Mold…. and it ain’t pretty

I sat on the couch in the family room last night staring into the kitchen holding back tears.  I told Ray this whole thing would be so much easier to digest had we not put so much of our  own sweat and love into this kitchen…..

I guess I should back up a day. I was cleaning out under the kitchen sink and noticed the shelf seemed squishy, we had no idea what we were just about to find.

MOLD….lots and lots of it, EVERYWHERE

The more we looked the more mold we would find, we both didn’t sleep last night.

This is the wall by our door, I stuck a butter knife to it and it crumbled.

The baseboards were hiding all the mold.

The paint was masking all the mold on the kick boards

until we started peeling the paint back and found what should be light brown was black.

Our cabinets are deep, the mold is on the bottom cabinets of the kitchen.  I never went on my hands and knees to grab a pot so I never saw the mold on the back of every cabinet wall.

The shelf lining was covering the shelves, yes, that is what is left of one of the shelves.

When we walked outside and looked along the foundation against our kitchen, this is what we found, more mold.

It breaks my heart to know all our hard work could be gone just like that.

Trying to remain positive, I really am, I pray this has not affected the health of the boys.

Update: Insurance will note cover the remodel as it was a slow leak caused by the dishwasher.  We are waiting on the refinance of the house so we will have the funds to rebuild.


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  1. Oh my goodness…I am so sorry that you found that. I have long admired all the work you have poured into your kitchen. I hope that it turns out to be a relatively easy fix.

  2. So sorry! Your kitchen was inspiration to me when we remodelled the kitchen in our former home. I can’t imagine the emotion right now. :/ Praying that everyone stays healthy.

  3. I’m so sorry. That just sucks. I’d be in tears. And, I’d have the same health concerns. Ahh!!! I hope they figure out the cause. Don’t disturb it too much without really closing that area off from the rest of the house so that nothing goes airborne and grows elsewhere.

  4. Oh my gosh, you must be so devastated. Your kitchen is just gorgeous. I’ll be thinking about you as you try to uncover the source and get it all straightened out.


  5. Oh Kristin!!! I am so, so sorry my friend! 🙁 I can only imagine how frustrated and sad you must feel especially after all of your hard work. Wish I could give you a big hug but just know that we are here for you!
    Love, Vanessa

  6. Kristin–Your beautiful kitchen! I’m tearing up just reading this, so I know that you are utterly heartbroken. Yes, we know that you all will come through this, and knowing you, your new mold-free kitchen will be amazing, but –sigh– the work and time required to get there isn’t at all what you had in mind. Keep us posted on how things progress, and know that you are always welcome to come to Nashville when you need a home cooked meal! 🙂

  7. It just makes you heartsick, doesn’t it? But the main thing is you found it and now you can do something about it. If it was going to make anyone ill, I think you’d have noticed — coughing, allergy like symptoms, excessive fatigue…that kind of thing. Sounds to me like whatever prompted you to notice this was a “good” thing. But yes, it makes you feel depressed for sure. It’s one of the “joys” of owning a home. Sending hugs.

  8. Oh no Kristin!! I know this has to sicken you. Your kitchen was beautiful but remember you made it beautiful once and you will again! We had a leak in our guest bath that went unnoticed for a few months. We never used it. I walked into the guest bedroom one night and saw water all on the bathroom floor. At first I just thought the boys had made a mess but then I noticed the carpet felt damp right outside the bathroom door. Turns out that a faucet we had installed a few month before had a tiny leak and we just didn’t notice. Thankfully we caught it before it did any more damage. We were lucky that there were no mold issues but we did have to rip out the built in vanity and sink.

  9. OMFG poor you, Kristin, what an absolute mess. I would be crying. all that beautiful hard work. you poor things. Will insurance cover this? and remember that you have the skill to do it all again….
    hope none of you are sick from it,
    cheers fiona

  10. I am so sorry to read this. I know it breaks your heart after putting that much work into something and then just seeing it torn up. Sometimes you just have to look on the bright side of things. Be glad that you found before it got any worse and affected anyone’s health. You’ll be in my thoughts. Hugs from Tennessee!

  11. Hi Kristen!

    A friend emailed me your blog post. First, I want to say that I am so sorry you all are going through this. My family and I went through this very thing about a year in a half ago. We had to walk away from our home. We have been though a lot and I have had to learn more about mold and all that comes along with this illness, than I ever cared to. I am more than happy to speak to you about everything, if you would like. You can email me at: [email protected]

  12. Kristin, I am so sorry to hear this!! 🙁 I can’t even imagine what you’re feeling right now. You are so right, it’s a totally different story when you have a room renovated by a company vs. putting all of your love, sweat and tears into it.

    Given that the mold isn’t in the boys’ bedrooms, they should be fine. Try to keep your windows open as much as possible to circulate fresh air and if you have a de-humidifier, open the cabinets and place it there overnight on high.

    While I was away this past summer, hubby accidentally left the water filtration system that sits on our counter on and when I came home he showed me what everything looked like under the sink-warped wood with a big dip in the center, I can tell a lot of water got under the sink, now I’m starting to worry we could have the same problem. EEKS! He did clean it up and keep the de-humidifer on full blast for 3 days straight and it’s not wet or soggy anymore but it’s amazing how water can do so much damage.

    I hope you get is sorted out quickly and that it hasn’t spread further than what you’ve discovered.

    Hugs to you!

  13. Hi sweetie, my heart hurts for you. I know there are much bigger and much more tragic problems to have but I also know how much you love your home and how hard you’ve worked to make it so lovely. We had the same sort of unexpected discovery in our basement two years ago – which is what led to it’s renovation. We did have the mold professionally remediated because I was so scared of the heath concerns. It was expensive but gave me some peace of mind through it all. So SO sorry. xo

  14. kristin!!! oh my goodness!

    i am so so soooooo sorry to read this! and i would be feeling the same as you – all of that hard work and your gorgeous kitchen!!!

    i’ll be sending good thoughts your way as you find out more. but i hope this is all to be found.

    all my best,

  15. Oh Kristin, I’m so sorry! It makes me sad. The pretty kitchen that I kept looking and looking, the one that gave me so much inspiration, looking like this! 🙁 I cannot imagine what you must be feeling right now! I hope it turns out to be an easy fix.

  16. Sorry to hear of this mess. I hope it can be covered by your insurance. I know the panic that can overcome a mama with the presence of black mold. Best of luck!

  17. Oh Kristin I am so sorry that you are going through all of this!!
    Believe me i know what you are going through. We had water come in our finished lower level which is an apt for my mom in 2011. She has a beautiful apt and I watched the workers rip up her entire bedroom and living room, I was sick! Within a few weeks it was all put back and you never knew anything was touched. I know things will work the same for your kitchen! I know it’s hard right now but try and stay positive. It will all be fine.

  18. Well, there has to be a water source of some sort…for there to be that much moisture. Once you stop the moisture then you can begin to clear and fix. Just hold on and it will be ok! Dianntha

  19. My heart is breaking for you! You both poured so much of yourselves into making it your dream kitchen!! And, I know you are worried about the health effects as well. Sending up prayers for all of you.

  20. Oh wow. The good news is that you guys found it. That stuff could have been in your house for years making you guys sick and you wouldn’t even know why you were sick, so as bad as it seems right now, this is really a blessing.

  21. So sorry about all that mold, but I’m glad that you were able to find it. I truly hope is not as bad as it seems, and I’m sure your little one’s are going to be just fine.

  22. Oh no. What an awful thing to have to deal with! I’m so sorry. Crud. I’m sure everyone is fine, but what a major thing to have to fix. As a homeowner – and parent – I can only imagine how stressful this is. I suppose the silver lining is that you found it now and not later. I’ll be thinkin’ about you and sending good thoughts your way.

  23. It broke my heart to read that post. My house sits on a very wet ground. There are two wells in the garden. Two years ago when I removed the dry wall, I discovered that walls were full of water up to 1.20 meters. I had a draining system installed, which meant that all the floor from the first floor had to be removed. It wasn’t an easy time, but now the house is safe. Also, cleaning mold with white vinegar in which you add a few drops on cinnamom essential oil kills the mold. I still use that recipe whenever some appears (only in the veranda now which hasn’t been redone yet). I hope you’ll find a solution soon… Trust me there is always one even if it doesn’t appear so at first.

  24. Oops, I forgot! I did a lot of research on the different way to get rid of the water source when it happened to me, because it’s not about getting rid of the mold… So if you want me to sum up my research to you, let me know, I’ll send you an email.

  25. I am so sorry! My heart is breaking for you! I hope your family is safe and this can be fixed without destroying your kitchen and budget! (((hugs))))

  26. Oh, Kristin my heart just breaks for you. You are one of the first blogs that I started reading – maybe THE first one and I can’t tell you how many times I have gone back and read about that kitchen – it keeps me inspired to do something to my own kitchen one day. My son walked by me as I was reading about this and said, “mom, what is wrong?” He could see it all over my face that I was so saddened for you. God is good and He will bring something good out of all this – just hang onto that thought. Will keep you all in my prayers as you figure out what to do next and will follow you on the blog. Hang in there….

  27. The good news is you found it, and you know how to fix it. Hopefully the underlying cause won’t be anything you are not prepared to deal with. Time to call a mold remediation Co. and inquire if they would like to sponsor some posts perhaps to help offset cost? Mold is a big problem in lots of homes.


  28. I know this may sound a bit Cliche, but I woke up thinking about you and praying for your situation this morning. My heart really goes out to you. We had a Mold problem in our last home. It wasn’t as severe but it was enough to add a bit of stress. So my heart goes out to you tenfold. I am sure you have done some research already on the different Molds and the cause and effect. If your concerned about the children’s health I would look into Cleanses and Detox for kids. If there is anything we can do please let me know.

  29. Your kitchen is so beautiful…can’t imagine all the hard work that went into it. But as devastating as this is to you now…it’s certainly a blessing that you discovered it when you did. So many people have had to deal with this issue, often discovering it only after major long term health issues. Get a professional to deal with it. Hope it turns out to be something that can be dealt with readily. ♥♥♥

  30. not sure when you did your kitchen but you might want to look into where your drywall came from.

    a friend of mine built a new home about 7, maybe 8 years ago. the entire home will need to be gutted. the builder used “chinese drywall. they found mold growing everywhere.

    unless you know where your mold started i would look into your drywall. google it.

    good luck.

  31. Oh Kristen – I am so sorry this has happened to you and your boys ( Ray included ) what a monumental job you have ahead of you – feel sick about it for you.
    I’ve had many many issues with homes – mold included.
    Much love,

  32. Oh my friend – so sorry to hear how widespread it is. Hopefully it will be able to be remedied without tearing out the kitchen….but if not then we all know you are the person to make it fabulous again! Fingers crossed for you.

  33. GIRL! My heart is just breaking for you! I know it is hard, but try and stay positive and healthy. Sounds like you are doing your research and YOU are just brilliant and will figure out a way to fix the issue and still have an amazingly beautiful space. But seriously, it just stinks….

  34. OH NO!! this makes my stomach turn. I am so sorry Kristin. I can’t imagine the worry you are going through. Your kitchen has truly been an amazing piece of work, and I know it is so hard. Hoping everything works out and you all stay healthy.

  35. Kristin,
    I am so sorry to hear of your mold discovery. Thinking good thoughts and sending some prayers that it’s an easy fix and that you don’t have any healthy concerns due to this. Take care and please keep us posted. You have lots of us out here that love you and your blog and really want to know how you’re doing!

  36. 1. Get more than one quote/estimate/assessment.
    2. Who is coming out to house? Insurance adjuster or mold remediation.
    3. Bleach and water is what EPA recommends for smaller sections. Lots of information on the epa.gov site.

    xo, laura

  37. Kristin, My heart goes out to you right now. Having been through something very similar (although not to a new kitchen) in October I know how easily your world can turn upside down in a minute! I’m sure you are still in shock now and living day-to-day. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Please also know that if you need an ear or someone to commiserate with, I’m here to listen. Just shoot me an email.

  38. Kristin – Oh, that is so heartbreaking. We’ve all had setbacks from time to time! Be grateful you’ve found it now and not when, God forbid, somebody starts to feel unwell. Keep your chin up and try to think positive thoughts!!


  39. Oh yuck! I so hope that this is something that can be fixed instead of having to gut the kitchen. At our last house, we found a similar looking problem in a bathroom. We assumed the room would be have to be gutted. We had a mold person come out and test the walls. They determined exactly what was there and whether or not it was dangerous. Then they treated the walls with some kind of chemicals and we repaired the damage. We ended up not having to gut the room. If you check…you might find that you have mildew or maybe a type of mold that isn’t the nasty dangerous stuff we always think of. Good luck and keep us posted.

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