Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Apartment: Kitchen Updates

Mom’s apartment kitchen needed a few updates while I was home.  When we first saw the apartment the walls were a dark paneling and the cabinets were a dark wood. Before I got there, she primed and painted the kitchen a lighter beige color to brighten things up (and one wall was painted the same green as the adjoining dining room to add a touch of color).  When I got there one of the drawers in the kitchen wouldn’t fully open since we didn’t take into account the size of the new stove’s oven handle when we ordered the appliances and the drawer hit up against the oven handle when you tried to open it. Here’s the before shot of that side of the kitchen:


See how the old stove is right next to the cabinet and drawer to the right? We decided to swap the position of the cabinet/drawer combo that is to the left of the stove and the stove itself since that cabinet was not attached to the wall and was easy to move. This would allow the drawer on the cabinet along the long wall to open.  The only problem with the move is that the stove had a standard 4’ range cord and it was just a tad too short to allow me to move the stove to the new position. Luckily, a quick search online showed that you can easily buy replacement range cords. Problem solved! I bought a 6’ 3-wire range cord at a local hardware store for $20. It was then simply a matter of unattaching the old cord and attaching the new one to the back of the stove before plugging it in.  Ours had three wires like the one below so you simply attached each wire in the correct order and you’re good to go. Sorry – no pictures of this process since it was impossible to do this by myself and take pictures at the same time.


Once I was able to move the stove and cabinet I ran into my next problem. (Do you see a theme – nothing is ever as easy as you think it will be!) The mobile cabinet was about an inch higher than the wall of cabinets since it sits on top of the new tile floor while the cabinets are installed on the original plywood floor. At this time I (we) decided not to do anything about that since I didn’t feel like trying to cut down the bottom of the cabinet to make them level. I figured if it bothers Mom enough I can tackle it the next time I’m home. I did this quick switch while Mom was working so she was pleasantly surprised to come home to a rearranged kitchen!

We then realized how far out the cabinet stuck from the wall – this was because it was butting up against the huge range plug. After some thought, we decided to cut a hole into the back of the cabinet for the plug to rest into and then we drilled another hole on the side of the cabinet to feed the rest of the cord through. If you ever look at a range cord, you’ll notice that those suckers are heavy and thick and would never allow the cabinet to rest against the wall without some modifications. Once we cut our holes (again, no pictures – sorry!) and pushed everything in place we had to adjust the height of the stove since it was lower than the cabinet. This was an easy fix since you simply twist the stove feet until the stove is the correct height.

The final problem that we needed to solve was that the range hood was no longer centered over the stove. Easy enough fix – I told Mom that we could easily unscrew the cabinets from the wall and move them where we wanted without any issue.  Mom, being a trooper, held onto the cabinets while I unscrewed them from the wall.  Notice the unpainted ceiling and the long cut in the wall to the right of the hood wire. It looks like the range hood used to be closer to where we placed it since the wires were originally where we wanted them.  You can also see the slightly higher cabinet in the picture below.

kitchen_cabinets_removed_athomewithhWe then measured each cabinet to figure out where to hang them and again, while she held onto them from below, I rehung the cabinets on the wall making sure to use a level to ensure they were straight. 

kitchen_cabinets_aftermove_athomewithh kitchen_cabinets_after_2_athomewithhI was initially worried about the long cabinet dangling in space but I think Mom’s wooden garbage can anchors it so I’m happy with the placement that she requested - mostly because the other side is so much bigger and brighter with the cabinets moved over.  I then filled in the holes with spackling, sanded, primed and painted the walls. This side of the kitchen looked like this after I was done:

kitchen_cabinets_final2_athomewithh Notice anything else? I added knobs and pulls to the cabinets to dress them up a bit and so Mom can easily open them. Originally I wanted to paint the cabinets but for now they are staying brown and I think the knobs/pulls definitely help lighten things. We didn’t have much to choose from but Mom found some that she liked at Wal-Mart ($6 for a six pack of knobs and $6 for a two-pack of handles if I remember correctly).  The best way to install knobs/handles is to use templates like the ones I used. I bought mine at Home Depot when I remodeled my own kitchen years ago.

kitchen_cabinets_template_athomewithh The template allows you to place the knob in the exact same location on each cabinet door/drawer – no thinking or measuring required!

kitchen_cabinets_knobs_athomewithhI then took final kitchen pictures to show you and my family thinking that my help in the kitchen was done. I was wrong but I’ll get to that.  Let’s look back at the kitchen before:

kitchen2_before_newapartment kitchen_before_newapartment

And here are the pictures I took after all of our hard work – my brothers and nephew installed the new tile flooring in October, Mom painted and then Mom and I made all of the updates listed above in December:

kitchen_fromhall_athomewithh kitchen_longwall_athomewithh kitchen_fromdining_athomewithh kitchen_greenwall_final_athomewithhI took these pictures on 12/30 – on 12/31 we hung some pictures near the stove (above the strawberry canisters) and we installed a metal tile backsplash behind the sink. What?!? Yes – on New Years Eve while drinking some wine we decided to hang the backsplash that I didn’t think I’d get to while I was there. This was an easy project – Mom bought the tiles a year or more ago at an inexpensive price that she can’t remember (ha!). We simply attached the foam adhesive to the back…

kitchen_tile_athomewithh …and then pressed them into place, making sure we lined up the pattern correctly.

kitchen_tile_placement_athomewithh We had to trim around the outlets but we didn’t have to cut the sides since the tile ended at the edge of the upper cabinets perfectly.

kitchen_tile_edges_athomewithh Mom just needs to caulk between the tile and the countertops so that water no longer gets back there and she’ll be all set. This was an inexpensive, easy way to add a backsplash where one was greatly needed since water had damaged the wall previously.


kitchen_tile_after2_athomewithh I wish I had gotten a picture of the kitchen with the new tile since it looks amazing. This added a fun element to the kitchen and took the room from county cottage to country cottage with a kick.

So the list of things I/we did in December is:

  • Installed a new range power cord
  • Moved the stove and cabinet to new locations
  • Moved the upper cabinets above the stove to new locations
  • Spackled, sanded, primed and painted the walls
  • Touched-up the paint in the rest of the kitchen (not mentioned above)
  • Adjusted the stove legs
  • Cut a hole in the back of a lower cabinet so that the range plug would slide into it, allowing the cabinet to push against the wall
  • Hung a new tile backsplash
  • Hung the knife storage (not mentioned above – this is the same as my knife storage – love it)
  • Replaced the kitchen sink sprayer (not mentioned above)
  • Installed cabinet knobs/pulls
  • Bought an appliance extension cord after we blew a fuse trying to use the microwave – appliances should always be plugged in using an appliance extension cord if you use an extra cord at all and she was using a simple household cord

Whew! I’m getting tired again just thinking about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by!