Reno Realities!

Kitchen Renovation in progress… click on the image for a larger picture.

Bathroom Renovation in progress… click on the image for a larger picture.

Part 1

I have become spoilt! I enjoy a wonderful variety of foods and gourmet meals, in spite of my many food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances. I have come to take it for granted that I can simply walk into the kitchen and whip up whatever my heart and taste buds desire. I feel very fortunate to have the ability to cook and create delicious menus, whether it’s for family or company. However, all that has come to a screeching halt…

When you buy an old house, you know there are going to be renovations. Our little brick bungalow was caught in a 1960’s time warp and was no exception. It’s a solid little house, but the wiring, plumbing, insulation, appliances, furnace, water heater, roof, decor, floors, sump pump and some windows were sadly out of date. Sometimes, it’s difficult to know where to begin!

We started with the furnace because it wasn’t in working condition when we bought the house. The previous owners shared that expense. We had planned to start the renovations on the main floor, but fate had other plans. When the sump pump failed and flooded the finished basement with clean spring water, we were forced to change directions. Eight months later, the entire basement had been upgraded including new electrical wiring, water heater, plumbing, insulation, windows, warm cherry wood floors and two exterior doors. It had been transformed from a cold, damp, rabbit warren of 9 gloomy rooms into a warm, bright, modern living space with a double sided gas fireplace, a spa style bathroom with hidden, enclosed laundry facilities, spacious master bedroom, a charming, cozy family room and furnace/workroom: 4 large rooms in total.

At this point we were focused on my health and diet in particular, so we took a 10 month break from renovations. That allowed me to get in the kitchen every day and experiment with recipes to support my new diet and lifestyle. It was frustrating to be working in such cramped quarters. Paul and I were constantly tripping over each other and storage was a huge issue. The old, outdated kitchen quickly became a bone of contention. It needed work, as did the old bathroom across the hall. Time to get back into “reno” mode!

When you have special dietary needs, life loses most of its spontaneity. The keys to staying healthy are following your diet carefully and planning things in advance. It may be tedious, but it prevents eating food that’s convenient or handy, but not necessarily appropriate. Knowing I would be without my kitchen for 6 weeks or more, I prepared a lot of meals on advance and froze them. That meant that I have been able to continue eating gluten free during the chaos with no problems at all. I have a good selection of foods including things such as lasagne, cooked spaghetti with sauce, chicken Marengo, risotto, shepherd’s pie, baked salmon, vegetable casseroles and cookies. Having these foods in the freezer has meant that I could simply grab some homemade foods that met my dietary needs when the men in the household decided to get a take away meal. It was very straight forward. When I prepared a meal in the weeks preceding the renovations, I made a few extra servings and froze them in individual portions. That has allowed me to continue eating real food, of the highest quality, made from scratch and gluten free in spite of having no access to my usual kitchen facilities. It required some forethought and a bit of planning, but very little additional effort on my part.

My husband and I created a temporary preparation and eating area in another room to help us cope with meals. We chose my office, which is right off the deck where the BBQ is located. We managed to move my computer and all my research materials into a closet. It’s a little strange, but it works very well. My biggest problem has been doing the dishes. I feel like a pioneer when I go to the bathtub to draw water and wash dishes on the patio. Fortunately, my husband has taken over those duties and we’re managing very well. What a relief that this is all happening in the spring instead of the dead of a Canadian winter.

I will keep you posted as our household drama unfolds!

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One Response to Reno Realities!

  1. MarkSpizer says:

    great post as usual!

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