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Angie's Kitchen

This probably sounds nuts to most people, but man, is it fun working on a house!  I get to use tools and tear up things and...  Since I'm renting right now (and probably will be until Michael retires), I found someone else's house to tear apart and build back up---my sister's.  She was gracious enough to allow me stay with her for a couple of months and help her do a kitchen remodel.  What fun!  But still a lot of work was required.  We sanded and sanded and sanded until the orbital sander died, stayed up working late into the night more than once and broke lots of fingernails.  Here are the results.  (All of the pictures below can be enlarged to see detail by clicking on the picture)






This picture was taken before Angie moved in. She installed the floor tile (which has changed my mind about tile...I love it) prior to my arrival so we had that color to work with when choosing the overall design of the kitchen.  It actually made it easier to decide - not as many choices.  The floor tiles look great!
It can't be seen in the pictures but is worth noting:  all of the wood in the kitchen (cabinets and paneling) and in the family room is "wormwood".  It looks like termites got ahold of it.  When she first purchased the house, her intention was to leave it as is to preserve the "value" of the wood, but it was just too much (yeahhhhh!).  Why is this worth noting?  The cabinetry was very difficult to work with because of all of the holes for several reasons: sanding, cleaning all that dust and crud out of the holes, runs when staining/painting/finishing and the worst part was that some areas had so many holes, that the structural integrity of the cabinet doors was compromised in places.  A lot of work went into repairing the doors and other areas of the cabinetry that had been cut by previous owners...and the nails!!! I think the previous owners just decided one day to start hammering nails in all of the doors, on the face of the cabinets and all over the walls to hang things on?!?!


Angie had purchased a prefinished island and wanted the cabinets to match (we could have changed the island to match but it was already a great color so we started from the island color.  Staining all of the cabinets the same dark color of the island would have us right back in the same place we were when we started - all of the wood in the kitchen just closed in on you.  Putting in glass panels would probably help but I didn't think it would open up the kitchen sufficiently. 


So, here is the cabinet solution.  For the upper cabinets, we cut out the center of the doors and inserted glass panels.  They were then painted an antique white (goes well with the ceramic tile Angie picked out for the backsplash).  Decorative trim was added along the top of the cabinets and stained to match the bottom and "column" cabinets to help break up the space and to tie-in with the stained cabinets.

The walls were painted an olive color (it doesn't appear true in the photo) to match the floor.  Using a dark wall color wasn't a problem because there wasn't much wall at all.

To open up the window area we took down the straight board between the upper cabinets over the sink and cut most of it out into a more pleasing design before reinstalling. 

The paint used for the cabinets is not your everyday home-improvement-warehouse-paint.  We needed something that was much more durable than that but didn't require professional equipment to apply.  I did a LOT of research on this - even visiting the professional paint shops (they really do use different paint) and finally decided on a product I found at a woodworking shop:  Milk Paint by General Finishes.  It is designed for cabinetry/furniture, is extremely durable and is sanded between coats so the end result is incredibly smooth.  And it can be clearcoated for even better durability. I used a General Finishes clear acrylic finish.  To add a little definition, a chocolate glaze was used in the cracks of the trim we added around the glass panel cut-out. The glaze can be seen better in the picture of the cabinet over the stove further down.  Rather than use a router to cut a groove for the glass panels, I cut out the center with a jig-saw and then added small trim.  This way, I was able to get squared-off corners instead of rounded corners from a router and the trim design made it look more custom.


Now, for the glass panels.  I didn't want plain glass for two reasons.  One, you don't want to have to worry about what the insides of your cabinets look like and Two, I didn't think the plain glass had enough character.  But, if you have ever priced patterned glass, you know that for most of us it is just not an option.  Again, research paid off.  I found a product that you apply to the back of the glass that makes it appear to be expensive textured glass.  It is extremely simple and very inexpensive.  Enlarge the picture to see for yourself.
And check out the lights!  I found these great lights and they are perfect.  For the remaining pictures, I had the lights turned on and they appear orange in the pictures.  They are not.  They are this great red color.  Certainly better than the upside-down chandelier that was in this spot - you'll see in other "before" pictures further down.  Keep reading...



OK - time for another "Before" picture.  This is a view from the very large family room.  Can you believe that carpet.  That stuff didn't last long.  It is now replaced with tile.  Again, I never would have installed this in my kitchen, much less my family room before I saw her floor.  It is a great warm color and is soooooo durable.  We never had to worry about our feet, our dogs feet, spills from children, scratching the floor from moving furniture, etc.  Now, I'm seriously considering it should I ever have my own house again.



The wall color for the family room ties in with the tile (backsplash and floor).  We did paint one wall red.  It really looks great.  Goes well with the few red items in the kitchen - the lights over the bar and the red light boxes beside the stove (picture further down).  And how about the floor tile - much better than the 70's carpet.

Have you noticed the countertop is different?  Yes, we replaced that, too.  Originally we were going to just add new laminate over the old, but the old was coming up in places and was missing in others. So, we decided the best thing to do was to just pull it all up and start over.  While we were busy demolishing, we (Angie) also removed the old tile backsplash (looked like bath tile).  Actually, this "during" picture looks worse that the "before" picture.


Several things to note in this picture (compare to "before" picture below).  The range hood has been removed and a decorative cutout has been added. This pattern is repeated over the kitchen sink and over the open shelving area (barely seen in the upper right of the photo).  The upper cabinets on either side of the range hood have been reworked; the ones to the right were long cabinets.  They were made shorter so we could add an open area to match the area we added to the left of the range hood.  We ended up painting these areas red and installing lights in them.


Here is a great shot of the upside-down chandelier that we replaced with 2 red pendant lights.  Who purchased that thing???


Let's see...what else did we tear out?  The open cabinet area above the refrigerator (far right of photo) was removed and worked to blend in more with the wall.  To the left of that, we removed the cabinet above the microwave cutout and replaced with open shelving.  You can see this in the "During" photo above left and one of the "After" pictures below.  We also removed the door and trim around one of the bottom corner cabinets (it was too narrow to be useful) widening it and put in shelving and baskets.

A ceiling fan in the kitchen??? That thing had to go, too.  It was replaced with a chandelier.  We also added recessed lights.  I found these great little lights at Lowe's.


Now isn't this better? The area over the stove looks more open.  Since the range hood was removed, I had to do something for a light and fan.  I purchased a range hood from Habitat for Humanity for cheap (it looked new), removed the fan, light, and controls and installed them above the stove.  I had to recess the fan into the cabinet but it worked out.  The fan and light controls are also hidden from view.  I struggled with what to do about the cabinet doors over the stove.  If I installed glass, you would be able to see the fan duct.  But the style needed to match to cabinets next to it.  So, I cut out the centers and installed the trim just like I did with the other cabinets.  But instead of glass panels, I put in wood panels.  Now it matches the cabinet doors on either side.
Angie found these great cabinet knobs at, of all places, Habitat for Humanity (you should go).  They are solid and very nice.  We did have to get pulls for the drawers to match but still made out like a bandit. 
Also notice what you no longer see...cabinet door hinges!  I installed the hidden kind - the visible ones would have ruined it.  The hinges were a problem, too.  Her doors don't lay flat against the face frame like newer cabinets - they are slightly recessed into the cabinet itself.  I was able to find hinges to fit at Rockler.  They look a lot different than what you see on most cabinet doors but they work!

More after pics...

A view from the family room

Looking into the family room

Notice the open shelving over the microwave

Large family room - fireplace is next on the list

Here you can see the open cabinet w/baskets

A good shot of one of the open boxes (painted red) we added by cutting down the cabinet doors


My intention was to finish the family room, too.  But, I ran out of time and had to get back home.  All I managed to get done in the family room was to paint the one red wall, paint the wall between the kitchen and the fireplace (that was just so I could see what it was going to look like) and install recessed lighting. The recessed lighting was painful to install but worth it (Painful:  imagine standing on a ladder for hours with your hands above your head fighting with wires at each light...why did I suggest SO many lights?)  I had assistance wiring the electrical switch box to run a new line to the breaker box - thanks Dad!  Angie has finished painting the family room - she did use a slightly different color on the remaining walls - and I'm anxious to see the results! 
Now that it is over, I think things went pretty well.  During the project I would not have said the same thing.  There were things that didn't go as planned (evidenced by the hole in the family room ceiling shaped like a foot...oops), the majority of which is just too much to get into here.  But, I did learn a lot and best of all, I had to buy 2 new power tools (3 if you include the replacement orbital sander).


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