The Finished Kitchen Pass Through 

Ta Dah!  We are FINALLY finished with the last major project for now at 8th and M. By major I mean time-consuming, mess making, frustrating, or expensive.  This one only ticked off the first three boxes.  The pass through has completely changed the feel of the house.  It was also the hardest project that we personally (As in, no handy man or other assistance) took on and finished.  This project felt worse than the bathroom gut and remodel but we had help on that one.  Our son and friends gutted the place, and we hired a plumber to get it up to code.

When we bought the house and you opened the door, this was the view.  A solid wall directly in front of you that closed off the kitchen from the rest of the house.  The first post about this project is HERE.


It changed to this view for about a month.

And now,  this is what you see when you open the front door.

I know, right?  Wowsers.

The photo below shows the big opening but is missing the transition at the floor.  That got put in before we left so hopefully some of the pictures show it.

It is my second favorite thing about the house.  The floors still are holding the top spot.

We turned this $50.00 hunk of beech butcher block from IKEA into this beautiful pass through/ counter height bar.  We still had almost two feel of butcher block left over so I am thinking that a cutting board is in my future.


It has the same stain as the floor, Minwax Jacobean and three coats of oil based polyurethane in a satin finish.  I drove up three nights after work to sand, steel wool, and re-poly so that we could finish this weekend on this last big project.

The cabinets that are below the butcher block on the inside are really wall cabinets so they are only 12 inches deep.  They are repurposed from ReStore and were $10.00  Solid wood cabinets that will provide additional storage and support the counter top.  Win win.

We are still trying to figure out what to do with that open space where the cabinet ends.  Our initial thought was to  put in shelving but we are now thinking that a trash can might hide out there.  The plug will allow for electrical like crock pots on the counter.

I have had the cast iron shelf brackets in our last three homes.  They fit the shelf perfectly and will provide solid support for the overhang.  The counter top is screwed into the cabinet and a liberal amount of construction adhesive is holding it down.

I whitewashed the ship lap walls and love them.

The view inside the  kitchen looking out now is a lot different.  You can now see out and have more light in the space.

The fridge we got off Facebook from a friend is really big and awesome ( water, ice maker, side by side) but it will keep us from putting in an island that I thought would fit.  That scrape on the side of the fridge?  Well, when you get a 36 inch fridge though a 32 inch door there can be collateral damage.  Thankfully no one fell off the porch and that it is nothing that a little appliance paint can’t fix.

Here is an updated shot with the door knobs fixed and installed.

It is so great to see them in place.

So the reason that I cannot show more of the room is… well the photo below is the elephant in the room.  In order for us to keep up with our stuff I have set up a tool station in the living room.  If we need something it is either here or in the one room we are not touching right now. ( More on that room another day.)  I did have a mini meltdown before the pictures because it took me 45 minutes to clean the kitchen well enough to photograph.  It is all put away, thrown away, or moved to storage now so all is right with my little corner of the planet.  Oh and yes that is a leaf blower you see below, and yes at times I have used it in the house (don’t ask) but mostly it is to keep the sawdust on the front porch from making it inside.

We still have projects to do but they are ones that will not be as physically difficult.  Did you notice that the door to the hallway still doesn’t have a knob?  I do.  Every. Time. I. Look. At. It.  But, we are making progress.

The total cost of the project was right at $200.00 including the paint, new switches and outlets, the cabinet, the butcher block, wiring, caulk, additional lumber etc.


Thank you all for following along on our journey.




Opening Up the Kitchen

One project that has turned out to be a pain in the neck has been opening the kitchen.

We broke the investment property rules when we decided to make the kitchen more open.  It has taken a lot of time, cost us some a lot of aggravation, and won’t increase our rent.  I do think that if we decide to sell down the road it will make the home more appealing so that is what I hang on to when I am struggling with getting it to look finished.  The reality is, I just like the open feel so much better and it makes me happy to know that the house will be more functional.

When we first looked at the house, this is the first thing we saw when we opened the front door.


Perhaps looking right at an almost clean wall was preferable to the floor, or the dirty kitchen.  

When we walked around to the opening of the kitchen, this was our view.


The opening to the dining room side of the kitchen was 32 inches wide.

Except for time and aggravation the project hasn’t cost a lot.  We found butcher block on clearance at IKEA.  Can you believe the deal we got on beech butcher block that is going in the pass through?


Also, after removing the super thin (1/4 inch) sheet rock we discovered ship lap on both sides of the wall.  Another score!

The wall to the dining room was not load bearing so taking it down was easy.  Chop, chop and done.  Well, that and removing all the nails from the ship lap that came down then storing it in the garage because no way on the planet is it going to waste.


The picture above shows the opening from the dining room side but also that cabinet back by the stove came down from the corner and is going to be a fun project soon.  

The hole where the wall came out to the right is now filled and this weekend the threshold will be tiled to match the kitchen. 

The only electrical that needed attention on the whole project was that light switch that only needed to move a few feet over and an outlet that just needed to be “killed”.  The switch has been the BIGGEST pain of the project.  For some reason when it was moved, it will not work as a switch.  It is holding up progress in the dining room.


That wall that we left on the right side?  It looks so good now.  Except where the wires are hanging out from the switch that still wont cooperate.  Here is a peek at what it looks like now.


The wall you saw at the top of the post is load bearing so we had to make adjustments to our original design in order to make sure that the ceiling did not fall in.

Instead of the huge opening we thought we would have, we now have a counter height pass through that will this weekend have a butcher block counter top and additional cabinetry under the butcher block on the kitchen side. on the living room side there will be an overhang that can accommodate bar stools.

First, we cut both sides of the ship lap which of course we saved and added to the pile but made sure not to disturb the two by fours in the wall.

The only electrical wiring in the load bearing wall just needed moving over to be encased in the corner post.  Thankfully there was enough slack that we did not have to mess with that one too much.

Then Mr. Math figured out the height to cut the studs and after much discussion and me worrying an appropriate amount, he cut the two by fours and knocked them out.

Mr. Math then added two by fours to each end floor to ceiling that were called Jack studs.  He added a header, and additional support underneath for the counter top.  I found a great site to show us what to do.  Here is their picture of the process.  We did exactly that except we put the header all the way up top.

source House Craft

I bought a wall cabinet from ReStore for ten dollars that got attached under the opening where it will serve two purposes; add support for the heavy butcher block and provide additional storage.

So, this weekend our plan is to finish this space, like finish finish but today this is how it looks:

This is one project that I am looking forward to being done with but I know my husband is even more excited, especially if he gets that stinking switch to stop being live if the switch is on or off.

All in, this project has cost us about $200. Including the butcher block, wood supports, the cabinets, shims, etc. That is good because other areas have turned out to be more than we budgeted.

I am looking for a cheap (like almost free) idea for the back door that you see through the opening because it will be visible when the front door is open.  Any suggestions?

It is hard for me to have so many almost finished projects right now and I apologize that you have not seen anything that I consider finished yet, but we are almost to the point where I can start to show you some totally finished rooms and our nice exterior.