Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Deconstruction Pictures, Uncovered Treasures

Day 2 of kitchen deconstruction was noisy but productive. Our wonderful and hard-working deconstructionists took our unused chimney down, yielding a dumpster full of bricks (we also had them put aside some bricks for us, to be turned into a patio).

Goodbye, Chimney!

Our kitchen is sealed off from the rest of the house, but we took a little look around yesterday, after the first day of deconstruction. It's so fun seeing the layers of history on our walls. I'm sad to be getting rid of that history, but at least we've been able to save a lot of the trim and wood to reuse in the new kitchen.

Here are a few before and after deconstruction pictures from around the kitchen. You can see that the cabinets on the east wall (first pair of pictures) were original to the house, as they just had bare plaster behind the frames. The other cabinets were probably added around 1950 or 1960 (judging by the hardware), and the kitchen was painted yellow at the time, and sometime before that, it was sage green, similar to the current color. That's the extent of my detective work.

Original Kitchen Cabinets
Deconstruction Day 1

Before: Kitchen, Northwest Corner
Deconstruction Day 1

Before: Kitchen, West Wall
Deconstruction Day 1

And look what was tucked behind the top of the original cabinets--a strip of old floral wallpaper! Such a cool little piece of history. I couldn't bear to get rid of it, so it's hanging on our office wall now.

Old Floral Wallpaper

Last weekend, before demolition started, Patrick took down a couple pieces of hardware from the kitchen and bathroom so I could try stripping them. He had to use multiple coats of paint stripper to get the screws unstuck, and after he took the hardware down, it was still covered in layers and layers of paint. Next, I put it in a jar of water with a few drops of dish soap, put the lid on, and heated it in our crockpot on low overnight (thanks for the advice, Internet!). The paint on the door plates and brass hinges came off pretty easily when I scrubbed them with an old toothbrush, but the cabinet latches took a lot of work because of all the little details and the amount of paint on them. I ended up scraping at them with a paint can opener, which worked well and didn't seem to damage the metal. After they were dry, I applied a thin coat of mineral oil.

Antique Hardware

I'm especially excited about the cast iron cabinet latches--I didn't even realize they had a pattern on them before we stripped the paint off of them. I hope the mineral oil stops them from rusting. One of the latches is destined for our new in-wall spice cabinet, and we'll have to find the other one a special home too.

Poor Patrick has had to put up with me obsessively thinking about a variety of kitchen details--paint, cabinet hardware, countertop material, etc. I've got things pretty well decided, but I still have moments of uncertainty. Here are a couple shots of our paint swatches, in case anybody else is trying to decide between Benjamin Moore light grays (click through to Flickr for the detailed listing of which color is which--we've got Winter Orchard, Moonshine, and Gray Owl up there, in addition to Palladian Blue and Wythe Blue). At the moment, my top choice is Winter Orchard for the kitchen walls and Sheer Pink for the powder room, inspired by the built-in cabinet in the powder room (it's currently white, but when it was first built, it was the shade of pink pictured below, with brass hinges and crystal knobs--nice!).

Before: Powder Room from Kitchen
Paint Samples, South Wall
Pink Powder Room Cabinet

We took another peek at the kitchen tonight, after Day 2 of deconstruction, and all of the plaster is down now. Being surrounded by all that pretty wood makes it feel cozy, but it also feels much smaller. I definitely want our new kitchen to be light and bright, like our old one.