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How to remodel your kitchen in 15 easy steps

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Once a upon a time there was a kitchen, and it looked like this:
Kitchen 1

This kitchen was probably quite awesome in the 1970s (estimated) when it was installed, but it had reached its end of life. The countertop was warped and rotting, and the cabinets were beginning to disintegrate. The leaf pattern on the upper cabinet doors was a nice conversation piece (Isn’t that leaf pattern… interesting? Is that contact paper? What festive cabinets you have!), but it had to go.

Enter my Mom: a Certified Kitchen Designer with 15 years of experience.

Also my Dad: a handyman hobbyist who loves to build & remodel stuff.

My spouse & I: engineers with a preference for tech and utility.

My Father-in-law and our Best Man: demolition and installation helping hands.

One of our primary goals was to add more countertop and cabinet space. The old kitchen had a blank wall where the previous owner had kept a small table. My spouse & I didn’t see any need for the table, so the wall looked like this:
Kitchen 3
(Our cat, Hines W., is featured in a couple of these photos.)

My dad extended the existing bulkhead across this wall:
Kitchen remodel step 1: build new soffit/bulkhead
We briefly considered ripping out all of the bulkheads, but there was plumbing from an upstairs bathroom, and ductwork for a vent fan hidden inside. So, we decided that in order to stay within budget, this was the better solution.

The next thing we did was rip out the existing tile, which we think had been updated when our house was put on the market. The tile was installed up to the front of the existing cabinets, so the footprint wouldn’t have matched our new plan, and my spouse and I both thought that it always looked dirty, no matter how many times we tried to clean it. MacBeth tile.

Out, Out, damned tile!
Kitchen remodel step 2: remove tile flooring. (Note "festive" upper cabinet removed for step 1.)

Next I removed almost everything from the existing cabinets,
Kitchen Remodel Step 3: Remove (almost) everything from old cabinets.

and demolition started. (No cats were harmed during the demolition of this kitchen.)

(So long, conversation piece cabinets.) We donated the cabinets to Construction Junction, so they may still be available (although CJ almost didn’t take them). Once all of the cabinets had been pulled out, we hired a plumber to move the supply and drain lines for the sink. Then, we tiled the entire floor with slate-patterned porcelain tile.
Kitchen remodel step 4: Tile.

We ordered Crystal Cabinets, which are my mother’s brand of choice. Crystal Cabinet Works is a family-owned company based in Minnesota. When the cabinets arrived, we were relieved that they all fit in our garage:
Kitchen Remodel step 5: Cabinet delivery
Next came a fresh coat of Olympic paint. The color is, “Cold Steel”.
Kitchen Remodel step 6: Paint
Once the paint had dried, we started installing the upper cabinets. Here’s my mom posing with her creation-in-progress:
Kitchen Remodel Step 7: Upper cabinets (featuring my Mom, the designer)

These cabinets were installed on the new bulkhead – hooray! They are Current Frameless cabinets in Alder with a Midland Door and a Toasted Rye finish.

Next we started on the lower cabinets. Two of these cabinets were very bulky and heavy: the lazy susan and the pantry. The lazy susan almost didn’t make it though the doorway into the kitchen, but we made it work. Our installation helping hands almost didn’t make it up the stairs while carrying these cabinets, but we made them work too (ha-ha… thanks guys!). It should be noted that we fed them filet mingon afterwards.

Here’s my dad standing in front of the lazy susan, holding a hammer that I borrowed from him for about 15 years:
Kitchen remodel step 8: lower cabinets ( featuring my Dad the chief installer).
Next we installed the built in microwave, which I am still very excited about:
Kitchen remodel step 9: long-awaited built in microwave! (Protective plastic will come off later.)

I splurged on a double oven electric range with lots of buttons:
Kitchen remodel step 10: new electric range
We hired an electrician to upgrade all of the electrical circuits and install GFCI outlets:
Kitchen remodel step 11: upgrade electrical
I splurged again on a counter-depth refrigerator with all of the doors:
Kitchen remodel step 12: Fancy refrigerator
My spouse had to re-level the still-ornery lazy susan before this quartz countertop could be installed, but it was worth it:
Kitchen remodel step 13: quartz countertop!
The countertop is Eternia Quartz, “Stardust”.

Next we installed cabinet hardware… and were informed that our dishwasher was backordered. Luckily our cool Kohler undermount sink was operational by then. We had been washing our dishes in the basement up until this point, so having a sink on the first floor was a big upgrade.
Kitchen remodel step 14: Sink, valance, appliance garage, cabinet hardware.

Then finally, our dishwasher arrived! My spouse and I installed it ourselves, with minimal swearing.
Kitchen remodel final step: install (backordered) dishwasher!
And we lived happily ever after!
Completed Kitchen 1

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