Kansas Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 3, 2016

Remodeling "fun"

I'd forgotten how much "fun" remodeling was until recently.

After Mom's death in February, brother Dave, sister Gaila and I decided to keep her house for awhile to give us time to go through her things and to determine whether to sell or rent it. Youngest daughter Katie said she'd be interested in renting it for a couple of years, and we three siblings agreed it was a good idea.

Mom's house was built in the late 1970s, so to say it needed an update would be an understatement. While it is structurally sound, the kitchen and bathroom cabinets are really dark, the sinks are mottled and the walls have all kinds of nicks. One bedroom has blue paint sponged on a single wall, the dining room has a single wall with ultra-textured wallpaper, and one bathroom has blue striped wallpaper with horizontal strips lined with loons "swimming" across it.

The first project Katie and her boyfriend Matt tackled was the kitchen. But when I say "project," I really mean MULTIPLE projects.

The first thing they did was remove the yellow kitchen linoleum - which proved to be easier said than done. Before the job could be started, they rented a dolly to move the refrigerator and stove out.

"At first, the linoleum came off in big strips, but the closer we got to the middle of the room, the harder it got," Katie told me.

They used a heat gun to remove the stubborn adhesive on the floor and then scraped it off carefully with a putty knife. They swept the floor several times to make sure all the glue was gone. Then they drew a chalk line measuring the length and width of the room to make sure they would get the new light gray 12 x 12-inch tiles centered. They laid them on the floor before removing the adhesive backing to make sure they liked the pattern. Once they did that, they carefully measured, cut and set the tiles where they wanted them and used a large floor roller to make sure they would stick. Total time? 20 hours.

The next job was to paint the kitchen. The preparation - selecting the color, cleaning the walls, spackling and sanding rough spots, removing outlet plates, and using painter's tape to keep paint off cupboards and light switches - took six to eight hours. Putting two coats of paint on the walls took five hours.

The current ongoing project is refinishing the kitchen cabinets. The kit included a DVD to show us how to complete the process. The first part is to "de-gloss" the doors, drawer fronts and frames. I wanted to help with this one because it didn't require much muscle strength. It took us one hour to treat the frames and an additional three hours to do the same on the fronts and backs of the 17 doors and three drawers.

From there, I decided to let Katie and older daughter Mariya's girlfriend Miriam do the actual bond coat. At this point, I have no idea how much total time that will take.

Upcoming projects include removing wallpaper, painting, taking out old linoleum and putting down new tile in one bathroom.

It makes me tired just thinking about it. I've done my share of fixer-upper projects over the years - removing old carpeting and linoleum, painting, wallpapering, removing wallpaper, putting up drywall, helping put new shingles on a roof and much more. So I know that what often looks like a simple project usually ends up being more difficult and taking three to four times the number of hours you estimate it will take.

Husband Art's parents bought an older home when he was just three months old. He said from as early as he can recall until he was about 13, home remodeling projects were always underway. No room was left untouched, including a complete kitchen renovation, joining the dining room and living room into one large room, and turning the unfinished attic into a bedroom for Art and his brother. Outside, the large screened porch was replaced with a smaller one, the garage was redone, the driveway replaced and trees removed. And all of the work was done by his dad while working a full-time job.

A few years ago, Art visited a cottage in Northern Wisconsin his cousin had just finished remodeling, a project that included a large stone fireplace. Of doing all the work himself, his cousin said, "And you get to learn all these great skills you'll never use again!"

There is certainly some truth to that. But Katie is young and I am sure some of what she learns she will use again.

"Remodeling is very tiring and it takes longer than you think," she commented, "but the results are very rewarding."

Katie repainting the kitchen and working on the cabinet doors.

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