Long Term Home Remodel Project

Phase IV - Remodel the Kitchen / New Appliances and Cabinets


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Before The plan had been to wait a while before starting the kitchen. But, as can be seen here, the living room is open into the kitchen and just the first couple of feet of the ceiling matches. The rest is as originally built with only one of the two shop lights remaining. It just looked too bad to wait. We started almost immediately on it next. The first thing was to remove the old ceiling and the soffits above the cabinets as those too are not too popular anymore. Then we could make the new ceiling join and match the living room.

Wiring mess After taking down the ceiling, soffits and rafters, we found another wiring mess not quite as bad as that in the living room but certainly unacceptable. The photo also shows the new purlin above the wall that separates the garage from the kitchen, well almost. The support shown tilted slightly is on the top of the wall. That purlin will later be used to support the extended roof over the back room. This is discussed in a later section on the Den. This wiring problem, of course, was addressed with the new subpanel in the garage. The kitchen now has two separate lighting circuits and two general outlet circuits. The latter are both GFCI protected. In addition, each major appliance is on a separate circuit as the electrical code requires.

Fridge corner Exposed rafters These photos show the exposed rafters after everything was removed. The left one is the refrigerator corner and the original upper cabinet. In this photo and the one above, you can also see how far the old refrigerator extends beyond the wall separating the kitchen from the living room. The other photo is the opposite end of the room. The beam over the passthrough is visible at the lower end of the slope in each. We are working here with temporary lights here although it looks like the wiring might be in place with temporary boxes installed to plug into.

Upper wall With help from a friend and son-in-law, we did the sheetrock ourselves this time. The ceiling is sheetrocked here with permanent light fixtures installed and even the ceiling fan. We found a really nice 36 in, 6 blade fan that is ideal in the narrow space. This is a galley kitchen. The new upper wall is shown on the right. Note that it is not vertical. Instead, it is aligned with the purlin supports shown above. The bottom is on the garage wall and the top is the purlin. The space between there and the cabinet faces previously was attic space but was too restricted to be of any use because of the low pitch.

With the sheetrock finished, we turned to the cabinets and appliances, all of which were dated and tired. The first step was to remove and discard the cabinet doors and drawers and build all new replacements. Rather than replace the cabinet shells, we refaced them to save a little money and a lot of time. The new doors and drawers styled similar to the old but are birch plywood with a cherry finish. The drawers are all of dovetail construction. No counters New counters We were able to find brass and ceramic pulls that look period correct and new hinges that match the original, including the screw holes. Two of the cabinets are new. The new side-by-side refrigerator is both taller and wider than the old one. The cabinet between it and the range had to be replaced as it did not allow enough space. The cabinet above had to be removed and I built a new full depth one to replace it. The one beside that just had to be moved over a little.

Here, the counter tops have been removed awaiting replacements. Next is the laminate being applied on the long section. It was installed using the traditional contact cement. That, however, is not water proof and water does eventually find its way through the seams and Fridge corner joints. To prevent that, I glued the last couple of inches around the edges and seams with polyurethane cement, which is water proof. It does require clamping for about 4 hours though. As they say, "you can never have too many clamps." Here is that same refrigerator Appliances corner shown above but with the sheetrock finished, the matching wood veneer applied to the refrigerator and the new cabinet in place. Also, see how much better the cabinet-depth refrigerator fits with the separating wall. Finally, here is the Jenn-Air dual fuel range and the Bosch dishwasher. The refrigerator doesn't yet have its wood face.

The tentative long-range plan at the time was to turn the sink 90 degrees and open a walk through into the den. With that in mind, we selected laminate materials for the counter tops as a temporary measure. After the change later, we would go with granite or some other solid surface. Later consideration proves this to be an impractical change. There is just not enough room and the cost or work would be really excessive. I think the configuration Pantry will remain as is but I would still like to upgrade the counter tops sometime as they are already showing some signs of wear.

Pantry step We had previously altered an alcove in the living room to open into the kitchen instead and created a small pantry in it. Here it is finished and under construction. The uppder section currently holds an extensive set of china and the lower has six drawers that are used for a mix of items. There is a large drawer on the bottom that holds several cast iron and other large, heavy cooking utensils. The sliding shelf below the microwave is useful for removing and checking hot stuff. The legs on that shelf at the bottom fold up and it slides into the cabinet above the large drawer. It is a handy step for reaching the stuff in the top section. Finally, there is an open alcove above all for decorative purposes.

Finished The tile floor had been done several years before. Originally, it was vinyl tile over a plywood subfloor. Spills and other mishaps over the previous 40 plus years had raken a pretty serious toll on the tile and subfloor. We removed it all and substituted cement underlayment for the plywood then topped it off with this ceramic tile. A little over $7,000 and we have what seems to be an almost new kitchen. And here it is all finished.