We finally found a contractor to remodel our kitchen and bathroom! This is very exciting as these are changes I've been wanting to make since I bought the house. One of the major selling points for me was that the house has its original kitchen- original layout, original cabinets, original enamel sink- as opposed to the multitudes of homes on the market with "updated" granite-and-stainless-steel numbers, which just make me cringe. The first thing I did when we moved in was to install my Wedgewood stove (in the place of the previous circa 1980 one) and a dishwasher (in order to fit in the non-standard counter space, I had to buy a "compact" one made for trailer homes). Still, we today use our kitchens differently than people did in 1942. We have far more appliances, for one thing, and thus having just a few feet of counter space becomes a problem. We also refrigerate and freeze considerably more food, and store many more dry goods in our cupboards. My kitchen has exactly two cupboards, one large, one very small, which barely contain my dishes and food. I also have five smallish drawers. This is storage for me.
In addition, the floorplan of the room does not allow for a kitchen table, which is unfortunate, since I spent a good long time looking for the perfect kitchen table (like my grandmother had), before purchasing it in Kentucky and driving it all the way home to California, where I then had to track down a set of legs and have them cut to size... But aside from knocking down walls and building extensions, there's really no way to get that table into the kitchen, so it is being used as a desk instead. Nonetheless, I miss being able to socialize in the kitchen. There is far too little space for guests to stand around while I cook (not to mention the stress that induces), and no place for them to sit... except for the dining room on the other side of the wall! So the plan is to cut a hole in the wall so that guests at the dining room table will be able to see and converse with me while I'm in the kitchen! Brilliant!
And while we're at it, we're going to put in more cabinets and counter space, lay down new linoleum floors (there is currently a large piece of disgusting vinyl there), and also tile the counters the way they should be (instead of the current laminated particle board). So you can see why I'm excited! I will no longer have to roll out pie crusts on the dining room table, or have precarious piles of ingredients on top of the stove. My kitchen will be efficient and most importantly, restored to its original 1940's charm.
AND, in the meantime, the bathroom. The tiny, tiny, knees-touch-the-bathtub-while-on-the-toilet bathroom! Did I mention that people were smaller in 1942? Well, so it seems. Also in between the building of the house and the selling of it, somebody took an ill-advised turn and covered the shower surround with hideous plastic-marble such as is found in hotels, laid down vinyl flooring, and installed AWFUL laminated wood cabinets around the sink and toilet, making the space seem even smaller. When we first moved in, we pulled the cabinets out and had someone* install period-authentic hexagonal tile flooring, but we ran out of patience before the shower could be tiled. The plan now is to put up subway style tile around the shower and also as wainscotting around the entire room. Then I can finally finish painting the remaining walls chocolate brown!
It looks like work will begin before the summer is over, so I will be sure to keep you posted on all the progress.
*A "handyman" from Craigslist who trashed the house and never showed up on time. He lived in his truck and he didn't own any tools (I had to pay for everything he bought). One day while we were purchasing tile he was accosted by a very angry homeless woman who seemed very familiar with him. He barely got away without a black eye. Needless to say this did not elevate our opinion of him... The minute he finished the floor we let him go.