Have you ever noticed your house has at least one plumbing wall in common, providing services to two rooms adjacent to each other?
This isn’t by accident. It is efficient and cost effective to have a common wall which contains water and drainage services for two spaces; a bathroom next to a kitchen, an ensuite beside another bathroom, etc. This concept recently came in handy at a commercial space remodel.
The Petro-Canada Cardlock location in St. Boniface, home of Kennedy Energy, needed a few new offices, a better-situated locker room and change area for fuel truck drivers, as well as a complete office kitchen remodel. Although this project would entail some framing of new walls for the introduction of a few new offices and the locker room area, the new kitchen would simply recycle an existing storage room which had been, up to now, used as the locker room for the drivers and was conveniently adjacent to the existing kitchen (to be recycled as an office). Thankfully, the old kitchen’s plumbing services were completely contained within the wall that separated the existing kitchen and the impending new kitchen space.
To minimize disruption to ongoing weekly office activities, I explained to owner Don Kennedy, my plan was to prepare the old storage room in advance and fully install the new kitchen over a weekend so the employees having used the existing kitchen on a Friday, could seamlessly begin using the new kitchen on the Monday — an exercise in pre-planning and co-ordination.
The new kitchen is much larger than the existing kitchen. As such, the upper and lower cupboards, countertop, sink and faucet, as well as new fridge and microwave were all ordered well in advance to accommodate the dimensions of the room and galley kitchen design layout. Once the recycled space was cleared of the lockers, old filing cabinets and miscellaneous items, it was repainted early in the week in preparation for the switch. The delivery of the cupboards, countertop and appliances occurred on the Thursday and they were temporarily placed along the back wall of the impending kitchen. A few remaining tasks were tackled on the Friday as the staff bid farewell to the old kitchen.
On the Saturday, the old kitchen counter and lower cupboards were removed completely, including the sink and faucet. The first step was to flip the electrical outlets, so they would face into the new space. Each outlet box was removed, inverted and fastened to the wall stud in line with pre-cut holes along the new counter wall of the adjacent space. The plumbing was also flipped — this entails reusing the existing hot and cold main feeds by way of facing new feeds through the opposing wall (keeping in mind that hot and cold must now criss-cross to be correct in the new space) and installing new shut-off valves. The drain was tricky — there was very little play in the stack. As such, the ABS was precisely cut to allow for the installation of a new trap which faces into the new space. Once both the electrical and plumbing were reversed, my focus shifted towards the new kitchen area.
The lower cabinets were set into place along the common wall, allowing for adequate space on the far end for the new fridge. Once the lower cupboards were levelled and secured to the wall, the upper cabinets were then lifted into position and fastened to the wall, level with the lower cabinets. The doors were then installed on either side of each cabinet opening and the drawers set into their cavities. Minor adjustments to each hinge squared and levelled every door to its neighbour and the knobs were then installed using a custom template created on site.
On Sunday, the countertop was cut to length allowing for a slight overhang on the close end of the cupboards. It was then secured to the lower cupboards. The hole for the new sink was mapped and cut through the countertop, centred above the cabinet cavity below. The sink was fastened to the countertop from underneath, and the faucet was then installed onto the sink top. Mesh hoses were attached from the faucet to each respective shut-off valve and the sink drain was connected to the new trap. The counter finishing edge was glued to the bare end of the countertop overhang and a bead of matching silicone was used to fill any gaps between the back of the counter and the wall. The stainless-steel fridge was backed into position and the matching microwave was set atop the counter. By 4 p.m. Sunday the table and chairs were set in place, and the new kitchen was ready for use!
The common wall between the old and new kitchens was key in the quick turnaround. It was just good fortune this larger, and better suited, kitchen space happened to be next to the existing kitchen. As a result, the electrical and plumbing services were easily adapted and recycled during this remodel. When I returned on Monday to continue with the unrelated remaining tasks, the truth was revealed — the staff never really believed I could pull it off over the weekend!
I just smiled and continued working.