The missus and I bought a house three years ago. It was a great deal; we got it a week before it went into foreclosure. We got it for about half what the owner paid; it was near the bottom of the market. Five bedrooms, three full baths, lots of room, and a garage that is my cave. Structurally the house is sound and in great shape. Cosmetically? Well, it leaves a lot to be desired. We’ve done the easy (cheap) things to fix it—repaired walls, painted rooms, etc. Unfortunately, though, all the floors need to be replaced, the kitchen is hideous, and we want to remodel the bathrooms. Did I mention that the budget is tight?
Well…as part of the home hunt, my only requirement was that there be an enclosed, powered garage so I could set up a ww’ing shop. It took the past three years, but I have (mainly through CL) filled it with the basics for turning expensive lumber into expensive mulch. Discounting pens and bowls from the lathe, I finally recently finished my first piece of furniture, a blanket chest for the missus.
She now wants a new kitchen. I can’t blame her. The floor is institutional 12” square vinyl. It’s cracking in places because the floor flexes (undersized joists supporting the floor). The cabinets are a mix of painted wood and oak paneling; it doesn’t match. The sink is too small, the counter is ugly, and the oven/range is actually 5” NARROWER than the opening for it. There’s a stand alone unit against a wall that racks left and right if you put too much weight on it. There’s a set of cabinets hung randomly on the wall that makes no sense and matches nothing else.
So, when you have a big project like this, you can throw two things at it—time or money. Since we don’t have a whole lot of the latter, we have decided that we’ll throw time at it. What exactly does that mean? Well, the missus said that she’ll be happy if I do the cabinets a piece at a time. The upper cabinets are fine—they just need new face frames and doors. She’ll be happy if I can complete one frame and panel door every week, maybe two weeks. Right now I’m thinking that’s a feasible goal. Right now. We’ll see once I actually get into it.
This is where the planning starts. I have all the necessary tooling to complete the job, depending on the route I take. I don’t have a big router, so I don’t know if I can safely do arched frame-and-panel doors. I’ve had a certain tennoning jig in mind for my table saw, so square doors would be a cake walk, but I think the addition of arches would be nice. So I’ll look into how I might be able to accomplish it with my Bosch 1617EVS or I’ll talk to her about sinking money into a big 3hp router to spin larger bits safely.
I have lots of ww’ing, Handyman, and other home improvement magazines that have been sitting, collecting dust. Time to break those out for ideas. I’m also reading up on cabinet construction to wrap my mind around it.
As said above, the upper cabinet carcasses are fine. They’ll just need new face frames and doors. That should be fairly easy. The lower cabinets will be a lot more involved, though: The sink, dishwasher, and oven will be moved, new storage methods will be incorporated (more sliding drawers, less shelving), the wall-mounted oven will be moved, and the pantry will be rebuilt with sliding shelves. Because of this, I probably won’t start construction on that part until next spring, as we’ll need to plan it AND buy all the hardware, which is still pricey when doing it yourself.
So I’ll soon get some pictures up of what it looks like now and will hopefully have a happy ending some time next year. Keep your fingers crossed!
-- Semper fi, Brad