Author Topic: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work  (Read 1601 times)

Sibley

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Parents are buying a house built in the 60s, and the kitchen looks it. It has an in-wall toaster and can opener. Sink is leaking, microwave is from 1984, range is gas (they want electric) and the oven isn't working, the fridge doesn't seem to be getting cold plus it's so filthy that I think it's past the point of recovering, and the dishwasher seems to work but the door is deadweight and will cause injuries in my older parents.

The kitchen needs to be gutted. That is not in doubt. What I'm trying to figure out is does it make sense for them to patch it up and live with it for a year while the building supply issues get semi-sorted out? Or should they gut it now?

If they patch it up:
-- new fridge, including likely removing the cabinets over the current fridge to fit a new one
-- new range, including adding the electrical outlet for an electric one. This will happen eventually.
-- new microwave.
-- whine and groan about having to handwash dishes for a year, or risk injury from the door.
-- fix the sink.
-- scrub the heck out of the cupboards, walls, ceilings, floor, everything.
-- live with it for a year, then have to deal with the disruption of pulling the appliances out, gutting and redoing.

Parents are not good at dealing with disruption. They will shut down. I'll have to step in to manage most things, and it'll be 10x harder to do while they're living there.

If they gut it now:
-- they live at my house until it's done, minimizing daily life disruption. They will likely be able to manage most of the project with some double checking by me.
-- pay more for materials, possible scheduling issues, etc
-- have to buy appliances, cabinets, sink, counter, flooring, etc.

I can see pros and cons both ways. I selfishly would very much like them to move out of my house. I also suspect that my parents, faced with the prospect of handwashing dishes, will opt out of cooking and will go out to eat. They don't have the income to support that.

I'm estimating they have around 25-30k available for fixing up the house without tapping retirement savings. The kitchen is the biggest ticket, but they also have to replace the driveway and the house is overall a mix of the 60s and the 80s, so there will be other costs. I will be DIYing a lot of cosmetic things to conserve funds.

Not sure which direction I should be trying to steer them towards, if either. Opinions?

Weisass

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2021, 09:07:33 PM »
We are planning a kitchen gut job, and we are getting everything in place now, with a plan to start next year, when things level out. because it looks like they will. No sense rushing it if you can make it work.

iluvzbeach

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2021, 10:33:52 PM »
I would suck it up and do it now. Way easier to do before they move in, plus the dust and such with this type of project is much easier to clean-up without furnishings all around.

While prices are higher now than they were in 2019, I donít think weíre going to see them come down enough to make it worth their while of going through the inconvenience of doing the work while living in the house.

Glad to see they found a place!

Morning Glory

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2021, 12:10:15 AM »
Why not just fix the sink and replace the appliances for now and give everything else a good scrub down? Nice and functional without breaking the bank.

gooki

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2021, 12:11:10 AM »
Get all the appliances sorted and do it ASAP.

Just be aware kitchen Reno's can be as cheap or as expensive as you make them. Ours was $7,000 including all appliances, oak and pine cabinets, granite tops, an island, ventilation, and new timber floors, and labor.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 12:14:52 AM by gooki »

Linea_Norway

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2021, 01:30:43 AM »
I would do it now. Then the house is good afterwards and it saves both them and you hassle in the future. It would be annoying for them to switch stove types after a couple of years.

When buying an electric stove, buy induction. Alternatives suck, while induction works great. Keep it cheap otherwise, like not the whole kitchen wall needs to be tiled. See if Ikea has a kitchen that works.

chasingthegoodlife

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2021, 02:28:10 AM »
If it was for me, Iíd wait. If it was for my elderly parents Iíd get it done straight away before they moved in.

Live in renovations always seem to be messier and take longer than you think and their capacity to manage that disruption might not be so great? Of course you know your parents better than I do.

When they design the new kitchen, it might be worth doing a bit of research about accessible kitchen design. Things like big drawers instead of bottom cupboards, wall oven, and a Ďdish washer drawerí instead of a full dishwasher can make things easier as they become more frail and have difficulties with bending etc.

Paper Chaser

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2021, 03:11:10 AM »
Based on what you've said, it sounds like needs and wants are getting mixed up a little here. Sounds like the issues that might be "needs" are pretty much all related to appliances and the sink. Why does that mean it needs to be gutted with all new cabinets, flooring, etc? That seems like a lot of extra time/money/effort for things that are more "wants" than "needs". "Wants" are fine for those that can afford them, but that depends on the people and situation.

Unless there's a functionality or safety issue with the current layout I'd strongly consider just painting the walls, replacingthe appliances and sink now, and it will be much nicer. Maybe paint the cabinets and update hardware if they really can't stand them, but just having all new appliances and sink/faucet can really change the look and feel of a kitchen. It might make the whole kitchen seem less like it needs to be gutted. And it could probably be done almost entirely DIY in a weekend or two if things are scheduled well.
« Last Edit: June 17, 2021, 03:20:46 AM by Paper Chaser »

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2021, 05:18:35 AM »
I would get a professional cleaning company in to scrub the kitchen clean top to bottom before I made a decision: having the current kitchen thoroughly, operating-theatre clean (and done by someone who is not you) may well change your and your parents' opinion on how much needs doing to it.

You don't mention any functional issues with the cabinetry so I suspect that it is better quality than you would be buying today.  Plus, your parents might like an older-style kitchen as more familiar to them. 

Whether you replace the whole kitchen now or later there will have to be new fridge, new range, new microwave and new dishwasher.  I would buy the lot now: inflation predictions say they will cost a lot more in a year's time.  Add in the electrical and plumbing work now too: your parents have moved to make life easier for them and that means having working appliances of the kind they want rather than having to make do with things they don't.


Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2021, 07:54:38 AM »
Thanks for the input. To answer some questions...

The cabinets are solid wood and generally solid. They've also been cut away at to fit the fridge and microwave, and there's a hole chiseled between two of the uppers. To fit a new fridge, more cabinet will have to be removed. The space between the stove top and 36 year old microwave is tight. If parents want a built in microwave, we might be removing more cabinets to fit it.

Mom in particular is being stubborn. She wants what she wants. That means, she wants a certain size fridge that happens to be significantly taller than the existing fridge. I am not going to win that battle and I am not going to even try. She also wants new cabinets.

Re induction stoves - I might. Mom won't. (see note above about her being stubborn)

A professional cleaning company is going to be hired to clean the house, including the kitchen.

Good note about the appliance costs. We'll buy everything now and store it if necessary. The garage is plenty big enough. I will also look into kitchen accessibility. Sometimes it's the little things.

Ladychips

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2021, 11:09:50 AM »
I hope you'll keep us posted!!

Shinplaster

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2021, 11:46:53 AM »
Would your Mom be open to refacing the cabinets?   If you hire it out, most companies that do that will also reconfigure a few cabinets if needed.   It's also a very easy job to do yourself - Home Depot, Lowes, etc. all have replacement doors to choose from, and they can be surprisingly inexpensive.

SunnyDays

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2021, 03:31:43 PM »
Would your Mom be open to refacing the cabinets?   If you hire it out, most companies that do that will also reconfigure a few cabinets if needed.   It's also a very easy job to do yourself - Home Depot, Lowes, etc. all have replacement doors to choose from, and they can be surprisingly inexpensive.

Thatís exactly what I was going to suggest.  As long as the shelves are stable, new door faces might suffice.  Or just painting them since they are solid wood.  I did this to mine and it made a world of difference.

But I would replace all appliances ASAP since everything else depends on their size and placement.  Floors and counters can be done later if needed budget and time wise, since those are fast jobs.  Painting and tiling would be last and can be diy jobs.

Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2021, 05:44:41 PM »
Dad is on board with looking for used appliances. He prefers an actual used store, but that would make transportation easier probably. So that would cut appliance costs.

Mom found cabinets she likes at Menards. Dad at least doesn't know what the wait time is for those.

Re the existing cabinets - yeah they're solid wood. But someone in the past took a saw to a number of them to fit the fridge and microwave. Amazingly, it doesn't show in the listing pics. Plus, there's a hole between two of them. Even if they're cleaned up and painted they are still going to be missing chunks from the corner and have an uneven cut along the bottom. We might save a few of the intact ones to put in the basement or garage.

gooki

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2021, 07:21:56 PM »
If you're organized a kitchen reno can be done quickly.

Ours started on Friday and was finished to a useable state midday Monday (painting ceiling and walls had to wait another week for the plaster repairs to dry).

Friday was disconnect electrical and water to the kitchen, demo the old kitchen (I took my time to keep it in good condition and sold it a week later for $1,000), rough in new plumbing and electrical.

Saturday was lift up old flooring and lay new flooring.

Sunday was move cabinets and appliances into position.

Monday was mount sink and bench tops, connect plumbing, install extraction fan, connect oven, plaster up holes.

I'm lucky that my plumber is also my electrician and project manager, so that's less people to coordinate.

Linea_Norway

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2021, 04:30:46 AM »
If the garage is big enough to store lots of cupboards (not flat, but ready made), you could consider doing what we did. When we renovated the whole kitchen, we were uncertain about the delivery date. Therefore we first ordered the cupboards en when they came, put them in an empty room. Then we replaced the walls and floor ourselves. Replaced electric with the help of a professional. Then we hired a professional to install the kitchen, hired through the kitchen shop. There came two guys. They hung plastic around the kitchen to prevent the house getting dusty. It took one day and the kitchen was ready. They cleaned up behind them. Then we did the walls behind the kitchen counter ourselves. In total we were about one week without a functional kitchen.

Your mum should try induction, in a shop. It cooks like gas. In our current house, a rental, we are back to ceramic. And I hate it, as it is totally unresponsive. But I can imagine it is not your problem.

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2021, 05:20:54 AM »
I love induction, it's at least as good as gas at cooking, it's more efficient and it's less polluting.  But it could mean changing out favourite saucepans, which can be a big hurdle to get over.

Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2021, 08:31:01 AM »
If the garage is big enough to store lots of cupboards (not flat, but ready made), you could consider doing what we did. When we renovated the whole kitchen, we were uncertain about the delivery date. Therefore we first ordered the cupboards en when they came, put them in an empty room. Then we replaced the walls and floor ourselves. Replaced electric with the help of a professional. Then we hired a professional to install the kitchen, hired through the kitchen shop. There came two guys. They hung plastic around the kitchen to prevent the house getting dusty. It took one day and the kitchen was ready. They cleaned up behind them. Then we did the walls behind the kitchen counter ourselves. In total we were about one week without a functional kitchen.

Your mum should try induction, in a shop. It cooks like gas. In our current house, a rental, we are back to ceramic. And I hate it, as it is totally unresponsive. But I can imagine it is not your problem.

This is essentially what I'm considering at this point. I have a plumber, I have an electrician, I have a carpenter/handyman. 

And mom hates gas stoves - I have one and she lowkey complains about it and makes dad do the cooking.

Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2021, 08:42:22 AM »
So, slight twist on things. I don't think my parents are capable of actually deciding on the big picture stuff. Dad is shutting down when he thinks about big picture stuff, coming back for the details. Mom is avoiding big picture stuff, picking out cabinets (but not finding out about pricing or availability).

I will talk to my sister, see if she has capacity to help mom find design stuff via the web. I'm hoping she will but I know she's been swamped at work. But I think I'll be driving the majority of the house related work. I also need to develop the budget.

Thus, July will be devoted to getting as much done as possible to get the house ready. Kitchen will be on the backburner aside from ordering cabinets, buying appliances, etc. Once the rest is done, I'll move to demo and clearing out the kitchen, then when everything is available move to installing. I will decide when they're moving once I have a firmer grasp on expected kitchen timing. The house needs some electric and plumbing work, a ton of cleaning, wallpaper removal, painting, new carpet, etc.

Wish me luck.

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #19 on: June 18, 2021, 08:48:37 AM »
I saw no mention of updating mechanicals.  A kitchen designed and built in the 60ís wonít have the appropriate electrical run.  You will need to add a few circuits just to bring it up to code.  In addition, while tearing out some drywall, you may be looking at adding insulation. Houses in the 60ís at best had r-9 fiberglass in wall. Youíll want to update that to at least r-15 batts.

I very much dislike the cabinet refacing that is done by big box stores.  They slap on some laminate and new mdf doors and call it good.  If you already have real cabinets, clean them or refinish them appropriately.  Add new hardware and drawer glides.  Done.

No real opinion here with the timing, moving in or out, or personal side of this.  Itís a pain in the ass any which way.


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Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #20 on: June 18, 2021, 09:14:28 AM »
I saw no mention of updating mechanicals.  A kitchen designed and built in the 60ís wonít have the appropriate electrical run.  You will need to add a few circuits just to bring it up to code.  In addition, while tearing out some drywall, you may be looking at adding insulation. Houses in the 60ís at best had r-9 fiberglass in wall. Youíll want to update that to at least r-15 batts.

I very much dislike the cabinet refacing that is done by big box stores.  They slap on some laminate and new mdf doors and call it good.  If you already have real cabinets, clean them or refinish them appropriately.  Add new hardware and drawer glides.  Done.

No real opinion here with the timing, moving in or out, or personal side of this.  Itís a pain in the ass any which way.


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Noted on the electrical, thanks. I'm not really surprised. Will add it to the list.

Edit: and the house has plaster, not drywall. Different beast. Will be preserving it as much as possible.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2021, 10:13:57 AM by Sibley »

Cranky

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #21 on: June 18, 2021, 11:45:00 AM »
I have also just moved into a house from about that time period, with original cabinets but the appliances are all fairly new. It definitely does not have enough cabinets/counter, but itís functional.

I think itís a good idea to live with a kitchen for a year, and see how it works. Having done one kitchen renovation, I know that my first impression may not be what actually works the best.

So I vote clean, paint, replace the appliances. Give it some time.

Linea_Norway

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #22 on: June 18, 2021, 02:39:59 PM »
About reusing old cupboards, that is what we did with our bathroom cupboards. Those were good quality cherry wood. We washed them, oiled them, bought new mirrors to replace the broken ones on some doors and installed new knobs. Also new lightning overhead. People gave a lot of compliments about new cupboards. They didn't notice that they were 30 years old. The wood behind the lights needed to be replaced. There we used cherry laminate floordboards that were the exact same colour. Looked great.

Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2021, 10:36:17 AM »
Well, as an update. The current plan is that I make all the scheduling decisions. This is happening because dad can't and mom tried but has failed miserably with every single piece so far. And it's been a week? Dad was fine with me managing, I think he was relieved. Mom initially blustered but has since chilled. She forgot to do something and I think it was a wake up that she can't handle the house, since she can't even manage the normal stuff.

I'm putting the kitchen on the backburner. We will get appliances, patch it up as best we can, and when I feel like handling it we'll do the cabinets and the rest. There's plenty of work to do in the rest of the house and I have a new job/can't take a ton of time off work.

FYI, if anyone knows a decent plumber in NWI who can handle a couple days of work in early July, pm me.

SunnyDays

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #24 on: June 21, 2021, 11:50:10 AM »
Do you think your parents are going to be able to handle all the myriad things that need doing in/to a house?   Maybe an apartment would have been a better choice for them?  Sounds like youíre going to be very busy in future.

Sibley

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Re: To gut or not to gut (the kitchen) - parents new house needs work
« Reply #25 on: June 21, 2021, 01:46:13 PM »
Do you think your parents are going to be able to handle all the myriad things that need doing in/to a house?   Maybe an apartment would have been a better choice for them?  Sounds like youíre going to be very busy in future.

An apartment would have been a better long term choice. I tried, my sister tried, we mostly convinced dad, and mom dug her heels in and dad agreed with her. This one is in pretty good shape overall, minus the initial list of stuff (my list is comprehensive, I'm ranking things of course so some might take longer to get to). The worst of it actually is plumbing related, and I was finally able to get a plumber to call me back today. I might have a plumber at the house for 2 or 3 days to do everything but after that it should be good for a while.

But yes, this is actually why they moved near me. We knew they needed help. We knew a move would be rough. This is actually much preferable to the situation with the old house.