Making It Happen

While the kitchen plans were being mapped on paper, the Silva Brothers team ripped down the walls designated for demolition. Then they beefed up a back wall support beam with steel and engineered lumber to support the two floors and roof above. "The upper levels were held up with just one 4x8," says Tom. "How's that for getting it wrong in 1922?" Only after he was confident the back wall was strong enough did Tom start framing.

With the layout established, the subcontractors readied the room for wallboard. Master electrician Allen Gallant roughed in wiring for the lighting and appliances, while master plumber Ronald Coldwell installed pipes for the sinks, disposer, dishwasher, and refrigerator.

When the cabinets arrived, Stephen Long and Tim Donovan, finish carpenters with the patience of monks, took over. Slowly, carefully, they measured, scribed, sanded, planed, and leveled. In a week, they had installed the lower cabinets. That?s when the soapstone countertops came. Luckily, they could be cut to fit on-site — some stone countertops require the cabinet installation to pause for a week or more while fabricators make a template for a shop to cut them.

Soon the room was abuzz with the sounds of the trades: carpenters, plumbers, electricians, floorers, all working in harmony. After months of preparation, cabinets went up and beadboard was wrapped around the walls of the room. Lighting fixtures were installed over the table/island, and the tiger-maple secretary found a home between two doors. Conceived and drawn on paper, the kitchen now was complete — a room that evoked another era, displaying the craft and the care of many hands.
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