehammer to find out what I wanted to know. Professional inspectors who have come in since tell me that had I paid an inspector in the first place I would have wasted my money.

I started this blog just before I had the whole back wall torn out and replaced along with a bathroom that really should have dropped through my kitchen ceiling. I've been using it to document the repairs and replacements. It's covered the reconstruction of a common wall in what I'm now calling my library. I've told about replacing the floor and ripping out the ceiling in that room. There are pictures of me putting in a hatch to the space above my bedroom and building an attic up there.

What I did yesterday is very minor but it's leading to something huge. I replaced the garbage disposal. Actually, I wanted to get rid of the old one and just go to old fashioned pipes. But that would have required some major renovations to the bottom of the sink so I just bought a new one and swapped them out. The plumbing, the wiring, that was nothing compared to just being able to do it in the confined space.

I should also mention that I'd been putting this off for months and that only a very persistent girlfriend got me to do this now.

There's a hose that runs from the garbage disposal to the back of the sink. It's allows airflow and it's where crud goes when I have to take a plunger to the sink. There's another hose that runs from that same vent to the underside of the dishwasher. That hose smells awful. It also wasn't attached very securely. Nope, sorry, no tale of filthy water running all over my face. We just wanted to know where it goes and if anything was wrong.

The dishwasher wasn't properly installed. No big surprise. They'd failed to give it an electrical cord. They did come back and fix it, but didn't screw it back into place. So it pulled right out. The wall behind the dishwasher was mangled. Debris everywhere. Knocking and a follow up stud finder show that the wall wasn't built properly. Plus there's a cold draft coming in there. The wall needs more than that hole patched. It needs to be replaced. I've already had one cabinet fall off the wall because it wasn't attached to any studs but just screwed to the Sheetrock. These clearly weren't installed right but they do appear to be attached to something. Not much, but something. This hole is letting in not just cold air, but mice, too.

I'm feeling inclined to lose the dishwasher since it's only been used 4 or 5 times in the last 4 years. The counter isn't attached to that flawed wall. It'd be so easy to just gut the kitchen. Yanking the ceiling is already in the plans. That wall needs to be brought up to code. The only question is whether I do it or whether I hire someone to do it.

As you're reading this there's a team of people in my kitchen gutting and rebuilding my utility closet. The furnace, that was failing last winter, and the hot water tank, that's been flipping breakers and limit switches lately, are both getting replaced. Ducts are being put in. Then I can finish putting down the library floor and get that sealed. Then Yummy can paint that room. Yummy loves to paint.

The point being my bank account is hurting. Once it recovers by a lot it will be used to fix up the kitchen. More counter space for sure. And with that space my first microwave since I moved to DC. Walls all up to code. Properly installed cabinets. That induction range top that I've been wanting for years. The ceiling will be covered with translucent plastic and ropes of LEDs put up there so the whole ceiling will glow. And maybe even an itty-bitty dishwasher that will actually support a one-two person house.

Yummy was wondering why I have plexiglass behind one of my book cases. I think it should be used to seal that hole behind the dishwasher.


Malaise Inc said...

Oh, man. Do I ever know what you mean. We bought a farm house on an acreage a few years ago and it has been the same story. Everything that was done, was done half-assed. We actually had to do a foundation repair because, when a two story addition (garage and master bedroom) was added, they managed to put a load bearing wall on the garage slab. As in not on a stem wall. Add one drought and the slab started collapsing under the wall. We just put in new windows in the last few weeks and (surprise!) the old ones were installed poorly. No headers.

We jokingly wish that a tornado would just come and take the house so we could start over and do it right.

Ibid said...

I hear that. I wish I could have done the same, but the house and land were cheap at $290,000. The house makes up half of the value. I just didn't have enough money to be able to buy a place AND level and rebuild it. I had to buy, rebuild the bank account, fix and recover, fix and recover...

GreenCanary said...

I love to paint! Paint cures all ailments, I kid you not. I bet I can fix the hole in the kitchen wall with paint.