Tuesday, March 1, 2016

One Step at a Time: The Kitchen Renovation Edition, Finally Getting Somewhere!

Week four feels like real progress! I know just as well as anyone that all the preparation steps are necessary and count as progress, but it is so much better for my morale when the changes look at least a little like the finished product.

1. The stove side cabinets: "mended," altered, primed/painted/glazed/varnished and reinstalled!

I had to special order my "crown" moulding, because even though I am using it as a crown, it is actually a picture rail profile. So while waiting on that, I decided to take down the other stove-side upper cabinet and get to work preparing it for refinishing. The moulding arrived much quicker than I imagined! Yey!

My first ever attempt at such a feat of finish carpentry! I am SOOOO grateful for the pneumatic finish nail gun.

The cabinets are closer to the "regulation" 18-inches off the counter surface or they will be once we get the counter leveled. While they were down I decided it would be easier to clean the cooking oils off the top of them - who knows how many years of accumulation were there? It took scraping with a putty knife and repeated scrubbing with Murphy's Oil Soap to come clean. I also took out the blue floral contact paper and removed as much of the adhesive residue from the shelves as I could, primed them and applied new, grey contact paper.

I am using Benjamin Moore's "new" Advance line which is a waterborne alkyd paint.  Between recommendations from my friend at Two Shallow Pockets and my local Benjamin Moore dealer is seemed like the way to go. It's got the durability and self-leveling (i.e. diminished brush and roller marks) of an oil-based paint, but the easy of clean up and low-stink of a water-based paint. The only downside is the 16 hour re-coat time. This will be less of a hindrance when I am painting bigger sections of cabinetry.

The long re-coat time is mostly frustrating because it means living with this sh!t show for longer periods of time. Work tables hogging floor space, supplies tucked under them with some of the contents of the cupboards boxed underneath, the rest of the contents all over the counters. Still worth it to work on these pieces on the tables instead of on the walls.

All the surfaces - except the backs - are primed with the Advance primer. The interiors are painted a Benjamin Moore 2072-60 (Beach Plum) and the exteriors with 2125-50 (Sweet Innocence). I used a simple raw umber glaze that I mixed using Proceed by Golden professional decorative painting products. The top coat is Varathane Polyurethane Heavy Use Formula in Satin; the same I used on the kitchen island.

At the post-glaze, pre-varnish stage.

We have this very nifty spice rack called Spice Stack that has helped us really utilize our cupboard spice storage efficiently. Now spice jars aren't buried in the back so we know what we have and can get to it easily. We also don't buy more of things we already have, but can't find. The only problem was that because the cabinet doors sit flush to the carcass, the shelf was just a little too shallow to accommodate the Spice Stack and the door would not quite close. So, after consulting with Renaissance Handyman Nick, I cut out part of the back of the cabinet to give me the room I needed. I think we'll order another Spice Stack, for the rest of our spice jars, too.

Luckily, I realized that I'd have to prime/skim out/prime/paint more of the wall behind the cabinet before I reinstalled it! Oh and since the house is 40 years old this year, it has settled. The cabinets were flush with door and window mouldings before I took them down, but there were not level. I suspect that means there will be an uneven gap there, so I painted a little strip next the mouldings with the cabinet finish hoping it will be less obvious.

Here is how I got the carcass within an inch of the mounting height. Then Eric was able to get it up to the level line I'd made on the wall above and I could screw it to the wall.

They're up! Sans doors and contents...

Still sans doors, but full of our stuff! Minus the mugs that are in the dishwasher. And now it is completely obvious why see-through doors weren't a good option for us - we have to cram these with stuff and it's stuff that we actually use.

You'll notice that the doors aren't back on the cabinets.... I am replacing the glass with something opaque to accommodate our not-gorgeous cabinet contents and that is scheduled for this week! YAHOO!

2. Pendants over the island!

DAMNIT! I added old number 2 up there in anticipation of the arrival of the flex track adapters that I ordered arriving on Thursday, but what I failed to notice is that that they are expected to arrive on Thursday, March 3. D'oh!

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
7. Maybe try to do something with that terrible brick veneer wood stove surround?
8. Refinish counter tops
9. Install backsplash, probably tile
10. Replace outlets, switches, plates.

Next week I hope number 1 will be entirely crossed off and that the doors of the already repaired, modified, refinished, and moved upper cabinets will be completed and installed. I also expect to have removed the rest of the wallpaper (down to the first layer), made wall repairs, and primed/painted them. I hope I will have made some decent headway on repairing, modifying, and refinishing the remaining two upper cabinets. I have already scheduled time with Renaissance Handyman Nick for some help with two of those and to discuss what all I need to have done before leveling the counter top.

So where am I going to put all our dishes in the meantime? Stay tuned to see that sh!t show!


  1. You are amazing!!! Come to NC and help me!!!!


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