Need help with kitchen please

kiki22February 3, 2011

I thought I had already made the kitchen decisions, sigh. I picked out new vinyl floor, picked out pretty formica counters. I had been planning on just painting the cabinets.

They are not high quality wood. The doors don't match the rest of the cabinets -- although that's hard to tell in the photos. They also don't match the knotty pine paneling in the dining area.

I've had a couple of painters tell me they can be painted, but will take one coat of primer and two coats of paint to cover the wood grain. Then the door and drawer edges will have to be sanded down so they don't stick due to all the paint layers. At a cost of about $1,500.

I've already had the old counters torn off because I was ready to put the new counters in -- but seeing them all torn off has made me question whether I should go forward and just put in new cabinets first. That's what the last painter recommended. It's not a very big kitchen, so there are not many.

Do I replace them? Or paint?

If I were to replace them, the next question is do I make the cabinet/bar all one level? Right now there is a bar directly behind the kitchen counter. Can you still sit there and eat if it is all one level? The cabinets below the bar would be replaced too. Even though those are knotty pine, they are extremely beat up and literally "pawed" at by previous dogs.

You all have so much more experience than I do, and do such pretty things with your homes. Any advice?

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The far to go with the remodel, question! Seriously, it's hard to know where to stop. My best advice would be to stick with your budget. Can you afford new cabinets? Have you priced them, yet?

You can make the bar all one height, by putting standard height cabinets, where the taller ones are now. You can still have back to back cabinets, but they'd all be the same height. If the countertop hangs over for stools, the stools would be shorter than what you might be using, now.

A few other ideas...can you paint the cabinets yourself? That might be cheaper. What color do you want to paint them? My mom paints everything! A good trick to know, if your drawers are sticking, try rubbing a bar of soap on the top, where it slides. This will help them slide better.

Finally, if you do get new cabinets, I'd consider re-arranging your appliances, if possible. If you're keeping the wall oven, can you move the fridge to the other side of the kitchen...or replace the cooktop and wall oven with a range, and put the fridge where the oven is now. Either way, it would give you more counterspace around your cooking area. Best of luck with your kitchen! :)

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 4:34PM
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As long as you can afford it, replace them. You are already leaning in that direction and it will cost a lot more once the countertop is down. Just make good choices, adjustable shelves, good quality slides, classic design that you can live with 10 years down the road. This also gives you a chance to address any plumbing or electrical deficiencies. And don't skimp on the hood vent. You want it to vent externally, not just recycle through a charcoal filter.

You'll never forgive yourself if you don't do it. Now rip 'em out!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 7:13PM
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There are a lot of options for you that the price of painting would offer replacement of the cupboards.

We have talked about "kitchen furniture" rather than cupboards and there are some interesting pics available through searches. This is a personal preference, but I'd love to do this.

Also look for second life cabinets. Here is a link for a ReStore buy. There should be a couple in your area. Plus look for businesses who specifically deal with used cabinets. Over on the Decorator Forum there are more than a few bought this way and they are beautiful kitchens.

Here is a link that might be useful: Used kitchen..beautiful

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 7:49AM
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Hi, Kiki, so happy to have you return with your gorgeous California bungalow !!! We missed playing with you. :)

First, I would NOT lower those cabs. There are no drawers in those cabs, and they give you a lot of space. Maybe make adjustable shelves in them, perhaps roll outs like a pantry. And I would make them 42 inches tall with that side of the counter top extending about 10 inches past the cabs. This will give you space for knee room, and an eating surface there. The stools would slide beneath that overhang. I am planning such an arrangement in my new kitchen.

I'd leave the knotty pine cabs natural colored below. You might paint the uppers a light color, white would be my preference. Buy new doors if you like. Revarnish if needs be, but they do take a beating. Provided they are standard sizes, you can buy doors from lots of places that would fit your lower cabs. And the uppers too, for that matter. I would clean out the lower cabs inside, but not feel that painting the inside is a big requirement.
And if you are moving that big honking oven, replace it with an oven which will fit beneath your cooktop. They make them like that now, and it would consolidate this cooking function in one area where you can really use the hood vent.

Are you replacing the fridge? New ones that come in counter depths are somewhat taller than regular fridges, yet they are only 24-25 inchess deep. I notice at your doorway, you have a few more inches of wall sticking out to accommodate a fridge. But what I'd do instead, is put in a very tall cabinet (what IKEA calls their tall pantries) next to the door in that corner. Then the fridge, with a cabinet above it, then a counter height base cabinet in the space left between the fridge and the stovetop. Having counter space on both sides of your stove top is a big plus. That counter space will keep the fridge from getting too hot like it does sitting next to the cooking surface. It would help with your power bill, believe me.

I really like the way your kitchen work triangle is set up. You can wash dishes or prep in the corner between the stovetop and the sink, you can open the dish washer without tripping over it while stirring a pot on the stove. And, by keeping the counter at the sink area lower than the far side counter surface, you can keep splashes from going much further. The higher counter will remain neater, be a good spot to place dishes buffet style, or be the main dining area. It might be good to have a tiny dining table in the far room, using that tall counter surface for the serving bowls instead of on the table itself. Depending on how often you entertain, having a place for guests to sit down and chat with you, at the bar, instead of standing around on the business side of your kitchen, this could be a really sweet and cozy space. I love your house anyway, and your knotty pine kitchen reminds me of the one I had at MoccasinLanding, my first cottage. It was knotty pine. I left the cabs that way, put almond Formica counter tops, a L-shaped 42 inch tall bar with room for two stools, and put in almond sheet vinyl flooring. I removed the wall oven, and used a Sharp convection/mwave oven on a cart next to the fridge for the few times I ran the oven. I had a 36 inch round drop leaf unfinished pine table that I painted, by the window in the family room. Usually I ate at the bar, but sometimes sat at that little table so I could watch it rain on the bayou behind the house.

I think you can keep the cozy factor in your kitchen, and do not obsess over it. Definitely, don't install the counter tops until the cab work is done. We had only plywood cab tops covered with butcher wrap for a long time until I got through moving upper cabs. This avoided injuring the counter surfaces.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2011 at 1:04PM
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