Saturday, November 19, 2016


It was Christmas of 2014 when I told my children that I wanted to have a 'real' family reunion where all my children, their spouses and grandchildren would be together for food, fun and frivolity, even if just for a day or two. After many conversations on the phone we picked July of 2016 for the event and to celebrate Darryl and my 40th wedding anniversary. We debated about going to mountains, deserts or beaches. We decided to go to Skye and Ryan's lovely old home in Buena Vista Virginia, right off the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian trail. 
We took these photos up on the parkway, just a couple of miles from their home.

The biggest draw for having the reunion there was the large yard and in ground pool!

By February 2016 we realized we had 2 problems. 
No.1 - Hillary was expecting Baby #3 at the end of July, so we moved the reunion to the middle of June. (Luckily, no one had yet purchased airline tickets or put in for vacation time)
No. 2 - Skye and Ryan's circa 1896 home, which had been updated in the 30's and 80's, needed another update for the kitchen. 
In this 2015 photo of Reagan you
can see the edge of the stove, 10" of
counter space, the sink and dishwasher.
Very crowded and not very functional.

Skye and Ryan had scrimped and saved and asked Darryl and I if we could come out a week before the reunion to help them replace the counter-tops, put in a back splash and new flooring. But when Darryl and I arrived he had a few ideas of his own. Let's Remodel your kitchen!
Ryan, Skye and Darryl discuss a plan of action. 
 We documented the entire remodel with video, which I can't get to upload here, but maybe over Christmas I can set up a YouTube channel and put them online for you to see.
The first day of the remodel was beautiful weather. and our first project was remove the battered wooden cover that was permanently surrounding the kitchen radiator, (What an old mess we found there) tear down the fur down over the cabinets and tear out some of the cabinets.
Here are some before photos.

 The range, sink and dishwasher were all on one side of the kitchen with no counter space.

About 8 or 10 feet away on the opposite side of the kitchen were cabinets and counter top work space. 
The refrigerator was on a short wall blocking the walk area when you opened it.

Removing the upside down border wall paper that no one was a fan of and ...

....preparing to build out the short wall and turn the fridge.

Notice the white fur down gone above the cabinets on the right? Darryl and Ryan also removed the old counter tops and pulled out the stove.
Below, you can see where they moved the cabinets from the far side of the kitchen to where the stove  and vent exhaust fan used to be.

Everything from the kitchen cabinets ended up being stacked in the dining room, which was scheduled to be painted at the same time the kitchen was being re-painted. Hmmmm???
  Behind the small cabinet you can see the chimney hole from where an old wood burning cook stove used to be. Darryl's getting serious, he has his hardhat on.

Ryan putting in some small shelves and priming the cabinets.

What you don't see in these pictures is the rain. Every day it poured down rain and the humidity was 90 - 100%. Very hard when your work area is outside and your priming, painting and tiling and nothing is drying. Our 4 - 5 day job took 7 days due to the weather.
Below, the new cabinet is installed on the far side of the dishwasher and the sink cabinet and plumbing are ready for the new sink.

Below, the painting is done and Skye is inspecting the linoleum floor being torn out in preparation for the wood laminate floor to be installed. You can see the new wall Darryl built that will have a bookshelf on it. The Fridge is on the opposite side.

We took their old spice rack and re-purposed it for a cute nick knack shelf.

You can see it sitting on a tub before it was hung on the far wall. The kitchen was much more functional with the refrigerator turned toward the work area. 

The stove, new back splash and painted cabinets!

I loved the black counter tops!

We put a butcher block counter top where the stove used to be and added an additional cupboard on the far side of the dishwasher. It used to be just an empty space. The laminate floors are so much better than the old linoleum.

Darryl did the lion's share of the work with Skye, Ryan, Cami, Shiloh and I as his main helpers, mostly in the painting department. Shiloh's kids, Emily, Jonas, Preston and dad, Jason, helped with painting the dining room too.
Remember the dark paneled dining room?

This is the only photo I could find of it after it was painted. What a happy bright gathering place it was for our big family!
Skye and Ryan love the tropics and this dining room is their little piece of Hawaii with the lovely yellow walls, white trim and Paradise Turquoises blue chairs and benches.
One week after the remodel started we officially finished and the real family fun began! 

The EPIC Reunion!

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