In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Kitchen Progress!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Wednesday, August 17, 2011 2 comments

For those of you blissfully unaware that we haven't been living in our house for the past two months you may be surprised to hear that we are BACK.  That's right!  Home sweet home...

Things have been steadily progressing in our kitchen.  Oh yes.  The KITCHEN.  Remember this beauty?

Loverly isn't she?  What could possibly make us want to change anything about this?  Well...lets just say it was a bit chilly in the winter and I'll leave it at that.

Kyle began demolition over his vacation about two months ago and, with the help of his step-brother, the room was rapidly stripped down to bare studs.  We were a little bummed that we weren't able to salvage the cabinets to use as storage in the workshop but they came down in pieces with one swift stroke of the hammer.  So into the pile of scrap wood they went.

Only a small amount of insulation was discovered behind the old drywall.  This was no surprise.  And after lots of hemming and hawing we decided to rip up the floor too and discovered that not only was there NO insulation, but no vapor barrier from the ground.  We were lucky that there was no rot, and the ground below was perfectly dry despite the rainy weather we had been having.  We breathed a sigh of relief (because when it comes to demo in a house as old as ours you almost always run into something unexpectedly unpleasant) and continued along our merry way.  I say 'we' in the very loose sense- Kyle did the grunt work.  I took care of the baby.  I say we're even, therefor I say 'we'.

The past few years we have lived in our house we have endured freezing cold floors in the kitchen every winter.  Not that it was that much of a big deal.  The kitchen was my least favorite room of the house, with its mint green cabinets and stickers of fruit (?).  So while I didn't spend much more time in there than I needed to for aesthetic reasons, I'd have to go in with my muck boots on just to avoid frost bite on my toes.  Therefor, only did we need to insulate the walls from drafts, but the floors as well.  Kyle laid down a vapor barrier and then filled the crawl space with insulation.  Here it is in progress:

In a single week the boys were able to get the subfloor back down over the joists as well as additional supports to keep the floor from flexing as it used to.  We were left with a skeleton of a room.  A blank slate.  Just the way I like it.  I drew up half a dozen floor plans for our future kitchen, some Kyle liked, some he hated, and vice versa.  We decided what we'd really like is an island to increase the work space, maybe one with the oven built in so you could cook and socialize with people at the same time.  But the reality that ovens take up a lot of space quickly beat down that plan.  Its amazing how something can feel so open and airy on paper but as soon as you draw out the layout on the floor its a totally different monster.  So I went back to the drawing board.

Over the next few weeks Kyle managed to not only install a new, bigger window over where the sink would be, he was able to run all the new wiring, install recessed lights, and after about a week of waiting we had a guy come in to do blown-in insulation.  It wasn't really in our budget (trust me that stuff isn't cheap) but we decided that since the room gets a lot of wind and is surrounded by uninsulated areas (the work shop next to it and above it) we couldn't afford to be cheap about it.

Over the past month there has been amazing progress made.  Enough so that we could move back into our house today, so that must mean something.  Unfortunately we're still washing dishes in our bathroom sink which isn't ideal, but hey, one thing at a time right?  Stick around folks, I'll have some great pictures to share next time!