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.

17 thoughts on “The Kitchen ~ Part 2

  1. Amazing work Fred, I enjoy working on our house, but I can’t imagine doing it every day, and you’re literally building everything from scratch! Two questions (one on topic):

    1) Are you planning anything to reduce the noise with the metal cabinets and drawers? I lived in a rental place w/ a tacky metal cabinet, and it was really noisy. I’m sure you’ve already got a plan…
    2) Does Cynthia have a blog or a website for her lampwork? I’m enjoying your buildout, but I originally found your blog looking for tips on how others had set up their lampwork studios. I’d like to see her work someday.

    • Hi SG,

      Thank you very much! Yes, every day. It is getting old and I want it all done. If I persevere (I think that they call it grit) it will only be another year or so.

      About the metal cabinets — I plan to make wooden (probably teak) drawers and attach the diamond plate aluminum to the fronts. I have a nice dovetail jig that I have only used one time. I think that the wood will dampen the noise, just like regular cabinets. I like those drawer slides that silently, softly, and slowly close the drawers and doors when they reach the last inch or so. But I can’t find them here, I may have to import them. If all else fails, I’ll get some of those self-adhesive felt pads to dampen the noise.

      I’ve really got to spend some time and put up an entry about Cyn’t lampwork. We’ll get on it. Promise.

      Thanks for your comment, Fred

  2. It is looking so good Fred… congrats!

    We also have our fair share of ladrones in our area… also opportunists… luckily our house is not one of the easier ones to get into… so for the 3 years that we have been here, we have avoided any theft, although some of our neighbors haven’t been so lucky. I am of the opinion to avoid this type of theft, you have to walk your property, inside and out and see what they see… think like they think… to reduce your risk.

    Saludos Fred and Cynthia from Chile!
    John, Ximena, as well as little Sarah Emily and Emma Louise
    Life in the “true” deep south!
    Sharing my experiences and insights as an expat gringo living in South America through photography.

    • Hi John,

      Cynthia and I have learned a lot in our six years here. Our first two rental houses didn’t have bars on the windows. It was Grand Central Station for the thieves. One night, my pants were on a chair right next to my side of the bed. In the morning, my wallet was empty and my phone was gone. Another time, a guy came in the window above our bed and landed on top of a sleeping Cynthia. Now everything of value is locked up in a safe at night — wallets, computers, cameras, etc. Nothing, Cyn’s pocketbook for example, is left in sight where it could be removed from the room through a barred window with a bamboo pole. Plus, they would play hell trying to get into this house without us knowing it. Jabo and I are now walking the fence line. Thanks. Stay safe, it’s a jungle out there! Fred

  3. Hello Fred,
    The house is looking amazing!! I can’t wait to see the finished product.
    I would also like to recommend that you place a wild life camera on the back of the house, once you get some photos of the ladron, some one in the neighborhood will recognize the pendejo!!

    Keep up the great job.

    • Hi Manuel,

      Thank you!

      Wild life camera. I love the description. We do have a video surveillance system but I haven’t had time to set it up yet. Maybe before next weekend… The nighttime infrared video is only good for a few feet for identifying anyone so the cameras need to be strategically placed. Fred

  4. The work you have done on the end of the containers is superb. That section looks very inviting. As I may be building in Thailand, I appreciate your attention to security and including just what you have done to make your living space safe and comfy. The artwork on the window grids makes for a creative yet secure home. That kitchen is shaping up nicely and your latest title page photo really shows some nice angles and curves to your home. Keep up the work and, again, thanks for sharing.

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