As I had mentioned, because my wife and I remodeled our kitchen and did
most of the work ourselves and for the most part re-purposed existing
appliances cabinets, chairs and tables etc...it was quite easy on the
With absolutely beautiful results.
Was talking to a friend this evening who asked about the project and he
told me that his kitchen remodel (all done by contractors) cost $60K.
My whole house cost $30K originally (1979) so putting $60k into the
kitchen did not seem like something I'd do.
My wife and I then tried to recall what his kitchen looked like and all
we could remember was that it was too generic-looking to even leave much
of an impression.
In alt.home.repair, on Wed, 9 Sep 2015 21:26:11 -0500, philo
I didn't reply to your previous post, because I was jealous. I'm still
trying to get Windows to work right.
It's hard to relate to prices going up. There was something on the news
about a Rosenwald school originally built for 5000 that cost over a
million to remodel. I think it was originally built around 1930 and
prices have gone up since then.
It sounds like you have a hard-working wife with a head on her
I think when you actively participate in a remodel (assuming you THINK
about it), you tend to address issues that a "professional" might
overlook or just address in a "checklist" sort of fashion.
Here, we added lots of "extra" electric circuits in the kitchen as it's
the biggest power hog in a typical home. Most of our neighbors complain
that they can't run a (big) microwave and a convection/toaster oven at
the same time (without tripping a breaker). Or, have the refrigerator
on a *shared* circuit so if something else trips the breaker, their
fridge is off as well (OK if you notice it soon enough).
We also made a point of arranging the two countertop GFCI circuits to
alternate duplex receptacles (instead of "left half of counter" and
"right half of counter"). So, we can plug in two electric frying pans
without fear of tripping a circuit (we *know* how to get them on
We ran a special cold water supply line to the sink so that we could
provide "unsoftened" water there (in anticipation of lower sodium
requirements as we age).
We ran a water line through the wall to the dishwasher with its own
shutoff so we don't have "hoses" running through the sink base
cabinet to the dishwasher. Likewise, ran the drain line for the
dishwasher *in* the wall. And, of course, it's own electric so
*that* didn't have to snake through from under the sink.
We moved half of the counters back another foot to give us a bit
more counter area, another cabinet and larger work area.
We insulated the *interior* walls to help cut down on noise
propagating out from the kitchen.
We installed 4 speakers at ceiling level so we can listen to
music without having to lose any counter space to a "radio", etc.
We put a pair of phone/TV/network drops on the counters in case
we later opt to put a phone, small TV or even a laptop there.
I *do* wish we had installed a large (4'x4') skylight in the
food prep area, though. SWMBO vetoed that idea. I would always
welcome extra light!
Of course, there's always the risk that you'll slap yourself
up-side-da-head just after you finish... and realize some other
thing you *should* have done while you were knee deep in the
mess... :-/ Hopefully, yours won't be anything regretful! :>
Yep...a lot of the planning was done "on the fly".
For example, we moved the kitchen "island" against a wall but due to a
gas pipe for the oven I made a guard around it which prevented us from
pushing it flush. My wife then asked me to make a "pouch" behind it to
fill the 4" of dead space and all of the kitchen utensils and cooking
ingredients exactly fit in it and completely got rid of the clutter.
The kitchen is amazingly efficient now and all because of a gas pipe
being in the way that I had not thought of.
Yep. We went from three kitchen circuits to seven and each "power hog"
such as toaster, microwave, refrigerator etc are on their own separate
circuits. No problem if I want to make coffee and toast at the same time.
BTW: After I got all the wiring in place, my wife decided it would be
better to put the microwave in the pantry. She was also surprised that I
said "yes" immediately. It gave me the opportunity to add one more
outlet to the house!
We have a minimal number of "modern" appliances and no dish washer and
no garbage disposer. The deal is: My wife does the cooking and I do the
dishes. We put the kitchen waste not likely to attract squirrels into
the compost pile.
The only disturbing noise in our kitchen is me and my bad eating
habits...I guess to stop that my wife could shove some insulation down
We did put in new lighting. After some debate we went with Halogen and
it works well.
After all was done, we were sitting in the kitchen yesterday and talking
about what we might have forgotten. All we could come up with was that
it would have been nice perhaps to have the vinyl (or whatever it's made
out of) flooring removed and had a wooden floor put it.
Not only would that delayed the completion date of the project...it
probably would have been out of my budget ...plus since it would not
have matched the wooden floor in the dining room...to have had both
floors replaced would have made it just too large of a project.
We did most of ours "up front". We wanted to raise the ceiling, move
the peninsula, remove the cabinets *over* the peninsula, add a pony
wall behind the stove, etc. So, we had to plan carefully to ensure
we ended up with enough cabinet space, the right sorts of cabinets,
electric outlets in the right locations, etc.
We only had one "gotcha" -- a vent stack that had to be moved several inches.
No *easy* way of knowing that it would be in the way ahead of time. But,
thankfully, it was an easy fix.
There were no GFCI circuits in the kitchen when we started. A *single*
GFCI handled the bathrooms, garage *and* outdoor outlets. We took the
opportunity to add/replace those circuits with 5 GFCI-protected.
We opted from the start to move the microwave into the small pantry.
It freed up a lot of counter space after deciding to remove the
cabinets over the peninsula (thus no place for an "undercounter"
microwave). This also let that "load" move off the countertop
circuits onto one of the less used circuits in the kitchen.
I don't think we've used the dishwasher, yet! :> With just the two
of us, there are seldom enough dishes to warrant running the dishwasher.
OTOH, the disposal sees frequent use.
The house floorplan has the "informal" areas (kitchen, family room)
separated from the "formal" areas (dining room, living room) by the
kitchen wall. The extra insulation helps keep food prep noises
from distracting folks in the living or dining areas. It also
is a good buffer to isolate the family room and living room
activities (each has a TV and is a suitable gathering place for
We didn't like the halogen lights. Too "stark" (color). We arranged
recessed lights above the counters with a separate circuit above the
sink area (so you can have "reduced lighting" in the early morning
hours, there -- instead of facing a room full of bright lights).
We added under the counter lighting controlled from wall switches
(instead of having to reach up under the counters and fumble around
looking for a switch).
The "hallway" side of the kitchen could use a bit more light.
OTOH, you don't *do* anything over there other than walk *through*
the kitchen (and there's plenty of light for that.
We also arranged for the kitchen lights to be controlled in any
of three locations: at the north end, south end and from the
I think you'd probably then want to *cover* it with something.
Kitchens, IME, want to be easy to "mop clean". Too easy for
things to get spilled, there.
Belatedly, we realized that we wanted better shelving in the large
pantry (size of a small walk-in closet). I wanted the shelves to
be adjustable instead of "fixed". But, they are 3' wide and 3' deep
so supporting them (plus whatever is piled *on* them) is a bit
of a challenge.
Additionally, I wanted to be able to *tie* the shelves into the
walls (instead of just *setting* a shelf on a support) so that I
could use them to attach sliding drawers/trays, lazy susans, etc.
So, I've been fabricating supports out of 1/2 x 3/4 cold rolled
steel bars in which I've drilled holes every inch along the
length. A bracket on the underside of each shelf will spring-load
pegs into these brackets (two on each side) so the shelf won't
be able to move up, down or in/out until they are retracted.
The 1/2" thickness was chosen to coincide with the thickness of
the drywall on each side of the pantry -- so the supports are
*in* the wall instead of *on* the wall.
Had this sort of thing been left to a (sub)contractor, we'd have
ended up with COTS shelf supports and much *smaller* shelves!
Well, the ceiling was raised 25 years ago. The previous owner put in a
drop-ceiling which did exactly that...it dropped. It happened about an
hour after my daughter told me it was going to fall.
I took a wreaking bar and entirely gutted the kitchen and put in 5/8"
drywall, walls and ceiling. The entire first floor is 9' ceilings. I
have a friend who is over seven feet tall who says there are few houses
as comfortable as ours.
<snipped but read>
WE have so little counter space, the microwave in the pantry...kind of a
last minute decision...was one of the better moves.
<snipped but read>
The main halogen light is on a dimmer so we can adjust it "down" if
Now that the construction is done my wife and I both gave the floor
several good cleanings. Though it's 25 years old it's really in decent
shape...just two very small cracks that are almost invisible.
A while back we paid a friend who needed money to clean it and they
basically put sealer over the dirt and pretty much gummed things
up...and it took several good scrubbings to undo that mess.
Now that it's clean it looks pretty nice...we have not even put the
shiner on yet.
I made a few changes in the pantry...put in one smaller stainless steel
shelf that was originally the drop leaf from the kitchen island. There
was a nice looking put badly damaged oaken table in there missing legs
that I had sitting on top of a cabinet. One day I found some perfect
legs for it out near someone's trash so I took them home. I was with a
friend at the time who is a scavenger and he said "You are even worse
than I am!"
Weird thing is I knew I needed them...I pictured something in my house
needing them,.,,but did not recall exactly what until I got home. My
friend really laughed when I told him I needed the legs but could not
remember exactly why.
Yep...it's usually good to make your own stuff...a contractor would use
"off the shelf" product that would work but possibly not 100% ideal for
One other comment:
Since we ended up getting rid of a lot of junk we did not need from the
kitchen....I surprised my wife and for the last few weeks have been
getting my 30 year old crap out of the attic and basement. I got rid of
so much clutter I was now able to find a few things that I wanted but
could never find.
One of them was my little pin-ball machine from when I was 5 years
old...It's a great antique that I will put in my office after I get all
the dust cleaned out of it.
Ours was a soffit that hid some HVAC ductwork. But, the ductwork
was off to one side -- yet the ceiling *throughout* the kitchen
suffered this ~13inch reduction in height.
Raising the ceiling thus required moving the ductwork and demo'ing the
carpentry that implemented the soffit. But, that left us with a
ceiling with a slight pitch (house has "flat" roof so "ceiling" is
really the underside of the *roof* joists). So, had to then build a
soffit with a very slight taper to yield a ceiling that was
parallel to the floor. Otherwise, there would be a tapered "gap"
above the upper cabinets (HIGHLIGHTING the slope of the ceiling)
As the ceiling of the kitchen extends into the family room, this means
doing the same in the family room, as well (which is easily three
times the size of the kitchen area).
While we *could* have left it in place, it really represented a big
chunk of lost counterspace. E.g., when I do my holiday baking,
there is nowhere near enough counterspace to cool the 20 dozen cookies
while finishing *baking* them!
The two kitchen lighting circuits are on dimmers. With just the
lights over the sink on -- and on at lowest setting -- it's almost
like a nightlight; you can just make out the outlines of all the
counters, appliances, etc. in a pitch black house. We will eventually
have to replace the light switches with "smarter" ones as the
dimmer function is currently present in *one* location (recall
each light can be controlled from any of three locations!). So,
you often turn a light ON at one location and have to walk to
another location to tweek the intensity. (We discipline ourselves
to leave one circuit set at high and the other at low)
*I* enjoyed the brightness that the halogens provided. But, we didn't like
the "color" of the light.
We have (ceramic) tile, here -- I guess it's a "southwestern thing". It's
great for cleanup (damp mop) but unforgiving when it comes to things
being dropped onto it (e.g., glass jars). While a wooden floor
might have a *tiny* bit of "bounce", this just causes everything to shatter
A lot of folks don't have the imagination or skills to be able to
formulate their own solutions to varied problems (e.g., my dishwasher
Wit the flat "frontier style" roof, we have no attic. And, on a slab,
no basement. Add to this the fact that the garage gets VERY hot for
a large portion of the year (we average 65 days above 100F) means we
can't even rely on *that* for certain types of storage!
This limits *what* you can squirrel away -- as well as *where* you
can stash it! Hand tools, cables, etc. all fare well in the garage.
But, some of my electronic stuff has to find a home *indoors*
(under beds, in closets, etc.) as it won't tolerate the heat.
I have a full size pinball machine stored in the garage. Prior to moving
here, I gave away two others along with a "Tempest" arcade piece (full-size
upright). I'd like to set the pintable up on the back porch but fear the
neighbors would quickly tire of the bells, etc. (it's an old electromechanical
machine so you can't just "turn down the volume")
It is kept so full that not much can fall in...but to clean it...all the
jars that the utensils are in can be removed in two seconds.
We've only been using the new kitchen for a week now, so time will
tell...but it should be a lot easier to clean than our old kitchen.
I have a pile of lumber in my basement and found that a 36" board for
the back plate was just right...went down there and found a 35" board
that was just right...Due to all the oddball pieces of scrap lumber,
made the whole thing with just three saw cuts.
For this project I had pulled wood out of there all month long...and
doggone it, the wood pile does not look like it got any smaller.,
I like that! At hand but not cluttered looking. You keep mustard
there? ;o) I hate digging through cupboards or drawers.... I have
everything in my pretty-small kitchen at hand, and nothing that has to
be removed to get something else. Cookware is hanging on a rod above
the kitchen sink...not so low it hits me in the head. I don't have to
move more than about 3' to cook, 'cept to take a smoke break.
Looks like a mustard jar but it's actually a jar of honey. The guy who
helped us with the kitchen left it with us to use when he has coffee.
The kitchen is the most efficient it's ever been.
My wife has invited a small crowd of people over for dinner and drinks
Big walk thru or see thru pantry is good. Our kitchen island is not
fixed in one location. It is kinda mobile we can move it if needed
without any problem. Wine racks are converted to storage drawers from
island. Did not live long enough in a house to do any kinda rework.
We just designed/custom built new house in new neighborhood. After 5
times no more, at 75 I don't feel like having another house built.
Downtown condo is sold. Will sell this house when time comes and moving
out to cabin for good. Our cabin is near a town, so hospital is close by
for an emergency. I have a location code for medvac helicopter landing
at my cabin too in case.
Ha ha ha...
I made them myself can't you tell?
Quite a few people like them though.
We were going to buy them but my wife did not like the kinds they had in
the store, so I just made my own by cutting a 4 x 4
I knew I'd never get the miter right as the old house is not completely
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