February 28, 2011

But Before We Can Get To The Kitchen.....

View of back porch from
the kitchen back door
We deliberated a long time about this. Finally, we came to the conclusion that before we can get very far with the kitchen remodel, we need to do something with the back porch. For one thing, we'll soon need to set up a temporary kitchen. But before we move the stove and fridge out there, it only makes sense to level and repair the porch floor first. Then too, when Dan moves the location of the new kitchen door, we'll have to open up the kitchen wall. So first, he wants to make sure the porch door and lock are secure. Then too, the porch needs to be cleared out so that we'll have a place to keep materials as we need them for the kitchen.

To the left of that
Like many back porches, ours has become a multi-purpose, catch-all room. Besides serving as my summer kitchen, it is also our mud room; laundry room; curing zone (for garlic, onions, winter squash, seeds, nuts, etc.); shoe depository; cat lookout; home for recycling containers; where we hang our rain gear; and storage for small garden tools, general project paraphernalia, and the big cardboard boxes I'm saving to use as mulch. It is neither heated nor cooled, but I like that, especially in winter, because it buffers the kitchen from the cold outside air and wind. (House floor plan here.)

After a lot of discussing and measuring, we came up with a plan:

Click for a better look-see

Where new kitchen door will go
There's a lot we could do with this room, but for now, we've decided to focus on three things:
  • floor
  • appliances
  • doors
The floor slopes, and is buckled and bowed in places. Dan doesn't like the slope and having it level will be better for the appliances.

Those (washer, dryer, and electric stove) will all fit along the one wall, with enough room for a small utility sink! I don't use the dryer unless the weather is too bad to use the clothes line, but still, we've got it and it's convenient to have if needed. Besides the fact that it makes more sense to have it closer to the washing machine (rather than across the room), we need to move it because the new kitchen back door will go where it currently is. The current dryer vent hole in the wall, will become an exterior cat door.

From the kitchen door
The new arrangement of appliances will require some plumbing and electrical work. The 220 volt outlet will need to be moved for the dryer, and a new one installed for the stove. Dan also wants to add an outdoor outlet so we don't have to keep running a cord for his power tools out the door. Besides adding a utility sink, the plan also calls for scooting the washing machine down a bit. These mean the plumbing will need some reworking. While he's at it, Dan wants to prepare to use our laundry water for greywater irrigation.

Our beautious porch door
Of doors, we have two to deal with: porch and kitchen. The porch door, with it's broken glass and torn screen, merits replacing for aesthetic value (in the negative numbers) alone. Even though it's a exterior door with a deadbolt, it opens outward like a screen door. That means the top of the door hits outside porch roof when it's opened. Which means it can't be opened all the way. On top of all that, the door framing wasn't properly done and needs to be replaced. So, even though it's functional, a new back door is definitely on the to-do list.

Current back (kitchen) door
The other door to be replaced is our kitchen door. Since we're changing it's location, installing it will come after we finish everything else on the back porch.

Eventually I'll add some shelving along the windows (probably like those in the pantry) for seed starting, and seed and vegetable curing. Recycling containers and litter box will fit under these. While we're working on the kitchen however, this area can be used to keep building supplies.

One thing not on our list, is new windows. Most of the current ones are jalousie (louvered) windows that open with a crank. The cranks are cranky, but the screens are all in tact, so we'll wait on replacing them. For now, we'd rather use the money to get back to working on the kitchen.

As anxious as we are to work on the kitchen, we'll have to get all this done fairly soon. The entire porch project will take enough time so that I can set up our temporary kitchen in milder weather. Then we can finally make a serious start on the kitchen itself!


Donna said...

Good thinking to get this room retrofitted before you get in to deep on the kitchen portion, especially since it's going to be your fill-in kitchen during the remodeling. How nice that you'll have a utility sink now in your mudroom. They are so convenient for clean ups and ore-soaking clothes. I really like seeing your plans and how you take so many things into consideration. I would have never thought to retrofit the dryer vent for a cat door that's genius!

Anonymous said...

Great utility porch design. Such a lot of work before you can start on the kitchen though!

Country Jane said...

Love reading about remodels and I love old homes! I decided that I'll add the 15 people that Granny suggested to my blog roll today. I have exactly 0 followers so you won't get much traffic from me, but it will be nice to see your progress and share with anyone who comes along. Thanks for sharing!!!

Jane in Alaska

Leigh said...

Donna, thanks! I admit that we were on a roll with the kitchen and didn't really want to change course, but you're right, it does need to be done now. At first I didn't think we could manage a utility sink, but realized if we didn't, I'd be doing dishes in the bathtub! :)

Evelyn, so true, so true, but there was nothing else for it. Fortunately it's coming along fairly quickly, and I'll have photos to show soon.

Country Jane, then I have the honor of being one of your 1st followers! I think you'll find that by visiting others and leaving comments, you'll not only join a conversation, but you'll get followers. We're a community of sorts after all. :)

DebbieB said...

Oh, it's always something! It seems like our whole life involves "But before we can do THAT, we have to do THIS!" I so admire you guys - we end up talking ourselves in circles and not doing much of anything in the way of remodeling - you have wonderful plans in place and you implement them methodically. I want to be you when I grow up. :)

Benita said...

So, this is two-projects in one, but when you are done, so will the back porch be done, too. Lots of work, but you will be happy with it. Any ideas about the "post" in the kitchen?

Lynda said...

You are going to be so happy with the porch retrofit! It took over 6 months for my kitchen remodel (don't ask) and I used our travel trailer to cook in! We had it parked in front of the house...finally people started asking which one of us had moved out! It was a looooong six months!

Anonymous said...

Your floor plan is great! I love the kitty cats!!! :)

Renee Nefe said...

I love your plan of attack and so agree with everything. The only thing that I would add is some shelves along the windows for more plants/herbs. :D Or you could just use hanging pots for that as well.

I know the kitties will enjoy their new doors.

Leigh said...

DebbieB, ain't it the truth. I confess we go around in quite a few circles ourselves, but fortunately we finally prioritize our course of action. Not sure if it's always right, but at least we're pressing onward!

Benita,it's always something, isn't it, LOL. Hopefully the porch won't be a huge project, but one we'll have glad to be done with.

Dan thinks the post is actually non-functional in terms of load bearing. We suspect it was left there as a precautionary measure, because it was a load bearing wall, but he can't find anything in either attic or crawlspace to suggest it's actually doing anything. Still, he's going to beef up support in the attic and we're going to add another ceiling beam before we take the post out. We'll also add corbels afterward for extra measure.

Lynda, gosh, only 6 months?!?!? I'm hoping ours will only take that long! Too funny about your cooking arrangements.

Rain, thanks! Yup, we can't forget our kitties. :)

Renee, yes to lots of shelves! I hadn't thought about hanging pots though. That's an idea, though I tend not to have a green thumb when it comes to potted plants. :o

bspinner said...

Nothing's easy. Fix up the porch so you can even start the kitchen. I like your attitude in doing it the right way so you don't have to go back and do it again.

Leigh said...

Barb, no, nothing is easy. I think attitude though, is the only way to keep from being frustrated. We lived so long in rental property, that I'm just happy to have a place of our own.

Betty Bohemian said...

I miss living in a bungalow. Especially the ' back room'- porch- laundry room- cat room- playroom part. ; -)

Leigh said...

Betty, I grew up in a bungalow, so I know what you mean. We lived in a rancher for many, many years, but when we started looking for a home, I was always drawn to the bungalows. They just seem to have more personality.

Phoebe said...

Leigh, after an entire winter of trapping mice in my temporary kitchen I thought of you today (when I was resetting another trap)and your kitchen plans and I would give you one piece of advice, put some impervious to mice storage into your plans. It is so nice to be able to know my one secure cabinet will always have clean pans in it and the bread won't have a little chew hole that I won't notice until I've already made a sandwich!
Mice can squeeze through a crack as wide as a pencil eraser and jump 18". Drat!

Leigh said...

Phoebe, good point. When we first moved in to the place, I cleaned out some mice (or rat's) nests in the then pantry. Last winter, our cat heard mice in the attic and Dan caught 4 in a trap. I haven't seen any evidence inside of mouse damage since we moved here, but still, we know there around. Our new cats have proved that. They've both caught mice and rats! Will definitely need to carefully consider food storage.