Author Topic: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed  (Read 732 times)

Tiniest Stache

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Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« on: May 29, 2018, 11:51:47 AM »
Hi all,

New to the forum so please let me know if I should be posting elsewhere.

This summer we're renovating our kitchen and I'm looking for mustachian advice. I know that the most mustachian thing would be to not do up the kitchen at all. However, it's a 1950's house that we're living in for the last two years and there is a damp smell under the kitchen which we suspect is water damage on the original timber floors which have since been covered with laminate fakey flooring by the previous owner. It's only getting worse and we're concerned about what's going on down there.

So, the kitchen basically needs to be gutted and re-built. Flooring, plastering walls, new cabinets, re-wiring (minor work to add extra sockets), water plumbing, gas plumbing, and a replacement window and door as we're at it.

1. Not strictly financial but does anyone have tips for surviving without a kitchen for weeks? Right now my husband cooks all of our food including packed lunches for work (yes, he's awesome) and we're loathe to rely on take-aways and instant noodles. How can this time be minimised? How long can I live on pop tarts?

2. Throw all the frugal knowledge at me so I can make this nightmare less expensive please! We're naturally going to do as much as possible ourselves including tear down, painting, removing waste building materials and we plan on selling anything we can for cash but there are some unavoidable costs like using a registered tradesmen and new materials.

Sorry if the post is really long but I'm hoping that giving lots of detail will encourage the hive mind to speak

SweatingInAZ

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2018, 01:46:20 PM »
Here are my biggest tips for #1:

We also had the fridge on an extension cord, microwave in the spare bedroom, and grilled. I microwaved a lot of pasta that month, and actually used the side burner on my grill for eggs and whatnot. I got in the habit of licking my plate clean so that washing it in the bathroom sink was easy.

We kept the old fridge in the living room until I found a new(er) stainless fridge on craigslist.

We put the fridge on a long extension cord and used it the whole time, but the stove was out of commission for a while. We grilled outside and used the crockpot. It was dishwashing that got old really fast - we had to haul everything to the basement.

Lots more in this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/the-kitchen-thread/

yodella

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2018, 02:17:24 PM »
In my experience, it made a huge difference to establish a makeshift "kitchen" in another part of the house (in our case, a corner of the living room). This included fridge, microwave, toaster, crockpot, and - crucially - an improvised "counter" set on a couple sawhorses.

Having this counter area made it so much easier to do all the things you normally do in a kitchen, like chop vegetables, assemble sandwiches, etc. while standing up. When you're trying to do that crouched over a coffee table or leaning way down to a dining or card table, it just feels like way more of a pain.

We ate a LOT of sandwiches, and after the first several weeks of the remodel turned to the crockpot for hot, hearty meals that felt more like "real" dinners.

Good luck!



BudgetSlasher

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2018, 06:40:35 PM »
To question 1. We have been without our kitchen for a while and will be without it for some time (due to doing all of the work ourselves, while working full time). Most of our meals are also homemade.

We were fortunate to have another space in the house with outlets on 3 different circuits and a wet bar sink. When we gutted the kitchen we relocated a portion of the counter to this room to function as our "refugee kitchen." On the electrical circuits, circuit one powers the refrigerator, circuit 2 is the small appliance circuit (single burner induction hot plate, microwave, and toaster oven. BUT, only one can be used at any given time or the breaker will trip), and circuit 3 is limited to the coffee pot due to other items on the circuit and outlet placement.

We have other small cooking appliance, such as sous vide, insta-pot, and crock pot; for these food can be prepped in our repurposed space and carried to a different location in the house to place then on a different circuit.

All in all it is quite manageable, the reduced number of burners (4 down to 1) and the fact that only one small appliance at a time can operate mean that a little more thought has to go into planning meals and the cooking order of operation. Also, certain meals can take longer to complete due to these constraints.

A couple pointers.

1) Small cooking appliances are a god send. The small induction burner is especially great to keep cooking and they are inexpensive on CL. Also, Insta-pots can be your friend you can make some good to great meals in them using them first as a regular pot and then as a pressure cooker.

2) Plan on how you will wash dishes. We have a sizable "wet bar" sink which makes things easier, but going from using a dishwasher to hand washing everything is a big change.

3) During the summer if you already have a grill consider using it more, both as a grill and to cook foil packet meals.

4) Start now, find some easy to make recipes and try them out. Get a few that you like and can easily make it whatever makeshift kitchen you are planning.

Miss Piggy

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2018, 10:36:14 PM »
Good advice above about setting up a makeshift kitchen. I would add an electric skillet to the list of countertop appliances.

Khaetra

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2018, 06:50:54 AM »
A makeshift kitchen is a must!  I am almost done with my kitchen reno and having one set up has been a lifesaver.  Like PP's said, put the fridge on a long extension cord, utilize your other small appliances like slow cookers, salads/sandwiches are easy meals (and great for when it's hot out...no cooking!) and you don't have to rely on Ramen and Hot Pockets :).  Plus the less dishes you make, the less you have to wash.

lthenderson

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2018, 06:58:47 AM »
We did a lot of cooking and freezing meals ahead of time. We also had the sawhorse counter with microwave, toaster oven, crockpot, etc on top and a grill outside. We are now in another house and preparing to do another kitchen reno and I'm starting that process of cooking extra and freezing meals to eat during the remodel.

Tiniest Stache

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2018, 07:44:39 AM »
Thanks all for your helpful replies. I had been meaning to post on here for a while and I'm so glad I did. What a bunch of heroes :)

We are planning to stuff the fridge and freezer with leftovers that could be microwaved or heated on the camping stove. The advice of setting up a temporary kitchen, worktops and all, will definitely make life easier. We'll be dining in Café Living Room all summer. Thank you
In my experience, it made a huge difference to establish a makeshift "kitchen" in another part of the house

Washing the dishes: I had given no thought to this. We'll have to use the small bathroom sink which might be murderous. Outdoors isn't a reliable option (Ireland) but I have no opposition hosing down the plates in the yard or to the occasional BBQ. Harness my inner red neck.

This is my first time hearing about things like "electric skillets" and "insta-pots" but I like what I'm hearing on the small appliances. We have a couple of Craigslist type sites here that I can start trawling for some of that small equipment.

Thanks also to SweatingInAZ for pasting the link to the kitchen thread. I will hunt and gather the advice I need on the renovation there.
Lots more in this thread: https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/do-it-yourself-forum!/the-kitchen-thread/

If anyone has more advice please let me know. I'm all ears. Many thanks!

lthenderson

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2018, 11:11:05 AM »
Washing the dishes: I had given no thought to this. We'll have to use the small bathroom sink which might be murderous. Outdoors isn't a reliable option (Ireland) but I have no opposition hosing down the plates in the yard or to the occasional BBQ. Harness my inner red neck.

For $23 US, you can buy 1000 paper plates and just burn them when done. It definitely is less of a headache than trying to hose down dishes and more sanitary than cleaning them in a bathtub.

https://www.amazon.com/Dixie-702622WNP6-White-Economical-Plates/dp/B0171GC5RQ

We still used our real silverware because it was much easier to eat with than the plastic stuff.

Tiniest Stache

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2018, 11:28:03 AM »
Washing the dishes: I had given no thought to this. We'll have to use the small bathroom sink which might be murderous. Outdoors isn't a reliable option (Ireland) but I have no opposition hosing down the plates in the yard or to the occasional BBQ. Harness my inner red neck.

For $23 US, you can buy 1000 paper plates and just burn them when done. It definitely is less of a headache than trying to hose down dishes and more sanitary than cleaning them in a bathtub.

https://www.amazon.com/Dixie-702622WNP6-White-Economical-Plates/dp/B0171GC5RQ

We still used our real silverware because it was much easier to eat with than the plastic stuff.

I had thought about it but I'm not OK with that kind of waste.

Khaetra

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2018, 12:04:37 PM »
For dishes, what I ended up doing was buying two huge containers at the dollar store and washing/rinsing outside all at once.  One carried the dishes and was for washing, the other is where the wet cleans one went to be carried in and dried.  I tried using the bathroom sink but that got old fast, especially washing big stuff.

toganet

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2018, 12:25:28 PM »
My sister and BIL gutted their kitchen (and dining room, laundry -- basically the downstairs of the house) and rebuilt.  The started the project in early summer last year, and moved the part of the counter with the sink in it into their garage, along with the refrigerator and dining table/chairs.  My BIL was able to run water to the sink, but they placed a bucket under the drain as a "temporary" solution.  They used a crockpot, electric griddle, gas grill, campfires -- basically anything that would heat up -- to prepare meals for their family of 7, plus frequent guests.

This situation served them well through the summer and into the fall.  Cold weather provided an incentive to complete the work and have a "real" kitchen again, and by October the fun had worn off anyway.

KCM5

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2018, 12:40:52 PM »
I washed dishes in a plastic tub - to make it even easier, get one to wash and one to rinse. Dry them in the dish strainer as normal. We got the water from the bathtub and dumped it in there too.

Agree regarding some sort of counter space (we used our stove that we had just moved out of the kitchen) and something to cook in (we used an induction cooktop and crock pot). We had a plastic tub for food items, a smaller tub for spices, and kept our pots/pans/dishes/cooking utensils/cutlery on a book shelf in the dining room.

And if you’re doing the work yourself, concentrate on the area you missed the most and do that first - for us that was the kitchen sink. It felt so good to have a sink back!

nereo

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2018, 12:56:07 PM »
I'm still confused about whether you are doing this reno yourself or if you have a GC who will do the work for you.  The former (unless you are highly experience) generally takes substantially longer, so just plan on that.  Using a GC will cost a whole lot more.  Ripping out to bare studs you might find more issues that you had originally anticipated, which could slow down your progress regardlss of which method you use.

Good advice on setting up a secondary kitchen.  When we did our reno we used an outdoor grill extensively and washed dishes in a tub.  Not sure why being in Ireland is prohibitive to washing dishes outside (are you avoiding rain?). Having a large stock of ready-made meals in the deep freeze can be a godsend because your ability to prep will be limited.

Other than that, my advice would be to spend a considerable amount of time planing out the kitchen you want and having the supplies you need ordered in advance. It sucks when you have everything ripped out and you find that there's a 4 week delay to get the kitchen cabinets you wanted. If this is your first time it can save you headaches to hire a kitchen designer to figure out exactly which materials you will need and how your kitchen could be laid out.

If you want to add more outlets or move where the sink and appliances are or put in under-floor heating, now is the time to figure that stuff out.  Once everything is ripped out there's a push to get it finished as quickly as possible.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2018, 12:58:19 PM by nereo »
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jezebel

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2018, 01:21:28 PM »
Washing the dishes: I had given no thought to this. We'll have to use the small bathroom sink which might be murderous. Outdoors isn't a reliable option (Ireland) but I have no opposition hosing down the plates in the yard or to the occasional BBQ. Harness my inner red neck.

For $23 US, you can buy 1000 paper plates and just burn them when done. It definitely is less of a headache than trying to hose down dishes and more sanitary than cleaning them in a bathtub.

https://www.amazon.com/Dixie-702622WNP6-White-Economical-Plates/dp/B0171GC5RQ

We still used our real silverware because it was much easier to eat with than the plastic stuff.

I had thought about it but I'm not OK with that kind of waste.

Isn't that why burning the paper was suggested?  Or maybe I'm missing something.

nereo

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #15 on: May 30, 2018, 01:45:24 PM »
Washing the dishes: I had given no thought to this. We'll have to use the small bathroom sink which might be murderous. Outdoors isn't a reliable option (Ireland) but I have no opposition hosing down the plates in the yard or to the occasional BBQ. Harness my inner red neck.

For $23 US, you can buy 1000 paper plates and just burn them when done. It definitely is less of a headache than trying to hose down dishes and more sanitary than cleaning them in a bathtub.

https://www.amazon.com/Dixie-702622WNP6-White-Economical-Plates/dp/B0171GC5RQ

We still used our real silverware because it was much easier to eat with than the plastic stuff.

I had thought about it but I'm not OK with that kind of waste.

Isn't that why burning the paper was suggested?  Or maybe I'm missing something.
I'd get compostable paper plates and add them to my pile, but that's just me.  I consider myself very earth-friendly, and during a kitchen reno I'd still use paper plates for a lot of my meals.  The waste from this reno is almost certainly going to exceed any footprint from using more post-consumer paper.
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Tiniest Stache

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2018, 08:27:48 AM »
I'm still confused about whether you are doing this reno yourself or if you have a GC who will do the work for you.  The former (unless you are highly experience) generally takes substantially longer, so just plan on that.  Using a GC will cost a whole lot more.  Ripping out to bare studs you might find more issues that you had originally anticipated, which could slow down your progress regardlss of which method you use.

Good advice on setting up a secondary kitchen.  When we did our reno we used an outdoor grill extensively and washed dishes in a tub.  Not sure why being in Ireland is prohibitive to washing dishes outside (are you avoiding rain?). Having a large stock of ready-made meals in the deep freeze can be a godsend because your ability to prep will be limited.

Other than that, my advice would be to spend a considerable amount of time planing out the kitchen you want and having the supplies you need ordered in advance. It sucks when you have everything ripped out and you find that there's a 4 week delay to get the kitchen cabinets you wanted. If this is your first time it can save you headaches to hire a kitchen designer to figure out exactly which materials you will need and how your kitchen could be laid out.

If you want to add more outlets or move where the sink and appliances are or put in under-floor heating, now is the time to figure that stuff out.  Once everything is ripped out there's a push to get it finished as quickly as possible.

The plan is to do the unskilled work ourselves as much as possible. What is a GC? A contractor? We're trying to get a builder/contractor as a project manager but they have no interest as they're busy with bigger work at the moment since the boom is back over here. So there's a good chance we'll end up taking it on without one. Which will be cheaper but slower and also lacking some serious skills.

The lead time is very worth mentioning. I had no idea that we'd be waiting up to 10 weeks for windows. We've met with an Ikea kitchen designer (free and really helpful by the way) who has saved the "design" and let us know the timings but there's a lot of work to the room to be done in the meantime. The cabinets are really the last thing to do. I'll be drawing new sockets on walls this weekend.

Yep, it's the rain I'm avoiding. Although, it could rinse the dishes for me. Nice and efficient.


elliha

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Re: Kitchen Renovation Advice Needed
« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2018, 08:35:17 AM »
Get a cheap baby bath tub to do the dishes in and only rinse in the bathroom sink. Doing dishes this way is not much worse than doing it in the kitchen. If you want to be in the bathroom you can usually balance the tub on top of the sink or toilet then pour the water in the toilet or outside. You can also do the washing outside with a tub, bring a bucket or two or water from the house outside if you don't have a tap.

Make a kitchen with a hot plate, microwave and slow cooker. Hot plates can sometimes be found quite cheap used or you can buy one and re-sell it yourself afterwards. The fridge and freezer can likely be moved to another part of the house.