Monthly Archives: June 2010

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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Tips for locating your home’s main water shut off valve

Your home’s main water shut off valve is often an overlooked feature, but you will wish one day in the event of a leak,  that you know where it is at in a moment’s notice.  Fortunately, you don’t need to be a detective when it comes to locating your home’s main water shut off valve.  There are a few usual suspects that can be hiding its location.

First you should know that your water meter located outside is a last resort option for turning off your water to your home and usually requires a special valve tool to turn it off and on; that, or a tricky use of pliers in what is typically a wet, muddy hole.  Most modern homes are equipped with a secondary water shut off valve that are more accessible and quicker to turn off on the inside.

Interior valves are usually either one of two styles:

A Gate Valve which resembles your garden hose attachment

or a Ball  valve that has a lever on it

Here’s some places to look inside your home:

1)  Look in closets on the front of your home for little cabinets; these little cabinets on interior walls may have your shut off valve.  Most shut off valves for water will be painted blue but don’t be surprised if they are over-sprayed with paint.

2) Look in your laundry room

3) Look in your garage walls

4)  Look under your bathroom or kitchen sinks (all faucets and toilets usually have their own secondary shut off valves so a main shut off valve would be in addition to these)

Rules of thumb for colors used on valves:  Water is blue, hot water is red, gas is yellow

Take a few minutes to locate your own shut off valves.  You never know when you might need it!

Man Caves-Father’s Day DIY ideas

man cave n. A dedicated area of a house, such as a basement, workshop, or garage, where a man can be alone or socialize with his friends.

Men are not your “typical’ decorators. They don’t care about throw pillows or which of the 10 shades of green you are thinking of for the bathroom.  Start talking about their own turf however and they’ve got ideas galore!  Guys need an exclusive space to hang out in their homes — a refuge where they can enjoy what they love and blow off some steam.   Yabba Dabba Do!!!!

According to a recent survey by Servicemagic.com, 40% of homeowners say that their home already has a man cave and another 13% said a man cave is either in the planning stage or in the process of being built.  “These aren’t ordinary recreation rooms,” said David Lupberger, a home improvement specialist with ServiceMagic.com. “These are rooms that fall solely under the jurisdiction of the man of the house.”

No wonder DIY Network even has a show called “Man Caves” now.  This Father’s Day, there are many different projects that a GIRL CAN DO to show him you understand and give him some refuge.

Where to start?

1) Walk through the space and visualize what he wants his Man Cave to look like.   Have realistic expectations of the space’s function.

2) Pick an object (pool table, jukebox, sports) that he likes as your inspiration in choosing the overall look and color in the man cave.

3) Measure the space (length, width, height)  Draw out the details on paper so building and arranging will be easier.

4) Make a list of all the materials and tools you will need to accomplish the task.

5) Make a step-by step list of what needs to be done so you can stay on track.

Some easy Man Cave DIY Ideas that you can start with:

1)   Install tool or garage organization with slat walls or storage cabinets

2)  Install peel and stick vinyl flooring in his work space or how about green Astroturf to emulate a golfing range?

3)  Install new shelving for his man collectibles or create a new media storage unit

4)  Paint the area in his favorite team’s color with a few memorabilia sprinkled in

5)  Install a new home theater surround sound system or mount a flat panel TV

6)  Install tin ceiling tiles to create the feel of an old cabin

7)  Don’t forget the beer fridge and big leather chair!

Hopefully, this gives you a place to start and let the creative juices flow.  Need help in the DIY for any of these ideas?  Just ask and I’ll try to help!

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.