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#helloprokitchenreno Diary Two: “It Begins” with Sabrina Smelko of Hands and Hustle

Shawn, my partner, has been away jet-setting across Canada with a huge film project he’s directing — which he feels awful about — but that’s life! When it rains, it pours. I don’t even have the time some days to shower, let alone eat. It’s been quite frustrating, to say the least, and it’s starting to take its toll on me. Over the last weekend, this exhaustion took the form of laryngitis which completely knocked me off my feet for nearly a week, and following that, I got called last-minute to appear on TV as a guest judge for a home renovation show! Irony aside, it was a huge opportunity I couldn’t say no to, so I was prepared to tack on another few days to the renovation schedule that I hadn’t bargained for — and that’s just personal life and work problems! Add on the house-related issues I’ve run into, and all you can really do is laugh.

But just when the dust and lack of sleep became to much to bear, and when eating cereal was getting in my nerves, Frigidaire Professional stepped in with a huge and unexpected surprise! One morning, as I was arming myself in my grubbiest clothes and top-knotting my hair for the work-day ahead, I noticed three large boxes on my doorstep, the word FRIGIDAIRE printed on each side. Upon opening them, I was tickled pink to discover a fantastic set of four small Frigidaire Professional® appliances, namely a large and mighty Convection Toaster Oven, a 2-Slice Wide Slots Toaster, a 5-in-1 Panini Grill / Griddle, and a Large Capacity 5-Speed Blender. It felt like Christmas morning opening the appliances, and I have to admit, since getting them, I'm a lot more well-fed! Each piece is super-durable, and I love the ease-of-use. They all came with a manual, but I barely had to open any because the functions, controls and buttons were all clear and super-functional, but I'm most impressed by the sleek design and stainless steel finish, which will look great and match my other Frigidaire Professional® appliances!

Being without a kitchen isn't fun, so having these small appliances grace my home has made meal-time a lot easier and more enjoyable. I've been able to make real meals (such as a shepherds pie, roasted vegetables, many smoothies, and grilled chicken) and feel like it's nourishing my spirit and self back to health. I've been feelin' like a queen these last few days, so I can only imagine how awesome it'll be to get my remaining large kitchen appliances!

So dramatic ups and downs aside, here’s an update on what has happened over the past week since I began this renovation.

One of the most important things to do before you begin any renovation is protect your floors, so covering your flooring surfaces with cardboard is a must. After that, I was eager to get my sledgehammer swinging! In truth, I thought the demolition would be my favorite part, but it's been by-far my least favorite aspect. Rather than things coming down with a satisfying thud, each piece of wood and plaster was held in place by a huge 5" nail or wire mesh, respectively, so everything came down in tiny bits and pieces. I also had to be careful to not ruin the areas of wall and ceiling I didn't want taken down, which also slowed down the process. In hindsight, I should have taken everything down, but you live, you learn!

It's also important to clean the work site as you go. So as annoying as it sweeping and vacuuming, only to make more mess the next hour or day, a clean site is a safe site. It also helps keep as much dust at bay as possible.

At this stage, you also have to consider electrical. In my case, I had a handful of wires coming through the floor into the walls I took down, so getting these moved, capped, or cut (by a professional electrician) was the name of the game. You also have to ask yourself, "Where do you want any outlets?", "Where will your ceiling lighting go?", "Pendants, track lighting or a chandelier? How many?" This all had to be resolved the day before my flooring was to be extended so that I wouldn't be laying wood over live or needed wires.

Once the walls and bulk heads were finally gone, the flooring was installed, and the electrical was thought-through and dealt with, it was time to drywall! I did most of the drywall myself, and found it one of the more enjoyable tasks of the renovation so far.

Yesterday, I just finished filling in the last of the gaps, so in the next few days, I'm having a professional plasterer come to smooth it all out and feather my old 1950's plaster with the new. Despite being exhausted, where I'm at today feels great and I'm finally starting to get a bit excited for the final. My kitchen is now completely opened up to the living room and I can start to get a sense for what the space will be like, and I cannot wait!

I may be falling apart, but bit by dusty, messy bit, this kitchen is coming together! Continue following along with #HelloProKitchenReno on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check in next week for more progress. Next up, it's plastering, priming, painting, and assembly of the cabinets. We're gettin' there, guys!

Being without a kitchen isn't fun, so having these small appliances grace my home has made meal-time a lot easier and more enjoyable. I've been able to make real meals (such as a shepherds pie, roasted vegetables, many smoothies, and grilled chicken) and feel like it's nourishing my spirit and self back to health. I've been feelin' like a queen these last few days, so I can only imagine how awesome it'll be to get my remaining large kitchen appliances!

So dramatic ups and downs aside, here’s an update on what has happened over the past week since I began this renovation.

One of the most important things to do before you begin any renovation is protect your floors, so covering your flooring surfaces with cardboard is a must. After that, I was eager to get my sledgehammer swinging! In truth, I thought the demolition would be my favorite part, but it's been by-far my least favorite aspect. Rather than things coming down with a satisfying thud, each piece of wood and plaster was held in place by a huge 5" nail or wire mesh, respectively, so everything came down in tiny bits and pieces. I also had to be careful to not ruin the areas of wall and ceiling I didn't want taken down, which also slowed down the process. In hindsight, I should have taken everything down, but you live, you learn!

It's also important to clean the work site as you go. So as annoying as it sweeping and vacuuming, only to make more mess the next hour or day, a clean site is a safe site. It also helps keep as much dust at bay as possible.

At this stage, you also have to consider electrical. In my case, I had a handful of wires coming through the floor into the walls I took down, so getting these moved, capped, or cut (by a professional electrician) was the name of the game. You also have to ask yourself, "Where do you want any outlets?", "Where will your ceiling lighting go?", "Pendants, track lighting or a chandelier? How many?" This all had to be resolved the day before my flooring was to be extended so that I wouldn't be laying wood over live or needed wires.

Once the walls and bulk heads were finally gone, the flooring was installed, and the electrical was thought-through and dealt with, it was time to drywall! I did most of the drywall myself, and found it one of the more enjoyable tasks of the renovation so far.

Yesterday, I just finished filling in the last of the gaps, so in the next few days, I'm having a professional plasterer come to smooth it all out and feather my old 1950's plaster with the new. Despite being exhausted, where I'm at today feels great and I'm finally starting to get a bit excited for the final. My kitchen is now completely opened up to the living room and I can start to get a sense for what the space will be like, and I cannot wait!

I may be falling apart, but bit by dusty, messy bit, this kitchen is coming together! Continue following along with #HelloProKitchenReno on Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check in next week for more progress. Next up, it's plastering, priming, painting, and assembly of the cabinets. We're gettin' there, guys!