A Woman’s Place is In The Kitchen (With a Hammer Drill, Obv)

Okay, so Friday I made a bold statement about all the things I was going to get done on the kitchen over the weekend, and normally that list would have been a little, ah, overly optimistic for one person to complete in two days. Then I’d have to sit here and tell you how I did not, in fact, do “all the things.” But this isn’t that kind of update…

This is the kind of update where my grandmother uses a hammer drill.


Yep. Because power tools are the most fun, that’s why. And also because my mom and her mom read my last post and were like, yeah, you’re going to need some help this weekend.


So on Saturday there were three generations of women doing exactly what women should be doing… working in the kitchen.


I mean, that’s exactly what women should be doing when one of them is in the middle of a kitchen renovation, obviously.


(Also, at least two of the three of us really like to cook as evidenced by the awesome homemade vegetable soup that fueled us through kitchen demo–thank you Mamie– so I can’t wait until this place is back together and I can start working in the kitchen in a more traditional way too. Yeah. That’s right. I’ll build myself a kitchen and then cook something awesome in it when I’m done… so try to work that into your gender stereotypes.)

Anyway, for a project that started out going all wrong, so many things went right this weekend.

Well, okay, wait… there was one small incident where I had a bucket full of things I picked up at the local lumber yard–wood filler, putty knives, sandpaper, wood glue, screws, etc.– and when my mom asked where the wood-filler was I said “in the bucket” and then let her happily patch holes in the wood for a good 20 minutes before I noticed what was happening…


I just had to take a time-out from writing because I was laughing so hard at this…again. I love my mom.

(Also, she wasn’t totally wrong. The most basic wood filler is just glue and sawdust, and even “just glue” will work for small holes, but it will also shrink down and likely leave a small divot, where as wood filler won’t shrink and often times is stainable.)

By the end of the day I’d say the holes in a about a third of the paneling were filled…


While my mom was working on that, my grandmother tackled backsplash demo, and originally started with the tiniest hammer I own…


Then she asked for a bigger hammer and the only other one I could find was my four-pound sledge, which may have been too big, and since I couldn’t find my regular hammer I pulled out the hammer-drill instead…


At first my grandma’s reaction was, “Oh, no, you shouldn’t let me use that thing…” And then I made her try it just once, and, you guys, her reaction was exactly what I hope every person who has some hesitation at using “big” power tools feels when they actually try them… which was basically “Woo! This is so much easier!” And lots of laughing.

She cleared the rest of the backsplash in a fraction of the time it took her to do the first part of it.

As for me, well, I went a round or two with the cabinets and I won.

This is what it used to look like…


And this is what it looks like now…


I mean, currently not an improvement… exactly. But those big cabs on the left with the oven/microwave always drove me nuts, especially smushed against the opening like that. I’m losing some pantry space by replacing those with uppers and lowers, but it opens up the kitchen so much that I’m not even worried about it. I’m planning to build two storage pantries in the laundry room eventually anyway.

I’m also going to widen that opening a bit to even things out a bit. If you squint you might be able to see my potential marks on the wall here…


If you don’t squint you can see, ah, all my garbage? Yeah… it’s a disaster around here.

The tricky part is that on the other side of that wall the opening is off-center the other way. So the more I widen it from the kitchen, the more off-center it becomes from the mudroom. So. That’s a thing I’m going to figure out in the next week.

But really the important part here is that the backsplash is gone on one side of the kitchen, and the new cabinets are in place. And then Sunday I sanded down all the patches my mom put in the day before, and, finally, this…


Here’s what it looked like before…


All I’ve done is one coat of primer and it already looks more like a farmhouse kitchen than a room that belongs in a cabin up North. And, actually, originally I planned to paint everything solidly white, but I kind of like the rustic look, so I’m deciding whether or not to try and maintain that through the final coat of paint. We’ll see.

If anyone is counting, at this point in the update my original list looks like this…

  1. Replace the sanding pad on my orbital sander and prep/paint enough of the wood paneling to make me not feel like a slacker.
  2. Install the uppers and lowers on this side of the kitchen by any means necessary.
  3. Remove the tile backsplash in the entire kitchen. (I’m counting this.)
  4. Build a cabinet for the microwave. Maybe.

Now, i didn’t get to building the microwave cabinet, but mostly that’s because we had some crazy windy days last week and two of my huge barn doors threatened to get blown off the barn…


So I had to spend part of the weekend figuring out how to un-wedge them (hint: it involved a lot of swearing and a resigned acceptance that I will, eventually, end up pancaked under a 15 foot barn door.)


Part of the issue was that this barn door stop (that I suspect has been in place for 30 years or so) finally rotted off it’s wooden base…


So, okay, there’s a right way to fix this, and that way involves time and tools I don’t currently posses. And the forecast called for more wind this week.

Sometimes farmlife dictates that you figure shit out even if you technically aren’t big enough for the job, don’t have the right tools, and don’t have enough time to do it right…


Yeah, fuck it. That’s never stopped me.

I rigged this ridiculous brace up using some scrap-wood that I cut into stakes and a base, and then mounted the metal door stop on top of…


I actually laughed out loud when I got done rigging this up because it is a horrible solution in all respects except for one: it works.


The doors are a little bent, but otherwise fully secure until I can loop back around to doing this right (which will involve bolting that plate into the actual concrete.

So I feel pretty good about the fact that I didn’t build a microwave cabinet, but I did handle a not-insignificant and totally unexpected farm issue. Plus some regular farm chores that really needed to be done, like mucking out the donkey stall…


Which the donkeys love. Not because they care about a clean stall…


But because they know if they harass me enough when I’m trying to shovel it out that I’ll bribe them to stay out of the barn with an extra flake of hay…


They’ve sure got me trained, and I’m not complaining. (Mostly because they did stand still for hoof-cleaning this weekend, but also because they’re adorable.)

All in all I would call that a highly successful weekend. They can’t all be like this, but when they are, I’m grateful!

45 Responses

  1. I LOVE this post so very much! The women in my family are SO the same way, though sadly my grandmother isn’t with us anymore so it’s just me and my mom … but it totally makes me smile to see other families out there like this. 🙂 You ladies are amazing!

  2. Way to go ladies! Huge kitchen progress and you didn’t get killed by a barn door. Now that’s a good weekend.

  3. Is that pine already good and sealed with something besides primer? I’ve had issues with knot holes bleeding through. Going to try shellac to seal. I’ve heard that works.

    Looks great! I want to take your Grandmom home with me!!

    1. It wasn’t actually, it’s just raw pine AND I sanded it down before priming. I worried about bleed-through, but I used a shellac-based primer on the advice of my go-to paint guy, and there was absolutely no discoloration.

      1. That shellac based primer is the bomb. It prevents everything as far as I know from showing through.

        1. Oh, I should add, when you paint on top of it the paint takes forever to dry, but it does eventually.

  4. LOVE this! I got to do some non-traditional things with my grandmothers too. My 4’10” grandmother used to wrestle with us – and win. Looking forward to seeing more of what you mighty women do with your kitchen.

  5. This post is among the best you’ve written. Fucking hilarious. I can’t tell you how hard I laughed at the wood glue and your grandma tackling the backsplash with a glass of wine.

    This makes me insanely jealous. Wish I had a grandma I actually had a relationship with. And wish my mom would do this stuff with me and then sip a glass of wine with me afterwards.

    You don’t have an easy life. But it sure does have its enviable charms.

    Cheers on the progress!

  6. You are such an inspiration! I loved reading this post and I loved the pictures…it’s so cool that all 3 generations could work together like that. Love it!

  7. 😉 Despite the abundance of stupidity in the world today even amongst the presidential candidates, I try not to be judgemental but if I were to put a rating on this post it’d be in the top three kewlest / most awesome. what Reenie said!
    Great weekend ~~~ Rock On!
    🙂 constant growth…

  8. A Women after my own heart. I teach a DIY Women Love Tools Class in Atlanta, GA once a month.

    Where are you located?

    Follow me on Facebook at
    DIY Women Love Tools

  9. my grand daughter gives me a chance to do the things I used to do so often and i am learning so much from her that I never new. Takes the right tool so many times. Mamie

  10. Hey Kit,

    Keep up the good work in the “kitchen”. Glad to see your grandmother using that hammer drill like a pro, wasn’t really expecting to see that.

  11. the wood looks so much better with even just the primer on it – it’s going to completely change the feel of the room – love it! love the pic of your grandma with the hammerdrill.

  12. I LOVE this blog! How great that you had all three generations ‘working in the kitchen’ with power tools. It looked good before, but I bet it will look fantastic when you’re done!

  13. Amazing! I love your blog! Love to see the family members work together. It looks so sweet! I love the pic of your grandmom using the hammer drill.

  14. You are such an inspiration! I loved reading this post and I loved the pictures…it’s so cool that all 3 generations could work together like that. Love it!

  15. Hi Kit,

    I’m always amaze by the level of what you can achieve with the right tools and expertise. However, I’m lacking the tools. for a beginner, how much do you think a basic worktool will cost? an estimate maybe, thanks

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  17. Haa, Kit this post is a bit controversial. Have you met those gals who believe what a man can do, then a woman can do too? I’m not sure they will agree with your assertion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. hehe

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