The den, kitchen, and laundry room were all connected as part of a larger room. It's difficult to represent this in just a photo or two, so we'll focus on an angle that best shows the bulk of the work being done. All 3 rooms will change drastically in the hours and months ahead.

It's March 9, 8:00am, and demolition begins any minute...

Within a few hours, appliances had been taken out and several of the cabinets were already removed. The 'demo' was well underway.

March 11, noon.

In just over 2 days, the den, kitchen & laundry room had been completely gutted.

During the following week or so, the window was enlarged from 3 to 6 feet, and additional framing was done. At this stage, the single post in the middle of the room is all that remains of a wall that had supported the roof.

April 14.

In the month that's passed, it doesn't seem like a lot happened, but there were structural fixes (including replacing the post with a ceiling beam visible at the upper left,) electric, phone and ethernet wiring was run, gas and water lines were radically re-routed, and the insulation went up. The benefits of the larger window are becoming evident.

April 26.

Southern California is Earthquake Country, and there are specific seismic/structural requirements. Whenever major work is done to older structures, the city takes that opportunity to enforce the regulations on the portions of the structure being worked on. In addition to new foundation hold-downs, this 'shear wall' actually runs past the wall at the right (and into my office) and helps assure that the side of the house won't collapse during an earthquake.

We believe this to be a good thing.

May 8.

Next came the drywall, and mud & tape to cover the seams and smooth the walls and ceiling. It's easier to see some of the 10 cans in the ceiling that will light the kitchen.

The concept of the new kitchen and den is becoming more apparent. Well, to us anyway... since we know how the cabinets and countertops will look!

May 11.

The drywall is primered and new planks of red oak are installed and match perfectly with the original flooring in adjoining rooms. The wood will acclimate for a week before being sanded and finished, so we'll get a few days off from the hammering and dust.

May 23.

The floor's looking great after staining and sealing, and it's a perfect match with the original flooring in the rest of the house.

May 27 - June 7

Installation of the cabinets is under way, and the kitchen is really taking shape. The doors and drawers are solid cherry.

You are correct if you noted that the cabinets were installed directly over the brand new floor. This was done for a few reasons, one of which is the flexibility to move/remove cabinets in the future without having to install and match more flooring at the time.

June 9 - 24

The countertops are granite in blue pearl. The different complexions in the photos are due to the flash & lighting, but the counter does take on different looks throughout the day, and shows steely blue flakes under a light. The stain is a custom combination of burnt umber, burnt sienna, mahogany and some other secret ingredients, and the feel is like furniture.

Paint is next, and the bottom photo shows some test patches in places just above the countertop.

There's a lot more to the kitchen and den than just the corner we've been showing, but that's where the most drastic changes are occurring. When it's finished, we'll post more views.

August 15

A lot of details were wrapped up in the 7 weeks since the previous report, and the installation of the washer & dryer signalled the completion of the kitchen, and we proudly (and finally) present shots of the entire room!

The new view shows the fridge and microwave, with floor-to-ceiling cabinets providing a large amount of necessary storage (as well as hiding the washer & dryer.) The space around the fridge is deliberately large, in anticipation of a replacement soon.

The kitchen took just over 5 months from start to finish, including (the apparently usual) snags and surprises both during construction, and even as we thought things were about to be finalized. So although our projected finish date at the end of June came and went, we still feel the project went smoothly, and we're very pleased with the results!

Phase 2½: the Bathroom!