On Monday, I shared my kitchen reno on a budget. Today, I’m sharing the plan for the renovation and how it actually happened. Did I mention I started three days before my mother arrived for Christmas week? Nothing like a deadline to spur you into action!
As I explained in this post, there were certain aspects of the kitchen that I wanted to fix:
(1) I’m too short to effectively use the upper cabinets. I would put things in there and then forget they were there. I couldn’t see what I’d put in those cabinets.
(2) In a relatively small kitchen with only one window, the upper cabinets made the room seem darker and more cramped.
(3) The corner cabinet was useless. The “appliance garage” was too small to put appliances in, and I knew the counter space would be more useful.
(4) Unlike in our old house, there was no vent hood in this kitchen; the stove has a down-draft vent. Because there was no vent hood, there was no light above the stove. I needed some light there – I was used to it and I missed having it there.
(5) The stainless steel sink was not in good shape. It was dented and stained and really not attractive.
So, the goal was to fix those problems while, at the same time, being budget-conscious and true to the age and style of our home, a Tudor bungalow built in 1929.
Many of you will not be surprised to learn that I actually researched what 1929 kitchens looked like. No, I’m not kidding. In fact, you can see what I found on my 1929 Kitchen Pinterest board (<–click on the link to go to that board).
Given all that, I came up with this plan:
(1) Remove the upper cabinets and replace them with lower-hung open shelving. That way, not only could I reach everything, but I could see everything.
(2) The shelving would open up the room and make it brighter. I opted for gloss white shelves to make it as bright as possible.
(3) Remove the corner cabinet with the appliance garage. That cabinet was just sitting on the counter and removing it would free up that counter space for good work space.
(4) Add a lamp or light to the stove area. Easy fix.
(5) Replace the sink. I had found a white porcelain cast iron sink at the Atlanta Habitat for Humanity ReStore for $12.00 (!!!). It was perfect: it brightened up the space and was more appropriate to the age of the house (1929).
As it turns out, I also had to replace the faucet for the kitchen sink. The one that came with the house broke, and that was the perfect opportunity to replace it with something more appropriate to a 1929 kitchen.
I drew everything out – where the shelves would go and what would go on them – and then started demo!
Demo: Always Expect the Unexpected
I started the demo by taking out the upper cabinets.
First I removed the doors of the cabinets. That makes removing the cabinets much easier because (a) the doors aren’t swinging around on you and (b) the cabinets are lighter without doors!
Then I removed the trim around the cabinets. I just used a pry bar to loosen it and it popped right off. It was just covering the space between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling and they were nailed to the top of the cabinets.
Lastly, with Dear Husband’s help, I unscrewed the cabinets from the wall and removed them. Thankfully, I only had to do a minimal amount of wall patching for the first cabinets removed.
It already was looking so much bigger. So far, so good.
Then came tackling the corner cabinet with the appliance garage. This is where things get a leetle dicey.
The corner cabinet’s top part was separate from the appliance garage, so I removed the top part with no problem. But I knew that I couldn’t remove the appliance garage until the electrician came because the switch for the disposal and the light above the sink were on the side of the appliance garage.
I did separate the appliance garage from the wall, though, to see how moving the outlet from the side of the cabinet to the wall would go.
What I found was a huge hole in the wall and a ton of cockroach poop.
Ew. Repeat after me: “Reno is fun. No, really, it is.” Eyes on the prize.
What had happened was the previous owners or their contractor literally ripped the outlet for the disposal and light out of the wall and moved it to the wall of the appliance garage cabinet. They did not patch the wall. It was like hanging a “welcome” sign for roaches to come par-tay.
See what I mean about it being ripped out?!? Like yanked.
After cleaning and disinfecting everything several times (!!), and after our electrician moved the outlet, I was ready for patching and painting.
Can I just tell you how much I loved drywall patching? I loved it. It’s like advanced spackling, in a way, but with better tools.
To patch the wall, I went to the hardware store and bought a small piece of drywall; they sell smaller pieces for such patch jobs, as it turns out (file under “learn something new every day”). I used drywall mesh tape to create a backing for the patch, so it wouldn’t fall back into the hole. I cut the drywall to size and taped around it, then mudded over it. Twice. And now it’s all pretty and smooth and patched! Yay.
Hitting the Home Stretch
After the patching dried and I repainted the walls, I added these shelves from Ikea. Hanging the shelves was challenging because (a) the walls are plaster and (b) behind part of that wall was a brick chimney (to see the chimney, click here – it’s in my dining room). I used 2-inch heavy-duty construction screws and made sure I screwed into studs.
PSA of the Day: Be careful when working with plaster walls that you are actually screwing into a stud and not the wood lath behind the plaster. The lath won’t hold a shelf’s weight; a stud will.
Our plumber replaced both the sink and the faucet. I added a new rug for a pop of color (I have always wanted a red rug like this with a white and wood kitchen, plus all my rooms require a pop of red!). And – drum roll please – the kitchen was done!
In the next and final kitchen reno post, I’ll detail the cost of the renovation and show you the materials used (and where you can find them).
If you missed the first post about the kitchen reno, click HERE.
To see the cost of the reno and the list of sources for the materials used, and I answer your questions about the reno, click HERE.
Thanks for stopping by!