Cabinets and appliances. This is the progress we have managed so far, in our kitchen renovation on a budget. Remember we had to gut everything, fix some walls, add support for upper cabinets, move some electrical and ended up with a whole new kitchen. (I include comparison photos to demonstrate the difference.) After visiting a few home improvement stores and leaving disappointed, we finally found the kitchen style, color and quality we wanted, online. And for less than half the price asked by the megastores.
It’s been a long time since I posted the first part of our kitchen renovation. Honestly, the photos were pretty bad and no matter how many I took with my point and shoot camera, things didn’t improve. I finally found the courage to tackle the task and proudly present you our kitchen renovation part 2: The Cabinets. Installing said cabinets, was a massive diplomatic success on my behalf (took quite some effort to persuade hubby to install them).
Let’s remember that the old kitchen had a refrigerator blocking half of it, it had moldy and broken MDF cabinets, a very ugly random light fixture, the oven at the wrong spot (it’s in the corner behind the refrigerator in the following photo), doors that didn’t close, drawers that didn’t open and even floor damage.
After quite some elbow grease, we went from this:
And from this:
My mother in law, also helped by applying her own diplomatic skills to my father in law, who is a master carpenter and who made sure our cabinets were “true and plumb”. He taught us all sorts of tricks about installing a kitchen.
Once we persuaded the males to do the deed, the kitchen cabinets were installed quickly. I have
zero one photo of that, because it happened before I started the blog. I do have a tip though! When you take measurements for your cabinets, measure your walls in different heights and at least at the bottom and top of the cabinets’ height, for both upper and lower cabinets. Especially if you add wall-to-wall cabinets.
If your walls are not perfectly vertical and you aim your measurements for no wall gaps, a mere inch can be detrimental. I innocently assumed our walls were perfect and we (<- this is a royal “we”; I mean the guys) had to shave off a cabinet side. Luckily, it’s not visible because the difference was only 1/4 of an inch but, it was a very close call.
Moving on, I got maple. Why maple you might ask, when all the rage is white kitchens. Well, there are reasons:
– I have had painted kitchens in the past but, never just natural wood. Maple has a gentle sheen that reminds me of mother of pearl.
– I believe white kitchens look stunning but, a friend had recently made a beautiful all white kitchen. I didn’t want to be a huge copy cat (just a small one).
– I love dark and sleek modern cabinetry but, our kitchen felt too small for dark cabinets.
In my mind, we will enjoy the warm but light wood until we get bored. From there, we can stain dark and/or paint. Will be easy with the light stain we chose. Versatility.
For appliances I was planning to go all black, to contrast the maple and match the dishwasher (this and the fan were the only things that stayed from the old kitchen). Then we found our oven in a fantastic bargain price thanks to a mega-promo of the company. We bought it within hours of seeing the flyer. Zap!
The cabinets arrived in flat packs and hubby put them together easily. Simple instructions and well done connectors, made the whole thing a breeze.
I am very glad we managed to find decent quality for a little over two thousand American dollars.
Thick plywood (the backs and sides) and solid real wood (fronts, doors, faces). SureGreen finish by Sherwin-Williams, solid hinges. I am hopeful this kitchen will last for many years.
I was impressed by the drawers. They were truly all solid wood (even behind the front face panel), with dovetail joints and opening all the way out – and I do mean all the way (though it doesn’t show in the only good photo – below). All drawers are slow closing (the doors will be too when hubby decides to install the hardware). Overall I was doing my happy dance when we received them!
The baby’s station where I prepare her food, is on the “island” across the sink,
to avoid accidental splashing and contamination.
Moving the refrigerator where the old rusty range was,
opened up the view towards the kitchen
and from the kitchen to the dining area:
– no white kitchen with glass upper doors.
– we had to work around the window to make sure the sink and its cabinet were centered. Because of that, I had to forego getting two sliding spice cabinets to flank the oven (as the sizes didn’t fit any longer).
– I wanted all glass on the top cabinet doors but they didn’t come in that size. (We may DIY that part one day).
– My tilting front tops of the sink cabinet will probably never happen. It is an exchange for getting the largest sink we could fit in.
– All the wall cabinets were raised higher, to be comfortable for my height. Decades ago my very short grandma had the same done to her home. Let’s just say working in her kitchen is pretty hard on my waist. And my head.
– In the narrow wall of the kitchen, we went with a completely straight line of cabinets – instead of adding a corner one – in order to give the illusion of extra width (like horizontal stripes). It worked!
– Moving the electrics for the range, placing it at a cosy spot. Now, the cook does not feel isolated, the whole space opened and no doors are blocked. In addition, we can install an oven hood venting outside, much easier.
– Anything that could be drawers on the bottom cabinets, was ordered so. (Mind you plain cabinets are cheaper than drawer ones and they have a few inches more space).
– The sink is the largest that cabinet could fit. And it’s extra deep. If you have the room to get an extra deep sink, go for it. It is extremely helpful and fits so many dishes and pots. Plus, you can easily bath babies in it (without bending over a bathtub).
– The range is a slide-in because dials in the front were a must for me. I want to personally slap the utterly silly design engineer who thought it – if we can call it thinking – smart to put the dials (in other electric ranges) right above burners, heating pots with scalding, boiling food & liquids. Grr!
– We managed to make space for a single spice/cans pull out. We got the hardware for free and now we only need to make an enclosure for it.
What’s still missing:
– The countertop. I really want natural stone and in particular soapstone (not very budget friendly that). I am in love with soapstone countertops. We haven’t found anybody selling soapstone in our area yet so, we placed some floor grade plywood on top of the cabinets – pure class – and we wait. I use cutting boards for all food prep and we applied duct tape all around the edges to avoid splinters. I am told the back of my neck is turning red…
If we don’t find soapstone, I’ll be a very sad puppy. I designed the whole kitchen having in mind the soapstone.
– The backsplash. Which will heavily depend on what countertop we settle with.
– The exhaust hood above the oven.
– Possibly one or two open shelves above the “island”.
– An updated light above the sink and, of course, the right paint.
What’s NOT missing:
– A microwave oven. I don’t have a use for one.
– The cute going around the duct tape and pushing it back in place meticulously where it starts pealing. For a two years old this is quite the attention to neatness.
The bargains include:
– The kitchen cabinets.
– The sink.
– The sink faucet.
– The electrician (almost free – I have to cook for him).
– The pulls and knobs.
– The slide-in ceramic range.
Stay tuned for the part 3. I have hubby digging through our receipts for the costs and the final prices!
You might want to check out the transformation of an old and tired green kitchen into a happy, spicy yellow one.
I’ve been featured!
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