The tragic consequences of reasonable decisions

by Michael Alderete on 3/13/2005 · 1 comment

There is no doubt that I should have seen this coming. Should have been ready, mentally and financially, for this to get really complicated, really fast. But it truly did seem simple to me, back when we first started.

I am writing, of course, of our apparent decision to rip the kitchen out to the studs.

It started as a simple upgrade of our stove, as a gift from Rochelle’s mother. Then we got the bug for a “professional” style range. More money, but still a simple swap-out.

The structural changes started when we decided to take out the façade that hid the brick chimney in the kitchen. It seemed simple enough, taking out some sheetrock (we could do that ourselves), and then either cleaning and sealing the chimney, or painting over it. Add a little trim around the edges to cover the effects of ripping out the sheetrock, and we’d be done. Definitely more work than upgrading the stove, and we’d need expert assistance to clean the masonry, but still very much a limited project, with us doing the majority of the work.

Of course, it couldn’t be that simple. Taking out the façade revealed gas and water lines which need to be moved. And our floor is actually a platform over the original floor, added to level the kitchen back to true. It only went to the façade, not the chimney, so there’s a couple of square feet of floor that needs to be built up.

Added to that, Rochelle has always hated the cheap wallboard that runs around the bottom half of the kitchen wall. So we took that off the wall on the stove side of the room. Revealing wainscot that will need to be stripped of glue and paint, and then repainted, and new trim added above and below. And of course, with the walls in flux, it makes sense to redo the electrical on that side of the room, to get more than one outlet for the whole side. Especially since we’ve decided to move the refrigerator to that side of the room.

At this point, the contractor helping us with the heavy stuff said that we really ought to take the whole wall out, and if we take out the ceiling too, we can install a ventilation shaft for the hood we’re planning for the range, add wiring for more ceiling lighting, and level the ceiling to match the floor. And if we’re taking out the ceiling and half the walls, well…

At every step, the decision to proceed seemed reasonable. But inch by inch, we’ve gone from an appliance upgrade to a brand new kitchen. We think we’ve got a way to do the whole thing in two or three stages, which makes it possible for us to afford it, but then again, I really did think we were not doing a remodel in the first place.

The only thing keeping me from utter despair is the knowledge that we will cherish the new kitchen, in much the same way we cherish our remodeled bathroom. That was something we scope-crept into also, when the engagement bathtub Rochelle wanted was too big for the room, but it’s been the single best investment we’ve made together, in terms of the happiness it brings us. I’m sure the kitchen remodel will turn out the same way.

If we survive it.

Brian Mikol March 14, 2005 at 2:00 pm

Damn - that is quite the bit of scope-creep. I’m anxious to see what you two ultimately decide on though! :-)

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