The Kitchen ~ Part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, we planned to pour the kitchen floor on the next Tuesday. On Monday, I spent the day finishing prepping for the pour. I tied the floor matting together, placed some rebar in critical areas, and raised the matting onto several hundred wooden blocks. I also placed planks to run the wheelbarrows on:


With four feet to keep track of, Jabo had a tough time navigating the matting. He liked the planks.

We poured on Tuesday as planned, and after the floor had cured for a day or two, Aramis and I started framing the kitchen cabinets. We are using 1.5″x1.5″x1/16th” steel tubing for the framework, just as we did for the cabinet vertical corners that we embedded in the concrete floor.

There are three islands in the kitchen. The first one, on the left as you enter the kitchen door from the dining room, has two parts. The backside in the next photo, the part closest to the big window, will be an eating counter set at 42-inches off the floor. We will have high stools at this counter. The other side of the island will have the dishwasher on the left and the sink in the middle of the counter:


You can also see that I have sprayed a first coat of paint on the walls. I used a 15-minute drying oil-based polyurethane paint, Lanco brand. This paint dries as slick as glass.

When we have the frames all welded and the welds ground flat, I will spray on a couple coats of black polyurethane paint. I will apply aluminum diamond plate to the framework sides, cabinet doors, and drawer fronts. More on this in a future post.

The other two islands are shown in the next photo. The island on the left will have the stove on the left, and on the backside of this island will be work space for food preparation such as bread. The third island at the right side of the next photo is two-inches lower for easier rolling of pizza dough and kneading bread:


You can see that we are also placing framework for drawers and cabinet doors.

Here is a view of all three islands:


Aramis and I did the cabinet work above in three days. I would measure and cut, and he would weld and grind. In order to keep out of his way while he was welding, I prepped a piece on one cabinet and then moved to another cabinet, then to another, keeping the 3-D framework of each island in my mind while building each cabinet carcass one piece at a time. We still need another day to work on supports for the aluminum panels and supports for the floors in the cabinets.

Here is a panoramic photo of the kitchen:

Panorama -- Kitchen -- 1 Nov 2013

I took this photo from the kitchen doorway. You can see that a window lines up with the doorway, and there is a window between each pair of islands. When you have a hallway, it is always nice to have a window to lead you down the hall. If you can’t have a window, a mirror or picture works well, too.

Aramis and I also fabricated a short wall at the door end of container #1. I will put glass blocks in the space above to bring lots of light into the kitchen. On the inside of the block wall will be a window seat, a nice place to read a cookbook or take a cat nap. Oh, you can also see that we have installed a lot of the large window glass:


We used scrap container siding to make the door end short wall. Also, you can see that we are using the roof deck; what a splendid place for Sunday morning pancakes!

I had to work on a few projects by myself. I installed a new, larger sand filter and water pressure tank for the well.

I also installed a couple motion sensor lights at the back of the house. Our neighborhood has another pesky petty thief roaming around at night. One night at 8:45 Cynthia, Jabo, and I were watching TV. Jabo was sound asleep on a blanket on the floor. All of a sudden he woke up and his nose started going wild. He ran to a window and started barking ferociously. I let him out and he chased the ladron (robber). Jabo almost had him, but the guy cleared the fence in the nick of time and took off running. In the past few weeks he has cut holes in several fences (including ours), broken gates, and stolen cash and cell phones. He is a real opportunist, but he doesn’t stand a chance against our bars and locks. I guess there is petty crime everywhere. I’m just happy that Cynthia and I have embraced the idea that these days we have to protect ourselves and our stuff and are taking it in stride.

While I was accomplishing things on my own, Aramis was stuck doing what I think is his least favorite job — installing angle iron in the windows in the dining and living rooms. He takes his time and makes sure that the spacing is all just right:


We pop rivet the angle iron in place. After the glass is installed, we will put another perimeter of angle iron on the inside of the windows.

While Aramis and I have been doing metalwork, Armando has been applying the two coats of repello (stucco) to the kitchen pantry, the half-bath off the kitchen, and in the under-stair closet. This was tough going what with all the tight spaces, low clearances, and lots of stairs to stucco around. I’ve always found that it is more difficult to finish out a closet than a large room:


That’s all for now, thanks for stopping by.

Starting The Kitchen And Other Progress

I, and Cynthia even more so, are very excited to have the beginnings of the kitchen underway!

The three-inch concrete floor seemed to be a good place to start. It is big and messy and is a good task to do before the finished cabinetry is installed.

But first I had to consider that we will have three islands, each with a heavy concrete counter top. I want firm foundations for these masses of concrete. Also, I needed to plan for electrical and plumbing floor penetrations. So it seemed logical to embed the island corner posts in the concrete floor, Then it would be easy to locate the floor penetrations.

By the way, our cabinets are going to be made of metal, not wood. With this in mind, Aramis and I cut one-and-a-half-inch square tubing, and using scrap pieces of angle iron, affixed each island corner post. Here they are all installed:


Here is a detail of how we affixed the corner posts to the floor:


Using self-drilling roofing screws, we screwed the angle iron scraps to the floor then welded the corner posts to the angle iron. I held the posts plumb while Aramis welded them to the angle iron.

The next photo shows that I have the electrical and plumbing stubs in place. Also, Armando, Aramis, and I placed four pieces of 4’x20′ welded wire mesh to reinforce the concrete. It was a challenge to lift the unwieldy mesh and thread the island corner posts through the holes. We still need to raise the mesh off the floor and add some rebar here and there. We plan to pour next Tuesday (two days from now):


The short doorway in the wall on the right is for under-stair storage.

While Aramis and I worked on the floor, Armando repello-ed the smaller wall sections that we just don’t need a larger crew for. He has finished the inside of the loft wall:


The electrical receptacle boxes are buried in the wall. I drew a map before the repello was applied; now I need to measure, locate the boxes, and whack the wall with a hammer to expose the electric boxes.

Armando also stuccoed inside and outside of the 4’x8′ closet in the kitchen:


Way back when I framed the roof, I didn’t want the beam at the front wall of the house to hang below the ceiling in the loft. While this was good for the loft, it was not-so-good for the row of windows above the front door. So when I haven’t needed Aramis’ help, he has been welding double 2″x6″ carriola filler blocks in place at the top of the front wall of the house:


Here is a closeup:


These filler blocks will frame the windows once the glass is installed.

For a long time, Cynthia and I have been unsure where to put the back door. Not that we will use it very much because the back yard is soggy and buggy (the roof deck is a much better place to entertain) but it is important for emergency egress. Earlier we were going to put it where the big closet is in the kitchen, but the closet seems like a higher and better use for the space. So after several meetings of the Design Committee, we finally settled on a good location for the door — in the hallway between the living room and the master bedroom. This location provides for a quick nighttime exit should there be a fire or other emergency. Aramis and I made and installed the door:


This is a good spot for the door because there is already a roof overhang. During the dry season we will build a landing, stairs, and a path around to the front of the house.

And finally, we went stove shopping. This has been a hot item (haha) for some time. I wrote about it two years ago in Stove Talk. Timing was good, because I had to plan for spacing in the kitchen.

On advice from Panamanian friends, we went to Elga, a commercial kitchen store on Via España near the fancy El Carmen church. This store is jam packed with kitchen goodies. Cynthia was in cook’s heaven. All the clerks were busy with other clients, so we were free to wander. There were several no-nonsense, all-business commercial stoves that had potential. But one model stood out from the crowd because it had much more design embellishment, or bling if you will.

After the previous “pretty” stove that we bought, we were skeptical. But this stove seemed to have it all: gas, six burners, a full size oven with three racks big enough for full-sized cookie sheets, and no button for chicken nuggets or other prepared food nonsense! And I could see the little red hearts surrounding Cynthia when she discovered that it was a convection oven. “This is it. I want it!”

But not so fast. I pulled out the smartphone and Googled the brand, American Range. After a few minutes of searching I found very few negative comments. I visited the American Range website and learned that this model was a Commercial Residential model. I learned that Commercial Residential was a commercial stove with lipstick; all the durability of commercial but designed for high-end residential kitchens. I was sold, too.

Finally a clerk was free and gave us her undivided attention. She gave us wonderful, actual service (a rarity in Panama). We left with the range loaded in the back of the Honda.

The next morning, it took three of us guys to unload the heavy beast onto my little red wagon. Here is is, still wrapped up and covered with sticker paper. Please excuse Cynthia’s drool marks:


That’s all for now. Thanks for stopping by.