Kitchen – getting started…

Why DIY?

and Lessons Learned…

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We spent our last penny on an addition and massive garage. So, we (as in I) decided to tackle the kitchen project ourselves. I didn’t want to skimp on finishes, appliances, or compromise our ideas. You know – I want what I want! In the end, we did save a ton of money by doing most of the work ourselves. Sure – it takes us longer to do stuff than a professional would take. Sure – some days I would rather be outside, or shopping, or lying on my couch, or sleeping. Sure – it is a ton of hard work. BUT – I have to say that is worth it to save $10K or more. Also, I think we have done as good or better of a job as any professional would have done. On a side note, I applied for the HGTV Professional Grade show but got turned down. I was bummed at first about being rejected but then realized it was probably a good thing because we would have never met their tight timeline – which brings us to the first lesson learned…

Lesson #1 – Everything takes longer than expected. We all hear this and I know this first hand from prior experience. However, for some reason, I still had hoped that this project would go exactly according to plan. I even had “The Plan” posted on the frig.  Spoiler alert – it did not go according to plan…

Getting started – The first snag in my timeline was the start date. I set a date but Tad (the 2nd person involved in this DIY scheme) kept saying that we still had planning to do – I still have no idea what he was talking about. We had been talking about this project for 15 years and the serious planning had been going on for 6-12 months. So, I started demolition while Tad was out of town. This is how most of our house projects get started – I take it apart and at some point Tad realizes that he will need to help if he ever plans to see it put back together again.

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This is one of the dining room walls I started while Tad was out of town…

Below is Tad on Day #1 of demo – he is doing some sort of electrical deconstruction I think…

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Demo – It was dirty (one mouse carcass fell from the ceiling – yuck!) and it was also more extensive than I expected. I thought we were just taking out one wall and the floor. Tad decided that we were taking out all the walls and the ceiling and the floor. We did have to rent a jackhammer to get the old tile and wire mesh up off the floor.  I wish I had snapped a few pictures of the actual demo – we were covered in 100 year old black dirt!  All in all, it went pretty quick and we think we saved about $2500 by doing it ourselves.

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Subfloor – We put down the new subfloor ourselves and saved another $1000. It was bit more involved than slapping down some new plywood (which was my original thought) – since we do have radiant floor heat. In general, it went off pretty smoothly though. The subfloor completion was an early confidence builder.

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Framing – The second snag in my timeline came when Tad decided he wanted to reframe pretty much everything – walls, ceiling joists, window, etc. At this point I pretty much knew “The Plan” was shot. Tad asked Byron (a guy who does construction full time and knows what he is doing) to help him with the framing and ceiling joists – they got it done in a few hours. We think we saved at least $500 by hiring Byron on the side and having Tad help.

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Note the newly framed wing walls, interior wall, and ceiling joists.  We liked the look so much, we looked at it for weeks and weeks while we debated whether or not to hire out the electrical or do it ourselves.  Hint – the electrical bid was really expensive so…next up – electrical, plumbing, insulation.