Lombard Erin Kitchen Remodel Project

Picture 1 – Erin’s Cape Cod – The large window to the right of the front door is in the dining room.

Picture 1 – Erin’s Cape Cod – The large window to the right of the front door is in the dining room.

Erin’s kitchen remodeling project in Lombard, IL is a splendid example of great design by both keeping the character of the house while bringing it up to modern standards. The house, which is a small 1940’s era brick Cape Cod design, contained elements of a 1920’s Arts & Craft style. The original floor plan consisted of a small kitchen and adjoining dining room. The kitchen, which had2 windows and 2 doorways, had little space for cabinets and counter top. The dining room, which also had 2 windows and 2 doorways, was paneled with varnished knotty pine car side paneling and sported an antique solid brass chandelier which looked to have been converted from natural gas to electric. Both the kitchen and dining room were quaint but not what Erin was looking for.

Picture 2 – This very unique porcelain light fixture was found upstairs.  It was relocated to a small downstairs hallway where it helped tie the past into the present.

Picture 2 – This very unique porcelain light fixture was found upstairs. It was relocated to a small downstairs hallway where it helped tie the past into the present.

Erin wanted to tie both rooms together but still have a dining room. She wanted more counter space and storage with modern appliances. She wanted the oak floors from the rest of the first floor to extend into the kitchen and she had her heart set on white painted cabinets. But she still wanted to keep elements of the Arts and Craft style.

Our job was to make this happen. We worked with Erin to come up with a design plan which included all of the things that she was looking for. We would have to remove the wall from between the rooms but she didn’t want a beam at the ceiling dividing the space. That meant that we would have to build the beam to hold up the second floor into the existing ceiling. The building was a true brick building consisting of two layers of brick and no structural framing, just firing strips nailed to the inside brick to hold the plaster walls. The wall also contained electrical outlets, switches and 2 heat ducts.

Picture 3 – The ceiling had been covered with 12x12 acoustical tiles. Note the brass chandelier which had hung in the existing dining rom

Picture 3 – The ceiling had been covered with 12×12 acoustical tiles. Note the brass chandelier which had hung in the existing dining room

The walls and ceiling were stripped of plaster to expose the framing and utilities. One of the heat ducts in the wall that was being removed serviced the bedroom upstairs. A new duct was installed on an outer wall and a new heat register was installed in the bedroom. A blower fan was added in the basement to better move the tempered air to the second floor.

The 2 heat ducts in the removed walls were re-directed into the toe kick of the new peninsula, one heating the kitchen and the other heating the dining room.

Picture 4	- Two temporary walls were then constructed, one on either side of the wall to be removed.  Then the wall was removed and 3 large glulam beams were cut into the ceiling joists where the wall was.

Picture 4 – Two temporary walls were then constructed, one on either side of the wall to be removed. Then the wall was removed and 3 large glulam beams were cut into the ceiling joists where the wall was.

Two temporary walls were then constructed, one on either side of the wall to be removed. Then the wall was removed and 3 large glulam beams were cut into the ceiling joists where the wall was. The ceiling joists were attached to the new beam with metal hangers and then the 2 temporary walls were removed.

Picture 5 – New 2x3 walls were constructed and fastened to the floor and the ceiling.

Picture 5 – New 2×3 walls were constructed and fastened to the floor and the ceiling.

The next step was to reframe the walls. Many of the original firing strips which had been attached to the inside brick had come loose over the years. In addition the brick walls were no longer plumb (straight up and down) so new 2×3 walls were constructed.We used 2×3 studs because we wanted to keep the original depth of the window and door framings. This time we attached the framingto the floor and the ceiling to achieve a plumb and square wall surface.

Picture 6	- Rigid foam insulating sheathing to filled the void between the new wall studs. The walls were then covered with a plastic vapor barrier and the joints and openings were sealed with tape.

Picture 6- Rigid foam insulating sheathing to filled the void between the new wall studs. The walls were then covered with a plastic vapor barrier and the joints and openings were sealed with tape.

Rough-in electrical and plumbing came next. While we were doing this we were able to update the plumbing to both the upstairs and main floor bathrooms since the drywall had been removed from the plumbing wall.The basement plumbing also got an update which eliminated the majority of old plumbing in the house.

Six ceiling can lights were installed in the kitchen ceiling along with electrical boxes for a sink light, pendant lights and under cabinet lighting. The electrical was also updated to meet current codes in the dining room, bathrooms and basement. The exterior back door light was also moved to the correct side of the new door. The new door now swung into the room rather than into the cabinets.

Next came the insulation. We used rigid foam insulating sheathing to fill the voids between the new wall studs and then we covered the walls with a plastic vapor barrier, taking care to seal all of the joints and openings with tape.

The kitchen floor was covered by vinyl tile going into the project. We were hoping to find an original oak floor below the tile but unfortunately there was only plywood. We removed the plywood to expose the pine floor boards and then added new red oak strip flooring to match the rest of the first floor. This involved removing some of the flooring from the hallway and then finger joining the new floor into the existing floor for a seamless look. After the drywall was installed and finished ready-to-paint the floor finisher sanded the new floor into the old and coated both with fresh coats of oil based polyurethane. The oil base would match the amber color of the original floor finish.

Figure 7	We did not add the crown molding to the walls as we had done on the other parts of the house because it would have conflicted with the crown molding that was to be installed on the new cabinets

Figure 7 We did not add the crown molding to the walls as we had done on the other parts of the house because it would have conflicted with the crown molding that was to be installed on the new cabinets

The finish carpenter installed the door and window trim. The trim was a buildup of 1×3 poplar ripped to 3” and then topped with a poplar corner bead giving the room a familiar Arts and Craft’s feel. We did not add the crown molding as we had done on the other parts of the house because it would have conflicted with the crown molding that was to be installed on the new cabinets.

Picture 8 – The corner cabinet was built without a toe kick to match the back of the peninsula.

Picture 8 – The corner cabinet was built without a toe kick to match the back of the peninsula.

The room was now ready for finishing. Erin had chosen a deep red for the wall color called “Raven’s Rage”. The walls received 2 coats of premium primer and then 2 coats of Benjamin Moore’s Aura brand in a matte finish. The ceiling and trim were both “Glacier White” to match the color of the new back door which was factory finished. The ceiling finish was Benjamin Moore Regal brand in a flat finish. The trim was Advance brand in a satin finish.

Figure 9 – Erin added a 24x24 pantry cabinet with sliding shelves and a 24x12 broom closet to its side.  The custom 12” depth avoids blocking the window.

Figure 9 – Erin added a 24×24 pantry cabinet with sliding shelves and a 24×12 broom closet to its side. The custom 12” depth avoids blocking the window.

The cabinets were delivered and installed. All of the cabinets with exposed sides were ordered with cabinet door end panels. This included the large panel that flanked the new refrigerator. The peninsula cabinet was a very special order. In order not to infringe on the window trim in the dining room, the peninsula cabinet needed to be only 15” deep. The manufacturer reduced the depth of an existing base cabinet,including the drawer depth. The cabinet that sits next to the peninsula cabinet in the corner of the dining room had to be built without a toe kick on the front to match the back of the peninsula cabinet.

As soon as the base cabinets had been set we called in the counter top vendor. He took precise measurements for the quartz counter tops which would be fabricated in their plant.

The plumber came by and did his finish work on the sink and refrigerator water line. The stainless steel farm sink was Erin’s idea. I was a little bit leery of the idea when she first talked about it but she was right on! What a great combination of old and new.

The electrician came by and finished the outlets and switches. The counter tops were installed and the tile setter came and installed the back splash. The finishing touches were the light fixtures which tied the entire room together.

Picture 10- The peninsula stands in the space where a structural wall previously divided the kitchen and the dining room.  Note the green ribbon on the back door knob.  There is a bell attached to the bottom which Erin’s Pug Terrier uses to tell everyone that she wants the door open.

Picture 10- The peninsula stands in the space where a structural wall previously divided the kitchen and the dining room. Note the green ribbon on the back door knob. There is a bell attached to the bottom which Erin’s Pug Terrier uses to tell everyone that she wants the door open.

Figure 11 - Erin's Kitchen Remodeling Project 2013Figure 11 - Erin's Kitchen Remodeling Project 2013

Figure 11 – Erin’s Kitchen Remodeling Project 2013