Category Archives: Kitchen

1920′s Budget Kitchen Makeover

This 1920′s kitchen was in desperate need of a makeover.  New custom crafted cabinets were added for around $75 in materials,new  counters for less than $200, sink $120, faucet $150, lighting $60, new stainless backsplash $200 and appliances were added.  The old linoleum floor was pulled up to reveal wood floors that could be sanded and refinished.  The result?  See for yourself.

Kitchen Before

Kitchen before

Kitchen Before

Stove area before hot water heater was moved to attic and a new custom built cabinet was added

Kitchen floor once linoleum was pulled up

Kitchen After

Kitchen after

1920′s home renovation portfolio of before and after photos (kitchen)

One of the biggest transformations occurred in the kitchen.  I loved the custom built cabinets, but there was only one.  I also loved the idea of converting the “indoor/outdoor utility room” to be fully enclosed so that I could add a dishwasher to modernize the space.  It was a big job, but here is what was done:

Demo:  removed all pine tongue and groove slat walls, relocated back door from its current spot and removed half window, used Craigslist to dispose of all old appliances, reconfigure stainless counter top to fit a modern sink

Here is what I started with; in this photo you can see the slat walls, the back door in its current location and the lack of an additional upper cabinet:

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Quick and Low Cost Kitchen or Bathroom Cabinet Makeover

Your natural wood cabinets looking a little old and tired lately?   Try painting them!   For the cost of a can of paint and primer, you can give your cabinets a fresh new appearance.

Using a color that is anything but neutral can give your kitchen a customized look but for resale value, neutral is the safest bet.  White and black are always classic but if you want the cabinets to still appear to be wood, I love Behr’s Paint and Primer in One in the Espresso brown tint.  I’ve also noticed a trend toward grays or sage greens, but those get a little more personalized.  Some like the eggshell finish, I like the satin.  Choose the sheen you like the best for your own project.

Ready to do it?  Here are 5 easy steps to give your kitchen cabinets a quick makeover:

Step 1) Remove doors and drawer fronts.  Remove any door hardware.  A quick tip for hardware is to secure them with masking tape to the inside of the cabinet or drawer with masking tape so they won’t get lost or mixed up.
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A Closer Look at Kitchen Counter Tops (Part 3: Natural Materials from Wood, Metals, Concrete)

Closing out the breakdown of the endless possibilities for kitchen counter materials, we take a closer look at some interesting alternatives that may have some drooling for that unique and custom look.  Having seen some of these options like stainless steel and concrete myself, I know my wish list is growing!

Butcher’s block
A chef’s dream, a butcher block looks and acts like a wood cutting board.

Upside:  Easy to cut on but leaves scratches

Downside:  water and heat damage is an issue so a smaller area for butcher block may be considered; scratches and cuts will be noticeable but can be reduced by treating with mineral or linseed oil periodically and can possibly be sanded out depending on thickness.

Cost:  Expect $40-150 psf

Stainless steel
Ideal for a clean, industrial look and blends well with most any color given its neutrality.  This surface is alloy steel that contains a dash of chromium to make it rust-resistant. Stainless steel is typically attached to plywood decking to provide strength and deaden its sound.

Upside:  heat and water resistant; easy to maintain.

Downside: Scratches and cuts are not repairable so you shouldn’t cut on them. Plus, they can be noisy and dent if banged with a pot if they are not supported properly.

Copper
Like stainless steel, copper can give a polished look to your kitchen. Copper is much softer than stainless steel and can warp or dent.  Scratches are considered part of the patina, so you don’t need to worry about them. Over time, copper will change color so you’ll need to polish it or embrace the new shade.

Cost: $85-200 psf

New Trends to watch:

Glass
Tempered glass counter tops mix function and fashion and give kitchens a modern look. Consider a bar top or as a back-splash to minimize maintenance but retain the fashionable look.

Upside:  Available textured, sandblasted, etched or grooved, glass is sanitary since it’s non-porous

Downside:  Though it’s easy to clean it may be hard to keep it looking spotless and free of scratches. Glass is heat resistant and water resistant but can crack if something is dropped.

Cost: $60-300 psf

Concrete

It may sound like something out of Bedrock, but concrete is practical and versatile.  It is easy to shape to any custom layout since it is cast on site. Made entirely of natural materials, this hardened mixture of water, cement, sand, stone and pigment and gaining popularity.

Upside: Heat, scratch and crack-proof;  can be finished in any color, texture or style.

Downside:  Some types may be expensive and requires regular sealing to resist water and staining.  Newly poured counters are more sensitive to heat damage so curing time is important.

Cost: $80-150 psf

If you missed the first parts:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/06/15/a-closer-look-at-kitchen-counter-tops-part-1-natural-stone/

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/06/17/a-closer-look-at-kitchen-counter-tops-part-2-solid-surface-tile-and-laminate/

A Closer Look at Kitchen Counter Tops (Part 2: Solid Surface, Tile and Laminate)

Continuing our review of the vast options available for kitchen counter top materials, let’s take a closer look at solid surface, tile and laminate.

Solid Surface:

Corian: A trademarked brand of solid surface material, this type of counter is made of solid synthetic sheets formed by mixing a mineral compound with polyester and/or acrylic resins and is color consistent

Upside:  custom-made to fit your space; any nicks and scratches can be sanded out and is stain-resistant. Available in a wide range of colors, textures and patterns

Downside:  Can be expensive; doesn’t have the same look and feel as natural stone.  May crack when exposed to hot pots, will stain or scratch  but can be scrubbed or sanded out

Cost:  About $40-$90 per square foot.

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A Closer Look at Kitchen Counter Tops (Part 1: Natural Stone and Natural Stone Blends)

The choices are endless it seems for materials that can be used for kitchen counter tops.  Before making that big decision, there are some important questions that you should consider as discussed earlier here:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/06/01/kitchen-countertop-surface-questions/

Keeping these questions in mind, lets take a closer look at the characteristics of the different materials to choose from, starting with what nature has to offer in natural stones and natural stone blends.

Natural Stone:

Granite Still a very popular choice in natural stone

Upside:  durable, easy to keep clean and looks beautiful.  You can cut on it, roll dough on it, and place a hot pot in it

Downside: Can be expensive and prices will vary based upon stone choice and size of slab.  Some varieties are more prone to staining or etching and will require routine sealing.

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9 questions you should ask when picking your ideal kitchen countertop surface

Itching to update your kitchen with new counter tops?  The choices are plentiful with many new exciting trends to watch.  To help make the process less intimidating and more rewarding later, I believe it is important to first ask yourself some questions  about the types of surface choices and how they may suit your needs.

9 Questions you should ask yourself to ensure a perfect match for your new kitchen counter top surface:

1) Feel: Do you want your counter to be smooth vs textured?

2) Appearance:  Do you desire a solid or consistent color vs  more natural that has granules, veining or that’s patterned?

3) Material: Do you want a natural vs manmade material?

4) Durability:  Can I chop, slice, and dice directly on my counter tops?

5) Water resistance:  Will I want to roll dough directly on them?

6) Heat Resistance:  Can I set hot pots directly on them?

7)  Stain Resistance:  Can I spill lemon,  orange juice or red wine on them?

8)  Maintenance:  Do I have the time and diligence to reseal them routinely?

9)  Do I want an integral sink that matches the countertop?

Over the next few days, I’ll be discussing the various choices in surface types, along with the pros and cons of each including projected costs.  In the meantime, please feel free to ask a question or provide feedback.

Portfolio-Budget Kitchen remodel

Updating a kitchen doesn’t have to break your bank.  There are some simple things you can do to give your kitchen a clean and updated appearance.

This was a recent single family home I purchased for renovation and resell.  The lower kitchen cabinets were in horrible condition from what appeared to be water leaks.  The counters were the old style butcher block laminate and the floors were painted concrete.

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Oops, wrong hole! How to fix cabinet hardware blunders.

Ok so we’ve talked about how to install cabinet hardware and you have decided to take on the challenge. http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/26/cabinet-hardware-how-to-install/

Yeah for you! Using the template I recommended, everything is moving along smoothly and then oops!  You find you drilled a hole in your cabinets in the wrong spot, even with your best attempts to be careful.  Or, the hole you drilled is too big and now your hardware is loose.  How can you fix this?  No fear, its easy!

1)    Cabinet hole in the wrong spot

You can use some wood putty and fill the wrong hole and sand smooth.  There are wood stain touch up pens in a variety of colors; match the one closest to your wood color.  Even better if your cabinet is painted; simply fill the hole with wood putty, sand and retouch your paint.  Usually these holes are so small and so close visually to your existing hardware, no one will even notice the mistake.

2)    Hole is too big

Place a few toothpicks in the hole dipped in wood glue and let dry.  Break off the toothpicks flush with the cabinet with some needle-nose pliers and reinsert your screw.  Sometimes just the little extra wood will be all you need.

Another way is to wrap your screw in wood putty, leaving the end that attaches to the hardware clean, then reinsert the screw into the hole and let dry.

Finally, another option is to insert the screw into a washer and let the washer come to a rest on the backside of your cabinet door.  The washer will keep the screw from slipping through the hole in the backside of your cabinet.  If the hole lets the hardware wiggle too much, you might have to use the toothpicks or wood putty along with the washer to ensure a good snug fit.

Hope that helps!

A Home Remodel Series (Part 3-How to replace a kitchen sink and faucet)

Day 3 has everyone hopping at my friend’s house!  With white cabinets and dark granite, she decided to switch from a stainless sink and faucet to a nice white Kohler sink with a Delta oil rubbed bronze faucet.  I love the contrast the new sink provides.  I think she’ll be very happy with the finished project.

Continuing with our series on quick and easy home improvement projects, lets move into the kitchen:

http://agirlcandoit.com/2010/04/27/a-home-remodel-series-part-1-before-demo/

Advice:  This type of project requires a little more advanced plumbing know how since it may involve some modification of the underside drain plumbing if a new sink’s drains don’t match up exactly to the old ones.  However, this is not a complex job that takes many hours, so if you do decide to hire a plumber, allow 3-4 hours at the most in their estimate; the parts should also be relatively inexpensive since they are standard PVC pieces that they are reassembling.  A little time and money can be saved though if you do the removal yourself following the steps below!

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