I have lots to share with you today, so let’s dive right in, shall we?
Refrigerator/range wall progress:
I made pretty good progress on the fridge/range wall yesterday! I got the drywall taped and mudded (with the exception of that one area above the door…oops!), and then got all of the cabinets installed. In case you’re confused, the wall of cabinets is on the wall to the right of this one.
The area on the left with no drywall is where the fridge will go. I cut out the drywall and removed a stud (non-load-bearing wall) so that the refrigerator can be pushed back further and look more like a cabinet-depth refrigerator. I gained about 4.5 inches of depth by doing this. It’ll have a cabinet built all around it, so the wall won’t show at all when it’s finished.
I kind of lucked out since that wall on the other side is covered in 1 x 10 lumber and then drywalled over that. Most walls are just drywall attached to the studs. If the other side had just been drywall, I would have needed to come up with a way to frame out the bumped back section for the fridge. But those already-there 1 x 10’s provide all the framing I’ll need for that area. I’ll just paint it the wall color so it’ll look more finished.
And yes, I’m sure that I’ll be perfectly fine with the refrigerator in the corner. And no, I don’t want to consider rearranging my kitchen to move the refrigerator away from the corner.
Converting wood panel cabinet doors to glass doors:
Yesterday I mentioned that I found a way to remove the center wood panel on my cabinet doors without using a router to get them ready for glass inserts. This is so easy!!
First, working on the back side of the door, I used a piece of 1 x 2 lumber and clamped it down to the cabinet door about 3/8-inch from the inside edge of the frame.
Keep in mind that when you use C-clamps, you really should use a piece of wood on the opposite side of the item you’re working on as a “buffer” between the clamp and the item so that the clamp won’t leave indentations in the wood.
With the guide in place, I used my Dremel Multi Max with a wood blade on it, put the back of the blade flush with the side of the guide, and cut right along the 1 x 2 guide. I cut until I felt a little “give” and knew I had cut all the way to the center panel. And of course, I did that all the way down the guide.
I had a new blade on my Dremel, so it cut really fast. I timed it to see how long it took, and the long sides took 2 minutes 18 seconds to cut. The smaller sides took about half that. So factoring in time to move the guide and clamps to the four sides, I would say that each door took about 10 minutes.
And the results were even better than I expected.
And now I’m ready to take these doors to the glass shop and have glass cut and installed. I’ll just let the glass shop do the installing for me since they know what they’re doing and have all of the adhesives, tools, and whatever else is needed already on hand. But I’ll wait until after the doors are painted to do that.
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Kristi, I don’t have a router, but I don’t have a Dremel Multi Max tool either!”
Well, you should. If I had to choose between a router or a Dremel Multi Max, I’d choose the Dremel, hands down. I’ve gone all of my DIY life without owning or using a router. Evidently I can always find another option for using a router, because not only do I not own one, but I’ve never borrowed one either.
This Dremel, on the other hand, is worth its weight in gold. Ever since I bought it, I have used it over and over and over. It was an absolutely necessary tool in taking out the wall separating the kitchen and the breakfast room. I’ve used it to cut drywall perfectly around door openings, and even used it to cut out the switch and outlet holes in the drywall (because evidently a Roto Zip is one tool I absolutely cannot use). I used it when installing the hardwood flooring in the kitchen to cut misfired cleats. I used it to cut out a rectangle in the back of the cabinet above the stove for an outlet. My brother-in-law Bill used it to remove the huge metal air ducts from my attic. I used it to cut the nails that were used to install the original drywall in the music room and were poking through the 1 x 10 lumber about an inch into in the bumped back area for the refrigerator.
I could go on and on, but that Dremel Multi Max has become one of my most loved and used “go-to” tools for so many different things. I honestly have no idea how I went so long without one. (That’s the same way I felt about my air compressor and nail gun when I finally bought them. How and why did I go so long without them?!)
Your FAQs answered:
I keep getting a handful of questions asked over and over, so I thought I’d just take a minute (or 30) and answer those here in a post.
1. Why did you not prime and paint (or at least prime) the cabinets before installing them?
I’ve honestly never seen that done before. During my years working as an interior decorator for clients, I helped with a few kitchen remodels, and I always saw the pros install the cabinets (without the doors), tape and paper everything around the cabinets, and then spray them in place. The doors were generally taken off site to be sprayed and then brought to the site and installed when they were dry. A couple of times, I saw the doors being sprayed on site in an outdoor tented area or somewhere like that.
I can’t speak for those pros, but I can only tell you my own personal experience, but there’s is so much prep work that has to be done after the cabinets are installed that it makes no sense at all to paint and prime before they’re installed. For example, the stiles on neighboring cabinets might not be perfectly aligned. Even if they’re off by as little as 1/32-inch, it drives me crazy, so I use my sander to sand those down until they’re perfectly smooth. Nail holes from installing trim have to be filled and sanded perfectly smooth before priming. Small gaps between trim and cabinets need to be caulked.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try, even if you screw the cabinets together through the stiles just like you’re supposed to, there’s just no way to close the gap completely. I like to fill those tiny gaps with wood filler and use my sander to sand them perfectly smooth before priming and painting.
So basically, had I primed and painted them first, I would be sanding off so much of what I had done, and they’d need to be primed and painted again after installing. It just makes sense to install them unfinished, do all of the prep work, then prime and paint.
Now with that said, there’s one exception. I do wish I had taken the time to prime and paint the wood columns before installing them. I just got ahead of myself and clearly didn’t think things through, and now it’s too late to turn back. I’m just hoping that my sprayer can get into all of those nooks and crannies.
2. Why did you not remove the backs of the middle cabinets and build them back to the wall? That seems like so much wasted space!
I did consider doing that — extending the backs of the middle cabinets to the wall on the wall of cabinets. It came down to me weighing the time, effort, and cost of basically rebuilding the backs of the cabinets against the added storage I would gain and determining whether it was worth it for me. In the end, I decided that it wasn’t worth the payoff. It would have taken at least an extra day of work, would have cost about $30-$40 in additional materials, and I would have gained 4 cubic feet of storage. I didn’t think it was worth it, especially since I’ve decided to forgo the breakfast bar on the breakfast room side of the peninsula in favor of additional storage.
For someone who uses their kitchen constantly, love to cook and bake, and has acquired lots of appliances, gadgets, cookware, dishes, etc., those extra 4 cubic feet of storage might be worth the extra time and effort. But as we’ve already established, I’m not a cook or a baker, I make it my life’s goal to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, and I don’t have lot of kitchen stuff. I can do just fine without those extra 4 cubic feet of storage.
However, what I did want was the extra countertop space. That is what I’ll need and use, so I bumped out the lower cabinets.
3. How are you going to paint the cabinets? How will you protect the floor?
I’m planning on spraying them. The floor will be protected with lots of precision taping and probably two or three layers of paper taped down really well around the edges. I might even put a layer of plastic (like those thin plastic drop cloths) between two layers of paper so that paint won’t soak through.
4. Why did you get rid of the window?
Evidently somewhere along the way, I failed to make it clear that that window was not an exterior window.
At one time long ago, that window was an exterior window. But somewhere along the way a sunroom was added to the back of the house.
We don’t love or use the sunroom in its current condition, but that room will eventually be rebuilt as our family room. And I know that people have different opinions and ideas about interior windows, but this is my house, and I personally do not like interior windows that look from one room to another. About 99.9% of the time, the only reason interior windows exist in homes is because a room was added on, and the window just makes it blatantly obvious that the room on the other side isn’t original to the house. I don’t like blatantly obvious add-ons, and I don’t like interior windows that give them away.
Anyway, all that to say that the window served no purpose, so I covered it up. I’ll be doing the same thing in the hallway bathroom where there’s an original exterior window that now looks into the sunroom, into an area that will eventually be the laundry/utility room. I don’t like useless interior windows.
Rest assured that if that kitchen window had been an exterior window, I would have kept it, I would have worked around it, and I probably would have kept the sink in its original position under the window and designed the rest of the kitchen around it.
5. Why did you get rid of the old cabinets? They were so charming!
Ha! I had at least six people ask me yesterday why I didn’t just reuse the original cabinets because they were so much better than the new ones. Evidently the word “charming” is very subjective.
There are a few reasons I didn’t reuse the old cabinets.
First and foremost, I didn’t like them, and I personally didn’t find them charming. And since this is my house, I thought perhaps my opinion mattered.
I didn’t like the piled on layers of paint with thick drips all over. I didn’t like the doors that wouldn’t close. I didn’t like the drawers that didn’t open and close smoothly. I didn’t like the tiny cabinets at the ceiling that didn’t allow for pretty trim at the ceiling. I didn’t like the chewed up, gouged areas that would have required lots of Bondo. I didn’t like the rotted out back panel that had evidently seen more than a few leaks over the years and was blackened with mold and very brittle.
Shall I go on?
They also just simply wouldn’t work with my new arrangement. As I’ve already shared, my plan was always to cover over that window since it no longer served a purpose. With the window gone, the sink placement didn’t make sense, so I moved it to a more pleasant spot where I’ll be able to look out windows, watch t.v., or visit with visitors while I work at the sink. There was just no way to feasibly and effectively re-use these cabinets with the new arrangement.
Bottom line, these things put in their 65 years of service, and evidently did so quite well. I’m sure they were wonderful when they were new, and for the three or four or maybe even five decades following. But now it’s time for them to be retired from service in the kitchen. They’ll still be quite useful in the garage when I use them to create my workshop.
6. How will you access those outlets now that you’ve covered them up? Shouldn’t you have wired your sconces first?
Those outlets on the wall of cabinets seem to be causing quite a bit of confusion.
Those outlets aren’t intended for everyday use. If I want to plug in a coffee maker, crock pot, phone charger, or anything else on that countertop, I have a total of eight outlets on that wall of cabinets alone available for everyday use — four outlets located on the side walls at each end of the countertop.
The outlets between the upper cabinets are for very specific purposes. The top outlets (one on each side of the center section of cabinets) are for the sconces that I’ll be attaching to the spacers that I added to cover the spaces. The bottom outlets (again, one on each side of the center section of cabinets) are for my undercabinet lighting. And those outlets are powered by the top two light switches on the left wall.
The undercabinet lighting I’ll be using has a plug in adapter. So I’ll just install them, plug them into the outlets specified for undercabinet lighting, and then use the light switch on the left wall to turn them on and off.
The sconces that I’m using are intended to be hardwired. However, I knew that it would be difficult and potentially very frustrating to wire the sconces in that small area behind the spacer. So I’ll be modifying the wiring on the sconces to add plugs. It’s a very quick and easy modification that can be made on just about anything that is intended to be hardwired. Once that’s done, I’ll drill a hole in the spacer, poke the wire through, and plug it into the outlet specified for the sconces. Then I’ll use the light switch on the left wall to turn them on and off.
The plugs are easily accessible from the under side of the upper cabinets. If I need to, I can reach my hand up in there and plug in/unplug things. Although once everything is plugged in, I don’t anticipate needing to access those plugs again.
I think those are the main questions I keep getting, but if you have another question that you’d like me to answer, just let me know!