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DIY Kitchen Reveal

posted by: diyguyjr on 07.29.2013 at 06:20 am in Kitchens Forum

Just wanted to post some pics of our finished kitchen. It was a long time in the making - I started last July - so, it took just about a year. I didn't want to be one of those "it took me a year guys" but life really does get in the way of progress - work, kids school, kids activities . .. .so, here we are at just around a year.

I built the kitchen because I got a bit of sticker shock on cabinet pricing. Initial shopping / ballpark estimates had cabinets between at $20-25K. So, I decided to build them instead and what I saved, I put into the appliances.

The original kitchen was 15+ years old. The cabinets were faded from them sun, grimy, and particle board. The shelving had bowed in some places where some plates were stored. The white sink was scratched and stained. We also had the original white contractor tile that was chipping and breaking. Actually, doesn't look too bad in this picture, but it was well past its prime:

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Here are some of the cabinets - all built in my garage and driveway workshop:

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We did take a little time out for a holiday card:

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Habitats for Humanity deconstructed the kitchen with the exception of the backsplash. If you cabinets are in useable shape, they will take your kitchen apart and haul away the useable saleable pieces for a small fee. We had 4 guys working the demo for 4-5 hours. I think this saved me about of week trying to do the demo on my own:

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Anyone home??

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The hood vent was the first thing I put up:
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Making some progress:
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Range top cabinet with spice rack pullouts on both sides - this was a pain to build:
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Pre-granite graffitti:
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Our beautiful Rachiele Sink:
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Granite Install:
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Paint - Swiss Coffee - 2 coats of primer, 2 coats of finish:
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Here is the end result after a year of working on it:

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And the kitchen would not be complete without the Charles:

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That's it for the pics:

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Sink - Rachiele Smarter Sink
Range top - Capital Culinarian 36"
Ovens - Elux Icon
Hood Insert - Imperial 1100 cfm
Wine Fridge - Edgestar
Dishwasher - Kitchen Aid
Cabinet door/drawer fronts - Cabinet Now
Blum clip hinges with blumotion mechanism
Top Knob -drawer cup pulls and cabinet door knobs
Moen Faucet
Undercounter Lighting - Environmental LED

We are considering putting in pendant lights above the island - my wife wants them, butI do not - I already think there is enough going on in the kitchen. Wondering what you all think about adding the pendants - if we do them, I am thinking of using something like the below and would be grateful for opinions:
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If you have any questions, let me know.

Thanks for viewing.


clipped on: 09.23.2013 at 02:03 pm    last updated on: 09.23.2013 at 02:03 pm

Powder Room Redo

posted by: gpraceman on 08.22.2013 at 04:08 pm in Bathrooms Forum

We redid our 5' x 5' powder room recently along with a kitchen and family room reno. It wasn't our intention to redo it at the time, but the hardwood floor guy asked if I could remove the toilet so he could get the floors sanded there. Well, if the toilet was coming out, I was going to also take out the pedestal sink (I hate the things - no storage). I told DW that now that it is out, it isn't going back in. Fortunately, she agreed.

I wish that I had some before pictures, so I'll just have to describe it. The builder and the previous (and original) home owner went really cheap with everything. It had a very plain pedestal sink with an ultra cheap chrome faucet. A cheap oval mirror above it, with a cheap brass light fixture above that. TP holder was cheap chrome and recessed into the wall. Due to the pedestal sink, we had a small cabinet in there for TP and cleaning supplies. There was no towel holder to wipe your hands off on. To top that off, it had a really loud bath fan.

We found a vanity that we liked, off of the Home Depot website. The stain is close to that of the cabinets that went into our kitchen. We just wish that it had the door hinges on the other side. We didn't particularly like the black granite top that it came with. With our good experience with redoing our fireplace surround and hearth with soapstone, I decided to do a DIY soapstone countertop and backsplash for it. Soapstone is not hard to work with using regular woodworking tools. I fitted it with a hammered copper sink, to coordinate with our kitchen farmhouse sink and installed a brushed nickel faucet.

Powder Room photo powder_zps0d99aa14.jpg

Here's a better view of the counter and sink. On the backsplash, I saw that end profile somewhere on the web and just had to do it. Outlet and switch plates were changed out to coppery looking ones. A brushed nickel towel ring was added.

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We love having storage now for TP and cleaning supplies.

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Above the vanity is a matching mirror and is topped off with a brushed nickel light fixture.

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Toilet handle and TP holder changed out to brushed nickel. We like how you can more easily change out the TP with this holder (just flip it up). The water valves for the toilet and vanity were replaced with ones that only take a 1/4 turn to shut. The old ones were leaky anyway.

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Coordinating trash can and vent cover. Walls have a fresh coat of paint and the baseboards are all new. Freshly redone hardwoods in a lighter color.

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All of the brass has now been purged from the bathroom, including the door handles and hinges. The bath fan was also replaced with a quieter one.


clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 03:28 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 03:28 pm

My UCL install

posted by: gpraceman on 06.21.2013 at 08:29 pm in Kitchens Forum

There is a little bit of a lul in our kitchen install due to a granite snafu, so I thought that I would get the UCL installed. I think that it turned out pretty well and they seem plenty bright to me. Total cost was $161 using Armacost brand LED strips from Home Depot.

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Needed parts were:

+ 30W power supply (Home Depot)
+ 12ft LED tape (Home Depot)
+ Snap connectors for the LED tape (Home Depot - online only)
+ 18 gauge CL2 rated speaker wire (Monoprice)
+ Wire connectors (Home Depot)
+ Terminal strip and jumpers (Radio Shack)
+ 3/4" wide aluminum flat bars (Home Depot)

I could have done without the aluminum bars, but it made mounting easier. The 12ft of LEDs was perfect for our needs, as I had just a little left over. If we wanted to, we could have added a dimmer between the power supply and the LED strips, but we like our lights bright and likely would never dim them.

Here's basically, how I installed them:

1) Cut the LED tape so there is a maximum number of LED's to fit under the cabinet, but leaving a bit of space for snap connectors on the ends.
2) Cut the aluminum bar a bit shorter than the LED strip, so the snap connectors can fit over the tape ends.
3) Peel off the LED tape backing and press onto the bar.
4) Attach pieces of heavy duty double sided tape to the back of the bar. For the longer runs, I used 3 pieces of double sided tape and just two for the shorter runs.
5) Using a 3/4" wide wood strip as a spacer, adhere the bar under the cabinet.
6) Attach the snap on connector to the end of the tape.
7) Use mini self adhesive wire clips to tidy up the wires.

The spacer makes placement easier and puts the LED's about 1-1/4" from the front edge of the cabinet frame. That distance works out well, as there is no shadow of the front edge being cast onto the counter. To make sure that polarity of the strips would not be an issue, all strips where mounted so the writing on the strips were all in the same orientation with respect to the front edge of the cabinet.

Before the cabinets went in, I installed an outlet above one cabinet, controlled by a switch. It is hidden by the crown molding. Plugged into that is the 30W power supply. The output side is connected to a terminal strip which allows connection of the two LED runs. Speaker wire runs behind the wall and to the bottom of the upper cabinets flanking our window.

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The two upper cabinets flanking the window were notched around the speaker wires. That is the only modification of the cabinets that was required in this whole install. Bullet connectors attach the speaker wire to the first LED strip in the run.

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Snap connectors for the LED tape daisy chain the strips together. Once the light rail is installed, any wire hanging down a bit will be hidden.

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Though, after bending over backwards to mount these strips, I may need to get DW to give me a good back massage.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 11:38


clipped on: 08.23.2013 at 03:27 pm    last updated on: 08.23.2013 at 03:28 pm

Journey's End - Final Reveal

posted by: gpraceman on 08.12.2013 at 09:43 pm in Kitchens Forum

Well, our kitchen remodel journey is finally over. We bought our house last summer as a "diamond in the rough". After many minor fix-up projects, we were ready for a major one. We started demo on May 16 and we finished today (August 12). It would have been much sooner had our granite fabricator not miscut our island slab. We waited over a month for the slab yard to get more of our granite in (Crema Bordeaux). Friday they came and installed the island granite, so we were able to get our cooktop, vent hood and pendants in finally.

If you want to read through our journey, check out

Below are photos of our old kitchen. Very builder basic. Honey oak cabinets with center stiles (DW hated the stiles). Small island. Laminate counters. Wasted space called a desk. Cheap appliances. Dated builder basic pendant over the kitchen table. Poor lighting layout. Pony wall that catches clutter. Only one way in/out of the kitchen.

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We removed the pony wall to open up the flow. The hardwoods were refinished to a lighter color and also were carried into the family room. The cabinets are custom, made out of Cherry, with a "Spice" stain. Soft close doors and drawers. They were made by Tharp Cabinets in Loveland, CO. Price-wise, they were comparable to the Kraft Maid quotes we got, but Tharp included installation. So, overall it was less expensive going with custom cabinets from Tharp.

Finishing the hardwoods, running the gas line to the cooktop, retexturing the ceiling, and granite installation were done by others but we (DW, two teenage sons and myself) did the rest. We did all of the demo, electrical, lighting, plumbing, drywall, baseboards, venting for the vent hood, appliance installation, painting, backsplash, and even installed some of the cabinet accessories.

We saved $1600 on appliances by sale shopping and that includes $700 in rebates from Lowe's and Bosch. Lowe's price matching came in handy. A lot of research went into the appliances, trying to find ones that fit our budget and were well rated.

The backsplash is a honed travertine in a linear mosaic. We didn't want the backsplash to compete with the Crema Bordeaux granite, but we did want it to have some interest to it. The only accents on the backsplash are the copper looking outlet covers.

If you want to read about our inexpensive DIY UCL, check out

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36" gas cooktop and 36" vent hood are Whirlpool Gold. We hated cooking on the electric range as it was so hard to clean and temps varied too much. We are glad to be back using gas. Big holes in the ceiling had to be made to run the vent duct out the side of the house.

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Eventually, we will replace the refrigerator with a stainless one. It wasn't in the budget to replace it now and it works just fine. Kitchen Aid countertop microwave with 30" trim kit above 30" Kitchen Aid convection oven. Extra tall drawer below oven for tall pots. Refrigerator surround extends 29" from the wall.

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Regular shelved pantry for miscellaneous storage against the wall. Food pantry with pullouts next to it. Coffee and tea station.

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Stools have too dark of wood, but for $25 each on clearance we'll live with them. We are really surprised at how much that seating area gets used. DS likes eating his breakfast and lunch there. DW likes sitting there with her laptop.

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Decorative side panels. 15" deep cabinet for storage of table cloths and place mats. Baseboard molding wraps the sides and back of the island.

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We went with all drawered cabinets for the front of the island, for easier storage of pots, pans, utensils, dishes, and so on.

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Custom sized bookshelf with extra tall base. Vent grating at bottom of bookshelf was our solution for the air return that was in the old pony wall.

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We found a lighting collection that we liked and replaced the fixtures in the nook, dining room, foyer and entry. Fortunately, the collection also had pendants. Here's a view of the light shade.

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Shutoff valve for the gas cooktop is under the island granite overhang. "Hidden" granite support brackets under the overhang.

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Recharging station in back right cabinet of island so we can hide away electronics when we have company.

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We love our copper farmhouse sink. Our kids call it a bathtub. We got it from Menards on sale for $559, regularly $699, with free shipping to boot. Home Depot carries the exact same sink on their website. We also love the air switch for the disposer. The under sink filter system also supplies water to the refrigerator. The window sill was made from left over island baseboard molding.

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Towel holder from Rev-a-Shelf. It was under $4.

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Bosch 800 Plus Series dishwasher. We love this dishwasher. 3rd rack for silverware is great. Extremely quiet and cleans very well.

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We have an extra pullout on order for the bottom section of our pantry, since DW wanted a pullout in the top section. She is on the short side, at 5'3".

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18" dual trash pullout with soft close from Rev-a-Shelf. Drawer above is used for trash bags. Our trash provider collects recyclables, so the back can is for those and the front for trash. I wish I could find a blue can for recyclables, as I know guests will want to put trash in there.

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DIY cutting board holder made from leftover island baseboard molding.

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Baking sheet pullout from Rev-a-Shelf. DIY install. We lose some storage space with this, but access is so much easier.

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We couldn't afford to do all drawer bases, but we wanted one of the regular base cabinets to at least have pullouts for DW's Tupperware.

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Super Susan serves as storage for small appliances.

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Cooking utensils drawer. Drawer was scooped to fit under cooktop. It is also only 15" deep, to leave room for the gas cooktop connection and regulator.

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Pots and pans storage under the cooktop.

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Cutlery Drawer. Custom insert from Wood Hollow Cabinets. If we didn't already have organizers for the other drawers, we would have gotten Wood Hollow ones for them as well.

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Dishes drawer. Racks are from IKEA. We had considered a peg board organizer, but these racks make it easy to pull out a whole stack of dishes for entertaining.

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Rather overcast that day, but DW loves her view of the Rockies.

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The scope of the project grew to include the Family Room. Since we were taking out the carpet and extending the hardwoods, I wanted to do something with the fireplace. I really did not like the tile used as the hearth and surrounded the fireplace. Here's the before photo:

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The mantel was big and clunky (drywall over a frame of 2x4's). So, that was all ripped out and I designed and built a fireplace surround. It is inlaid with soapstone and soapstone tile surrounds the fireplace. A soapstone slab hearth finishes it off. We had oiled it, but thought that we would let it return to the bluish grey color, that is why it looks splotchy right now. For some reason, the oil hangs around better on some of the tiles and not others.

We painted the wall a bluish gray to help coordinate with that color in our Crema Bordeaux granite. The built-ins flanking the fireplace were an earlier DIY project.

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Well, the scope of the project grew once more to include the Powder Room. The hardwood floor guy asked me to remove the toilet so he could sand under it. Well, if the toilet was coming out, so was the pedestal sink that DW and I hated. So, we hunted around for a vanity that we liked. We found the one below but didn't like the top that came with it. So, I got another piece of soapstone slab and cut, shaped and sanded it. Soapstone tile is used for the backsplash. I saw that end profile on the web somewhere and just had to do it. I love how you can use regular woodworking tools on soapstone. The hammered copper sink is from the same company that made our farmhouse sink.

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This post was edited by gpraceman on Thu, Aug 15, 13 at 1:52


clipped on: 08.16.2013 at 07:08 pm    last updated on: 08.16.2013 at 07:08 pm

Our Kitchen Remodel Journey

posted by: gpraceman on 05.04.2013 at 01:47 pm in Kitchens Forum

We bought our house last summer and are about ready to undertake a major remodel of our kitchen, so I thought that I might chronicle the journey. Below are photos of our kitchen currently. Very builder basic. Honey oak cabinets with center stiles (DW hates the stiles). Small island. Laminate counters. Wasted space called a desk. Cheap appliances. Dated builder basic pendant over the kitchen table. Poor lighting layout. Pony wall that catches clutter. Only one way in/out of the kitchen.

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clipped on: 05.07.2013 at 08:37 pm    last updated on: 05.07.2013 at 08:45 pm

It time! Before and during pics for williamsem! Updated daily...

posted by: williamsem on 04.27.2013 at 09:47 pm in Kitchens Forum

We are now at demo day minus 2, GC starts Monday, Mom and I are removing cabinets today and tomorrow so she can have them for her garage.

I'm so excited and completely terrified to start! But there's no turning back now, I have a whole kitchen in my living room waiting to go in and my current kitchen in boxes everywhere else in the house. Not to mention a severe lack of cabinets in the room now!

Official before pics! Please excuse the mess, I forgot to take pics until we were in the middle of packing up and clearing out.
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And so far we have had a very entertaining experience. Some things we learned today:

The best way to find your studs is to simply drill many holes.
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And always use the longest screws possible. If you don't want to waste your screws on stupid things like spacers, make sure you have plenty of masking tape around.
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Yes, that is 24 year old masking tape on top of the OTR MW. Granted it did just need to keep the wood in place for the bolts to go through, but I'm not convinced it's safe, seems like a fire hazard.


clipped on: 05.07.2013 at 08:44 pm    last updated on: 05.07.2013 at 08:45 pm