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Bye Bye Bye Kitchen!

So I realize I haven’t even finished posting about my own kitchen yet, but I couldn’t resist sharing with you a “little” project currently going on over at my friend Alaina’s lakefront home.

I mentioned earlier in the week that I’d be posting D-day (demo-day) pictures of the day we absolutely destroyed her kitchen.  (The hubs and I had a busy day on Saturday, what with building a raised garden bed and taking out a kitchen.) I mean, it was completely demolished.  Decimated.  Damaged beyond repair.  And any other deliciously descriptive “D” word I can think of.  But it’s okay – her kitchen deserved it.

Here are just some of the offenses we were able to eliminate:

Fugly Tile Backsplash

I know tile backsplashes – especially of the DIY variety – are totally great, but for this I have no words.

Fugly Hardware

And how about these gems?  I tried to talk her into keeping this unique hardware to reuse on the new cabinets, but no dice.

And the pièce de résistance… Alaina is very much into art, but grape vines aren’t exactly her style.

Fugly Flowers

I get what they were going for, here.  I really do.  And it probably even made sense at the time – much like bell bottoms and ‘N Sync once had a place in the world.  But it just has no place in this kitchen in 2010.

N Sync

Here’s a wider look at the room:

Old White Kitchen

The two walls you see here no longer exist.  We killed them.

The wall with the stove blocks a sizable breakfast nook with a huge window overlooking the lake, while the wall with the fridge blocks the view into the living room (towards the front of the house).  The stove wall will become a peninsula made up of base cabinets that will double as a buffet/serving hutch into the breakfast nook.  (I keep using the word “nook” because I find it to be quaint.  I like the word “quaint” almost as much as I like the word “nook”.)

The fridge wall will become a raised breakfast bar with stools on the living room side.  Because the fridge wall is load-bearing, the bar will have a pillar on the end.  You know… so you’re not sitting there, enjoying your frosted flakes, when suddenly you get crushed by the second floor deciding it wants to become the first floor.  I don’t know anyone who likes plaster in his cereal.

(With all of the breakfast nooks and bars, you can imagine that Alaina and her husband Dirk really like their breakfast.)

Here’s the view if you step a little further back, looking the same direction:

Old White Kitchen

Now this peninsula will actually no longer exist in the new layout.  That space will be open, with a stove to the left of the sink, right around where the current backsplash ends.  The fridge will move to the immediate left of that door you see on the right (the door goes into a utility room, so unfortunately there’s really nothing to be done about that).  To the right of that door is a path that leads back to the front entry and living room.  Behind us is the dining room and a hallway going back into an office.

Old White Kitchen

The door on the far right of the picture goes out to their screened porch overlooking the water, and there will be a microwave cabinet where the stereo is sitting.

They’re actually going to do a really, really, really cool butler’s pantry in that hallway leading back to the office on the right, but I’ll save any photos/drawings of that until the Big Reveal.  I am so excited about that part!

I mean… how cool would that be?

“Honey, could you please go get me a bottle of cabernet from the butler’s pantry?”

“Sweetie, I think we’ll use the good china tonight.  It’s in the butler’s pantry.”

“Dear, I can’t seem to find those window treatments you bought me for the kitchen even though you originally told me they were too expensive.  Do you think I might have left them in the butler’s pantry?”

Sigh.  A girl can dream.

But anyhoo, back to the kitchen.  The kitchen we DESTROYED.

This is a drawing I did for A based on her ideas, pictures, and the general flow she wanted for the room (yes, I am a dork).  When I sent it to her, she had drawn virtually the same thing!  It’s a little difficult to see, but maybe you can get an idea.

Alainas New Kitchen Layout

The fridge and stove will be swapped in the final layout, and there will be a microwave cabinet on that far left wall.  I don’t have her final, “official” drawing from Travis, our mutual cabinet guy, but I’ll show it to you when I get it.

Now, on with the mess.

See this?  It looks peaceful, right?  You wouldn’t even know anything unusual was happening if it weren’t for that huge dumpster in the driveway (no, that’s not the latest hybrid design).

Alaina's House

Alaina took the first whack.  (I’m sorry for the blurry photo – apparently Dirk is even less camera-savvy than me.  Or maybe he was worried A would lose control of the Ax.)

Demo Day

After that, we just went at it.

They had an extremely enthusiastic friend named Lee (red shirt) who was pretty much a demo machine.

Kitchen Demo Day

*Note:  It’s important to have gloves and protective eye-wear during demo.  Lee apparently didn’t know this since he didn’t have a wife nagging him about how precious his eyeballs are.  Believe me, his bare toes later paid for that mistake.

Dirk wanted to save some of the wall units for his shed, so unfortunately those had to come down a bit more carefully.

Kitchen Demo Day

But then it was right back to hammers, pry bars and machetes.

Okay maybe not machetes.  But that would’ve been cool.

Kitchen Demo Day

There were 4 or 5 layers of vinyl flooring to pull up (and some of them did not want to go quietly):

Pulling up old flooring

Eventually the room looked like this:

Kitchen Demo Day

Then this:

Kitchen Demo Day

Then this:

Kitchen Demo Day

Then this:

Kitchen Demo Day

Then this:

Kitchen Demo Day

See how much bigger it looks already??  It’s amazing what opening up a couple walls can do to a space.  Plus, they will be getting tons more light when they enlarge the window over the sink.  They’re putting new drywall on the ceiling and exterior wall, but those other two walls will be gone.

At the end of the day we had a happy A.

Kitchen Demo Day

What more could we want?


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Nice work on memorializing my horrible kitchen! I would say now, that the best part besides demo is rebuilding. Although more demo occurs on Monday when the studs come out (no, Justin and Dirk won’t be there) and the walls are officially gone, drywall should go up very quickly after that! All of which, I consider to be rebuilding.

And a quick note to add to this post is that when demoing, please make sure you have proper safety gear as we did have a bleeder, as well as make sure that you have plastic up to minimize the dust spreading throughout the house. We tried, and failed.



I did note in the post that Lee was not wearing the proper safety gear because he didn’t have a wife nagging him about protecting his precious eyeballs.

He did, however, have someone else’s wife (me) nagging him about his precious eyeballs, but I don’t think he appreciated it.

C’est la vie.

Happy birthday Jan!!!

Kristeen Berendes

So they will be eating at your house for awhile?! Better pull those dusty cookbooks from the corkboard cupboard!!! LOL :0) Or find a very good take out menu :0) Hehehehe :0) Can’t wait to see the finished project….


Dirk and Alaina actually have the rare advantage of having a nearly-full kitchen set up in their huge game room. With a sink, refrigerator, microwave, and whether that makes it nice enough to grill out, they should be pretty set for the 1-3 months they might be out a kitchen! (Talk about smart planning – I was washing dishes in my bathtub after our demolition!)


This is actually the first night I have been able to do anything other than work my butt off in the kitchen. Electrical and plumbing tomorrow, then comes the construction crew next week.

A tip for all of those DIY’ers, don’t wear shorts while doing Demo. I have more scrapes and bruises that I could have avoided by wearing jeans. Justin was the smart one.


Hi guys!
What a great way to remember a horrible kitchen and the terrific friends that helped you destroy it. Katie, the commentary was LOL. Keep up the good work! thanks for the B-Day shout out.


Thanks, Jan! I’m glad we could share it with you guys. I hope you had a wonderful birthday!


WOW! So glad I was not there. Renovations are best left to the young, and am happy to participate vicariously. Looks good and we appreciate the updating.

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