Jennifer's Kitchen: Some Unexpected Issues

Renovation Diary

This week's view of the whole room from the living room.
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Name: Jennifer Pade
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: West Village, New York, New York
Type of building: 300 square foot apartment in a co-op building

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

Now that the shock of seeing my demolished kitchen and knowing what it’s going to cost to rebuild it has worn off a bit, the project is actually starting to get kind of interesting. Especially since nothing has gone wrong (yet!) and none of my neighbors have complained about anything (yet!) The biggest unexpected bump in the process this week was the plumber’s discovery that the cold water shutoff valve is not in the kitchen next to the hot water shutoff valve — it’s in the bathroom next to the toilet. But after the plumber shut the cold water off, it wouldn’t come back on, because it turns out that the valve and possibly something on the line is broken!

The bathroom is taking a beating, but the broken tiles will be replaced with something nicer!
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Plumbing lines in, almost finished!
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So the entire wall in the bathroom had to be opened all the way to the branch line in the kitchen so that the valve and cold water line can be repaired. I hadn’t figured that my bathroom would be involved in this project in any way or that I would show up one day to find my bathroom wall opened up all the way to the kitchen. Awesome. My architect explained to me that these kinds of contingencies are built into the cost of a reno project like this, especially in an old building. So, crossing my fingers that the bathroom drywall repair and painting won’t cost me any extra.

My architect's revised drawings, to reflect the changes to the plan. I have a feeling this may not be the final revision!
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Some other minor plumbing issues occurred. The plumber said that because of the size of the drawer dishwasher, the trap will have to be moved into a neighboring cabinet. Which is fine, but it will affect the drawers that were supposed to go in that spot. Jim, my architect, tells me that the contractor can modify the drawers or cabinet to work in that space. But Jim now has to revise his drawings because of the plumbing changes and some other minor things that have happened. One of those changes is that the refrigerator will now swap places with the pantry, so I have to choose a slightly shallower refrigerator than I originally decided on because of the new location. I’ll be spending the weekend looking at refrigerators!

The only damaged ceiling joist has been repaired. Now for approval!
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The other big event this week was the repair of the damaged ceiling joist. Without the repair completed and approved, not much work can proceed. My contractor repaired the joist by cutting out the damaged piece, installing a second joist onto the original and then shimming it to make it straight. Next week the co-op’s engineer will return to inspect/approve the joist repair. Once that’s done, the drywall installation can begin and everything else can move forward. I’m very, very lucky to have so little water damage to the joists.

Building out the interior wall to straighten it in preparation for drywall installation.
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The team started building out the interior kitchen wall and furring out the exterior wall. Nothing in a building this old is straight or squared off, so we lose about 1.5” all the way around to make the walls straight. This will also provide an edge to stop the upper hanging cabinets that will be on the ceiling between the living room and kitchen.

Furring out of the exterior brick wall, to straighten it in preparation for drywall.
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The electrician has decided to relocate the electrical panel next to the heat riser just outside the kitchen after all, rather than on the bedroom wall. Now that that’s complete, his work is finished until the last week when the recessed ceiling lights are installed.

The electrical panel is in, next to the heat riser in the living room, where a closet used to be.
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In the meantime, I’ve started looking at flooring samples. I’ve finally decided to go with wood laminate flooring after seeing it in my temporary apartment and at my gym. Both floors look great, and the one in the gym gets kettlebells dropped on it daily and still looks fantastic and brand new. Wood laminate isn’t as beautiful as hardwood, but it seems to stand up to a lot of wear and tear. And choosing the laminate means I can have new flooring in the kitchen and the living room. For our weekly meeting on Thursday, my contractor brings samples of ash flooring, but they’re a warm, maple color and I’m looking for a more neutral gray color. I spend my lunchtime at Home Depot looking at more samples and find some good colors. Based on those choices, I’m hoping to get some new samples from my contractor next week and make a final decision on flooring material.

The team has built a strong frame to hold hanging cabinets between the living room and kitchen.
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Next week the cabinetry gets ordered and drywall installation will start, which hopefully will make it look like a new kitchen is being built. Two weeks down, three to go!

Estimated time for project: 5 weeks
Time remaining: 3 weeks

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us tomorrow for installment #6 of Jennifer's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Jennifer Pade)

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