Remodeling your kitchen? That means eating a whole lot of pizza and takeout, right?
Not always. Some remodelers will ease your culinary pain by setting up a temporary kitchen to tide you over while your kitchen is a construction zone.
“The typical kitchen remodel takes six weeks to three months — that’s a lot for families,” said John Sylvestre, owner of Sylvestre Remodeling & Design in Minneapolis. “People say, ‘We’ll tough it out. We’ll eat out a lot.’ But that gets old.”
So for interested clients, Sylvestre will repurpose a dining room or other nearby space and set up a makeshift kitchen, sometimes using the old appliances and cabinets that are soon to be replaced. “One last stop before they hit the Dumpster,” Sylvestre said.
It isn’t pretty, but it gets the job done.
“It’s kind of Rube Goldberg,” Sylvestre said. “But it gives people a little storage. They can cook and make things.”
The cost is minimal in the context of a major kitchen remodeling — about $300 to $600, “depending how much we have to involve an electrician or a plumber,” Sylvestre said.
Betty Heffernan had a temporary kitchen set up in her dining room from last winter into spring, while Sylvestre was remodeling her Uptown home.
“It made the remodel at least tolerable,” Heffernan said. “We had a small counter, a stove, a refrigerator and a sink all hooked up. We used the temporary kitchen for three months, and it worked great. My husband and I usually eat at home, except for one or two times a week, and we continued to do that during the remodel. We even cooked lamb in a crockpot for Christmas and had some people over.”
The experience was very different from a kitchen remodeling that Heffernan endured 27 years earlier. Then, she was forced to prepare food in her basement, using a hot plate and microwave oven.
“This was much better,” she said. “Having the kitchen in a room adjacent to where it originally was keeps you in earshot and eyesight of the family.”
Sawhill Custom Kitchens & Design in Minneapolis also sets up temporary kitchens for some clients.
“Most people need something,” said co-owner Tim Aden. “We try to do it where there is a water source,” such as the laundry room or a room next to the kitchen being remodeled. Sawhill typically moves the old appliances into the temporary kitchen.
Carrie Meyerhoff finished remodeling the kitchen in her 1940s home in St. Paul’s Como neighborhood just a few weeks ago. “I’m still kind of in awe,” she said of her brand-new kitchen, designed and built by Sawhill.
“Going into it thinking I would be without a kitchen for months was kind of daunting,” she said. So she was pleased to hear that a temporary kitchen was an option.
“The house is pretty small — my living room and dining room are one long room,” Meyerhoff said. Sawhill moved her old refrigerator into the dining-room end, and set up a rolling cart with a coffee maker, toaster and microwave.
That arrangement allowed Meyerhoff to prepare simple meals while the project was underway. “I ate a lot of microwaved Lean Cuisine and bagged salads,” she said. “I don’t think I ate out much at all.”
But while handy, a pop-up kitchen has its limits. “I was glad when the full kitchen was back,” she said.