Living in the house was relatively comfortable, save for that tiny closet kitchen. We had 8 inches of counter space, as I mentioned before, and the kitchen wall was backed up against another wall, so the standing space was only 3 ft deep. So there we were, 3 feet of walkspace, 8 inches of counter, a sink and stove, with the refrigerator not even really in the kitchen. We needed a better solution.
The upstairs kitchen was our best bet, although it was in pretty rough shape. The water heater was plainly visible in the corner of the kitchen, and the refrigerator partially blocked the doorway to the next room. Oh, and the extension cords! There were no light fixtures installed in the kitchen, so the only light source was a lamp loosely hanging from a hook on the wall and attached to an extension cord. Worse still, the oven was also plugged in to an extension cord! Fortunately, it was a gas stove, so the extension cord was only really supplying power for the ignition.
Aaron’s parents came down for a weekend and graciously helped us run some new plumbing and electricity so we could shift things around a bit. We moved the water heater out of the kitchen and moved the fridge to a more acceptable location. They also brought us a wonderful housewarming gift: a dishwasher! But we couldn’t use the dishwasher yet because (1) there was no water pressure, and (2) the water that managed to trickle out was rust red and left stains in all the sinks. After the minor inconvenience of running an all-new plumbing supply line, however, the kitchen and upstairs apartment were habitable (at least by our standards).
We decided to spruce it up a little (and increase storage) by removing the floral wallpaper behind the stove and adding a shelf/pot rack combo. But as we attempted to steam the wallpaper, it didn’t want to let go of the walls. We soon realized that our kitchen walls were not covered in wallpaper, but contact paper! We used an iron to remove the paper, but it left a sticky residue which remains today.
We haven’t done anything about this sticky residue because, as we keep telling ourselves, this kitchen is not permanent. But it’s been 2 years now, and we still have sticky kitchen walls. That’s the thing with a DIY renovation: your definition of “permanent” changes. In the meantime, we try not to touch the walls.