Top photo: Plumbing work in progress – the old sink plumbing is gone. Bottom: The new waste line for the sink.
Name: Dan Bailey
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: East Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Type of building: 2nd Floor Condo in a Greek-Revival Row House
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Whenever I watch home renovation shows on TV, everything seems to move along pretty quickly. Watching a complete renovation project unfold over the course of 30 minutes makes it all seem so straightforward. Contractors and subcontractors appear when they’re needed, the work is completed quickly and efficiently, and setbacks are dealt with in a matter of days or hours.
There’s always some sort of crisis, which results in some last-minute scrambling, but you know the project will be completed on time and end up looking great. I don’t know whether this extreme efficiency is the result of careful planning and years of renovation experience, or if it’s all a big lie made possible through the magic of television. What I do know is that my renovation so far has been nothing like this.
It was a slow week. Everything seems to be taking a little longer than I had expected. The plumber got started redoing the plumbing for the sink at the very end of the week. There suddenly seem to be construction and renovation projects everywhere you look in the Boston area, and apparently plumbers and contractors of all kinds have been pretty busy lately, so I was lucky that the plumber managed to fit my kitchen into his schedule on fairly short notice. He’ll be replacing the prehistoric plumbing to the sink, and moving it over a few inches to accommodate the new layout. He’ll also install a new gas line.
My new gas line will be added to this mess of pipes running along the ceiling of the cellar. The gas line will turn up through the ceiling on the left and run up two stories to my kitchen.
One thing I really wanted going into this renovation was a gas range. The kitchen originally had an electric range, and not a day went by that I didn’t miss cooking with gas. Every other condo in the building has a gas line in the kitchen, so I assumed that there must be a disconnected or capped gas line hidden somewhere in my kitchen as well. But this turned out to be wishful thinking. After demo was complete there was no sign of a gas line. My gas meter is located three floors down in the cellar, but since each floor has a similar layout, the plumber thinks it will be possible to run a gas line straight up from the cellar, through the walls, and up to my kitchen. Of course, this means I’ll be spending a little more on plumbing than I had planned, but, again, I really want a gas range, so I think it’ll be worthwhile. The rest of the plumbing work should be pretty routine. Once the kitchen is mostly finished the plumber will come back to hook up the sink, the dishwasher, and the range.
The interior of the closet and soon-to-be pantry.
This week I also started gutting the closet in the dining room that will eventually become a pantry. The construction of the closet mirrored the old kitchen – unfinished wood shelves covered in peeling contact paper, vinyl flooring, unfinished wallboard nailed directly into crumbly plaster. I removed the shelves, pulled up the vinyl flooring and plywood underlayment, and began taking down the wallboard and most of the plaster behind it. Once everything is torn out of the closet, I’ll put up new drywall, refinish the floors, and install new shelving. Once it’s done, the pantry will provide a ton of storage space. Having lived in shoebox apartments for years, the ability to stock up on household and food staples will be an unspeakable luxury.
I made a trip to Ikea this week to pick up the cabinets. This stack of boxes contains all of the cabinets and hardware for the entire kitchen.
Estimated time for project: 12 weeks
Time remaining: 7 weeks
Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #9 of Dan's Kitchen Renovation.
(Images and diary text: Dan Bailey)
More posts in this series
Renovation Diary: Dan's Kitchen