Tag Archives: old house

Kitchen Renovation – Post House Elevation

THE PROBLEM: As the saying goes, you can’t make an omelet without breaking a few eggs.  Or, as I like to say,  you can’t undertake a massive house project (house elevation) without eating a few crap sandwiches. Today’s topic hails from the kitchen. The situation created stems from careless foundation work when our house was lowered (see older posts). An entire bank of cabinets, along with the granite counter top, shifted out-of-place, resulting in drawers that would roll open and an unsightly gap in the counter. Not an entirely big deal, until you appreciate that this kitchen had recently been fully gutted and renovated ALREADY!  Here’s what it looked like before:

FloodSavvy.com

Gap in granite seam about the width of a pencil.

FloodSavvy

Entire bank of cabinets shifted away from the wall

THE FIX: This project required a bit of re-tooling of the cabinets, or in  construction speak “shimming” to readjust them.  The backslash had to be  pried off  with a crowbar to achieve this and then the kitchen sink had to be reset.

FloodSavvy

Shimming the kitchen cabinets

FloodSavvy.com

Small pieces of wood added to the bottom of the cabinets, kick plate removed.

Flood Savvy.com

FloodSavvy.com

Ripping off the backsplash

AFTER:

FloodSavvy.com

Gaps are gone!

IMG_4556

FOR EVERY ACTION, THERE IS A REACTION: For the most part, this side of the kitchen was restored. We’ll still have to shore up the refrigerator, again. Plus, a new gap was created at the top of the backsplash. You can sort of see it in the picture above. Note how the beadboard and the backsplash do not meet. The gap is too big to use caulk . Eventually, we’ll put in new tile or replace this beadboard.

NOW FOR SOME GOOD NEWS: At the very beginning of this house elevation project, we had to remove a superfluous chimney that ran right through the kitchen. We decided to install new cabinets in its place to open up the kitchen a bit. The crew today did a fantastic job seaming in the new cabinets to blend in with the already existing ones.

BEFORE:

Flood Savvy

Chimney tucked neatly behind the bead-board.

AFTER:

FloodSavvy.com

Cabinets replace former chimney

We opted to go with a walnut cutting board instead of more granite. This kitchen already has plenty of it and it was much easier to seam in a piece of cutting board than another piece of granite. When I asked the lead installer about this kitchen in terms of how this project faired compared to others he has worked on he said,” This job was a nightmare.” Tell me about it!

Although you can’t tell from the photos above, this old house has walls that are no longer square, if they ever were.  A lot of tedious maneuvering went into lining up these cabinets. Many thanks to Pablo and his crew for working some magic.

David Vs. Goliath: The Gas Meter Revisited

DRAMATIC TURN OF EVENTS: An old house. Extensive flooding. One family. A behemoth-sized utility company. What do all these things have in common? A house elevation project. What originally began as a Stalin-esque shake down from conEdison, our utility company, making us question if we had somehow woken up in a post WWII Eastern Bloc country, has rounded the bend dramatically this week. Once told we would have to pay huge sums of money and be forced to endure months of waiting to have a new gas line and a new gas meter installed (with only conEdison permitted to complete the work), has now been (hopefully) resolved. Huge sigh of relief.

UNTANGLING A MISUNDERSTANDING: Initially, conEdison had mistakenly understood that WE were requesting for our gas line and gas meter to be moved for frivolous reasons, prompting them to take a strong-arm approach to our project.* Only after making daily calls to conEdison, that all seemed to lead to a murky quagmire, did we resort to contacting those much higher up in the organization. Although the CEO did not take our call, those not far below him did. Subsequently,  our project was quickly repositioned as “flood recovery” and as such is being handled quite differently.

IMG_3489

We now hope to have the new gas line and gas meter installed as early as next week, not seven months from now as originally told.  It has already been approved by their engineering department and will no longer require any permits.

USE CAUTION: Let this serve as a cautionary tale to anyone pursing an elevation project for flood mitigation. When talking to the utility company be certain to use the correct terminology. Always talk in terms of “flood recovery” and NEVER use the word new, e.g., “I’m calling about a new gas meter.” The word “New” trips the wire of taking your project down a much darker path of time delays, costly installations and cases of Pepto Bismal.

For better or worse, the homeowner MUST handle this conversation. Architects, builders, plumbers, etc., seem terrified of the big, bad utility company and what it could mean to other projects in the future. They have a relationship to protect.

UP NEXT: Will conEdison show up next week as told? Will our gas be turned back on then or require yet another chain of phone calls? Stay tuned …

*additional information available in previous posts