The Short Story of Three Months of Unplanned Dining Room Renovations

September 2003: We move in, notice a hot water heater built into the nice shelves/cabinets in our dining room (Figure 1, below), realize we already pay for hot water as part of our condo fees, and never turn on the electricity to the hot water heater. My mother warns us to remove it and drain it, but we figure she's just being alarmist.

November 2006: The hot water heater bursts, leaking all over the apartments below us. Insurance covers their water damage, but our neighbors hate us anyway. We have no water damage, but the built-in unit has to be mostly destroyed (Figure 2, below) to patch, drain, and then remove the water heater.

December 2006: The remains of the built-in unit are completely removed, leaving us with a gaping hole in the dining room down to bare plaster and a crazy mish-mosh of wires and pipes, almost none of it up to code. We have various plumbing work done, Robert simplifies all of the electrical, and we drape a sheet across the area to try to contain the dust.

February 2007: The rebuilt unit is finally in place, with higher quality wood, far more storage space now that the hot water heater and an unused steam-heat radiator have been removed, more aesthetically pleasing finishes, and an under-counter Sub-Zero freezer for extra loaves of bread, jars of hot fudge, etc. (Figures 3-4, below top; custom cabinets, partially installed, and freezer, without its custom panel; Figures 5-6, below bottom, final appearance)

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Created: 3/14/07. Last Modified: 3/14/07.