19 August 2011

Here We Go Again

We're all getting over Rachel's death, including Max and Shelly, who've resumed laying on a regular basis. I've started letting them free-range in the back yard, under close supervision. Amazingly, both cats and dog are supremely nonchalant in the presence of the uncaged hens. Maybe they're just biding their time, though I doubt it; Stella Luna seems a little cowed, if anything, and I've seen Shelly deliver a sharp, admonitory peck 'longside Sophie's head when the pup seemed way too interested in sniffing chicken butt.

We'll probably add to the flock at some point, but right now, we're preoccupied with our impending kitchen remodel. This will be a big one. We've done several other home improvement projects since moving here six years ago, and in Berkeley we added an entire storey to our house. But this is the first time our kitchen will be totally offline for several weeks.

The plan is to expand to the southwest, sacrificing the existing small deck off the kitchen, and building a replacement just to the east, under the big square south-facing window. In this view from the back yard, the deck is to the left, in shadow:

The sink will move to that southwest corner. New cabinets, quartz countertop and Marmoleum (tm) flooring. New fridge, too, though we're keeping most of the other appliances. They're not that old, they work well, and why add to the landfill?

We're also planning to eliminate the step down to the existing pantry at the top of the basement stairs, and to expand that area slightly, taking over part of the garage. This will involve rebuilding the stairs, but we think it'll be worth the additional expense and inconvenience. The photos show the current pantry (note the lovely grain on that plywood door) and the area of the garage that will be affected:

A couple of major design considerations have been the bulky old Hoosier cabinet -- our baking center, which I love -- and the hanging pot rack, which can't go just anywhere. We think we've found good solutions for both. (The painting in the pic below is a recent birthday gift; it's by a New Mexico artist and friend named Mary Carter.)

Our prep got underway a couple of weeks ago and has focused on two main fronts: Clearing stuff out of the impact zones -- the south end of the garage, the cabinets under the stairs, and of course the kitchen itself -- and setting up a field kitchen in the basement, using Jerry's workbench, my big studio desk, and a six-foot folding table in the guest room, for cookware, appliances, and foodstuffs, respectively.

We already have a small refrigerator downstairs, and the main one will move to the garage for the duration, to be replaced toward the end of the project. This morning we moved four large containers of tomato plants from the driveway, on which contractor trucks will have dibs, to the walkway. This is looking to be a not-bad year for tomatoes, but that's another blog post...

At this point the space is pretty well stripped:

Kitchenware is piled in and on every available out-of-the-way nook and surface, especially in the guest room. Sorry, Casa Jereva is undergoing renovation and is not accepting bookings til October:

We're down to the very basics -- food and utensils for breakfast, lunch, and a couple more catchall dinners upstairs, plus Jerry's margarita makings and my coffee setup.

The project begins Monday morning with some outside concrete work; the kitchen itself won't be breached until Tuesday. But by then we'll be cleared out and ready to roll, logistically if not emotionally.

Speaking of which, we haven't yet told the cats. But their environment has been shifting slowly, day by day, so they surely know something's up. Here are a few more pix from shortly before their lives were thrown into chaos:


Terry said...

This sounds great. I can *almost* imagine it. There is something very energizing about having construction happening in the house! Daily progress is so exciting. Enjoy. (Well, yes, I understand the inconvenience, but the payoff is worth it!)

Toni Mayer said...

Nice to see all the photos of your house! Someday we will visit. Your plans sound terrific. We did our kitchen and added a dining room about 25 years ago and have loved it. The "field kitchen" was set up in the new dining room before it was completed and gave us an area to organize around. I look forward to progress reports on yours. I remember our dog loved having the workers around. The cats didn't say much either way.

June said...

I'm glad to see that Jerry has his priorities (margaritas!) in place. For a couple of foodies like you two, kitchen renovation is major (and perhaps inevitable). It will be fun to watch how it goes. Terry is obviously doing well with her construction so the two of you can cheer each other on. I'll smile benignly from the sidelines.

Mary said...

Well having survived a major kitchen renovation -- including moving the entire kitchen to another location and tearing out the old kitchen and on and on and on -- it was fun, in it's own way. The kitties here loved all the centipedes that were unearthed during the very long project.
Mary and Gary

Anonymous said...

It's kind of fun to see what implements & appliances you find you can't live without during the field kitchen stage. Good timing for the quilt show outing - See you soon! Linda B