Kitchen Remodel - Parzynski Style

Welcome to the Parzynski Remodeling Project. We are in the midst of a renovation and you can check my log of what is happening. I will try to update it every few days. The below links will open new windows with pictures of the various stuff as it gets done.

We took on the demolition and painting ourselves to save a little. We hired Innovative Kitchens and Baths to do the job. They completed the remodel of our neighbors kitchen and did a great job. We're hoping to get the same. I have uploaded a floorplan that estimates the layout.

We have decided on cabinets and tiles so far. For cabinets, we went with Aristokraft Winstead in Maple with a Saddle finish. It is a darker cabinet than I originally thought we'd get, but I think it will go well. For the floor tiles, we are getting 13x13 porcelain tile from Daltile in Chalice Gold. For counters, we are going to get a laminate, Wilsonart Deepstar Glaze, the price of granite is a bit out of our budget right now, and once the cabinets and everything are in place, upgrading the counter is fairly straight forward. We are going with a color from Pittsburgh Paints called Belgain Waffle, it is a pale yellow, not the bright yellow you see on the stairs. We'll get it from Sherwin-Williams, we've had great luck with their paints and they have a database of everyone else's colors. For the back splash we are going with Horus Art subway (3x6) tile in a crackle finish in "biscuit" with a strip of small colorful tiles from Mirage Glass Tiles. We think it will really "POP."


We are almost done. Final inspection and a couple final touches are all that are left.

But let us focus on the overall. The back splash looks awesome, it is hard, if not impossible, to capture how good the glass accent tiles look. They have a depth and "light" to them. The counter-depth fridge looks great. And the beverage center is fabulous. Holds the beer and white wine at just the right temperature and makes it so easy to grab a drink from the living room.

6/18 - Trim, Lights and a Microwave

The trimwork looks awesome on the cabinets. The crown really finishes the look. We also got all of our lights and electrical work completed. I really like the dining room and the pendant lights. We have the old ceiling fan reinstalled, not really sure about it, but that is an easy change. All of the electric was completed, the Lutron Maestro dimmer switches are cool. They let you adjust the lighting and the ceiling fan switch lets you control the light and fan independently, no more pull chains. The microwave/exhaust was installed today. It will be nice having that, our old hood was just a recirculator with a filter, this will actually dump the bad air outside. We just have to remember to close the window under the exhaust.

We are very close to the finish. I will be away next week (so no update), but I'm hoping to come home to a completed kitchen. The backsplash is the last major item. Here is hoping!

6/12 - Cabinets, Counters and Plumbing, oh my.

Cabinets are all installed, counters are in place and the plumbing is DONE. We actually have a working sink and dishwasher! No more cleaning stuff in the bathroom. We are making great progress and are in the home stretch. I ordered the refrigerator and beverage center, they'll be delivered on the 21st. The backspash tile may (or may not) be in by then as well. Trim work should be completed soon as well as the final electric. Having a sink is nice, but have a sink with a light is better!

6/3 - Cabinet are happening

The base cabinets have been installed and the layout looks good. Upper cabinets are being installed, one wall is complete. Apparently there was a mix-up on one fo the cabinet (for over the stove), and the new one is on order.

We are entering the home stretch. Counter has been templated; sink, faucet, pulls and knobs are specified; all lighting purchased. Cabinets will go up and finish work will begin. The end is in sight.

5/28 - FLOOR - and some more paint

John worked on, and finished, the tile yesterday and the grout today. It looks great. Cathy and I were both worried after all this time the floor would be too "gold" but it looks great. I think with the wall color (painted tonight) and the dark cabinets the tiles are going to work very well. Since the grout isn't fully set, I wasn't able to cut-in some of the locations over the floor, but I'll be able to get everything cut-in and a second coat on tomorrow night. I just have to finish before the Lost season fanale. Cabinets can start going in any time now.

5/26 - Drywall, Level Floor, and Paint

After a great flurry of activity on the drywall, things stalled a bit. Drywall was supposed to be done Monday or Tuesday, it wasn't. The guys did work up to Thursday, but there is still a lot of imperfections that need to be corrected. But time waits for no man. On Thursday the floor was leveled using self-leveling cement. It was neat to see the bucket watery cement flow on the floor, but it did find its own level and now the tile can be done (hopefully tomorrow).

Cathy and I put two coats of primer on the ceiling and walls that won't be covered by cabinets. I was then able to get two coats of paint on the ceiling. I did not make it to the walls. We have the paint, but there just wasn't enough time today. We need to relax at least a little bit. I'll try to get a coats on the next couple evenings. We just need to get some lighting in the room, it isn't a great idea to paint in the dark.

5/15 - We have WALLS

The drywall team has been busy the past couple days. They hung most of the 'rock Wednesday and completed all of the 'rocking and taping today. The house smells like joint compound, yum. The space looks great, especially the entrance from the back. You can see in the last picture the color we are using. It is called Belgian Waffle. No wonder Cathy likes it.

5/11 - Wiring: Done, Pocket Door: Done, Ducting: Done (almost), Insulation: Done

Wow, a lot happened this week. A little each day and it all added up to a nice advance. Jergen, the electrician, completed the rough wiring for four recessed light, two pendants, kitchen and dining area center lights, and all of the appliances. Apparently they were using "entrance cable" for the stove, not quite the right thing. I think that was the only real issue he hit.

The pocket door was installed on Saturday. I think the size (30") and location are perfect for space. I assume it will be open 95% of the time, since we never closed the other door, but it gives us the option of closing off the basement. The handle on the fridge might stick out a little, but.... oh well.

The heating ducts for the second floor were replaced. It went from two 2x12 ducts to a single 6" flex duct. They still need to tie it into the main trunk in the basement, but that shouldn't be a bit deal. I am thinking about putting a booster fan on the line. We don't get quite enough air on the second floor. In the future, I can also look at putting some return from the second floor as well.

I put a lot of work today on installing insulation. The entry area had none before, so the bats I got from Bruce and Bob and the stuff I bought should do a better job of things than previously existed. What an ichy job.

The drywallers are supposed to come on Tuesday. That means we have to pick a color because we'll probably be painting next weekend. Cathy decided she wants to change from the current color (Papaya), and thinks she wants something yellow. I hope it goes with the tiles, which we picked based on the current color. We shall see.

5/4 - Framing Complete - Another Ceiling Down

On Friday, John completed the framing of the new entry platform walls and pocket door. For the entrance, we are starting to get a feel for the space. The door swings wide enough you can open it and go right up the stairs. The small mud room (for lack of a better term) is going to be nice. Once it had a bench and storage configured, you will be able to come in, sit down, take off your shoes and then go up to the kitchen. John was nice enough to incorporate the packing crate board back into the construction. It is nice to know it will continue to be a piece of the house.

Cathy and I demolished the dining room ceiling on Saturday. It was lathe and plaster with a 1/4" drywall veneered over it. It would have been difficult for electric and dry walling if it remained, so we got rid of it. It went fairly quickly. Cathy counted and she made thirty-two trips to the dumpster with buckets of plaster, lathe, dirt, dust and nails. We were using five gallon pickle and cat litter buckets. It did final cleaning around the edges today with a good sweeping and vacuuming. Despite those efforts, there is a lot of dust all over the house.

It was warm today, finally. We've been living without heat since much of our duct work is open. The house has been chilly, but I think we are in the upper sixties inside.

5/1 - The Stairs are Moved

A good deal of work has happened this week. A new platform was constructed and the stairs moved to the other side of the hole. Speaking of which, there is no longer a gaping hole to the basement. Some electrical rough-in was completed. The stair platform is very stable and John did a great job reusing much of the old lumber that had been removed from the old structure. That wood is much more dense and stable than standard lumber. We're very happy that part of the job is nearly completed.

We will need to have the dining room ceiling demolished. Because it is lathe, plaster and drywall, it would take more work trying to match heights in the kitchen side. Also, the floor will need some leveling, it drops a bit from the middle of the old kitchen towards the sink wall. Every project has its little overages, I just hope these don't have too big an impact.

4/27 - The Demo is Done

Bruce and Bob, more of our wonderful friends, came over and helped with the final demolition. Most of it involved removing all of the small nails that held the lathe in place. We also tried cleaning things as much as possible.

We have a temporary kitchen in our front hall. All the essentials.

4/26 - As Ronald Reagan said, "Tear down this wall."

THE WALL IS DOWN. Many many many thanks go to Drew who labored with me Friday night and Saturday morning. The wall has been removed, the cabinets are gone and the two remaining kitchen walls have been stripped. There is nothing left. Well, there are a couple things left to clean up, then the professionals can put it back together. I did crack the dining room ceiling. Some of the lathe extends into that area. But the dining room ceiling is apparently drywall laminated on the plaster, so it luckily didn't collapse. Should be easy enough to repair.

We discovered an interesting historical note (literally a note). We knew the house was built in 1949, but we did not know there was a renovation in 1952. When ripping down the plaster, we discovered a different sort of plaster and wallboard in the corner. The opposite side of the corner is the hall, it must have been open in the original design, but then closed. Written on the back of the wallboard it says,"Remodeled Jan. 1952/By Austin C Brown/New Britain Penna./For G.L. Jenke/ General Contractor" We now know a little bit more about the history of our house.

That discovery was more pleasant that a few of the "structural" discoveries. First, the floor joists for the second floor are only 2x6, 24 inches on center. These are true 2x6 lumber (not modern dimensional lumber), but that doesn't seem sufficient to me. I'll have to see if I can get a few more joists installed. The second not so great discovery is the construction of the wall where the stove resided. I honestly cannot tell what was originally happening with that wall, but it is a mash of original lumber and then 2x3 studs (who uses 2x3's for structure????) to support the drywall in the living room. I'm thinking well need to get some 2x4's in there for a nailing surface and structure.

My anxiety level has gone down. I am a bit more relaxed (it might just be exhaustion), and happy we are finished so quickly. Cathy is also dealing okay with the dust, but every time I turn around, she's vacuuming.

4/24 - "There's a Hole in my Kitchen!"

Yes, there is now a hole where the pantry used to be. In went a beam, down came the floor, plus the studs and joists. The back door now swings all the way open. Dramatic changes

It was a little nerve-racking being here during the demolition/construction. Difficult to concentrate on work when I wanted to investigate every sound. Our house was built in 1949, and I guess thrift was the watchword of the time. One of the boards that made up the wall had printing on it proclaiming "Do not drive nails into this crate. From Frigidaire, Dayton, Ohio, USA."

The big work for us is this weekend. Luckily we have great friends to help, but we are going to be demolishing the walls and ceiling in the kitchen. By Monday morning, the room should be completely stripped. I'm starting to feel a little anxious, so I have to keep the end goal in mind.

4/22 - Just a little work

Did just a little work today. Removed the drawer base cabinet. We're using it in our temporary kitchen (hall). I also removed the ceiling fan, which I now recall from installing it, there is no electrical box in the ceiling, it was connected right to a joist. At least all of that will be fixed. I also ripped out a little of the drywall on the stairs. Not sure if it will all need to come down.

The interesting part are the layers of flooring. At the bottom we have a nice red linoleum tile, on top of that are green tiles, followed by a sheet vinyl that is so warn, I can't tell the pattern, and finally our faux stone vinyl tiles.

Work is supposed to start tomorrow on the stairs. I'm really hoping it starts and finishes, but you never know. We might need to go outside and walk around the house to get into the basement.

4/21 - The Uppers are Gone

With the help of Bruce and Bob (our friends are awesome) we pulled down all of the upper cabinets and the stove hood. Many of the screws had already been stripped, so we had to rip down some of the cabinets. In the second picture notice the profile of how the cabinets used to be (sink was a foot to the right, which makes more sense), and also notice the electric that was HIDDEN behind the cabinet. It doesn't seem to be live, but that's not very professional. The same with the old knob and tube wiring, it isn't live, but it was left in the ceiling. Wonderful wall colors, pink, two greens, light blue and the orange we chose.

Of course, Cathy followed up with a good cleaning, she's trying to keep the house as clean as possible through the mess. I think I'll keep her.

4/20 - The Cabinets are Empty

My parents are awesome. The came over today and helped unload everything from the cabinets. Just about everything is done and the cabinets are ready to come down. I'll start taking them down tomorrow. Uppers come down first. I'm leaving the lowers in place, so we can use the stove and sink for a few more days. But next weekend they are GONE!

4/19 - The Teardown Begins

The first thing the contractor will be doing is moving the stairs. The was a small pantry next to the basement stairs. Thanks to the help of neighbor Drew, we ripped down all of the plaster and lathe in preparation of the contractor coming. They are currently scheduled for this Wednesday to start the stairs. The main part is scheduled to start Monday 4/28.


So, we decided to do the kitchen. If you look at the before pictures, you can probably see why. The cabinets were 1970's knotty pine with exposed particle board interiors. Many doors didn't sit right. The kitchen and dining room were each about 11x9. Not a lot of space.

We decided to take down the wall between them, making a nice 11/19 room. We will be moving the stairs and getting all new cabinets, appliances and lighting. We chose a contractor who had done our neighbor's kitchen. However, to save a little green, we are doing the demolition ourselves.