This week has given me a better understanding of why my boys love demolition so much. Or, there is just something incredibly therapeutic for stress, especially of the politics-induced variety, in ripping things down to their bare bones. Maybe both.
In any case, what was a whole kitchen (albeit messy and in mid-pack) on Monday night is now a hammered, chiseled, sawed room of gaping holes and capped wires and to-be-rerouted PVC piping cut off from the rest of our house by an enormous plastic sheet with a zipper up its middle. While I often found the planning for this renovation stressful, I am loving every single bit of what it's taking to raze the kitchen to its foundation.
This is in part because we have such a great team of responsible, lovely professionals doing the job. Trust is so essential, and honestly liking the people you're working with makes everything that much better. Our contractor renovated the kitchen at our old house, and while one or two of the original team is no longer with him, everyone else is. I love that.
It is definitely crucial to prepare for being without a kitchen, and a lot of y'all have asked how in god's name am I feeding my family. Good question!
Last time around, we invested in a high-quality two-burner hot plate and kept our grill's propane tank full. Two friends doing kitchen remodels subsequently used the hot plate, and now I have it in my rotation once more. It is really easy to use, compact, and portable. I have been cooking and freezing things (we have a chest freezer in our storage room) that don't require the use of an oven for months now so that we can regularly have hot, home-cooked meals during the coming weeks. Eating out is expensive and often less healthy than eating at home. Plus, sometimes I want to be in my jammies well before I eat dinner. Last night, T and I ate steaming bowls of chili while we watched some TV.
It is also infinitely helpful to have your refrigerator relocated to an open space in your house so that you can still use it. Ours is now in our living room. We are lucky to have a bar fridge and wet bar area in our basement. There we have a sink and enough counter space to have our coffee maker and the hot plate set up, some prep area, a garbage can, and cabinetry in which to put plates and such. On another wall of our basement we have counter space where we've put our microwave and toaster oven. So while it does feel a bit scattered and like we're camping, it's fun and totally doable.
During the pack-up, I thought long and hard about what we need and use daily, and what we can do without for a while. The photo above gives you some sense of what I kept out, including most-used spices, tupperware, and essential utensils.
I also thought about what I might need to cook for during our renovation. Each Mardi Gras, for example, I make King Cakes for the boys' classes, and Oliver's birthday is on St. Patty's Day. So, I kept out the ingredients and necessary pans for King Cake and will rely on my wonderful next door neighbor's oven for the actual baking. I'll do the same for Oliver's birthday cake if my new range isn't ready for use yet when the time comes.
As you might have surmised, it is crucial to have a good attitude about all this and to have fun with the inconveniences when you can. Keeping your eye on the end product is helpful as are gratitude and reminders that the renovation will only last for a finite time period. Things will go wrong but a good and capable team will help you find the best solution.
In the meantime, if you're stressed, be sure and watch the demo as it takes place. I've been floating on air this week as truckload after truckload of refuse is taken away, a blank canvas left behind. Progress unfolding before my eyes. What fun!