Today’s menu has 2 choices – Take it or Leave it!
It has been a long time coming for I have been wanting to demolish this kitchen that came with the house.
Though functional, the wooden cabinets are dated and old. As an enthusiastic home cook, I dislike the design and layout because the microwave, fridge and rubbish disposal are located in awkward areas. The sink is not an undermount let alone one of those with a big and small section where the latter is pretty much a waste of space.
When I first saw this kitchen during the open inspection back in May 2015, I thought it rather kitsch with those stark French overtones. But the window at the front of the sink looks out onto an enclosed indoor patio which is an unusable space because it is small and is part of a pathway to the laundry.
I envisaged this unusable space to be an attractive new dining and entertainment area if the wall is demolished and the corner extended outward to be in line with the rest of the house.
Since moving into this house, we have been using the L-shaped kitchen benchtop partly for storing everyday wine, an occasional area for surfing the internet or prep area for baking and kneading fresh pasta.
Demolition of the patio and laundry on the other side of the window was truly a breath of fresh air as it temporarily let in more light into the kitchen.
Our old kitchen felt open when the wall at the front of the kitchen sink was finally demolished.
This entire kitchen will eventually be demolished to make way for the new kitchen with a 3 metre x 1.4 metre island benchtop.
One of the tasks for our builders is to smoothen and prepare the old ceiling to join the new areas at 2.7 metres in height. Note the new 7.5 metre wooden beam installed is visible above the area where the old ceiling ends.
Delivery of Bradford Gold batts
To insulate the entire roof and new walls of the house, batts (yellow sponge like layers) are laid.
Our dining table is temporarily placed next to the kitchen as the old living area has been demolished and is now the new living area.
It is hard to imagine how the previous owners lived in this house devoid of any roof insulation.
During our first summer here in December 2015, this house felt like a convection oven on those forty-degree stinker days. Pending DA approval from council for the renovations, it was also pointless to install air-conditioning.
On the other extreme, cold winter nights in this house felt like an icebox as the doors and windows are at least forty years old with little insulation. Portable heaters gave us some toasty relief from the cold but heat escape is inevitable and efficient energy usage is non-existent.
Our kitchen appliances, dry pantry foodstuff, utensils, crockery and glassware were packed into boxes on the day the kitchen was to be demolished.
It took Scott all of an hour or so to rip off all the old cabinets, gyprock and ghastly old linoleum floor coverings from the kitchen.
The skeleton of the old kitchen is now bare and the right-angle door cavity at the corner was where the linen cupboard used to be. Mysaucepan used this linen cupboard as a shoe cabinet and I proposed this space must necessarily be sacrificed for the new walk-in pantry in the kitchen which she vehemently disagreed, arguing she needs space for all her shoes.
Being project manager, I had to reject her request because an appropriate space to house all her shoes has already been planned. An important criteria of a good renovation and home extension is to increase the intrinsic value of the property regardless of whether it is an owner-occupier or investment property. In the case of our house, being able to tick off a walk-in pantry in our suburb where the demographics of families abound is imperative, let alone a significant selling point.
The old kitchen has now been demolished except for the benchtop which our builders have left us with so that we can still do some light cooking each day.
Meanwhile, the gyprock tradies begin installing new wall and ceiling panels to the new extension areas.
Attaching gyprock sheets to walls and ceiling is a relatively simple task. However, the positions for all electrical works such as power sockets, wall switches, downlights and pendant lights need to be decided beforehand so that cavity holes can be cut in the gyprock.
These ceiling batts will ensure for the first time in the history of this house that living areas will remain cool in the heat of summer and warm in winter.
A 7.2 kilowatt split unit, reverse cycle air-conditioner will be installed on the wall at the cocktail bar area. This unit is sufficient to accommodate the 50 square metre space of the new living areas.
Our two fridges are temporarily moved to the middle of the lounge while ceiling batts are being installed.
Scott has built wooden protective steps to protect the sliding door railings from heavy foot traffic as they stick out from the floor level prior to tiles being laid.
The kitchen benchtop will remain for a few more days before it is demolished to make way for the new kitchen installation.
New vanity units for the bathrooms are temporarily stored in the dining area as the garage has run out of storage space.
I worked with my architect to find a solution for a “floating corner” amidst bushfire constraints. At last, this corner is beginning to take shape.