A young couple recently bought a home in Manayunk and wanted to rework their cramped kitchen and dining room into a more open, spacious layout. They called us in April to come take a look. The catch: they were planning a July wedding and wanted the entire project to be complete by the time out of town guests arrived. We had to move quickly.
The kitchen and dining rooms were two separate rooms with a doorway. The tiny kitchen was a dusty pea green and had cabinets, fixtures and color reminiscent of when the bride-to-be was in diapers.
We first had our clients meet with colleagues at A & C Kitchens, located in Chester, PA, where they consulted with a kitchen designer, chose cabinets and developed a working plan for their new kitchen.
While waiting for the cabinets and appliances to be delivered, we began work on the structural, electric and plumbing elements of the project. We began by removing the wall between the kitchen and dining room. Luckily this wall was not load-bearing (determined prior to removal, of course), or we would have needed to install steel structural supports or LVL beams across the opening to support the weight above.
We were also able to pivot the radiator away from the existing dividing wall and locate it on the adjacent dining room wall, preventing it from blocking our new opening. We built a custom radiator cover that maintains the house’s character and serves our space-saving needs.
Our electrician removed the single, ancient light fixture in the dining room and installed six dimmable, recessed lights for better mood and ambiance. He also put an attractive ceiling fan with a light where the old fixture had been.
The refrigerator was relocated from the main area of the kitchen to a nook by the back door; although a few extra steps away, it maximizes the space of the kitchen itself.
The kitchen had been remodeled once before (long ago), and the contractor had built a new kitchen wall – just in front of the original stone and plaster wall – using metal studs and drywall. Unfortunately, he had also compromised the integrity of the studs by cutting them in several places to allow for plumbing and electrical wires. Knowing that some heavy wall cabinets were on the way, we removed most of the sheetrock, installed wood studs wherever needed and also used ½ plywood instead of drywall for added cabinet support.
After we installed the cabinets, we had the countertop template made. We then had time to create a seamless transition in the ceiling from the dining room to the kitchen, as well as frame out and finish the new opening. Once the countertop was installed, it was time for the backsplash, paint, appliance install, under-cabinet lighting and final touch-up.
Our clients had a beautiful wedding and wonderful honeymoon. I was pleased to hear how much their family and friends loved the new kitchen and dining room. And I was very happy that we weren’t still working when they got there.