Thursday, October 27, 2011

Oak, I just can't quit you

Here is the post where I admit that I don't want to give up wood for our kitchen floors.  I went back through all my inspiration photos of kitchens, and every single one had the majority of these elements:
White shaker cabinets
Black or white granite
Wood floors
Amazing stainless range hood and appliances
Subway tile backsplash
Schoolhouse lights, or something similar
So, when it came to going over the pine flooring with VCT or linoleum material, I just couldn't bring myself to be happy about it.  We had a flooring expert give us a quote on ripping out the pine, installing new white oak that matches the rest of the house, and finishing on site.  He comes HIGHLY recommended.  We also wanted him to refinish the dining room floor, which is something we didn't do when we moved in...I have no idea why since we did the living room!    Here is the quote:
The 238 footprint is the kitchen, 429 is the kitchen and dining room together.  I think this is a very reasonable estimate for a job this large, it works out to be about $8.75 per square foot for finishing both rooms, which is an average cost for new wood flooring.  He would also jack up the sunken floor joist in the kitchen and put all the shoe molding back on in the dining room for this price.  I'm saving a little money by scrapping plans to put tongue and groove on the ceiling, getting a killer deal on cabinets, and buying a free-standing range as opposed to a slide-in.  What do you think?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

So long wood

We made a lot of progress on the vinyl removal over the weekend. 
And then we saw this board, which didn't really look like the 'white oak' we were told was in here. 
Tonight a floor guy came to look at the kitchen, and before he even was two steps into the room, he told me our floor is pine.  He said the pine planks were probably never meant to be a finished floor, and the first layer of sheet material was maybe the original flooring in the kitchen. 
We also have a very significant dip in the floor at the doorway to the dining room, thanks to a cracked joist you can see in the basement. 
This has obviously caused the surrounding boards to crack and warp. 
He said he could possibly refinish the pine, but the broken boards are a problem and pine is not ideal for a finished wood floor.  It is soft, can easily ding and dent, and wouldn't wear very well in a kitchen.  Not to mention that the pine won't look the same, or take stain the same as the oak in the rest of our house.  This floor from Brooklyn Rowhouse is pine and had already been refinished, but it didn't last very long....
So now, if we want wood, we're looking at laying down new oak in the kitchen to match the rest of the first floor.  Unfortunately, we'd have to rip out the pine to make room for the new 1/4 inch plywood underlayment and 3/4 inch wood.  This is mega bucks to pay in labor, and I don't think Shaun and I are willing to DIY taking a saw to the floor and ripping it out in chunks.  I'm thinking of abandoning wood and going for something that can go over the existing floor, like period-appropriate linoleum:
{Source - inspiration for the first pic}
I know I could make it look awesome, but I'm rather sad to give up the wood floors I really wanted.  Also, linoleum is not exactly cheap and I'm not even positive we could go back over the pine.  Right now we're waiting to see what the quote is for having this floor guy rip out the pine and add new oak for us.  If that is a crazy amount, we're back to something else.  This is a sad day.   

Friday, October 14, 2011

Kitchen destruction pt 2

We've been busy in the kitchen.  After my last post, the burning question was, do we have hardwood floors under the gross vinyl??
We decided to rip out this little baby cabinet next to the stove to find out for sure. 
It was kind of a challenge to figure out how to remove it, there were no screws or nails visible from the inside.  Once we got the stove pulled out, a swift kick by my mountain man proved the most effective way to get it outta there. 
Seeing all the cat hair balls under the stove was AWESOME.  Seriously, this is a real problem.
Gross cat hair aside, we got to work with a pry bar and hammer, loosening up that floor.  We borrowed a shingle-remover from our neighbor, which was kinda fun to use.  Why would he have that, anyway?  I'm positive he would never re-roof his two story house.  Anyway....
The verdict was that we have awesome, original white oak floors in this kitchen.  The planks are 3.25 inches, one inch thicker than the rest of the house.  And some ass clown poured black adhesive over every square inch of the wood to put down underlayment for cheap vinyl. 
Curses!!  Sadly, I don't think I can pin this on Boozie Susie.  I'm thinking this was done before she lived here, but you never know.  We knew that even if the wood couldn't be saved, we'd have to remove the top layer of vinyl, the yellow speckled vinyl/linoleum underneath, and the masonite underlayment before going over the top with new hardwood.  We scraped, yanked, and wrestled with 3 inch nails that were pounded into the underlayment every few inches.   
Tell me, is this really necessary?  These also do not feel good on your bare feet.  Yeah, I'm stupid like that.  Here is where we're at today:
We had a general contractor stop over to give us a quote on the whole shebang, he first told us we couldn't save the floor, but then when I brought my claws out and told him THIS FLOOR WILL BE SAVED politely asked him to check for sure, he scraped a little mastic up with his key and said he could do it. 
We actually plan to get as much of the black off as we can before any work is done to save $.  Luckily, the materials used don't contain any asbestos, so we should be fine working on this ourselves.  He recommended sharp scrapers, no solvents, and lots of elbow grease.  YAY!  Looks like I won't be doing anything fun for the next month. 
If anyone has gone through something similar, please help me out!  We already bought this tool which actually works pretty well for getting the top layers off:
Now we just need some advice on getting the black goo off the wood with minimal damage.  I've heard steam, hot water and vinegar, but I'm looking for real life solutions, so send them my way! 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Guest post at 86'n It!

Hey everyone, I put together a little guest post for my blog friend Nikki (aka Bunny Mendelbaum) at 86'n It, all about why I hate my kitchen. 
Go check it out here.  And while you're there, check out her adorable daughter Franca in their own kitchen sink!  Ah, it sort of makes my uterus ache....sort of. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Kitchen destruction

Welcome to the project that has been occupying my mind for the last month.  We've been seriously tracking down quotes for our hopeless kitchen.  This one...with the huge soffits, perma-dirty floor and stained white laminate counters:
In anticipation of some action in the kitchen (wink wink), we decided to rip out the upper cabinetry and the tall cab on this wall last weekend:
Yep, we are not keeping the old homemade cabinets like we originally thought.  We started by removing all the doors and loading all the crap into boxes.  Man, I had so much junk in there!
Getting there...
Getting these cabinets off the wall/soffit was an absolute nightmare. 
And when the cabinets were removed, the crazy wallpaper soffit was revealed.  Clearly, someone added this soffit after the house was built. 
Shaun made sure to check in the other side - that appears to be original - to make sure there wasn't anything important in there.  What a good DIYer!
That led to destruction...
....and victory!  Kinda. 
We still had to take care of all this junk.
Somehow, our garbage men took all the cabinetry, plaster pieces, and debris without us even bribing them with beer!  And yes, I know that we should've had masks on while doing this demo, but we didn't have any in the house and decided to just deal with the probable lead paint and asbestos.  I promise next time we will wear a mask.  Next up, figuring out if this is a hardwood floor under the vinyl...since there is a subfloor visible, it's looking promising!