Finding the "good bones"
We had a rough idea of where we’d place the cabinets, but actually placing them in the space was an exercise in courage. A friend came up and helped us gut the old kitchen, and once we had the empty space, we made cardboard cutouts of each cabinet’s footprint and set them on the floor to figure the exact layout. In the end, we had one more lower cabinet that we needed in the kitchen, so we moved that in the porch and created a bar.
After gutting the kitchen, we also saw how yucky the original floor was, and I was glad I hadn’t set my heart on saving it. The walls, classic knotty pine carsiding, seemed salvageable at first, but they were very stained with years of cooking and car siding just isn’t that expensive, so Dave replaced all of it.
Dave's biggest hassle was getting the floor reasonably level so that he could tile it. I have come to have a high appreciation for that floor leveling product, a modern miracle as far as I'm concerned. We needed a very level floor because the chose a retro-style linoleum tile, which is thin and not very forgiving. But it reflects the theme.
The north wall of the kitchen is the original “log look” siding, which Aunts Loretto and Audrey remember shellacking when the cabin was first built. Strangely, when we moved the refrigerator, it looks like no one ever shellacked behind it. Could it be that my industrious aunts never moved the fridge when they did the original work? Or is the rich patina of the wall really a function of all those years of cooking and smoking?
The carsiding gets a simple coat of shellack. We thought newer walls would contrast too starkly against the original walls (remember: cooking and smoking were both big amongst the Hyldens). But we've been very happy with the result. The new walls look so much better and not too new.
In order to bring in more light, and just a titch more space, we installed a garden window where the old window was on the north wall. Not long after we installed it, I was watching one of those rehab shows and when the hosts were going through the renovation house, they looked at a garden window and said, "and for sure, THAT has to go." So yes, I know that garden windows are out of fashion and they're certainly not mid-century, but darn it, that thing works in that space.