Kitchen Reno


09 Mar Kitchen Reno

Hang onto your pot lids. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

I don’t know whether to cue up Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball or Mellencamp’s When the Walls Come Tumbling Down. But regardless of my musical selection, tomorrow morning the fun begins. And just after we fixed the leaky sink.

When Dan over at Casual Kitchen heard I was thinking of renovating the kitchen, he warned me about the Diderot effect. If you don’t know the term, you know the results. One tiny, inexpensive change morphs into a a major expenditure that requires remortgaging the house and hiring a project manager.

Well, what Dan doesn’t realize is that this kitchen reno IS the Diderot effect. For two years I followed his first recommendation to defer the upgrade. We repaired the original 24-inch stove. Twice. And when that was no longer an option, bought a second-hand replacement. But I tired of juggling pots from burner to burner, and everyone who had to deal with me on a daily basis agreed a new, larger stove was cheaper than therapy. I’m not sure if they meant the therapy was for them or me, but either way, they’re right.

On graph paper, all that stood between a happy version of me and my beloved 30-inch range was 6 inches of wall space. But it turns out building codes make for strange math. With venting requirements, a buffer zone between vertical spaces and my refusal to replace perfectly good cabinetry, the only way to fit a 30-inch stove into the kitchen was to knock down the wall and expand into the dining room.

And as Murphy would have it, that wall is a support wall.

How will this affect you? Hopefully, it won’t. I’ll just move my cooking operations to my mom’s. Expect some wonderful baking from her convection oven and not-so-wonderful cursing as I struggle with her non-gas stove top. Sorry, Mom. I love you dearly but cannot learn to love your smoothtop stove — even if it is easy to clean.

I realize you are not likely interested in the nitty gritty details of my reno. While I might provide a weekly update, I plan to ignore the chaos and  continue to post about recipes and food. For the Inquiring Minds who need more details, I’ve decided to Twitter the progress of this potentially month-long saga. You can follow me on Twitter.  I’ll mark tweets related to this ordeal experience with #reno.

In the meantime, feel free to share your reno experiences. Leave me sage advice, dire warnings or describe your dream kitchen.

Now if you’ll excuse me. I’ve got to finish packing the dining room.

Related Post

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 15:22h, 09 March Reply

    Oh, dear, sweet Charmian … I want to give you a big hug. We did a very mild reno on our kitchen a number of years ago and I barely lived through it. Courage, friend, courage!

    I know all will be well – in fact, better than well – in the end. Hang in there during the messy parts and keep your eyes on the prize. Good luck cooking on that stove of your mom’s and I’ll look forward to reading all about the journey.

    Good luck!
    .-= The Diva on a Diet´s last blog ..Irish Foods Week: Beef and Guinness Edition =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:55h, 10 March Reply

      @The Diva on a Diet, Thanks! I took that bottle of Domaine de Canton over to my mom’s and we’re going to be making cocktails as needed — away from the mess.

  • Cheryl Arkison
    Posted at 16:20h, 09 March Reply

    Reno experience? Our entire 6.5 years in the current house has been a slow, painful reno. Only slow because of us. That whole working and having kids thing gets in the way of doing your own work. And Hubby is in construction! We’re like the cobbler’s kids with no shoes.

    Hope it all goes well.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:57h, 10 March Reply

      @Cheryl Arkison, this reno will be over in a month due to the fact we are totally inept at handywork and have hired a professional.

      In our house, the cobbler’s children having no shoes manifests in Andrew eating ice cream for six straight days or tasting endless variations of curry. Not the same, is it?

  • Cheryl@5secondrule
    Posted at 17:15h, 09 March Reply

    OK, I know you’re going to be cooking at your mom’s, but for those days when you’re home here’s all you need:

    a toaster oven
    a rice cooker
    an electric kettle (if you drink tea) or your coffee maker (since I know, actually, that you drink coffee)

    Plus, I hereby offer you special dispensation to use paper plates and plasticware when serving meals on the bedroom floor. Best part? No dishes until the reno’s complete. Courage!
    .-= Cheryl@5secondrule´s last blog ..Muesli =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 08:59h, 10 March Reply

      @Cheryl@5secondrule, great advice! We have an electric kettle, coffee maker and microwave (no rice cooker or toaster oven in our house, but I’m rethinking these.)

      The paper plates and napkins are all set out. PLUS the corkscrew. Caught hell for packing the can opener too early, but the corkscrew is out in the open!

  • Kathryn
    Posted at 17:15h, 09 March Reply

    Oh Char. You are going to love it when it is done. Keep reminding yourself. Short term pain and then a glorious new kitchen. Yay!

    What drove me the craziest was boxes. Packing. Living out of them. Unpacking. Then the darn things took up residence in the basement.

    A year after completion I still stand in th kichen in a state of utter delight. You will be just as blessed and happy, I predict.

    I will be avidly following your tweets.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:01h, 10 March Reply

      @Kathryn, thanks for the encouragement. A year on and you’re still in awe? Wonderful!

      The boxes are already driving me crazy. I had no idea I used to many items. However, this is only a month. I figure if I can backpack through Europe for several months with only one change of clothes I can survive this reno!

  • Jill
    Posted at 18:17h, 09 March Reply

    Charmian, the only thing I love more than renovating my home is seeing someone else renovate theirs! I don’t ‘tweet’, but perhaps I shall begin. Can you tweet pictures??

    Now. Inquiring minds want to know: do tell about the new stove!


    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:02h, 10 March Reply

      @Jill, I can tweet pictures. Nothing to show yet.

      I’ll dish the dirt on the new stove when it’s installed and I’ve used it. It’s not a professional line stove, just a good quality residential version. But it DOES have some nice features that sucked me right in.

  • Robin Smart
    Posted at 21:15h, 09 March Reply

    Oh my gosh – sister/neighbours wedding, and your other jobs, and having to go out of town on business, and family stuff should take your mind off it. I too wish you courage and stamina and GREAT SENSE OF HUMOUR for the adventure. Forgive me if I don’t come around until it is over. Last time you renovated I got a nail through my foot. I believe you will live through this and love the outcome.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:04h, 10 March Reply

      @Robin Smart, forgot about the nail in the foot. Best you steer clear. I can meet you at Mom’s if you want to test baking.

      Got any recommendations? I’ll eager to use her convection oven. Call me when you have a few minutes and we’ll map out a strategy that will destroy our waistlines but sooth our souls :-)

  • Daniel
    Posted at 05:24h, 10 March Reply

    Charmian, Having never lived through an actual kitchen renovation, I’d love to hear some of your thoughts on what you learned from it once it’s all over (and once the post-reno therapy sessions end too…). Especially since you have a knack for making nitty gritty details hilariously funny. Good luck, and thank you for the link!

    Casual Kitchen

    [PS: Cheryl, I didn’t know you were we a closet minimalist! Great advice.]
    .-= Daniel´s last blog ..The "It’s Too Expensive to Eat Healthy Food" Debate =-.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 09:06h, 10 March Reply

      @Daniel, you haven’t lived until you’ve survived either a kitchen or a bathroom reno. I didn’t mention it in the post, but we’re retiling the bathroom at the same time since we can’t cope with a second upheaval. Just call me Daughter of Diderot!

      I’ll do a debriefing once the reno’s over and I’ve come down form any medication they’ve given me.

  • Lisa MacColl
    Posted at 16:23h, 10 March Reply

    I haven’t done the whole kitchen, but I did spend an entire summer installing hardwood, and yes, I was an active participant and ran the chop saw. I was in the final vestiges before a stress leave and spent an entire weekend sleeping on a mattress in the living room and coping with hives from neck to knees…Keep the end in mind…and keep the wine and takeout menus handy.

    Can opener, corkscrew, microwave, coffee maker, kettle, toaster oven and barbeque and you should be good to go. As long as the wine is accessible…(and extra treats for Ballantyne and Gladly. be patient with them-they’re going to be really freaked by the noise and strange smells.)

    And I’m envious. I would love to do something to my kitchen…dynamite comes to mind…

    Hang in. Can’t wait to see the final result.

    • Charmian Christie
      Posted at 11:38h, 11 March Reply

      @Lisa MacColl, wine opener is at hand! Packed the blasted can opener. Thank heavens my mom lives nearby. I plan on cooking all meals at her place. The microwave is for snacks and heating up bean bag neck warmers.

  • Judith Rutty Godfrey
    Posted at 19:54h, 11 March Reply

    Hubby Jay says that you can come over and use our gas/convection range/oven any time! Wish it could be so Charmian. We did this kitchen reno several years ago. I so sympahtize, but as others have said–it’s all worth it in the end! Give ‘Mom’ a hug from me when you’re cooking up a storm together!

Post A Reply to Charmian Christie Cancel Reply

Subscribe to my newsletter.

It’s easy. It’s free. It’s informative.


Receive weekly tips, recipes and advanced notice of upcoming events.

Yes, please!