We have successfully survived one week of kitchen renovation!
The first question most people have is, “How are you managing to feed a family of six without a kitchen??” And the answer is: the guest house, where my mom lived, has a small-but-full kitchen. It even has a dishwasher, praise the Lord. If you recall, we all lived in the guest house for the first six weeks after we bought the house (while the electrical and plumbing work was going on), so the kitchen and I are old friends.
When I last updated, we were just getting ready to address the floor situation.
Here’s where we were at the end of last Wednesday:
They pulled back the layer of slate-look vinyl tile, the black-and-white checkerboard vinyl tile, and discovered a layer of old-school linoleum that was actually kind of awesome. It’s a buttery yellow with copper flecks.
I’d secretly hoped to uncover magically-preserved hardwoods under all those floors, but ALAS. The hardwoods were in terrible shape and riddled with nail holes, and the subfloor under them was rotten in several spots. All of it had to come out.
Once the floors were out, we made some, er, upsetting discoveries.
- The corner of the kitchen by the back door used to be a small exterior porch. Our next-door-neighbor-slash-previous-owner reported that he enclosed it. The porch portion of the kitchen has a four-inch-thick concrete slab under it, while the rest of the kitchen has regular subfloor and flooring. This was causing a lot of the waves in the floor.
- The main beam supporting the second story runs through the kitchen. If you watch “Fixer Upper” and you’ve ever seen them install a lam beam, that’s what we have. It was probably put in when the porch was enclosed. The beam does not extend all the way to the exterior wall, and has a vertical support about two feet out from the wall. (This was our first setback, which I mentioned last week.) The vertical support, it turns out, is resting on nothing. Air. Nada.
We found two other places where load-bearing walls are resting on nothing at all. I’m pretty sure this was a consequence of moving the house, but it’s a little frustrating. Several concrete blocks and two house jacks later, we’ve got sufficient support under all the walls.
3. When they cut the house in half to move it in 1960, someone took a chainsaw to the joists under the kitchen floor, short of the beam that held them up. So the joists were just hanging, which was also causing a lot of problems with the floor.
We always knew the floor was going to be the most vexing part. We are hopeful that we will be able to stick with Plan A, which is a herringbone brick floor like this:
If we are unable to level the floors, we will go with Plan B, which is hardwoods stained to match the floors in the rest of the house. This is not a bad Plan B! Either choice will look lovely.
No matter what flooring goes on top, I will sleep better knowing that the structural bits of the floor are in proper working order.
Here’s a shot from Tuesday morning: