Renovating a much neglected Kitchen

     The first "problem area" we identified when we bought the house was the kitchen.  The current design was inefficient, had very little storage space, and was poorly laid out.  The previous owners had a refrigerator where a stove should be, and the countertop stove and in-wall oven were very dated and on the verge of being unsafe (if not unsanitary).  We never used either of them after moving in ... we got our own stove and are now remodeling the kitchen around it.

     The original kitchen layout was L-shaped, with the inside wall being unusable (save an afterthought of a cupboard that serves as a mini-pantry) due to a lack of wall and floor space, a floor heat register, and that the adjacent wall oven and cupboards opened to the wall.  After shopping around and looking for the best deals, we found a kitchen renovation that cost around $2,500 as a do-it-yourselfer, as opposed to the $15,000 - $20,000 for a contractor to come in and do it for us.  Working with the sales representative at the factory store, some nifty computer software and our dimensions, she fed the room statistics into the 'puter and we soon had a U-shaped layout that would almost quadruple our cabinet space, and efficiently utilize the wall space provided by the fairly large room.

     Once we got the cabinets safely home, taking up the space in the dining and living rooms, I went about removing the old cabinets.  I divided the project into two phases ... left of the stove and right of the stove.  I would tackle the left side first, as it had very little to remove, and that would give me the experience to see what secrets the house held before tackling the touchier stuff, like relocating the dishwasher and redoing the plumbing for the kitchen sink.  As I removed the trim and gained access to the ceiling area, I learned how the house was structured, and what it was going to take to install a new "false drop wall" above the cabinets.  I relocated electrical outlets, added a few new ones, removed one and rewired it for the new range hood.  After that it was just a matter of prepping the walls, making them smooth and level, primed and ready for final paint (after everything is up and finished).   NO PROBLEM.

     This page will chronicle the progress of the project.  We hope you find it informative.


Click on any picture to enlarge

Before ...

The mini-pantry

How the previous owners lived

Sink and window side

During & after ...

Start by removing the ceiling trim

Cabinet #1 is down

Cabinet #2 bites the dust

The corner wall unit is gone

Trace the outline of the new cabinets for fit

Install new electrical outlet for microwave

... then repair the hole

The cement wall is right behind, providing little space to fully recess an electrical fixture

relocate the 240V stove outlet  pseudo recessed

Tearing away at the old drop wall

DONE ... this will be replaced with a 45 degree angle to match the cabinets

The primer is white, but almost looks blue next to that yucky yellow paint

Fill, level, sand, smooth and prime the new exposed wall area

FINALLY ... the first new cabinet gets placed

Cabinets 2 & 3 quickly follow

... then over fridge cabinet and end pantry

The fridge is finally in its new home

In the immortal words of Men In Black II ... "Old and busted ... meet New Hotness !!! "

Comparison between old and new

New floor cabinets for spacing

Ready to remove the other side cabinets

Trim is all gone

End Cabinet gone

Only two left

It seems our bathroom medicine cabinet drops the razor blades right onto the kitchen cabinets

Ever wonder where all those razor blades go?

Even a nostalgic matchbook cover

The last cabinet is ready to go

A clean wall, ready for filling, sanding and priming

... and an OOPS to go with it !!!

The last of the new electrical outlets

Removing the dishwasher

Prepping the last cabinets for removal

The countertop is ready to go

... GONE

Time to get the carcass off the plumbing

A free floor

... spilled dog food and a huge open access to the unoccupied crawlspace

No wonder they had a mouse problem

New subfloor for the new sink cabinet

... you can't go without the kitchen sink ... it's too important to the operation of the house

Sink and dishwasher roughed in

... no space is wasted

Tip-outs for the sink panels

Happiness is leak-free plumbing

Uncut countertops on the hoof

A nice green speckled design

Floor cabinets are anchored and ready for countertop

Test fit uncut countertop

Cut, mitered and ready for end caps

End caps in place

... it ALMOST looks like a functional kitchen

Appliances back in place

Three more cabinets hang on the wall

... all that's needed is the over-stove cabinet

... all it needs is a little trim to lock it in

Cabinet and range hood in place

Trim in place.

Now THAT looks nice

The last cabinet is up

Making immediate use of valuable counter space

Ready to tackle the new sofit

Rough framing complete

Drywall goes up

Time for that eyesore of a hole

... covered !!!

Add a little joint compound then sand

Sanded and painted, ready for paper and trim

Decorative wall paper is added

... finished off with trim and rosettes

Working on the over-sink feature

Note the painted and covered electrical outlet

The kitchen is now officially the DRAGON'S LAIR

Outlet detail

Fabricating the last drawers from scratch

The inner works

Finished drawers with runners

The top drawer has custom dividers for Kristy's tea stash

They all look good with brass pulls

More pictures to come


Quick peek ... before to mostly done






... while Kristy tackles the guest bathroom

     Kristy had not felt comfortable with the family room "guest" bathroom since we moved in.  While I busied myself with the kitchen, she decided to do some renovation down there.  It wasn't long before she realized there was a fair amount of water damage to the baseboard sheetrock.  What looked like wallpaper on the lower half of the room was nothing more than cabinet shelf liner ... at least it came off easily.  She then put up some new tiling, coping and trim, then a fresh coat of white paint on the upper half.  It looks much better now and all we need to do is mount the oak wall cabinet and mirror over the sink.  Since the wall right behind the sink is the brick wall for the crawlspace, we will need to drill into the masonry to attach the anchors for both.

     More to follow ...


How it looked on closing day

After the first renovation, then flood damaged

Removing the rotten sheetrock

Making progress

Walls cleaned and ready for new sheetrock

Removing the old ceiling and dead exhaust fan

The ceiling is clear

Smokey provides a safety inspection

New light fixture/fan is installed

Ceiling in place and initial mudding

Bottom wall panels installed

Walls painted and ready for trim

Ready to install toilet and sink

The new floor looks great

More pictures to come






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