My kitchen project from 2011

torontotimFebruary 3, 2013

Been asked a few times about my kitchen project, as I've posted up the 'finished' pics here and there a few times. Figured I'd do a bit of a writeup on it. This was all done in the middle of 2011. The 'After' pics still have some unfinished details as they were taken a while ago. Some of the details in the floor plan diagrams are off, especially the pass-through over the sink and the cabinets over the window (which don't exist).

Cabinets are full custom by a local shop in Toronto. What I discovered during this process is 99% of local custom cabinet builders order their doors and drawer fronts, and the drawers themselves from Cutrite Doors in Waterloo ON. They do custom sized doors in a billion different combinations of molding profiles etc.

The differences from one local shop to another is the construction technique of the carcasses, the hardware they use, the quality of the finishing work on the paint or stain (Cutrite sells raw unfinished doors) and of course the price and support.

The cabinets are full plywood carcasses with MDF doors. We chose MDF because we were painting and didn't want expansion issues. They're holding up perfectly. The finish on them is great. The plywood was a must for me. I didn't want to be looking at fake woodgrain melamine or white interiors. The only difference in cost was the material. Maybe $800 for the entire kitchen.

We've ended up painting pretty much the entire house BM Cloud White.

White marble counters and backsplash (2x4 subway tile), Kraus undermount sink, Kohler Torq bridge faucet.

There are 19 dimmable LED puck lights I wired into the cabinets and for countertop lighting on two different switches. We use them almost exclusively to light the kitchen. I also put 10 recessed lights in the ceiling. The dimmers and all the wiring for the LED's collect in the cabinet above the range hood.

I got the Vent a Hood used on eBay for a great deal. Couldn't stomach paying the new price for that size of hood. It has 2 blowers and the heat lamp add-on. We picked up the warming shelf locally.

I did all the demo work myself (20 yards of material). We're talking drywall on top of lathe/plaster. Tile on top of mesh/cement on top of plank subfloor. Hauled out the back door in garbage cans, dumped into a wheelbarrow and pushed 70 feet up to the bin on the street. It was brutal, especially the ceiling. Thankfully I did the same on the bathroom immediately above the kitchen, so I cleaned out the joists really well. Still bucket loads of 90 year old dust from the lathe and plaster on the ceiling went right into my eyes, ears, nose etc.

Hired out the framing, electrical, plumbing, drywall and tile. I don't use contractors - I prefer to hire my own trades people who do the work themselves as opposed to send in whoever they picked up that morning to do general labor.

Took the opportunity to rip out all the flooring / subfloor on the main floor. It had been done by the previous owner and was crap. He installed thin hardwood on top of the 90 year old plank subfloor in the same direction without securing the planks down with screws or anything. Result was it literally moved under your feet when you walked on it and of course squeaked. So up it all came. We blocked the floor joists and put new 3/4 inch plywood down with construction adhesive and screws. Then I installed the flooring which is solid 3/4" oak.

Did all the trim on the main floor myself as well, using 10" poplar baseboards and replicating the 90 year old window trim (not shown in any of the pics I don't think). Was a ton of work, doing all coping cuts on the inside corners for the baseboards. Mitre cutting 10" baseboards is a chore.

Also had to replace the kitchen window, as we made it shorter to allow counter to run under it. Had a mason do the exterior brick work and move the old sill up (he also knocked the hole in the wall for the Vent a Hood exhaust). Put a nice Anderson awning window in, so we can open it when it's raining.

Floorplans:

Before:



During:

After:


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torontotim

Oh - couple more details. The cabinets were painted on the interior where there are glass panels. Starfire glass shelves in the two full glass cabinets.

I used 2 LED pucks in the full glass cabs, and a single one in each set of uppers.

The appliances are KitchenAid Pro-Line as you can see, along with the Bluestar 30" range and Panasonic microwave. Nothing too over-the-top. The biggest splurge, aside from the Bluestar, was the counter depth fridge option.

In our 10 x 14 kitchen, it makes a big difference to have the depth of the base cabinets carry through across the fridge. The 9 foot ceilings make the room feel bigger, as does taking the cabinets all the way to the ceiling.

Also - the full custom cabinets were actually less expensive than any quote I got from Big Box stores for 'semi-custom', and we'd never have gotten up to the ceiling or bothered with the plywood option given the cost increases they result in for those lines.

Strongly encourage people to seek out local cabinet makers that don't have big expensive fancy show-rooms or 'kitchen designers' wearing diamond rings helping you decide on the obvious things. It's a kitchen, not the Space Shuttle. You don't need 'professional' advice on where to put a spice drawer.

We put a H�fele LeMans pull-out in the blind corner. Awesome piece of hardware.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:08PM
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rhome410

So classy and beautiful, while staying clean and simple, and more in keeping with the age of the building. Love the builtin storage pieces. What great use of the space.

I'd love to see the 10" baseboards!

Strongly encourage people to seek out local cabinet makers that don't have big expensive fancy show-rooms or 'kitchen designers' wearing diamond rings helping you decide on the obvious things. It's a kitchen, not the Space Shuttle. You don't need 'professional' advice on where to put a spice drawer.

Great advice. :-)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:45PM
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purrus

Beautiful job!! I just love every part of it!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:03PM
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dccurlygirl

Thank you for sharing, TorontoTim. Now, I'm going to go back, read your post and drool over your work all over again!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 4:46PM
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treasureAK

Gosh, looks like a ton of work! You did a great job, looks much better! Lots of storage too.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:02PM
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nanj

What software did you use to make your drawings?
Thanks,
Nan

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 5:26PM
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karin_mt

Thanks for taking the time to share the write-up and the sequence of pictures. What a project that must have been. I can only imagine the backbreaking effort of hauling all the demo material uphill. Good for you - what a sense of pride you must feel!

As for the kitchen itself, it is simply beautiful. Hard to beat the white-on-white look, IMO. I think my favorite elements are the marble backsplash tiles and the LED lights, both of which contribute to a soft and pleasing glow throughout the space.

I think the only thing you are missing is a picture of a cat on the countertop!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 8:26PM
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torontotim

Ugh - NO cats on my countertops. My MIL feeds hers wet catfood on their counters using the same dishes we all use. Not my idea of a good time.

It was a ton of lifting and hauling, and one scary window shattering on the head moment (glass shards sliding down the inside of your shirt kind of scary). Window flexed a bit too much when we were removing it and the double pane more or less exploded over my head. No big deal - one small puncture wound and a tetanus shot.

I'll have to post up some pics of the baseboards and other trim, along with writeups on the 2 bathrooms I did before and after the kitchen. One I did twice (first time before digital cameras were readily available so very few pics). Had to rip it out last year to get at the 90 year old clay pipe underneath.

Upstairs bath before/after (yes that is old wallpaper and baseboard etc. behind the wall I tore out):



And the basement bath I did the fall after the kitchen - unplanned but had to come out. Had to rip out the 500 sq ft of old Pergo I had installed through the entire basement (which was another project by itself 12 years ago) and it got replaced with engineered hardwood identical to the finish on the main floor, so it all ties together now. Both bathrooms got Nuheat heated floors, which are awesome. Don't buy that sort of thing from the tile shops - electrical supply places are 1/2 the cost.

My signature in the concrete I 'poured' in 2000. Hauled 800 pounds of concrete mix in my Honda Civic from Home Depot and mixed it by hand in the basement. I was younger then. All that concrete came up and got a proper leveled new pad which I put the marble directly on (with Ditra and Nuheat).

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:13PM
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Gracie714

Stunning! And so much work! You must have a great and well deserved feeling of accomplishment :-) Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:40PM
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palimpsest

Very nice :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 9:41PM
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cat_mom

Ditto!!!! Nide, nice job on the kitchen and the bathrooms!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:05PM
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taggie

Your kitchen is absolutely gorgeous! Love the counters and cabinets together, and the lighting in the glass uppers looks amazing. A ton of work from the looks of it, but soooo worthwhile for that fabulous result! Wonderful job.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:34PM
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SaraKat

Love!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 7:42AM
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ccwatters

Love everything! Beautiful!
Do you know the details about your hardwood floor in kitchen? I am wondering if it is red or white oak, and what stain (or mixture of stain) you used. I am getting ready to refinish this week.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 8:43AM
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ccwatters

Love everything! Beautiful!
Do you know the details about your hardwood floor in kitchen? I am wondering if it is red or white oak, and what stain (or mixture of stain) you used. I am getting ready to refinish this week.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:40AM
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kswartwout

Love your rooms. What kind of base is in your shower? I have one just like it I am redoing and I was going to have a custom pan built, but this looks much easier. Can I ask the brand and the cost? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 10:49AM
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lannegreene

Nice work. I can appriciate all the effort required to move that plaster. I do think the trellis wallpaper you uncovered is cute. I hope you saved a sample of it. The new kitchen is wonderful. I love the foot detail you added to the inset wall cabinets. Very classy. Nice trim work as well, and you had a ton.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:38PM
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ccwatters

Love everything! Beautiful!
Do you know the details about your hardwood floor in kitchen? I am wondering if it is red or white oak, and what stain (or mixture of stain) you used. I am getting ready to refinish this week.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 12:56PM
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ccwatters

Love everything! Beautiful!
Do you know the details about your hardwood floor in kitchen? I am wondering if it is red or white oak, and what stain (or mixture of stain) you used. I am getting ready to refinish this week.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 2:52PM
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ccwatters

Don't know why my post repeated itself so many times!? Sorry!

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:34PM
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torontotim

No worries - the flooring is Preverco 3/4" prefinished hardwood. Honestly don't recall the name of the finish, but it wouldn't help you anyhow unless you were buying their product.

The basement shower is a cultured marble kit from 'Mr Marble' up here in the Toronto area. The upstairs bath (larger one) is a Kohler Memoirs unit.

I'd buy the cultured marble 1000x over again and would skip the Kohler. The cultured marble set is solid material - I mean SOLID. The base is solid material, with a bit of a hollow area under the curb but even it is a solid inch thick. The walls are solid 1/2" or so thick panels. They are adhered to the wall with silicone. It was some work to install, as I had to trim the walls to fit in the inside corner (they provide them larger than needed to accommodate out of true walls). Once I got the right sawblade and worked up my courage, it cut really easily - just a lot of white marble dust all over my back yard. Heavy as all get out though.

The base is set directly on the concrete slab with thinset. Never going anywhere.

The upstairs Kohler unit is fibreglass/acrylic.
Sadly it has a couple of tiny chips in the surface material. I just filled them with a little white caulking. Tiny things - grain of rice type size. But it has been durable and problem free for the 5 years I've been using it daily.

The acrylic clawfoot tub was sourced from a local bath shop - 'no name' sort of thing but it was exactly what we wanted. My wife bathes nightly and the shape of the tub was critical.

Faucets are all Porcher sourced on eBay and close-outs. Chrome upstairs and polished nickle in the basement.

We didn't want tiled showers as we were going all white, and white grout just never stays white. Plus we wanted a maintenance free, worry free situation. And they're a lot less expensive than doing a proper Kerdi tiled shower with custom glass enclosures.

I think the basement cultured marble set was around $600. A lot more than the $300 all-in doors included cheap plastic units found at Home Depot, but those are horrid and is what I tossed in the bin.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:51PM
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legallin

Gorgeous!!! Love your kitchen and all the other renos. What an accomplishment!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2013 at 7:56PM
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parks

What is the height of your bathroom beadboard? I love the chair rail treatment you used on it.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2013 at 10:53PM
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torontotim

I'd have to measure to be sure, but I think around 42 inches.

I built the trim up from a few different profiles. It's all poplar - from Central Fairbank Lumber here in the Toronto area.

There's 1 x 4 (I think) sitting on top of the beadboard. The beadboard is pretty thick MDF panels that come in 4 x 8 sheets like plywood.

Then a chair rail on top of that, and a small 1/4 round under the chair rail. I think I have small 1/4 round under the 1 x 4 as well over the beadboard.

Then of course the 7 inch baseboards and 1/4 round on the floor.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 5:37PM
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miruca

Toronto Tim - I think this answers questions I posted on another thread. This is great - thanks!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:34AM
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torontotim

Since the site reformatting, all the pics seem to be squashed - clicking on them brings up the proper image.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:42PM
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anitavacation

Gorgeous kitchen Toronto Tim, thanks so much for sharing the details! Apologies if I have missed above or elsewhere, can you tell me about your hardware - where you found the pulls? Also love the centre placement on the drawers! Thank you.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2013 at 11:23AM
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ontariomom

I know this is an old thread, but I have wondered in this thread and others showing your beautiful kitchen who you used for your custom cabinets? Do tell as we are not far from Toronto.

Also, did you have any trouble buying the doors directly from Cutrite? Did you just tell them you were GCing your own job?

Any chance you could tell us a bit about how you painted the doors or did you sub that out? Thanks in advance.

Carol

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:39PM
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