demolition · kitchen cabinets · progress · renovations

Day 2 — Saturday, April 2

Saturday morning, we woke bright and early at 6:30. The house was cold and we had spent an uncomfortable night on a slowly deflating air mattress in the basement. We could no longer keep ourselves warm despite the heavy afghans and quilt we had. A cold wake-up is an easy wake-up.

I went off to run some errands and by the time I got back, the change was just as dramatic as the change I had witnessed from 5:00 to 9:00 Friday night. The joists were appearing in the floor of the bathroom and the walls were completely gone: open concept from the front door to the back. (Don’t worry: we had three structural engineers telling us the walls weren’t supporting anything.)

The Husband and I left the crew for a couple hours mid-morning and headed to Home Depot. I’d gotten a hint from a coworker that kitchen cabinets just might be 50% right about now. If the rumours were true, we didn’t want to miss a good deal. Turns out? They weren’t really 50%. Oh, no. Much better. They had a selection of discontinued solid wood cabinets in a beautiful dark burgundy stain at $99. Each. No matter the size. There was one corner unit left, slightly damaged and marked down even farther to a mere $50. The piece that is normally the most expensive, the cheapest!

We looked at each other. Shrugged. Why not? It wasn’t exactly what we were planning for the basement kitchen: we had talked about simple white cabinets with a slightly decorative door (these ones, in fact, from Ikea) and butcher-block countertops. But how can you go wrong with $99 solid wood kitchen cabinets?
With the help of a friendly sales person named Gordon, we picked out 8 and left with our fingers crossed that they would, in fact, work out with no issues. We may have patted ourselves on the back a few times and gloated over our receipt. With these countertops, we’re saving at least $1000 off the price we would have paid at Ikea.

By the time we got back, our crew had taken a break and the progress blew me away. They were down to the subfloor and in some places the joists in the bathroom and kitchen. The original upstairs kitchen cabinets had been taken down and carefully set aside for the inevitability that we have to put them back in for a while until we have a proper budget for the kitchen we want.

A break can be a dangerous thing. Getting back to work after settling into lunch meant pushing ourselves a little to find our places back. I wasn’t making much progress in the basement, partially because the water was turned off while we fiddled with some of the plumping and partially because the basement was getting so full of things that needed to be out of the way that it was getting continually difficult to even see the floor. I gave up and found a place for myself upstairs.

Meanwhile, the crew was fighting the cabinets down the narrow stairs to the basement kitchen. Most of the pieces went smoothly. Then, they got to the corner cabinet, a 36” by 36” piece. The door to the basement is 29” inches with the trim and 32” inches without. No matter which way they turned it, the cabinet wasn’t going anywhere.

They might have said a few bad words.

Then, they picked up a skill saw.

The next time I saw the cabinet, it was carefully doctored back together, the seam only noticeable on the top where the countertop will cover it anyway.  

 The end of the day felt like it came quickly. The house was swept somewhat clean, all the extra reno waste thrown in our dumpster. One by one, our crew headed home, leaving being promises to come back next weekend. We were tired, happy, excited.

A gutted house makes it so easy to dream.

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