My Dad, Our Kitchen, a Transformation

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I’ve been spending a lot of time with my Dad, and it’s pretty great.

After a recent attempt to sell our house, we decided to stay, with the caveat that we’d renovate the kitchen. My Dad, a self-employed carpenter, is at the helm. Our kitchen was small, but we’d gotten used to it’s small-ness. Much of the feedback from potential buyers was that the kitchen was too tiny, and we’d kind of forgotten it was.

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There goes that pesky dining room wall!

It was also ugly. It had fake (ew) oak (double ew) cabinets and square, cream-colored tile countertops and backsplash (triple ew!). Hello, early ‘90s.

For years now, my Dad’s asked, “When can we tear that wall down?”, nodding toward the kitchen wall to the dining room. As soon as we knew we were staying, we were game.

We kicked off the project on a Friday night trip to Ikea. Dave, my Dad, and I headed down to the blue and yellow monolith while my mom watched our girls. (Thanks, Mom. Nothing productive happens in Ikea with two kids underfoot.)

Dave and I have a pretty compatible style, and are not super fussy. My dad advised on what was possible in our space. With a few loops around the kitchen department of an amazingly barren Ikea, we picked out cabinets and countertops. We even found a table we’d like to round out our floorplan. My Dad has installed many Ikea kitchens and can figure out the calculations in his sleep. No fretting over measuring once here. Besides, we were waiting on design concepts from my buddy.

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My dad removed siding to install a window, and reveled our house was once pink! The girls were happy about this discovery.

We didn’t pick up the cabinets yet, but left excited that this was actually happening.

The following weekend, my Dad requested we clean out the kitchen cabinets so demo could begin, and he clearly stated he doesn’t do this. My good intentions were waylaid by a toddler up all night with an ear infection, and Dave leaving for a weeklong work trip the next day, plus all the crap necessary to managing a house. Save for a few spices my girls transported to the dining room, the cabinets remained untouched. Guess the demo would have to wait.

The next day, my dad texted a photo of that wall down while I sat in all-day technical training. I anxiously sat through the afternoon, dying not to race home and see the work underway.

A perk of working from home is that I can watch my Dad renovate our house. He is such an amazing wealth of information. Plumbing, structural, electrical, materials…. he is an infinite font of talent and wisdom. If I seem in awe, it’s because I am. I wish I picked up more of his knowledge, but for now I just pop down from work to pick his brain, and to take pictures of my Dad and the progress. I’m happy that he is helping to rebuild our home.

Recently he found a new, large window at a salvage spot. I’ve been adamant about getting lots of light in our new kitchen. In one day, he cut open a hole in the back of the house, replacing a tiny window with this lovely one. We have no walls, no floor, or ceiling, but the daylight has already transformed the space.

2 comments on “My Dad, Our Kitchen, a Transformation”

  1. I absolutely loved this. What a great dad! When my husband and I bought our house 7 years ago, it had no kitchen. Like, it was a room that was literally EMPTY. My dad came in with a “we can do this” attitude. He and my husband built a kitchen together with an occasional hand from me. We both learned a ton from him and gained an unbelievable amount of respect for him. I don’t know how these dads do what they do! When my dad passed away unexpectedly 2.5 years ago, my husband made a touching speech at the service about him and the life lessons learned during the kitchen reno. I think of my him everyday, because he left such a big part of himself in this house. Not to make this about me and my family (sorry!) but your story made me so happy and so sad. I love your love and respect for your father. This is such a beautiful story to me. Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing it.

    1. Oh, Tara, such a lovely story. Your dad is intertwined with the history of your home. We are both so lucky to have great fathers who teach us in their own ways. And good for you for pitching in – the most I’ve done is take photos 😉 I didn’t even move spices!

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