Saturday, November 12, 2005

Occupying Space

Now that I have what is for all intent and purpose a completed kitchen it is time to start using it as a kitchen. If the truth be told it has been more than 3 years since I’ve had a real kitchen that I want to use. When I bought this house over 3 years ago what is now the kitchen was a series of small rooms and closets. There were 5 distinct areas that were divided by partitions. There was a bathroom, closet, Murphy Bed alcove, a kitchen, and a small area of the room had been opened to the back porch. This was all done in the teens and 20s when the house was cut-up into apartments. The “kitchen” part was a kitchen in name only. It really could not function as a kitchen because besides being filthy and disgusting it had no hot water, no stove, and no lighting. However, despite all this, I was determined to turn these 5 areas back in to the original 1895 kitchen that it once was. The plan has always been to put it back the way it was meant to be. It has been a long journey.

The house had 4 “kitchens” when I first bought it. The only one that could be considered a functioning kitchen was in a 1920s addition to the house. This kitchen was 9X14 and was also pretty filthy and disgusting. The plumbing was bad, the electrical was questionable, it was tiny, and it smelled bad. The room was really not conducive to sanitary food preparation. I just made the decision that I was not going to try and cook regular meals in there. I would make sandwiches and cook the occasional simple entrĂ©e, but mostly it was used for heating frozen dinners and making coffee.

In some ways it worked out well. Because the kitchen (and the bath) were both in the 1920s addition I could use them as a kitchen and bath while I rewired and re-plumbed the original kitchen and bath (and the whole house, for that matter). Once the rest of the house had all new plumbing and wiring in it I cut the main services (gas, electric, and water) off in the addition and brought everything in the main house on-line with all new wire and pipe. It was an incredible amount of work but it really worked out well. I then removed the addition and the house is now back to the way it was in 1895. For the first time since about 1925 the house is using the original kitchen and bath and all the rooms pretty much have the form they had when the house was built.

So now as I write I have a completed kitchen and bath and the rest of the house looks like hell. That’s OK, though. Those two rooms are the most complex and expensive to do so I really feel I’ve turned a corner here. I’m over the hump. There is still a lot of work to be done but it really feels like the big jobs are behind me. So now comes the time when I have to rejoin the human race and begin to cook again and use a real kitchen. It is time to occupy the space. Tomorrow I go grocery shopping!


Patricia W said...

Greg, it is heartening to see how you have turned the house around and to know that it took you a few years to do it. I have been so gung-ho on my house and of late have felt hapless because it doesn't seem like it is changing fast enough. I have to keep reminding myself that I knew it would take years to get it to where I want it. Thanks for reminding me of that. I think your kitchen is especially nice.

purejuice said...

i started reading your blog from the beginning the other day. hurray! wow! i love it when people persevere!!!!