This weekend we got a ton done! We pulled up the top layers of flooring, down to hard-wood and removed all the cabinets. To refresh your memory, there were 5 layers of flooring in the kitchen. Top down: Linoleum, ¼ in Plywood, 3/4 in MDF painted red, Probably Red Oak running cross-wise, followed by slightly different red oak? Running length-wise. Under that, there is of course sub-flooring. The kitchen was originally a winter kitchen and summer kitchen when the house was built in the 1890s. When it was remodeled in the 1920s, it was changed to a small kitchen with a sun-porch. In the 60s or 70s (evidenced by gross laminate wainscoting) the room was expanded into the sun-porch to make a large kitchen unusual in a house of that age. The down-side is that in the hard-wood layers, there is a gap where the wall between the old kitchen and sun-room used to be. That gap will need to be patched for continuous hardwood in the space.
During this weekend’s excavations we discovered there are some larger sections of missing flooring that we didn’t know about. These are probably from the summer stove/fireplace and water damage. There is technically enough floor that we can steal from under the cabinets but it’s tight. We’re re-considering our options. One option is to pull up all the floor, both layers, and mix and match two reclaimed floors. We think they are both red-oak but Stefan’s going to confirm that today (Our roofer, Tom Quinn, was a wood-grader in a previous career). Another option is to patch the top-most layer of hardwood. The third option is to cut our losses and put down new flooring. The kitchen is about 120 square feet. We should be able to get some decent solid-wood prefinished floors for $6 a sq. foot. That comes to $720 for a new floor. Not bad considering we won’t have to pull it all up and we won’t have to sand and stain and finish it. Just another option. I’m still undecided. Part of me loves old floors with their stains and character and part of me wants to be realistic about what we can do with the time we have. Any thoughts?
Another big find from this weekend: as it turns out, there are a bunch of layers of ceiling. From top-down, lath, plaster, that foamey plasticy drop ceiling tiles, then drywall. The drywall is thick and well-installed but the light boxes aren’t attached to anything. Read: won’t hold a ceiling fan without bringing down the ceiling EEK!
We are planning on taking down the ceiling. We won’t gain a ton of height, maybe 4 inches but the big gain is the beam across the ceiling. It was installed under the drywall and acts as support for the drywall. It is also water damaged and the metal drywall corners on it are rusted. So it needs work regardless. Anyways, it is just 2 2x12s that stick down like that. The plan is to tear it all out, and push a manufactured beam up into the ceiling. That part is a separate roof (for the original summer kitchen/ sunroom) so there is plenty of room for the support. Also, since we are tearing out the ceiling, we have the option to vault the ceiling in that part of the room or do something neat. The wood rafters up there are super pretty, aged chestnut I think. It throws off my whole kitchen design though. I’m not sure what we’re going to do. I’ll be able to get some pictures once we get a bigger hole in the ceiling. That is a project for when we have a dumpster. The plaster is so heavy that generating all the building waste without a place to put it is a no-go!
Another project on the list, on the side of the stairs that run into the kitchen, there is a wall-banister thing. It really visually separated the stairs from the room and is not necessary. We are going to remove it (sledgehammer anyone!) and put in a standard stair railing. My first instinct was something like this
but I’m starting to think a standard white railing may fit better with the kitchen. I’m not sure why my first thought was iron but I think it has something to do with a black-and –white kitchen. I’m thinking something more traditional would be good for the space.
I need lots of thoughts. Flooring, Ceiling, and Railing. Leave me some comments!