Dan and Kasha’s Impressive DIY Kitchen Remodel
Kasha cooks three meals a day for their family of five. The kitchen, her center of operations, had not been upgraded since 1958. It was short on storage, work space, and only had one outlet!
Then, the trigger event—a box of Ziploc bags melted in the drawer beneath the oven. However, replacing it requires a very expensive special order. It was time for a full remodel. Kasha didn’t know anyone who had designed and remodeled a kitchen and had reservations. She went into the project with her fingers crossed, not sure of what was ahead.
The Initial Search
A varsity-level bargain hunter, she began shopping with research on cabinetry. Ready-to-assemble fiberboard (MDF) cabinets quickly dropped off the list. She knows kids hang on cabinet doors, and didn’t feel the units would hold up under daily use. Custom cabinets were out of budget. Kasha settled on semi-custom cabinets with solid construction and a good selection of styles and colors.
Kasha took full advantage of CliqStudios.com’s free kitchen design services. She explained to her designer, Julia, what her requirements were. In addition to a roomier and more functional space, she wanted a very contemporary, balanced look, something unique. The initial plan was complete, and then…
Roof and driveway repairs took priority for the next 6 months. Kasha put the time to good use. Every kitchen she walked into became a research subject, a source of creative concepts in kitchen design. When the project restarted, she had some new ideas on how to optimize the space. Designer Julia picked up where they left off, incorporating the new concepts into the final design.
A blank wall adjacent to the door became, with the addition of a bank of vanity-depth cabinets, a buffet—an entirely new work/storage space. An unused water line in the wall behind the cooking station allowed installation of a pot-filler faucet, a gourmet-kitchen feature that Kasha uses every day.
Dan, who had a fair amount of experience as a home handyman, and his father-in-law, Keith, who had installed kitchen cabinets once before, were the slated construction crew. Their work began with the teardown. Since the family had no budget for, or interest in, eating in restaurants during the project, the cooktop, sink, and a sliver of countertop were preserved through most of the construction. Every night the space, cleaned and wiped down, went into active service as a kitchen. Tear down surprises included, dangling in a wall, a live electrical connection secured only with tape.
The first cabinet to go on the wall had to be cut to fit over an electrical conduit. Dan took a deep breath and went at it with a Sawzall. To his relief, that unit, along with the rest of the upper cabinets, went up without a hitch. Installation of the lower cabinets on the uneven floor was a little more challenging, particularly the inside corner. The project went into an unexpected several-week stall at that point as the quartz countertop supplier cleared a backlog. From a February start, it was June before the final touch—the new refrigerator—was installed.
Dan is proud of the lighting solution. They had been looking for something budget-friendly yet unique, shopping on artisan sites including etsy.com. Nothing seemed quite right. The cabinet shipment had come with an extra trim piece that just laid there asking to be used. With that as the core and $200 in parts, he crafted a custom pendulum light bar for the buffet.
Kasha’s favorite feature is the cabinetry. She and Dan agree that to get similar quality at a home-improvement store or any other outlet they researched would cost at least 40% more.
The kids love the new space, which allows them to be up on the counter and in the center of action as Kasha’s crew.
Kasha: Ask questions and talk about the entire project with the designer. Walk through the kitchen in your mind before you order your cabinets. When Julia told me to list exactly what would be stored in each cabinet, we found a number of changes were necessary.
Dan: Level, level, and level again before installing each cabinet unit. Allow extra time in the calendar—I didn’t realize how long it would take to get the custom countertops after the cabinets were installed.
See the project in time-lapse photography and video.