Kitchen Renovation Part 4: Cutting the Hole

[This is the 4th part of a kitchen renovation series. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here, or keep going if you only care about the story behind our new breakfast bar]

One of the biggest design changes of our new kitchen was the breakfast bar.

The breakfast bar hole, as seen from the kitchen.
Here is the hole as seen from the kitchen side. You can see where the old wall cabinets used to be, and the old cassette tape cabinet I’ve used as a spice cabinet for many years. The red solo cups were being used for painting.

Our house is a typical 1950s dwelling, with a closed off layout. I really like the modern trend toward an open floor plan, and we decided to open up the house by adding a breakfast bar between the kitchen and living room. The bar stools will be on the living room side, helping to combine the two rooms and providing additional eating space. The eating space is actually pretty important, since we only have a small dining nook in our kitchen.

We determined that the wall was not a structural wall, which made our planning much easier. We wanted to reinforce the wall anyway, just in case we were wrong, and used this site to plan our actions.

[UNRELATED KITTEN UPDATE 3/19/2019, 5PM: I took the kittens (read about getting kittens here)  to the vet and they are NEGATIVE for nasty kitty viruses, like leukemia and aids! Yay! They do have an upper respiratory infection, so they came home with antibiotics. They also have coccidia, a type of parasite that isn’t treated with normal dewormer. Conveniently, the treatment is antibiotics, so there’s just one medicine for the little babes! The vet also gave us an immune boosting supplement (lysine), which they don’t seem to mind taking. Bella is a little underweight, but we are free feeding the little things as much kitten food as they want, and they’ve been going to town on it, which is great. The vet said we can introduce them to our adult kitties as soon as the URI clears up (no more than a week, probably). Expect a blog post soon!!!]

Continue reading “Kitchen Renovation Part 4: Cutting the Hole”

Kitchen Renovation Part 3: Painting & Lighting

[This is the 3rd part of a kitchen renovation series. Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, or keep going if you only care about painting and lights]

In the early winter of 2018 – approximately nine months after we put in the

Painted stairwell and appliance shelf.
Here is the stairwell area, located directly behind the dining space in the kitchen. We chose a bright red accent wall for the stairwell itself. The rest of the house (except bedrooms) is the pale blue color. You can also see our appliance shelf in the picture, which my husband built himself and is one of my favorite things in the world – it keeps all the appliances off the counters!

stove and vent hood – my husband and I decided to paint the kitchen. We didn’t paint the whole kitchen at this point – we figured we’d be damaging walls when we tore down cupboards and fixed electrical outlets so there was no point. However, we did want to paint the dining area of our kitchen. The eating space in the kitchen flows into the stairwell that heads to the basement, so there is a lot of surface area that would need a coat of paint that was totally separated from the main renovation area. We figured we’d paint that early to get it out of the way before we ripped everything apart. It also provided a nice motivator, since the dining area looked fantastic, while the rest of the kitchen began to look increasingly more dreadful.

Continue reading “Kitchen Renovation Part 3: Painting & Lighting”

Kitchen Renovation Part 2: New Stove & Vent Hood

[This is the 2nd part of a kitchen renovation series. Read Part 1 here or keep going if you only care about my opinions on stoves & vent hoods]

The very first thing that my husband and I did in our kitchen, was to install a new stove and vent hood. We did this back in March, 2018, nearly a year before we did the bulk of our kitchen renovation.

The Vent Hood

The biggest issue with the original vent hood was that…there wasn’t one. Without a vent hood, smoke, steam, and gunk from the stuff that you cook just shoots up at the ceiling. This creates grease on the ceiling, and that’s icky. It also causes smoke alarms to go off whenever you do something that creates a lot of smoke, like searing a steak or roasting veggies at high temperatures. I actually disconnected my smoke alarm shortly after moving into the house which is not safe. You shouldn’t disconnect your smoke alarm. 

Obviously, I wanted to get a vent hood installed as soon as I could, so as soon as we had finalized a layout for our kitchen design, I started researching. Continue reading “Kitchen Renovation Part 2: New Stove & Vent Hood”

Kitchen Renovation Part 1: Planning

I can’t start a story about our kitchen renovation without starting with the story of how we bought our house.

Well, how I bought our house. My husband and I weren’t married yet.

Disclaimer 1/26/2020: My (ex)husband and I are no longer married – he did some awful stuff (read the explanation here) and the renovation didn’t quite get finished as planned. The below post is still accurate though, so use it if you can!

Wait, I’m Buying A House?

One rainy, crummy day in September, I was sitting in the living room of my apartment watching Netflix and wishing the rain would stop. Suddenly, I realized that there was water dripping down one of the walls. I called maintenance, but it was a Saturday, so they couldn’t help me until Monday and since it was an apartment, I couldn’t fix it myself. All I could do was put a pot under the leak and watch the wall get wet.

That night, I was hanging out with a friend watching a Detroit Lions pre-season game, and he was complaining about his apartment and we just got going on a mutual rant of why apartments suck.

And then we got to wondering – was it a crazy idea to think about buying a house? Continue reading “Kitchen Renovation Part 1: Planning”

Meal Plan Monday – January 21st, 2019

I thought I’d start with sharing what I plan on cooking this week. Feel free to copy, re-work, or uses bits of this meal plan for inspiration, or just to give yourself a planning break.

What’s Going On This Week

This week we are working with no kitchen sink, so minimizing dishes is a MUST. I also am off work Monday and Friday, which gives me a little more flexibility to make long-cooking dishes. Oh, and did I mention that we got a massive winter storm this weekend, making everything cold and miserable?

Monday, January 21st

Breakfast: Eggs, bacon, and fruit. This is our standard weekday breakfast – who has time to plan out fun breakfasts during the week? For the fruit, we’ll probably be eating the greenhouse grown strawberries I managed to find at Costco this week (!!!).

Lunch: Leftover chicken noodle soup from last week & an apple

Dinner: Split Pea Soup with Irish Soda Bread. I am SOOOOO excited that I get to make this today! It has to cook for a long time – and requires a good bit of work – but since I’m off work for MLK Day, it shouldn’t be a problem. I make my soup with ham hocks – which came from a pasture-raised pig – and lots of peas. Continue reading “Meal Plan Monday – January 21st, 2019”

Introduction

Hi there! My name is Jess and I’m a 24-year-old girl woman who is trying to embark on a crazy homesteading journey! You can read more about me here.

I just wanted to introduce myself and welcome you to the site. I plan on blogging about the following:

  • Recipes
  • Meal Plans
  • Gardening experiments and adventures
  • House renovations
  • My quest to move to the country (my looooonnnngggg quest)
  • Budgeting and frugal tips
  • Health investigations – what does the RESEARCH say on vegetable oil, GMOs, exercise, etc?
  • Reflections on my life – i.e. WHY AM I TRYING TO HOMESTEAD?!?!
  • Miscellaneous stuff, as I feel like it.

What to Expect Soon

  • Posts about our kitchen that is being torn apart and redone. We are going almost entirely DIY on it and learning lots of skills in the process. We are definite newbies!
  • Garden planning – I’m working on a design for my 2nd year garden. I need to figure out how to maximize my yields, but also not shock my neighbors by my crazy jungle.
  • Winter recipes – soups, stews, breads, and casseroles, probably.
  • Science Investigations – I’m currently investigating whether or not GMOs are a problem, and have a few other investigations I’ve already done that I will make readable to people (who aren’t me and don’t know Crazy Jess Shorthand), and post.
  • Meal Plans – I usually make a written meal plan every week, and I thought I’d post a few of them. I know deciding what to cook can be a struggle for people who aren’t used to preparing their meals from scratch, so I figured it might be helpful. No promises on posting this every week though.

My Guarantee

  • I promise to always be as thorough as possible when investigating any sort of scientific claims or health news
  • I promise to always give honest reviews of products, procedures, and recipes.
  • I promise to respect different opinions in the comments
  • I promise to always give credit to my sources.
  • I promise to do my best to provide information that will help other people embark on journey’s like my own – to find real food, environmental sustainability, and prosperous home lives.

Please let me know if there is anything in particular you want to know about me! I’m happy to answer your questions!