That’s the way the kitchen crumbled…

Although settlement on the Mannheim Avenue property went down in March of 2008, we didn’t actually “make the move” until six months or so later.  So I find myself counting fingers  to figure how many years it’s been around this time every year…and it’s been five.  Granting myself the luxury of time to pack (and purge) and gracefully transition from the 20-year stint in “family neighborhood USA” resulted in carrying two mortgages for a month shy of a full year and settling for many K less than what I thought was a very fair listing price on the  neighborhood house. But with the real estate market slumping deeper into the abyss with each passing day right around that time, it could have been a lot worse.

Our house on Mannheim is a bungalow with a narrow but cozy loft, spacious basement (which flooded just days after piling its floors with our packed belongings), and a long, rectangular addition. The house may have been “move-in ready” by the lender’s standards (or we wouldn’t have gotten a mortgage), but by our own modest living space needs, it hinged on uninhabitable. Months of big-dream anticipation for all its potential manifested into overwhelm as the ink dried on the contract of sale, but once we confirmed we had running water and the toilets flushed, we set about working first on the most important room, the heart of the home:  the kitchen…from the brick and mortar flooring to the “Flintstonian” faux beamed ceilings.  Below are a couple kitchen photos taken the day we “toured” the property.

 (“Before” view from fireplace wall)

Behind the fridge wall is a laundry room with toilet and sink. Considered making it a pantry, but the narrow entrance with three doors vying for the space (basement, laundry, and north side exit) helped convince us that a sink with a window made much more sense.  And this side door wound up becoming our main entrance.

(“Before” view from front entrance)

The wallpaper was kind of cute, a vining ivy pattern, the cabinets were old, filthy,  piss-poorly faux “antiqued,” and lacking any contrast whatsoever against the light-colored walls. Posts and beams may appear rustic and charming at first glance, but these too are “faux” and not even realistically hewn; more like “Bam-Bam was here.”

commence the deconstruction…
Wall units down. Old pantry closet on far right gutted… soon to be a coffee/beverage/microwave nook!
View into a then existing laundry/powder room. Considered making it a walk-in pantry, but decided having a more open kitchen with a window above the sink was a better idea.  So that wall came tumbling down.
Wall and laundry room gone… kitchen opened up and gutted down to the studs


Bam-Bam beams and posts soon to be “wrapped” with an Arts & Crafts style facing…
View of the opposite end of the kitchen lifted from the listing agent’s slide show…

   …time to lighten things up!

Posts, headers and beams wrapped.
‘rocked, brick flooring filled in where wall once stood, old pantry doors removed
Bam-Bam ceiling beams removed, replaced with white-washed tongue ‘n groove, some ceiling lights installed
Former neighbor and friend, Steve “The TopMan,” measuring for our “low-cost” temporary laminate countertop … running low on funds here!
Posts and headers painted in Valspar’s “Sailcloth” white.
Decided to go with black pulls and button knobs, which haven’t yet arrived.
Sink and faucet installed, window template cut out and awaiting moving the utility meters inconveniently located on the outside wall where the window will go.
Ample space left for the future purchase of a 48″ range and french door fridge.

I think we’re ready to start sleeping here now …

Thanks for visiting and please stay tuned for restoration updates!