The Renovation Diaries are a new collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style.
Through our Renovation Diary program, Apartment Therapy is partnering with some lucky readers to help make their remodeling dreams come true, and to share the process with you, week by week. Meet Andi, who's doing a gut renovation of the very outdated kitchen in the condo she shares with her boyfriend. Their building dates to the 1890's, and the kitchen, which has received some halfhearted updates over the years, leaves a little something to be desired.
Two years ago my boyfriend and I bought a fixer-upper apartment in a classic old San Francisco building. We have been working room by room, renovating each space, and doing much of the work ourselves. The kitchen is our final major project.
What can I say about my current kitchen? I have cooked some delicious meals there, but it is a small and boxy room with one obnoxious overhead light. It was built before appliances, so the refrigerator is shoved into the pantry, where it awkwardly sticks out. The stove juts into the middle of the room. The drawers are made of plastic, the linoleum floor is peeling, and the butcher block counters are moldy. I could go on, but you get the picture. It is a cheap and shabby room in an otherwise grand apartment.
We hope to create a kitchen that reflects the Victorian architecture of the building, but also looks current, sophisticated, and timeless. Secondly, we love to cook and often work together in the kitchen, so we need a high-functioning room with more usable counter space, a better floor plan, and more convenient storage. The final goal is to create a dazzling entertainment space — a "destination kitchen" where our friends can congregate for our regular Friday night cocktail gatherings.
We are doing a gut renovation, replacing everything from the turn-of-the-century plumbing and electrical systems to the cabinetry, appliances, lighting, and counters. The one thing we hope to keep are the original Douglas Fir floors, covered by 3+ layers of linoleum in the kitchen, if they are salvageable. We also plan to maintain the tall 13-foot-ceilings and some of original wood trim.
We are removing a large lath-and-plaster wall between the existing kitchen and the back hallway. It is huge — 13 feet tall, 6 inches thick, and 15 feet long — and will generate a prodigious amount of dust. We are also demolishing the walls around an old fireplace air shaft and incorporating that space into the kitchen footprint. Together, these changes will nearly double the size of the kitchen from 95 to 170 square feet. We are doing the demolition ourselves, hoping the dust and exhaustion will be worth it for the increased space.
(Images & Diary Text: Andi Forker)