One of the areas most people would love to change in their home, yet may not have the money to do properly, is the kitchen.  Who wouldn’t love to gut the place and rebuild with a high end “this”, a top shelf “that”, and Viking appliances as far as the eyes can see!  There are two ways to pull off a kitchen remodel with a limited budget.  1) Scale down  the size and scope of the project…throw out the idea of that six burner Viking stove and go with appliances that are more economical and energy efficient.  Or 2) Tackle your kitchen re-do piece-meal.  No one ever said you had to do things all at once.  Sure, if you’re ripping the place apart down to the studs, things need to happen fast.  The only thing more miserable than living with a non-functional kitchen is living with a non-existent one.  However, if you’re not planning on a layout change and the cabinets are well made and in good shape, then you might be in the market for a minor face-lift (as opposed to major “A monkey just ate my face!” facial reconstruction).  Why not take on parts of the project one at a time?  That’s what the plan was at casa de Egan.  I guess you could say my wife Cori and I are in the middle of a four-year kitchen makeover.  Now don’t give me that, “Ugh, four years!” crap. Here’s how we’ve been doing it:

My Brother-in-law Dave & I trying our best to put the ugliness behind us. Clearly, I can't bear to look. You should see our synchronized swimming routine!

Several years ago I ripped up the old carpeting that ran throughout the first floor and the linoleum in the kitchen.  We wanted to replace it with hardwood throughout.  Cori wanted pre-finished for the ease and cleanliness of installation.  I wanted unfinished installed, but the sanding process and accompanying mess made that idea a non-starter.  My problem is I don’t like the look of the beveled edges on pre-finished. Enter our friend Russ over at Heritage Floor Covering in Sandwich who showed us laminate flooring.  Wow!  Looks just like real wood, has a textured finish like wood and with no beveled edges.  It also stands up to abuse far better.  We’re talking Ziggy type abuse here.  Our Portuguese Water Wonder Dog can run, slide, skid, crash or generally lie about wet and not damage the floor surface.  Only sand under a table or chair leg could put a scratch in it.  It’s also possible to chip it by dropping something from a height of roughly 6’5”…or so I’ve heard.

Here's a good shot of our old floor, old stove and (then) new puppy, Ziggy!

It took me about two weeks to rip out the old and install the new floor, a little over 700 square feet in all.  All the while, I was working full time on the air and as Program Director at Cool 102 in the morning.

*N.O.C. (Note Of Caution…This is a “consider yourself warned” tidbit of info.) The carpet & pad came up no problem, but the subfloor under the linoleum is secured with roughly 147,000 staples.  You’ve either got to pull ‘em or hammer em’ but just get a good pair of knee pads, you’ll be there a while.  Come to think of it, you’ll be on your hands and knees to put down the new floor anyway so get really good ones.

Oh, and here’s another recommendation:  Never do any floor work while you’re suffering from a head cold.  A runny nose can be quite problematic when you’re on your hands and knees for any length of time.

The next step was to replace the appliances.  Upgrading from Almond (Almost puke color if you ask me) to stainless was a dramatic change.  We even broke this down into steps.  We got the refrigerator in the fall, and the stove, range hood and dishwasher the following spring.

Pretty straight forward here, with just one tip:  don’t spill candle wax on the front of the dishwasher within 48 hours of install…or ever.  Sometimes we can be very nimble people…this time, not so much.


Next up:  Jim Venuti, expert electrician, enlightens us on under cabinet lighting!

Here's a shot of the old kitchen with some new crown molding I put up.

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