Yep, we’re still here…

November 12, 2010

…though our kitchen isn’t!

I have had absolutely zero time to write anything (or even think about writing anything!) this fall, with a bad combination of kitchen craziness kicking off just as things at work suddenly ramped up quickly. And while I had every intention of carefully documenting our kitchen remodel, I discovered on the morning of demo that we didn’t even have a working camera in the house—aaah! I am still trying to carve out some time to post more regularly, but right now that looks iffy through the end of the year. Fingers crossed for things calming down a bit in 2011!

However, I did find a working camera, and will be better documenting it moving forward and writing some small bits on our kitchen as we finish chunks (but not in the midst of the work, out of respect for the many contractors who are hard at work on our kitchen). We’re also having lots of tasty meals out (and at our friends’ and neighbors’ places–thanks guys!) so with luck there will be a few more restaurant reviews coming soon, too.

So, for now, I leave you with some terrible iPhone before and during photos of our kitchen. We had the crew from the Reuse People in East Oakland come out to deconstruct our kitchen, so they saved what they could and took it off to to be, hopefully, reused.

Here’s one of the last “before” shots, just before the demo crew arrived…

See ya, Wall o' Cabinets!

See ya, Wall o' Cabinets!

…and here’s what it looked like when they finished pulling off the cabinets and the old stove flue. Yeah, who needs walls when you’ve got some plaster and putty to stick things on!

Goodbye, flue!
Goodbye, flue!

This is the old laundry porch, which had been integrated into the breakfast room in the 1940s. Turns out the wall  behind the cabinets had never been plastered—it still had the original beadboard, and in that remodel they just covered it up with our breakfast room built-in sideboard. We haven’t decided whether to take the beadboard off and plaster it or just leave it along (though leaving it be is complicated by the fact that the old plumbing hookups stick out of it, and still need to be removed). The old laundry sink vent was, happily, our only demo surprise—it wasn’t connected to anything, so it just got sawed off and hauled away.



We discovered this little drawing behind the built-in. Someone had apparently been sketching out the plan before they started!

'kay, build me this please...
‘kay, build me this please…

…and here’s what the built-in actually looked like. Came pretty close! (Though I actually like the drawing layout a bit better…)

Breakfast room built-in circa 2008

Breakfast room built-in baking area

Because we didn’t do the demo ourselves, we probably missed out on some other fun historical finds (and D. was bummed to discover, a week later when we finally took a look at the roof, that the demo crew accidentally trashed the antique chimney cap for the stove flue, which we’d asked to keep. *sigh*) We did find snippets of a newspaper; the Penney’s ad had no date, but probably was from the 1939 remodel based on other examples we could find online with similar styles and prices.

With any luck, we’ll do the rough inspections next week, and then it’s on to plastering and a weeklong painting-and-flooring marathon so that the cabinets can go in the week after Thanksgiving. And that’s the news for now…



  1. Woohoo! You’re at the fun stage of take-out / eating out lots, wondering when you’ll have a working kitchen again 😉

  2. Yep—and having fun with hot plates… 😉 (I have to say, apart from the washing-dishes-in-bathtub part, it actually hasn’t been so bad thus far—we’ve been exploring the world of Trader Joe’s frozen food, and I made a bunch of soup and other assorted things for us to eat before demo, so those are lasting nicely (supplemented by a pie from Zachary’s and a few nice meals out!) Of course, a few weeks from now I may be singing a very different tune…

  3. yeah, we did a lot of tj’s frozen foods. we even bought a microwave in anticipation

  4. Oh how I remember those days of washing dishes in the bathtub! Here’s to a speedy and successful remodel. BTW, I had not previously heard of the ReUse People, we will soon be doing some demo in our Oakland house and I’ll definitely check into them. Was your experience positive?

  5. Yes, I thought the ReUse People did a nice job—though in fairness, this is the first time we have ever demolished anything so I have no clue what it’s supposed to be like! They were a bit tricky to get hold of when we first called, but Ezequiel Borquez, the Deconstruction Manager (I love that they call it that!) came out and gave us a bid, and then oversaw the job. It took two days to take out all of the cabinets, an old furnace flue, a partition wall, and some built-into-the-wall upper cabinets that turned out not to have any plaster behind them. They left the place clean and ready for our next contractor to come in, and the only glitch we had was the chimney cap that didn’t get saved—but that was partially on us, since both D. and I forgot to ask about it/doublecheck that it was still there the day of demo. (Our neighbors pointed it out when they had us to dinner a week later, since they have the same cap and we’d talked about how we would save ours!) TRP would also have facilitated asbestos disposal had we had any, but happily we tested negative for both asbestos and (amazingly?!?) lead so it was a pretty low-key demo. It felt expensive when we got the initial quote, but in retrospect, given how many hours of work it involved and how much rubble they carted away, I think their price was quite reasonable (plus in theory we will soon get a tax receipt for whatever they were able to salvage—though it may not end up being too much with our ancient kitchen!) TRP has been doing whole-house demolitions for some time, and just launched the smaller-scale demo program last year, so I don’t think it’s too widely known yet. It was a great fit for us, though, especially as we aren’t working with a general contractor, so we have to hire each of the trades individually, and there aren’t too many demo specialists out there!

  6. Oh, and they also did a great job demo’ing around our cooler cabinet and taking out and saving our ironing board cupboard, which we are hoping to reuse somewhere else. I had nightmares up until the day of demo about coming home and finding that the cooler had accidentally been demolished after we had carefully planned the whole kitchen around it…so it was great when everything ran so smoothly on that front!

  7. We’ve done tons of our own demo, and had construction works do demo. If they only issue was the chimney cap then I would say you made out pretty well! We’ve never done demo without something getting destroyed or damaged.

    Sounds like a great company, I’ll definitely check them out. Thanks for responding!

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