Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Step at a Time: Kitchen Edition, Getting There Is Half the Fun?

Renaissance Handyman Nick is back on the job for now. That means we're skipping ahead to leveling up the counter top. There have been many small frustrations this week, but putting together this roundup of the weeks accomplishments has helped me feel better.

1. Counter top leveling.

Yahoo! Accomplishing this means being able to level up the stove which means easier cooking and less complaining. It also means that I got to take out the little strip of tile behind the sink. I had no idea how liberating it would be to have that out. I think it's a really neat idea to collect tiles and integrate them into the house, which is what it looks like the last owners did, but it was their collection in their style, ya' know?

It's all level now, but not yet reattached. That's because the sink we had liked that came with a faucet and was a nice-for-us price is just a smidgen too big for the cabinet. But we did find a sexy little number online that also comes with a faucet and it is due Tuesday.

Blurry shot, but such a relief!


The counter is attached from the top. So, that means re-plugging the holes which is a pain in the butt. Also, I wasn't expecting this part of the project to come so soon, but it did and while it's exciting it's also a bit of a drag in that I won't be refinishing it in windows-open weather. It's going to stink and then at the end of each day's progress it's going to get cold in here while I air it out. But it really just makes sense to get it done before installing the backsplash and even before tackling the lower cabinets.

Betty isn't a huge fan of the ruckus, but she has enjoyed licking the sink now that it's handy.

We'll have been without a kitchen sink - or dishwasher since it drains into the kitchen sink's plumbing - for 6 days when this post goes up and will likely be another week-and-a-half to two weeks. Frustrating and inconvenient, but here we are with potable water brought by pipes right into our house in five different rooms and 11 different receptacles and appliances... I guess we'll be just fine.

This sexy little number by Vigo is arriving on Tuesday. It's going to be so hard to leave it all boxed up until the counter is done.

2. More of the ongoing cabinet refinishing project.

Time to tackle the last two sections of upper cabinets. Or should I say "upper-only" cabinets? We have an additional two sections that go from the floor all the way up: a corner pantry with a spot for the microwave and the refrigerator enclosure with cabinets over it.


HOW THE HECK IS THIS UPPER CABINET ATTACHED!? After removing all the visible screws and then moving the fridge and partially emptying the cabinet above the fridge to remove 3 more it still won't budge. I had decided to ask Nick when he came on Wednesday, but since we have to postpone that, I reinstalled some screws and am storing some of our daily dishes there while I tackle the open-shelving section of upper cabinets. Man, I just hope some schlub didn't glue that sucker in there. ALWAYS THINK LONG AND HARD BEFORE SELFISHLY USING GLUE OR CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE, PEOPLE! So I put some screws back in and stored our most used dishes in there while the open shelf was taken down for it's makeover.

I didn't get to see the process, but Nick pried it up! Yes, there was glue! It's a long story that I am not able to explain without lots of hand motions: that cabinet can move up, but not out, at least not without tearing up the neighboring cabinets. The days of refinishing them with my feet on the ground ended with the open shelving piece.

Moved up a few inches to match the others and ready to repair, modify, and refinish inside and out!


The open shelves had some hidden screws, but overall it came down pretty easily and wasn't too heavy or big for me to move by myself - one of the benefits of using a soft wood to build them, I guess. Another thing I was going to have Renaissance Handyman Nick to was cut the sides and back off below the bottom shelf, but since he was not available I did it myself! I had some very good luck with my beloved new jigsaw both freehand and with a guide, so what the heck? We had a really dry and sunny day so I hauled it outside to make those cuts, add the crown moulding, and do some filling and sanding.

After priming, painting, glazing, and multiple layers of clear coat, it is up! But we need to wait until Wednesday to expose the finish to "regular use" so it sits empty and my dishes sit on the dining table and a folding table in the kitchen. I'm really excited to get those put back away .

3. Wallpaper removal.

DONE! All the wallpaper is off down to the original which was primed with an oil-based primer, skim coated over, primed with a water-based primer, and then painted with two coats. YAHOO!

The original list of the order I thought the projects will happen. Line through for complete items, italics for additions. I'll let myself do partial line thoughs for partial completion, because it's good for my morale.

1. Light fixtures
2. Remove corner shelf in order to...
3. Remove wallpaper and repair walls (& ceiling) as necessary, get temp solution for backsplash
4. Paint walls above cabinets, around wood stove, paint laundry/bath hallway.
5. Cabinet repair, move, modify
6. Refinish cabinets
8. Level, repair, and refinish counter tops
11. New sink and faucet and the counter modifications that go with it.
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates.
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?


  1. Love it! I would have fixed that cabinet with a sledge hammer. Your patience astonishes me.

    1. haha! This word "fix," I don't think it means what you think it means, Lynn. :)
      Sometimes I have to dig deep to achieve the patience, boy howdy.

  2. The glued cabinet can move up but not out? Mind blown. Also, I love the sexy sink and especially the angled cut on the lower open shelf, it's very cool and modern looking. I wish I was closer, I would do a mosaic backsplash for you. Or hell, you can probably do that yourself, too.


    1. Yeah, it's jigsaw puzzled in there for some reason. The sink arrived yesterday and if a kitchen sink can be swoon-worthy, this one is. The angled cut on the shelf keeps the counter under such a low shelf still pretty usable - even more so now that the whole this is a couple-few inches higher and the ends that went all the way down to the counter are cut off. I get to put my dishes back on there today and I am inordinately excited about that chore!


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