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September 2021
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House Refresh the Kitchen

Recently I refreshed a house.  Owner died, heirs want to sell.  In the current market balancing cash in vs cash out is a delicate act. You want to add value but you can’t afford to overbuild for the market. Once you own a house you can of course go crazy.

Here is the kitchen in this house which is just like every other house in the neighborhood, which at one time was a ‘development’.

In the foreground is the breakfast area with wood posts forming a visual separation between the family room and the galley style kitchen. This is untouched from the day the developer turned over the keys. Back in the day where wallpaper was thought to be a good idea in kitchens. The wallpaper has to go, the popcorn ceiling in the breakfast nook has to go, the cabinets need serious cleaning. The formica counters are showing extreme age.

The first order of business is to eliminate the posts, remove the wallpaper, skimcoat the walls,(required as the builders do not final finish these walls figuring that the wallpaper will cover imperfections) clean and refinish the cabinets, order and install new tops and clean and refinish the floor. The floor was left as it is a one piece sheet vinyl in good condition.

Just these few tasks begin to open up the space. After removing the wallpaper, which was not real hard as I had my daughter do it, and using a spray bottle filled with water she made it go away in short order. We cleaned and refinished the cabinets first, bagged them and then primed and painted. The counters were the last major items installed before doing the floor. Here is the final result.

Here is the kitchen start from the reverse angle.

Here is the finish.

Here is a longer view from the family room.

Cabinet Caper

Had an old cabinet. Left side was a printer stand for tractor feed paper. Needed a file cabinet for the Closet Office.

Skilsaw action ensues.

Trim n Paint

Leftovers. No custom closet office is complete without a custom trash can.

Cut down old drawer front, made note and key board.

Laundry Room Makeover 1

Laundry rooms are where you hide your washer and dryer. Denial is futile. It doesn’t matter how much you paid or what color you got, you end up putting it behind closed doors. The trend of having glass doors on washers and dryers is silly. Are you really gonna pull up a lawn chair and have a Mohito and watch your clothes spin? Maybe once. Any more than that, you may need help or a life coach.

This doesn’t mean that your laundry cannot become a useful and productive room of your house and make you a better person. Here is a laundry makeover to get this room to pull its own weight and make the household run smoother.

Exhibit A:

Washer, Dryer, and overflow from Costco or Sams Club. The room is 11′ long and 5 1/2′ wide. In reality the useful space is only 8′ as the doorway between the garage and the hallway to the rest of the house sucks up 3 feet.
Exhibit B:

Not a lot of room since the door to the garage and the back hall are on the other side.

First up is to get the stuff out. The good news is that they have most of it on a rolling shelving unit.

Pay attention to the wall outlet.

Here we have installed the utility cabinets. We needed to move the washer and dryer over about 4″. We found the studs previously and used this information to screw the cabinets to the wall. These are the same cabinets we used for the storage project a few weeks ago. We needed to reverse the door swing for this application, which was easy. two screws, flip the doors and we are done. These units have an oak frace frame and oak doors. The edges of the door frames are beveled so you don’t need handles.

One modification we did make was to cut a hole for access to the wall outlet. This is the only other outlet in here.
Outlet Detail

One of the things that I think about in remodeling is to make spaces as efficient as possible. In this case the clients are young professionals who used to have lives before the arrival of the heir apparent. If you have children, you know what this means. Kid proofing your house becomes a priority. Stuff that you take for granted, especially in the cleaning arena, suddenly become the enemy. The other thing that parenthood brings is a large uptick in laundry usage.  So here is an opportunity to consolidate cleaning and safety.

As part of my evil plan to get as much cleaning material out of the rest of the house and corral it into this room, the decision was made to install some more cabinets over the washer and dryer. We had enough room for 2 24” wide upper cabinets.

These cabinets having face frames have a reveal that is a 1/4″ larger on either side of the cabinets.

Here is the first cabinet going up. The door has been removed to make this easier. The Front side of this cabinet has a 1/2″ spacer attached at the top and the bottom.1/4 + 1/4. The other side has a 1/4″ space so the cabinet will be flush with the utility cabinet.
Spacer and cabinet assembly detail

Spacer Detail

This spaces the cabinet and also blocks off a pathway for dust falling down.

Spacer Detail

To install this cabinet I used a piece of plywood and a 2×4 scrap to act as a stop for the bottom of the cabinet and a couple of squeeze clamps to hold it in place as I screwed through the back of the cab into the studs behind the wall. I used 2″ screws as the cab back is 1/8″, the backing strip is 1/2″. the drywall is 5/8″(being an exterior wall) giving me a solid 3/4″ penetration. I also screwed the cabinets to each other with smaller screws.

The second cabinet is a repeat of the procedure, with the following exception, screwing the face frames together.

Face Frame Detail
Face Frame fastening detail

Here are the cabinets installed.

There is that foot of space above these units, that gives me an itch. Yeah, I am gonna scratch it. Hollow Core door panels to the rescue! In this case rescue does double duty. We salvaged a pair of 18” panels from the neighbors, and are going to put up some shelves.

Here are the door panels installed. The scrap from cutting them down will fill in that area over the corner of the tall cabinet.

Here is the other side of the room. That is one of those daylight tubes. Works quite well in here.

As you can see paper towels fit up here nicely as well as bulk things like 30 packs of TP, kleenex, and other bulk items. The wall cleat extends all the way to the doorway. This will contain hooks for the ladder that normally lives here as well as holders for various brooms and cleaning widgits on a pole. It also can act as the base for a smaller shelf if they need more space.

There is one more little detail. This is just annoying. For some reason, I suspect laziness, the builder decided to put the outlet for the dryer and the water box up high.

A little shelf solves this problem.

Here is our project ready for paint. The laundry room is now a useful productive member of this household. with tons of storage,

Remember I asked you to pay attention to the wall outlet? It too is productive.