Given the popularity of mouser's Bookcase building thread
, I thought it might be fun to detail a little project the wife and I have undertaken.
As most of the people who frequent the IRC channel know, my family and I recently moved into our first home. We searched exhaustively for a few days to try and find the right one and ended up picking the one we are in now. The only stipulation my wife and I had was that it was a place we can put some money into as we were tired of living on a military base and throwing away 2000 dollars a month in rent to a place we couldn't do anything with.
Enter this property. This property is a home built in 1958 and has a lot of original stuff in it. The kitchen was our biggest concern. Below is a picture of what our kitchen looked like as we moved in.The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project The horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This above picture was from the last owners and how they had the kitchen setup.
As you can see, all of the hardware and cabinetry in this kitchen is ORIGINAL to the house. Some of the drawers were missing and had been replaced with a solid piece of cardboard covering the opening where the drawer once was. The cooktop on the left side of the kitchen is old and constantly burning gas. The oven built into the cabinets on the right side of the kitchen was old as well and not very accurate at it's temperature readings (Pre-heating is a pain in the butt).
So, as I said, we decided to renovate this kitchen as we were told this would give us the most bang for our buck when it comes time to resell. We chose Lowes to head up this project as we have used them for a lot of other small projects we have done so far.
We met with the Lowes team for the first time on 24FEB. Our kitchen designer sat with us and took our measurements and helped us design our kitchen. She was very professional and aided us with every step of the project. We picked out a nice new energy star refrigerator which uses almost 100kwh less energy than the one we have now and is 5 Cubic feet larger in size. We went with a nice energy efficient gas range which, unlike our cooktop of current, operates on a proper pilot light which only runs when you turn one of the knobs to start and doesn't run all the time constantly burning gas. The cabinets we chose were of the style "Bluemont Maple Honey Cathedral"
and offered a very nice look at a very affordable price. These are veneer cabinets as solid wood would have cost us almost double what we paid for these.
The countertop color we went with was a laminate top named Mesa Verte
and is actually very nice looking. It is a speckled style which eliminates the single color styles we were trying to avoid. Other than that, we also ordered a new energy star microwave and a great sink base which has a pull out nozzle which we have been yearning for for a long time. This was a must in our new kitchen.
We ordered a few lazy susan cabinets which have a spinner tray in them to allow us to make maximum use of the space in our tiny kitchen. We also added a lazy-susan style cabinet on top in the two corners which do not contain said spinner trays but also have plenty of storage space.
OK, so we placed the order on the 27th of february after spending three days designing. We had a team come out and confirm our measurements and ensure our design would fit for a 75 dollar fee. The team did the job quickly and advised what we would need to do prior to the job start so we could arrange other teams. Below are a few sample images from lowes as to what our kitchen is supposed to look like upon completion.The horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
A couple of the issues they pointed out consisted of an issue with our old range hood's ventilation pipe which went through two of our old cabinets. The design team at lowes helped us pick out an empty shell cabinet which had a front that does not open. We ended up losing that space for storage but in the end we won't have two cabinets which have a large vent pipe going through them. Another issue pointed out was the location of the gas pipe for our cooktop. It was going diagonally from bottom left to top right through one of our bottom cabinets. The stove, as you can see in the pictures, is actually being moved over one bay so we had to have that pipe relocated. We also had to relocate a light switch for the kitchen light as the fridge would be covering the old one. One final issue was a wiring harness which was setup outside of our wall in a small enclosure. It was functional but it was a giant eye-sore. We had requested the team move the wire into the wall and eliminate that wiring harness.
One major issue for our kitchen was that the WASHING MACHINE was in the kitchen. Given the age of the house I am not surprised. The construction team decided to not have the washing machine in our utility room, although our dryer was, and left it in the kitchen. The primary reason for this was the lack of a drainage pipe built into the laundry room. So we had to have a plumber come and run piping from our utility room into our kitchen's main house drainage stack. This was to be done on the Tuesday of the install so as to allow for the old cabinets to be torn out thus giving our electrician and plumber/gas tech to come out and perform their work. The piping for this move is now running at the top of our dining room wall and along the top of the wall in the kitchen. The other option was to tear out an entire strip of ceiling from the start of the dining room to the far end of the kitchen and then drill through each of the support beams (joists) so that the piping could fit. We decided against that given that the kitchen pipes will be concealed by our crown molding. The only thing we have to do then is to conceal the pipes in the dining area. We are going to have a carpenter team out to give us ideas for that.
We started the installation of these cabinets last monday. We had to delay 2 weeks as the contractor team was not available due to another job prior to us. All of our cabinets, minus the one with the cook top and the other with the oven built in, were torn out monday. We had to wait until tuesday to tear out the others because the gas had to be shut off prior to their removal. The electrician came our tuesday and did a little work as well, most unrelated to the kitchen (attic fan, ceiling fan for living room, etc). The plumbers completed the portion of work which resided in the kitchen so the contractor team could continue their work without worry of bumping into the each other when they came to finish.
Once the cabinets were out, we identified a few show stoppers. One of which was a set of two water pipes hidden behind the sink cabinets near our primary housing water pipe stack. One of the pipes had a small oozing leak (not dripping) and the other looked like it was about to start. The problem with replacing these pipes was that they went into the concrete under the kitchen so the plumbing team had to jackhammer our floor to get to the connection point to replace the pipes. They showed us why the pipes were damaged and how it happened. In older style housing, construction teams placed the water pipes directly in the concrete and then just poured more on top. In modern housing the pipes would have been wrapped so as to prevent direct contact with the concrete. This direct contact is what caused our issue. The lime from the concrete ate away at our piping. Below are two pictures of the area after it was jack hammered and the resulting replaced piping.The horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
The two pipes you are looking at are the ones leading into the concrete at the bottom of the photo. They have since been replaced and are fully operational.
Other issues we found when our cabinets were out were a couple of outlets which had to be moved. This was not very difficult and our electrician did it very quickly.
Below are the remaining pictures from the tear out. You can see where our plumbers cut into the ceiling in our utility room to make way for the new pipes they had to run. You can also see the piping running through our dining area. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
In the bottom of this photo you can see the area where our main house plumbing stack is located. You can also see the area which was jackhammered as shown in the above photos. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
Here you can see the wiring enclosure mentioned above on the left wall.The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This photo shows the piping in our dining area. This is coming from the laundry/utility room directly behind it. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This shows the new laundry tray (sink) the plumbers installed to allow for a drainage point for our washing machine. Below it is a pump which pushes the water through the new piping system. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade projectThe horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
The team came back on wednesday and began installing our new cabinets. It was at this time we found out they had screwed up our measurements. In our kitchen, we have one wall which has a length of 90 inches and another which has a length of 80 inches and then has three windows after that point. We measured from the far wall to the end point on the 90 inch wall. We ignored the windows and that was our mistake, however, the contracting team made the same mistake and we feel they should have caught this as they are the professionals after all. So, that took 10 inches off of our design on the right wall. We now had to rid ourselves of one set of drawers (which was moved to the opposite wall since we need drawers in the kitchen) and a cabinet above those. Below are two drawings of how the design will work now. In the end we put a small pull out pantry cabinet in place of the drawers and this does leave us with a bit of a cramped space. It's not too bad and I feel it will be functional once the kitchen is completed. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This is how the new right wall will look which is shorter than the opposite wall by 10 inches. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This is how the new left wall will look with the drawers moved over.
With this mess-up, Lowes made the contractors put in a temporary sink since we are now without a functioning kitchen for an additional two weeks. Prior to this, once the cabinets were installed, we would have been able to have the countertops templated to confirm a proper fit. Now, since we have to wait for an additional order of cabinets, we have to delay that templating two weeks. Once the tops are templated, we have to wait 2 weeks for the countertops to be constructed and delivered. So in the end, this pushed us out 2 weeks past what our kitchen completion date was supposed to be. But at least we will have a somewhat functional kitchen with a new stove and fridge so we are not totally put out.
Right now most of our kitchen is installed, cabinet-wise. We have a few more to go and then we are set. We are waiting on a microwave addon that the lowes designer ordered the wrong item for and the new drawer set and cabinet for the left wall. Once those are received, we can template our countertops. Below are some pictures from what our kitchen looks like thus far. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
The countertop you are looking at with the sink is the temporary piece of counter (not our actual color laminate) and sink put in place by the contractors. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This image shows the lack of space in the corner of the kitchen where the measurements were messed up. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This image showcases the lazy susan we had installed. This is a very nice cabinet and I cannot wait to begin utilizing it. The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This image showcases the pantry cabinet. This is a small slideout cabinet to house stuff like spices, small boxes of food, or other small items. It is very convenient.The horror that is my kitchen upgrade project
This one is a picture of our completed laundry room with the new laundry tray and pumping system.
Anyways, that concludes this entry. I will post more as the project unfurls. This is shamurai 6, signing off.