Remodeling kitchen while living in the house....

echobellyJuly 13, 2014

We're planning a fairly complete kitchen remodel and are trying to figure out how to make living through it a little easier. The main issue is the floor needs to be re-tiled, so the old cabinets need to come out first. Is it possible to leave the countertop with the sink in place, set on sawhorses? There will probably be a period of time between the floor being tiled and the new cabinets ready to be installed, and the thought of living without any countertop or sink is a little daunting. The bathroom sinks are so tiny you can't even wash a coffee cup in them.

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It's not that big a deal to keep a section of cabinet and countertop and remove it and replace it as needed during the tile job.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:36PM
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I re-modeled my baths, laundry and kitchen last year. We lived in the house throughout the re-model. The crew couldn't do this because of that...etc. I think, in retrospect that I could have bought a fairly late model 25' Airstream and lived in it and netted out at the same cost, due to the co-ordination hassles. My suggestion is put a sink in somewhere that you can use, move the refrigerator and stay out of the way of the crew. It will end up being cheaper, better and sooner done if you can stay out of the way.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 4:47PM
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I remodeled our kitchen myself a few years ago - it took nearly four months. We did not move out, but I put in a lot of time planning.

For example, flooring (hardwood) replacement was done only just before cabinet installation so as to not lose cabinets. Thus we lived with cabinets and a sink until quite late.

I did loosen the lower cabinets from the wall early on so that I could tear up the original floor and take care of any squeaks, etc.

Did not remove the sink and dishwasher, which were to be moved, until quite late.

Our old and also new microwave (GE Advantium) also is a small convection oven so we could coook in that (on the dining room table) after the old range had to go. We also had a small toaster oven.

I removed the upper cabinets earlier than one might think to allow patching and painting.

I would never have even considered laying the new hardwood early on because of risk of damage.

I think I kept the old range available to my wife for all but a few weeks at the end.

Things I did early included replacing an exterior sliding door with a single door; ceiling and wall repairs; lighting installation; removing a load-bearing wall; etc, etc.

Again flooring was done only a few days before cabinet install.

Kitchen turned out looking like I knew what I was doing and except for getting dust throughout the house, by wife was elated and I saved probably $10K in labor and Trailer Rental fees.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   July 13, 2014 at 8:19PM
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We washed our dishes in the tub when we redid our kitchen and were without a kitchen sink for about a month. We moved all of our kitchen stuff, fridge, and microwave into the room next to it (office) and were all right without a stove or kitchen sink.

If I were you I would get everything out of the kitchen all at once-- it will make the work so much easier and possibly faster.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 8:19PM
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Four months without a kitchen and I will never eat microwaved food again.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2014 at 9:32PM
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We were without a sink for 2-1/2 months, though the cabinets and appliances were in almost a month sooner. We used a lot of paper plates, and washed dishes in the bathroom sink (we have a long vanity).

We cooked a lot on the grill, and used a crock pot and rice cooker a lot. We also had an electric griddle. We didn't eat any more microwaved food than usual (vegetables, mostly). A couple of times I borrowed a neighbor's oven - until I learned to cook pizza on the grill.

It helped that we were on vacation for a week while the kitchen was out of commission.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 11:03AM
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Some builder will make accommodations for you, WITH PRIOR NOTICE.
So, make your desires known, before, the contract is signed.
Integrity is a 2 way street.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 12:43PM
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If your goal is to get the contractors in, get the job done, pay them, and leave your home, the best route might be is to stay out of the area being remodeled. Find another place to use water. The bathtub, maybe. Maybe contractors can run you a temporary water line. But really, if you set up a temporary kitchen, it may not be soo bad. Like camping, but with electricity. You have your base, but the outhouse with running water is elsewhere. The appliances mentioned have been a godsend for us during remodel. Boiled eggs in the rice cooker. Ate a lot of salads. We're finishing up ours but the toaster oven is still in full time use.

I don't think you or the contractors will be happy 'occupying' the same space during the remodel.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2014 at 2:18PM
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We're currently going through a remodel while living in the house. They had to tear everything out of the kitchen. For a price, many contractors will offer to set up a temporary sink for you in another room. We decided against that and instead bought two wash tubs. We use one to collect dirty dishes and the other to wash dishes in our utility sink. We were extremely fortunate that one of our old half-width cabinets just barely fit next to the utility sink, giving us a place for a dishrack.

Also, I'm sure you could ask to keep some of your old cabinets for a makeshift kitchen (and cover with plywood if necessary).

One other piece of advice -- if you're going to be without a stove, consider making a bunch of food ahead of time and freezing it. It is so worth the effort! We're saving money by not eating out/getting take out. And, we're not having to suffer through as many microwaveable meals.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 5:22PM
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This is fine weather for the bbq. I have baked bread and pies in mine. We set p our old dishwasher in our laundry room for the 5 monthes it took dh and I to do the total reno aftr work and on weekends a portable burner for 15 bucks helps to.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2014 at 5:36PM
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Plan on using a GE Advantium Microwave/Convection Oven (or similar) over your range... buy it early and use for cooking on the dining room table or similar location...

Here is a link that might be useful: One Possibility

This post was edited by saltidawg on Mon, Jul 21, 14 at 20:14

    Bookmark   July 21, 2014 at 5:41PM
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WAIT!!! Many people have suggested leaving the kitchen sink and maybe dishwasher in place until the last minute. We did that, and it was a huge mistake! We waited until the day before the cabinets were being delivered to pull the kitchen sink /dishwasher cabinet out. Behind the cabinet we discovered a leak. It was slow and obviously had been going on a long time. We had gone into the crawl space under the subfloor to look around before the remodel and there was no evidence of a leak. We had to cancel the install until we could get it repaired. It took a week to get the damages repaired. Instead of being without a kitchen for 2 weeks, we ended up without for nearly four. I've since read that this is a very common occurrence.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 11:47PM
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I used the kitchen remodel as an excuse to get the laundry sink I always wanted. I did NOT want to do dishes in the bathroom.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 2:19PM
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@jellytoast- ooooh, a laundry sink! I'd love one, but unfortunately the laundry room is being renovated at the same time. Two layers of tile floor have to be taken up and new ones put down. That's what's scaring me, pulling out old cabinets and putting in new ones wouldn't bother me too much, it's just that all that's not being replaced in the kitchen are the windows (I already did that).

    Bookmark   July 30, 2014 at 5:21PM
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My on-going kitchen remodel involved tearing down a load-bearing wall and installing a steel beam. The load-bearing wall had cabinets with the oven, and I've been without oven since January (thats 6 1/2 months - saltidawg how did you do it in just 4 months?). My remodel is slow because we serve as our own general, we both work more than full time, and we try to do as much of the remodeling as we can.

We have survived so far, and perhaps my best tip is to go buy an electric frying pan. I bought one in the first week (a pretty cheap model) -- and that has become our preferred cooking tool. I even prepared panna cotta for 25 using that $20 electric frying pan! Wish I'd thought to buy a convection or adventium, really miss my oven.

My somewhat OK set up is distributed through four adjacent rooms as follows:
1. Laundry room is clean-up station - we wash dishes in the laundry room sink and set them to dry on the counter where we fold laundry; 2. a small bathroom is the coffee-making station and home to the electric kettle; 3. game room houses the refrigerator, a conference room table with a microwave, and serves as a food prep area; and adjacent bedroom has a small table with the camp stove and another table for eating.

In preparation for this ordeal, I emptied two closets, one serves to hold the food, the other one houses dishes, pots and pans, etc.

The frustrating part of cooking in this "kitchen" is trying to find things, and wasting time walking between the rooms. Kids wash dishes (occasionally), and put dishes away in what appears to be random locations. Drinking bottled water and using paper plates has helped reduce the dish load.

I'm really tired of peanut butter sandwiches, but we've largely avoided the microwave meals. I think we'll be back in a working kitchen by October. (yes, 8 - 9 months out of the kitchen). But that day of a new and lovely kitchen will eventually come, and our tested marriage seems to be hanging in there..

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 6:42PM
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"saltidawg how did you do it in just 4 months?" I was the GC, the carpenter, the plumber, the designer, and after 49 years of marriage including 24 years in the Submarine Service, I know how to say, "Aye, aye, Dear!"

We had the freestanding range available all but a few days. We had a toaster oven, we had the GE Advantium microwave/convection oven. We could manage meals for all but a few days... that said, we did eat out a lot... fast food and other.

But we could grill a steak on the Patio Gas Grill, cook burgers, chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, whatever almost the whole time.

The toaster oven may have been on the dining room table alongside the advantium. The range may have been pushed out from the wall a few feet (limited by 220 Volt outlet.) The coffee pot moved seemingly on a daily basis.

Part of my construction planning as far as sequence was to try to allow us the option of cooking at home for virtually the whole four months.

I keep a clean, nay immaculate work site, but I did not have to remove tools from the work site each evening and I did have the option of leaving the occasional wire hanging from a box for the evening. And my (English) Bulldogs enjoyed working with me. ;-)

PS Actually I learned to say, "aye, aye, SIR." on the submarines. My wife taught me the, "Aye, aye, DEAR." part.

This post was edited by saltidawg on Thu, Jul 31, 14 at 20:52

    Bookmark   July 31, 2014 at 8:16PM
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It just got worse, my wife decided while the kitchen is being renovated, we may as well remodel the master bath, since the workers will be here anyways, it will save money. So now, not only do we have to move out of the kitchen, we have to move out of the master bedroom, into the guest room.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 7:48AM
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the dust almost killed us..i would never do it a travel trailer like someone said...

    Bookmark   August 11, 2014 at 11:12PM
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The thing is, even a relatively clean construction site is still....a construction site. Plaster dust, sawdust, random wood shavings, debris from whatever boxes are coming in and out, the odd nails on the floor, that gritty stuff that tile backing seems to shed, bags of debris waiting to be carted away....

If the cabinets are out, you'd have to be hauling dishes, cutting boards, whatever, down to the sink in a milk crate or similar and traversing the site day after day. You'll want a dedicated pair of site shoes (I use Crocs because they're washable) to make the journey. Is it worth the hassle?

We didn't have the option to keep anything hooked up in the old kitchen, so our temporary kitchen (microwave, toaster oven, mini-fridge, coffee maker) is on one floor and the sink/bathtub on another. I wash dishes in the bathtub in a series of plastic dishpans and drain them on a board balancing over the edges of the tub.

It's a true PITA but much better than walking through the site every day.

Your mileage may vary...

    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 1:16PM
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