That old house #11: Yes, this IS the final installment

Blog entry by BillyJ posted 01-11-2013 05:57 AM 5900 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: The End - (I think) Part 11 of That old house series no next part

Now for the details of the remodeling.

Original budget: $14k. Final budget: to be determined (right now we are double the original amount). True, I am finished with the kitchen, and I believe she does not have any further plans for the kitchen, but the “house” now became the former kitchen. I think she has enough for me to do for the rest of my life.

EVERYTHING was upgraded during this remodel. From the 1/2 dozen different door knobs I bought, to hinges, slides, lights, etc., everything was changed and upgraded every time one of us had a thought. True, it could have cost much more, but given the age of the house itself, it would not be worth seeing it all end up in the dump when the next person takes possession.

Time? I began this project on July 1, 2011. Officially, I emptied the house last night of every that belonged to me (although I had technically finished before Christmas). So Mark, just realize things take time when you have another full-time job.

I’ll hit on the materials I used as I go through a then and now show.

I used Scabos Travertine for the brickwork with individual Piedra Rio rocks mixed in, sealed with gloss sealer, all from The Tile Shop. I also got a great price on the under-counter LED lights from LED Wholesale. The lights under the cabinets were bright white, while the toe-kick lights were RGB and have various functions (fade, change color, flash, etc.). I had to run the low-voltage line to the cabinet to the left of the window on the sink side. With having to put a transformer someplace, I decided to go with the brickwork theme and created an access panel (below).

Thank goodness for rare earth magnets. Without them, difficulty would have been compounded. A little epoxy and four dime-sized magnets can hold a cabinet, let alone an access panel.

I used under-mount, full-extension, soft close Grass cabinet slides on everything except the two pull-out pantry and microwave drawers. On those I used two 100# slides from Home Depot and two Indamatic (from Cabinets Anything) soft-close drawer slide add on’s per drawer. All of the cabinet doors have Blum soft-close (110 degree swing) hinges.

I fought her about wanting escutcheons on the door knobs. In the end, of course she won. I’m still not completely sold, but to each their own. I probably would have had a different knob and pull altogether.

Trying to shrink everything to a point where you can have everything in a small kitchen is a challenge. The casualty in this remodel was the dishwasher. Never having had one, she was convinced by one of her friends that she wouldn’t be able to live without it. When it came down to what she thought she wanted, and what she actually needed, she chose wisely. Good choice.

All cabinets are 3/4 maple cabinet plywood with 1/2 maple plywood, framed with soft maple. Everything is milk paint stain, wiped on, then sanded. I used three coats of Duralaq Waterborne Acrylic self-sealing clear finish – satin (1WB-104) as the protective coating. If you haven’t tried it, you should. Spray only; drys to spray again in about 35-min. They recommend no more then three coats total (1 – 2 mil per coat), with sanding between coats. I started at 220 and finished at 400. Smooth.

All base and ceiling trim is Behr Interior Enamel Premium + Semi Gloss pure white. The walls are Behr Navajo White Eggshell Enamel.

Being an avid wine drinker, she wanted a place to put her wine glasses that were in reach of her table and also some easily reached wine.

Because she spends so much time in the kitchen, reading and looking out at the birds, she wanted a TV that would not be on a counter. I found a great articulating mount that can be turned for her to watch when she is washing dishes or while prepping food.

As Daffy Duck would say, that’s all folks.

My next project begins this weekend. It’s going to be a whole-house remodel. Fortunately, it’s a rental and it’s small. Stay tuned.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

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14 comments so far

View sandhill's profile


71 posts in 4111 days

posted 01-11-2013 06:09 AM

For that price you can come do my house. She must love you Billy. Steller job on everything all contracters should follow your example. Now are you saying this is not your full time job? When do you sleep?
Keep-em coming.

View GaryL's profile


206 posts in 3645 days

posted 01-11-2013 02:10 PM

It sure sounds like she is going to keep you busy. She must REALLY like you… ;^) ......haha
I like the broken stone look but can’t say I a fan of the “distressed/worn?” cabinet look. But you put a lot of work into the finish to make it look its best though. (as you say, to each his own.)
Great idea on the hide-away microwave. I may have to steal, I mean borrow that one sometime. How did you support the cord?
I’m surprised that she did not want to disguise the TV somehow with a built-in but that would defeat the mobility of it I guess.
Keep up the outstanding work. You can catch up on your sleep when your dead…....zzzzzzzzz

A whole house rental re-hab? Must be a nice one. Most of the rentals in St. Clair Co. are slums. Port Huron…52% of housing stock is rentals…and the owners only put into them what they absolutely have to to meet the city inspections. And they wonder why PoHu is going down the toilet.

-- The difference between a pro and an amateur, an amateur points out his mistakes

View reedwood's profile


101 posts in 3553 days

posted 01-11-2013 03:07 PM

Wow, what a difference!

I like seeing the before and after pictures. It really helps to show how much work you had to do.
The floor tile looks great and I like the travertine brick look for a back splash and around the window.

I know the look you are going for and it looks fantastic the way it staggers down on the left by the wine cabinet but it kind of looks like its not finished on the top of the door and at the bottom left.

If you have the semetry around the sink window then it would set a precedent and compliment the design if the tile above the door matched and continued to the cabinet. Is there room with the upper cabinet door?

It’s certainly a matter of personal preference and still looks good the way it is. Just a suggestion through a different set of eyes.

That half round “window” looks cool above the stove. You had a ceiling vent and now you have an angled soffit above. No vent?

I’ve never seen a farmers sink mounted that way but I have to say, you will be glad you didn’t undermount it when it’s all scratched up and stained in 5 or 6 years and needs to be replaced.

I’ve been replacing a few of these sinks lately and it is not cheap when you have to reset the granite tops and the backsplash tile or destroy the cabinet front. It’s the cast iron pots and pans that do the most damage. I like to give them a vinyl sink bottom pad when I install the new sinks.

No soffits, toe kick lights, pull out tall cabinet, cool wine rack, stove faucet, reworked door opening to a knee wall, recessed cans, bronze fixtures, faux finished custom cabinets with glass doors, arched windows and, a promise to do the dishes from now on…...

I’m sure your wife is very pleased. Nice job.

-- mark - Grayslake IL.

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4116 days

posted 01-11-2013 04:31 PM

Bob – Thanks for the compliments. I have more to learn then I have years left in my life. The guys commenting on this page have more experience, skill, and ability then I could ever dream of (and I’m not just saying it). But, I’ll still take your comments and compliments and appreciate them! I’ll cash in on it when I totally screw up.

Gary – I have an outlet on the wall behind the cabinet. I attached a power strip to the back side of the drawer and have the microwave cord secured with plastic loops. The power cord is long enough that I can remove the drawer and set it on the floor. I left the back off of the cabinet in that area, so the cord is able to drop down as the drawer is closed (I have a back on the rest of the cabinet, so it won’t get tangled up in any other drawers or door openings). Don’t forget, the slides allow a gap under the drawer, so the chances of anything getting tangled up is minimal.

With the rehab, that is the way my wife wants to go. Do it cheap and hope for the best. I’m not going to do that though. Not that I will put the very best in, but my thoughts are that most people will take care of things that look nice and work properly. You won’t see gold-plated fixtures and a TOTO toilet seat, but I’m not going to have something will fall apart after a month. Should be interesting. And yes, I’ll have enough time to catch up on my sleep once I die!

Mark – thanks for you comments. It means a lot to me when a professional makes suggestions and compliments on my work. Funny you should mention the brick around the door. I drew out (on the wall) several different patterns and designs (did the same throughout the kitchen), and that was what she wanted. I wanted to build it up a bit more (several rows like above the stove), but she didn’t. In the long run, it’s not what I wanted, but she got exactly what she wanted. She would stand above me and look through the small stones to make sure I was picking the ones she wanted. Oh well.

BTW – she is NOT my wife. But, if you mean that my wife is happy I am no longer working on that house, then yes – my wife is VERY happy it is completed. Wait till you see my wife’s list! That too is going to be started very soon.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View BillyJ's profile


253 posts in 4116 days

posted 01-11-2013 05:01 PM

One more thing, Mark. You asked about the vent. She really didn’t want the vent, and she definitely didn’t want a range hood. She said she does not fry with grease, and she keeps the window open unless it is cold. Because the 2009 IRC doesn’t address kitchen ventilation (other then range hoods), I wasn’t going to argue with her. Had it been the case that the kitchen had pocket doors, or would have been closed off, I would have pressed the issue.

-- No matter how many times I measure, I always forget the dimensions before I cut.

View reedwood's profile


101 posts in 3553 days

posted 01-12-2013 03:49 AM

Bill, oops. I thought this was your house and you were refering to her as your wife. Ha! sorry. Well. I’m sure she was happy too.

-- mark - Grayslake IL.

View Chris Mobley's profile

Chris Mobley

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posted 02-12-2013 04:01 PM

Love the pictures. The home is beautiful!
Thank you!
Chris Mobley

-- Chris Mobley - www.cmobleydesigns.com

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