Category Archives: Kitchen

Bugs and Wood and Rotting, Oh My!


When we opened up the East wall in the kitchen to work on electrical we found the original brick wall behind the framing – oh sweet Jeebus is it pretty, all painted up in sloppy coats of blue and white! – we noticed there are a few strips of wood layered in with the bricks; two near floor level and one at chest height. We also found the floor level wood has been almost completely eaten away by bugs in a 5 foot long area. Little bastards. Though I don’t know which generation of bugs I should hold a grudge against since the house has been around for so long. It could have happened during the 30’s when everyone was starving, including the bugs. Can’t be mad at that generation… ;)

20130208 Brake Manor Reno-36_WEB

I asked for my dad’s advice because I thought it would be perfectly reasonable to fill in the bug holes with concrete to restrengthen the area and he agreed, but he recommended we use mortar instead since it’s a finer mud to squish further into the crevices.  On one of the weekends I wasn’t around to help, Dad repaired it by pulling out the remaining bits of wood and packing in the empty spaces with masonry mud. It’s not a pretty fix but it’ll give us a few more years of stability on that wall and maybe keep the bugs away. My sweet husband added a finishing touch of the repair date and our initials in the wet mud. I’m such a lucky girl :)

kitchen East wall mortar repairkitchen East wall mortar repair 1

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Upcycling Kitchen Cabinetry

ktchn cabinets on trailer 2
Once we moved them away from the walls they practically self destructed. Wimpy things!
They're much nicer than they look, they're just covered in cement dust.
The cabinet faces are much nicer than they look, they’re just covered in cement dust.

Due to our upcoming expenditure on drywall texturing we are already feeling tight on funds, so in order to save more clams we decided to reuse the old kitchen cabinetry for now.  The cabinet bodies were in nasty shape and the drawers weren’t exactly smooth rollers so we loaded up all the cabinets and moved them to my dad’s workshop so he could rebuild the particleboard structures and put the cabinet faces back on.  (Thank you, Dad!!!) Once we move in we’ll have more time to resurface the faces and give them a little more style.

I made an executive decision, met with MUCH gasping and contention from all parties, to make the longest countertop in the kitchen 36″ deep instead of 24″. My reasoning is that in our current house I don’t feel like I have enough counter space and, dammit, I simply want more elbow room. After a toaster, espresso machine or mixer is plopped down against the wall it leaves me only about 12-16″ of workspace left. Not enough for this dough-slingin’, veggie-choppin’ girl.  I figure if the counter is 36″ deep it will allow my mixer and espresso machine friends to continue to live along the wall without me resenting them. Plus, it will give me an extra foot of counter space behind the sink to maybe grow a few more tasty cooking herbs once life starts to get back to normal post move in… which I hope it will do rather quickly. I’m growing a bit weary of my plate being so full.

KtchCabinet Drawing
A drawing I made for Dad so he could understand my alterations.