May 26, 2011

Gutting Your Kitchen? Make Shift Kitchen Time!!

When your kitchen goes to this:

From this:

You tend to learn a little bit about construction and how to make do without...

For any of you who have remodeled a kitchen you know how difficult it is to be without one for weeks, in some cases months, at a time. At first you will think - "No problem, I got this!"...that will slowly turn to "Oh, crap, where are the forks?" and then to..."Let's just eat take out for the next few weeks".... My neighbors are currently going through a major kitchen overhaul (don't worry - I'm taking pictures!) so I thought it would be nice to dedicate this post to them and the "fun" they are enduring.

When we remodeled our kitchen last year (you can read all about it HERE and HERE), I decided early on that I would have to get as much use of our little dining nook as possible during the whole process to make us feel like we were not completely put out. Here is what we did to make us feel somewhat normal during the 2 month period we went without a real kitchen...

1. Toaster oven to the rescue! This was a MUST in our eyes. I cook a lot...everyday all day. To not have use of an oven was a big deal for me. What about my pita pizzas and cookies?? My mom helped me here with the best of all housewarming presents a girl without a kitchen could ever want and need...the Cuisinart Toaster/Convection Oven. This baby had it all! It toasts, it bakes, it broils, in convects, and it will even ding when the cooking is done...oh how I love this machine. In fact, we almost never use our actual oven anymore since this bad boy can fit a 12 inch pizza pan as well as a 11.5x10 inch pan (that comes with it) and a 6'er pan for cupcakes and/or muffins...I LOVE me some cupcakes and, yes, I even made them when we had no kitchen! Of course, I am living without this now as I have lent it to Mandy and Kevin for their big overhaul. So long, toaster oven...we will miss you!

2. Microwave! The easiest way, though not the healthiest, to heat things. We drink A LOT of tea so it was nice to be able to pop a mug of water in the micro and have it be done in 2 minutes. A portable hot plate would have been good but we already had the microwave so we didn't need to buy something else. Plus space was an issue as was outlets!

4. A mini coffee maker (we have since upgraded to a 12 cup one...4 cups wasn't good for parties!). We don't drink coffee but that was no reason to let our construction dudes suffer! While remodeling the kitchen we were putting on a small addition and also gutting a bathroom and incorporating our 3 season room into the house so there was a lot going on and many different people involved. I find men work better with a good ole' cup of Joe in the morning!!

3. pic necessary! Thankfully we were able to get the fridge through the doorway with a little genius on my part that involved having to take the doors completely off and getting sliders under it in order to push it through without scratching it or anyone losing a finger. Even with the doors off it barely fit through. If you wont have access to your fridge then buy or borrow a mini fridge. It will be so worth it!!

4. Giant water containers with pouring spouts from Walmart or anywhere else that sells them - I found Walmart to have the best price so I stocked up...I may have gone a bit overboard as we still have 2 left in the basement fridge! Some may not find this a necessity as they can use there bathroom faucets but in our case it was must. Here is where I would normally insert a picture of our disgusting bathroom faucet/bathroom in desperate need of a makeover but I have decided to preserve your opinion of me...for now, at least...

5. Giant plastic tub for all dirty dishes. Make sure to add a little soapy water inside to keep icky dirty plates from sticking together. I am warning you: DO NOT LET THIS SIT FOR MORE THAN A DAY OR TWO!!! It will stink to high heaven by the time you get around to washing them. Remember - you may not have running water to rinse dishes as you use them so couple that with a bunch of other old food smells and the whole things is rotten! If you can set up an outside washing area that would even be better. We eat a lot of garlic and used our basement to wash the dishes...I think you can do the math on that one.

6. Plastic cups, dishes, bowls. I first bought a bunch of paper plates and bowls but after the first week blowing through all of them I decided to buy some reusable plastic plates that worked much better and were environmentally friendly as we could wash and reuse them. The only thing we could not use them for was reheating food which we used either paper or sometimes a regular glass plate. I tried to minimize the use of glass plates due to the possibility of breakage from the stacking and trekking down stairs to wash.

8. A grill! When all else fails take it outside! I can't tell you how much we started grilling and eating outside. It helped, of course, that we had our veggie garden started so we had fresh vegetables to eat...including corn! We were grilling everything from veggies, to meat, to fish, and even a pizza! You can grill anything! My favorite grilled dish was a mix of sliced zucchini, onions, and peppers hot off the grill, drizzled with 18 year aged balsamic, then sprinkled with feta...yum!!

9. Wine/beer. OK - so this isn't our backyard but you get the gist. Doesn't it feel nice and comforting? I kept my wine glasses out just so I could feel some sense of normalcy and indulgence. You really are in tough times when all you have is a plastic cup to drink your wine out of! If you keep it chic people will wonder how your house could be in such disarray but you look calm and relaxed...this goes hand in hand with #10...

10. The most important of all - keep a good sense of humor. Gutting/rehabbing/ and remodeling is a frustrating process. There are many decisions to be made and so many details you won't have even thought about. The process will be disruptive to your normal cycle and, in turn, will be disruptive to you and and everyone in your household. When you feel your temper rising take a few deep breaths, laugh when you want to cry, and remember...IT WILL ALL BE OVER SOON!

Anyone else about to do a major overhaul? Are you gonna lose your kitchen? Feel free to leave a comment with a link to any before and afters and also any tips you may have for my dear neighbors!!

***I want to add a few extra items my friend at Sugar and Spice in the land of Ball and Sticks sent me...

1. Leave 2 wine glasses out. At the end of the day, when you're exhausted and the whole house is covered in construction dust, you can cling to your real wine glass and close your eyes and envision your new space. It's not the same with a plastic cup.

2. Go to the GardenWeb Kitchen Forum. Tons of expertise as well as handholding over there.

3. If you're a DIYer, sex & lots of it even when you're tired. Trust me on this one. There will come a time when you think you need marriage counseling, and all you need is to remember that you love him, and picked him, and chose to rip apart your home with him.

4. If you're hiring out, document everything. Every phone call, every conversation - write them down in a notebook with dates. You'll probably need to reference them when your contractor claims you never had that conversation.

5. If you're getting stone counters, go to the stoneyard and pick out your slab, then photograph it. Take a pic of both the front and side edge(where the writing is) of the slab. Go ahead and sharpie your name on the edge and photograph that. Then be there when the fabricator lays the templates on the stone.

I can think of lots of others, but those are my top 5.

Today she added...

1. Our Crockpot. Throw stuff in there in the morning, ignore it all day, and voila yummy meal.

2. Rice Cooker. Not just for rice. Also good for stews, lentils, and steamed veggies.

Thanks, LAX Super Mom!!

Bianca Gutting a kitchen, what to so when you have no kitchen, how to make it through the construction process, no power to the kitchen, best toaster oven,
The microwave photo courtesy of Whole Truth Solutions which actually tells you 10 reasons to throw out your microwave! If you are doing a kitchen remodel I suggest you first use the microwave to get you through this troubling period and THEN read the article and decided how you would like to proceed! We still have ours (we actually have 2!) but we don't use them often.
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