Did we bite off more than we can chew? | 1930s Home Kitchen Renovation

When we first visited our home when we were house shopping, we fell in love. It was filled with character but also needed some serious work and a big kitchen renovation.

I remember the kitchen and my exact thoughts. It was gross. I touched the countertop, and it was sticky and rotting around the sink. But we fell in love. Quite literally, love at first sight.

Two years later, we are ready to tackle the beast of the kitchen renovation.

Welcome to day 1-3: DEMO DAYS!!!

Honestly, and surprisingly, the kitchen demo was more manageable than expected.

The owners before us lived here for 15 years. They told us they didn’t do any work. So the owners BEFORE them are the blame for all of the half-ass fixes. We learned the hard way, with the bathroom remodel, that they just covered it up instead of doing something the right way if they didn’t like something. That also means the kitchen has been the same for at least 22 years… that’s 22 years of water damage on the wood around the sink. Bleck.

So when we got to the kitchen and had to remove the wood panels on the walls, we expected to find something horrible. In the bathroom, we found a giant hole under the sink and ugly, broken tile. We found a couple incorrectly (and dangerous?!) covered electrical boxes and wallpaper in the kitchen.

There is also a big hole where they added structural elements to add the window. But we can live with that. The walls in our home are plaster (which, UUUUGHHHHH!!!), so we knew that we were going to need to patch or find another fix for our damaged walls. And we love the window, so complaining seems wrong.

Next comes the pantry space.

Some background information…

When we moved it, this room had a stacked washer and dryer. But shortly after, the washer broke.

It was totally fine with me. I hated the space as it was not a functional space to move around in, let alone try and keep laundry baskets.

We had found a washer dryer hookup in our bedroom when we moved in. There was a pegboard as the back of my closet and some water pipes we followed to the basement. Upon further inspection, we found the old water hookups and washer drain. It was all disconnected in the basement but ended up being a super easy plumbing job for Jared.

It seems weird but honestly is the coolest to have laundry in the bedroom. I lost my closet out of the deal, but we have a bigger plan for that in the future.

So why are there laundry hookups in the main bedroom? We have a guess:

The AC unit tells us that the room, which was once an attic/laundry space above the garage, was finished in the early 90s. We assume it was done to make the house more sellable. The laundry then moved downstairs to the small nook in the hallway between the kitchen and the garage.

On that note, I am working on learning the history of our home. I learned that the McKown family purchased the land in 1937 for $1. ONE FREAKING DOLLAR. They built and moved in ’39. Our house was one of the first 12 homes in our neighborhood.

If you’re interested in learning about your own house, I followed directions published by Matt from the Wichita Eagle.

1952 shot of our neighborhood.

Okay, back on topic of the kitchen renovation.

The once laundry room turned into a temporary pantry space, we bought some cheap Amazon Basic shelves. We used them to store our bigger appliances, bulk foods, and cleaning products.

Since we have to retile the space — the hallway, pantry, and kitchen all currently share flooring — we decided now was a great time to tackle that project, too. Thankfully, we don’t have to do too much. The walls came down pretty easily, and we’ll replace them with drywall.

We plan to paint the room white and maybe add a few of the kitchen color accents. Eventually, I can see us building custom shelving. For now, the big decisions and budget is directed toward the kitchen renovation.

The kitchen plans & budget:

In June, we started to make official plans for the kitchen. It was the next “big thing” on our project list. First things first, we needed a budget… and to craft the budget, we needed to make a few decisions right away.

We measured our space.

Went to Floor & Decor to pick the flooring and backsplash tiles.

We also did a rough estimate on the countertops based on some of the prices we had seen.

I’ll admit right now, I did add extra to every section of the budget, but we forgot to include some of the essential items… like a faucet and vent hood. Whoops. And we didn’t initially plan to rebuild all of the bottom cabinets. So… we might go over our $4,000 budget. But hopefully, I built in enough wiggle room.

Budget Breakdown

Flooring: $360
Backsplash Tile: $180
Counters: $1000
Sink: $500
Gas Stove: $700
Extras: $1,260

The “shit, forgot to include that” stuff lives in the Extras budget.

Purchased Items & Cost

Sink: $561.63 (We purchased it on sale! Woo!)

Faucet: $0 (We used Amazon gift cards -$59.90.)

Stove: $662.79

Tools: $242.87*

Kreg & Screws

Wood for a cabinet test build

12-inch Combo Square

Center Punch 

Router Bits 


Digital Angle Gauge


* We used Amazon gift cards on some of these. So, I’m not counting it in the spent budget. We also purchased our Kreg from Menards during the 11% Rebate.

What is next:

Rain is in the forecast for the next two days. We won’t be able to do much outside. And the garage is filled with what needs to be taken to the dump.

But on Saturday morning, we’ll hopefully have everything pulled out and fill the truck to head to the dump. After the landfill, we’ll likely head to Lowes to purchase our next round of plywood and keep working on cabinets.

We aren’t going to pull cabinets out of the kitchen quite yet. We are waiting on the sink to make sure we get that cabinet built correctly. And there is going to be a mess of a plumbing job we have to figure out.

The goal is to keep the kitchen “downtime” as short as possible… but we’ll see. We’ve never done this before.

Chat soon,
The Calberts

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