Our Kitchen Remodel Journey

gpraceman55May 4, 2013

We bought our house last summer and are about ready to undertake a major remodel of our kitchen, so I thought that I might chronicle the journey. Below are photos of our kitchen currently. Very builder basic. Honey oak cabinets with center stiles (DW hates the stiles). Small island. Laminate counters. Wasted space called a desk. Cheap appliances. Dated builder basic pendant over the kitchen table. Poor lighting layout. Pony wall that catches clutter. Only one way in/out of the kitchen.

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Below is our new design. We will be removing the pony wall to provide a secondary access into the kitchen. flow is also improved by moving the refrigerator away from the one entry point.

Gone is the desk. Wastebaskets are hidden inside a base cabinet. Island will be much larger. Upgraded appliances. Improved lighting.

Cabinets are on order. Install should be beginning of June. They are cherry with raised panel door, stained in a medium reddish brown. Crown and light rail molding.

We ended up going with a local custom cabinet company (Tharp Cabinet Corp.). Their cost was the same as stock KraftMaid cabinets from the big box stores but they included install. We also are getting cabinets custom sized to the space. No 3" increment limitation that stock cabinets have. Soft close everything. That was too good to pass up.

This is the door style. Our stain is a bit darker with a reddish tone to it. This was a bit of a compromise between DW and I. She liked the flat panel styles and I liked the raised panel. It is a raised panel, but doesn't stand out as much from the outer frame.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Wed, May 8, 13 at 10:52

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:00PM
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Holly- Kay

Anxious to see what you are going to do in your space!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:00PM
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We loved having slab granite counters in our last house, so we are going to bite the bullet for our new kitchen. We looked at a lot of different types of granite but DW kept coming back to Crema Bordeaux. We love the colors and the movement. We think that the reds in the granite will go nicely with cherry cabinets. We have two slabs on hold for us.

I agonized over finding a fabricator. Many seemed way too expensive. We are going with a fabricator that is recommended by a friend at church who is a kitchen and bath designer. It still makes me uneasy to spend that amount of money, as I have read about poor seams, cracked slabs, etc. and have only seen a limited amount of their work. DW is comfortable with the choice, so I will defer to her intuition.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Tue, May 7, 13 at 22:18

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Here's our choices for sink, faucets and hardware.

We fell in love with the copper farmhouse sink. Got it on sale from Menards for only $559 with free shipping. Usually, it is $699. Same sink is carried by Home Depot and people that have posted reviews love it. It should go well with our granite.

We selected the hardware and faucets to coordinate with the sink.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, May 4, 13 at 16:54

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:23PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I love your new kitchen plan and the granite! Wow!!

My first suggestion would have been to remove that pony wall. We had a desk too, and it's a clutter catcher for sure!

Just for the fun of it, try putting your island on an angle. It can be longer with additional seating for entertaining. Our last home had that, and it made for great entertaining!

Can't wait to see the final pictures!


    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:24PM
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For appliances, we are going with SS, as we liked that in our last home. Dishwasher, wall oven and microwave are KitchenAid. Cooktop is Whirlpool Gold with a Whirlpool island vent hood. Considered online reviews before settling on these.

We didn't want a combo oven and microwave, as the first thing to go out is the microwave and then you have to replace the entire unit. So, we will have a countertop microwave above the oven with a trim kit around it. Our cabinet maker even adjusted the heights of the oven and microwave since DW is fairly short.

We liked the Whirlpool cooktop better than the KitchenAid one. It was better rated and we like that the grates don't slide around and scratch the stainless steel. They are recessed down into the cooktop. For our type of cooking, this cooktop should be just fine. I considered a BlueStar cooktop or rangetop and couldn't justify the extra cost. DW didn't like the idea of cleaning the open burners either.

Ordered the appliances from Lowes. They priced matched sales from Sears, Home Depot and Best Buy. Saved $1062 off of Lowes regular prices by sale shopping. On top of that, we are getting back $600 from Lowes for the amount that we spent on appliances and a $300 rebate from KitchenAid. After rebates, appliances will have cost us a shade over $4000. That makes up for our budget overages on cabinets and counter tops.

Cooktop - Whirlpool Gold GLS3665RS

Island Range Hood - Whirlpool Gold GXI6536DXS

Convection Oven - KitchenAid KEBS109BSS

Microwave - KitchenAid KCMS1655BSS

Microwave Trim Kit - KitchenAid MK2160AS

Dishwasher - Bosch SHX7ER55UC

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, May 11, 13 at 0:56

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:40PM
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@desertdance - Cabinets are being built, so too late to change the island design. We did go through a couple of other designs before settling on this one. One limitation was that we wanted to keep the area for the kitchen table. So, we couldn't encroach too much there.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, May 4, 13 at 14:53

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Here's our new lighting layout. Tried a couple of other designs, but this seems the most workable. Existing lighting is too sparse, leaving big dark spots in the kitchen. New layout should be much brighter.

Yellow - 6" recessed cans
Green - Sink light
Red - Small pendants
Purple - Larger pendant
Blue - Under cabinet lighting

Two small pendants will be over the island. Larger pendant fixture over the kitchen table. The finish in the photos does not look like what we actually received. They are more of a coppery bronze color, which is what we wanted.

Under cabinet lighting will be added. Found these LED tape lights at Home Depot. They are well rated and are less expensive than other options that I have seen. I like how you can cut to size and then easily link the segments together. I will install an outlet just above one of the upper cabinets to hide the power supply. That outlet will be on a switch, next to the sink. Low voltage wiring will run behind the walls to feed the strips.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, May 4, 13 at 16:59

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:21PM
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There are so many choices when taking on such a large project!

The one thing that we really haven't decided is what to do for the backsplash. We want to do tile with accents that coordinate with our sink. We are thinking of a honed travertine in an ivory color to go off of the cream color in the granite. We certainly don't want the backsplash being too busy and competing with the granite.

We like this 2x2 accent tile. It looks verdigrised from that photo, but it isn't. It very much matches the sink.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, May 4, 13 at 17:00

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 3:31PM
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WOW! You're all done but the dust! I wish I was that organized. I really love that granite you picked. Cant wait to see it finished.
What brand are the UCL LED's? I bought a similar quiozel setup but electrician is iffy on if they will work.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 5:45PM
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@ppbenn - I'm more than a little Type A;-) Hours and hours of surfing the net looking at different options, reading reviews, checking for sales, and getting input on this forum.

Those are Armacost brand UCLs from Home Depot. Reviews posted there are very high on them. Looks far easier to rig than the Xenon puck lights that I put in our last house. Plus they don't generate the heat that Xenon lights do and use less electricity.

One could go wild with these and get the RGB ones and change the color of them as the mood strikes.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armacost LED Lighting

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 6:44PM
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Thanks for the link. I will check them out.
Good luck with your remodel. I miss Menards living in the NE now. They have fantastic sales.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 9:59PM
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@ppbenn - We don't have Menards here in Colorado and I hadn't really heard about them until I saw their website come up in a web search for that sink.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2013 at 11:13PM
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Join the overthinkers club on GW! Love what you are doing and that accent tile! And the sink! Wow- I would have loved those for our kitchen as well.
Can't wait to see you reveal!
Don't wait too long on the backsplash!!
Great job posting your progress and thoughts.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 8:53AM
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I think that I joined the overthinkers club a long time ago and just didn't know it.

DW's Mother's Day present is getting her kitchen and family room demoed. Then the real work starts. Hardwoods get done by the end of the month and cabinets the first week of June.

Hardwoods, cabinet install and counter tops are being hired out, but everything else we will be doing. I'll try to post photos as everything proceeds.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 12:09PM
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Well, we are reopening our dishwasher search. I decided to double check reviews on the one that we ordered and found a bunch of negative reviews that I hadn't seen before.

Now we are looking at Bosch 800 Plus series and a Miele Classic model, as they are highly regarded here and have far fewer negative reviews that I have seen. Both will end up being more expensive than the KitchenAid, especially the Miele.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bosch 800 Plus vs. Miele Futura Classic

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 8:23PM
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How long have you been in the planning phase? You are very organized and all your choices look great. I like those pulls and knobs... been admiring them for awhile now every time I see them.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:10PM
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@deedles - We started planning mid February by going to a big home show to get some ideas. Then we started the quest for cabinets. I wish I would have found this forum back then, as it would have helped getting feedback on our layout. Though, in the end, I think our layout is quite workable for us.

The pulls and knobs are from Amerock. We like the looks and they were not very expensive. We got them on Amazon for a hair under $100 total for all that we needed.

Pulls - BP1580-ORB
Knobs - BP1581-ORB

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 9:25PM
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I had forgotten about the disposer air switch that we found. I like the idea of pushing a button on the counter, next to the sink to control the disposer instead of using a wall switch. Plug that into an outlet under the sink and then plug the disposer into the outlet on the air switch unit.

I'm not sure why this particular one has two outlets. They work opposite of each other (when one is on the other is off and vice versa) making it even more strange. Anyways, we will only use the one outlet on it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 10:30PM
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When my 5'-tall mother designed her kitchen in 1970, she installed a disposer button where she could reach it, on the front of the sink cab (off to the side). It's very handy. Now that she's elderly and 4'10", it's even handier. We all quickly learned not to lean against the counter while working so as not to accidentally turn it on!

Love your kitchen selections. The Amerock hardware reflects the pendant style perfectly. There's a lot to be said for overthinking!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 9:20AM
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We decided upon the Bosch SHX7ER55UC dishwasher instead of the Miele. I just couldn't justify the extra cost and less of a warranty.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2013 at 12:46AM
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Demo has begun!

Bye bye pony wall. You will not be missed! Unfortunately, I have to reroute the electrical that was in the wall down through the floor. Some lines are not long enough to stretch, so I am having to fish a couple of new lines through the walls.

The hardwood floors are being taken into the family room. So, we took up the carpet. While we are at it, I wanted to replace the tile around the fireplace.

Here's the new design for the mantel. We got a soapstone remnant slab for the hearth for only $120. There will be matching tiles around the firebox. Soapstone will also be inlaid into the new mantel surround.

Today, I need to finish rerouting the electrical and then start removing the cabinets.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:59PM
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Whoo Hoo!

I like your pendant lights - we have something very similar in our kitchen. Thanks for the update, and good luck with the demo.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 2:35PM
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How very exciting! Love everything you have picked out! That granite is gorgeous! And the sink! And the knobs, and just everything. Keep the updates coming!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 7:31PM
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Well, we had our first setback. It will be another week before the hardwood floor refinishing will be done. So, we won't be completing the rest of the demo just yet. We'll keep the sink and dishwasher in place, as well as the range, so we have use of them.

Some of the cabinets and the refrigerator have already been moved into the dining room to make a temporary kitchen. DW labeled everything so we all can find it.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2013 at 10:11PM
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With the delay in flooring, we didn't complete the demo until this last weekend. Now, we have a clean slate to go from.

The majority of electrical is done. I had to run a couple of new lines out to the main panel. One was for the new gas cooktop and vent hood and the other for the wall oven. I'm really glad that we have an unfinished basement to make running the new circuits and rerouting old ones much easier. Lighting is done, except for putting in the Cree CR6 LED bulbs. I love the extra light.

New hardwoods went down yesterday in the family room. Today will be sanding of all the main floor hardwoods. Without the pony wall and with the new flooring it really makes the area feel more open and cohesive.

The family room also has a new soapstone hearth for the fireplace. Got it as a remnant for cheap. We only paid to get it cut to size. I took my router and rounded over the edges and gave it a good sanding. Then we applied some bee's wax to it.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:26AM
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Nice job, the family room looks wonderful.

You are so very organized, it set a good example for us.

Where did you get these drawings? If you did them yourself, what tool did you use?

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:24AM
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The detailed drawings of the cabinets came from the cabinet maker. The drawings for the lighting layout and fireplace mantle design were done with Microsoft Visio, since I already had that program on hand.

I actually used Visio to make up a draft of our kitchen layout to take to KD's to get bids. Each KD we talked to actually helped refine the design.

Making up a drawing of the lighting layout was useful to a point. Unfortunately, once I opened up the ceiling there were all sorts of obstacles to deal with (joists, cross braces, vent ducts and piping) so the plan had to be revised. One light had to be wedged into a space bordered on 3 sides by two pipes and a joist. Here's the revised lighting plan. It has one less recessed light, since it would have been a bit too close to the island. Still there ends up being plenty of light.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 11:54AM
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You are a genius; I would never guess that Visio can be used for kitchen design, in addtion to engineering flowchart. Thank you so much for the tip.

All the elements in your plan beautifully tie together and create a cohesive scheme. It is clear that you will have a gorgeous kitchen.

Did you design the lighting plan and fireplace mantel yourself? They are really neat. If you do, how did you learn that?

How did you decide the scale of the pendant lights? They are very pretty.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 9:09PM
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Well, our remodel has grown a bit more. The hardwood floor guy asked if I could take out the toilet in the powder room so he could make sure that the old stain would not be visible. So, I took out the toilet and since I absolutely hate the pedestal sink, I yanked that too. I told DW, now that it is out of there, it is not going back in. Fortunately, she agrees. So, we need to find a vanity.


I'm glad you like the kitchen design. I just hope it really all comes together as DW and I have envisioned it.

Visio has shape groups for cabinets, appliances and "Bath and Kitchen Plan" that I used for the kitchen layout. In a previous job I used Visio for flow charting but I knew it had more capability. When I started my own business, I used Visio to design some products. I really just played around with it until I was able to design what I wanted. For some of the kitchen cabinets, I did have to make up some custom shapes, as the stock shapes didn't always work. You can take simple shapes and group them together to make a custom shape.

I came up with the lighting plan based on seeing how others had done theirs and doing some other online research. That and knowing the parts of the kitchen that were dark previously, I had to make sure that there was lighting there. The entry into the kitchen, going past the refrigerator, was the black hole in the old layout, as there were no lights there at all.

The mantle was a design that I came up with. Our house has a bit of a Craftsman Style feel to it, so I looked at lots of photos online of Craftsman mantles and melded some different designs together. I wish we had a bit more width to work with, as I'd really like more room for the soapstone tiles, but we've got built-ins on either side. The built-ins were actually a previous project that I did. I don't know why I didn't tackle the mantle at that time.

As for the pendant lights, we just managed to find a lighting collection that we liked after a lot of looking online. We wanted to change out all of the builder basic brass light fixtures in the entry, dining room and kitchen. That lighting collection just happened to also have pendants, so we bought all of the fixtures for those rooms all together. The light shades are very similar to the ones on the ceiling fan over the family room, so that also helped in the decision.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2013 at 10:49PM
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Wow, I will have to try these features with Visio.

Planning lighting based on the actual needs in the space surely is a right approach to take.

Thank you again for sharing your experience and thought process, they are very helpful.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 2:01AM
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Another design software that you can try using is SketchUp Make. I have not tried it, but I've heard good things about it. It seems that it has 3D capability, which is something that Visio does not.

Here is a link that might be useful: SketchUp Make

    Bookmark   May 29, 2013 at 11:09AM
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Floors have been stained and the first coat of finish applied. The second coat will come after cabinets and trim are installed. We had to stay at the in-laws house overnight due to the fumes. The photo makes the floors look to be a golden color, but it really has more of a brown tone to it. The stain color was "nutmeg". I think that our darker reddish stained cherry cabinets will go well with it. We went with the lighter stain since we hated how the old darker stain showed dusty footprints so quickly.

Most of our appliances were delivered yesterday. We still need to pick up the dishwasher.

Cabinets are going to be delivered on Friday and installed on Monday. There is still lots to do before Monday. The biggest being to install the ducting for the vent hood. I also need to finish up the electrical, plumbing, drywall patching, and priming and painting. I sure hope that we can get the painting done before the cabinets go in.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 1:16PM
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I love your wood stain color.

Thank you for sharing so many pictures.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2013 at 11:33PM
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We are getting closer! Cabinets were delivered yesterday. They fill up our family room. All of the appliances are in the garage.

The duct for the vent hood is in. What a pain that was. I had to cut multiple large holes in the ceiling to get it in. It goes from where the hood will mount to the ceiling, down one joist cavity, over to another joist cavity and then out the side wall of the house. Plumbing was in the way, so I could not do a straight shot. I also had to add supports to hold the weight of the vent hood. Now that is in, I was able to get the ceiling finally buttoned up.

I wasn't originally planning on hiring drywallers to texture all of the patches, but I changed my mind with the number and size of the holes that I have made in the walls and ceiling. Fortunately, our neighbors across the street are having their basement finished so we talked to their crew about doing the texturing. They can do it, but unfortunately, not until Tuesday. The cabinets are to be installed on Monday. That also means that we can't get the painting done before cabinets go in. Oh, well. We will just have to cover everything with plastic.

Electrical is now done. Well, at least to the walls. Once the island is in, I do need to pull electrical into it for the gas cooktop and a couple of outlets. One outlet will be on the end of the island and the other will be hidden inside one of the back cabinets. That hidden outlet has built-in USB connections so we can charge our gadgets. I will also pull the old range circuit into the island. Maybe in the future some other homeowner will want to put in an induction cooktop. We like cooking with gas, so I doubt that we would be doing that.

There is still some plumbing to do. The lines into the sink cabinet need to be extended, as they had to be cut to get the old sink base out. The waste drain also had to be cut, but that has already been rebuilt. The old icemaker water connection has to be removed and the line capped. A new water connection box will be installed in the new refrigerator location. I don't trust the cheap water valves that the builder used, as we had one fail last summer and flooded part of the kitchen and damaged the hardwoods. So, all new valves are going in. These will only need a 1/4 turn to turn off.

Lastly, I will be putting in tile backer board for the backsplash.

Monday - Cabinet installation
Tuesday - Ceiling and wall texturing
Wednesday - Templating for granite counters

Here is a link that might be useful: USB Outlet

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, Jun 1, 13 at 12:53

    Bookmark   June 1, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Enjoying your journey. :)

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 5:21PM
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Our cabinets are finally installed! They are coming back in the morning to put on the crown, light rail, toe kicks, and trim.

There are a few issues to deal with. One door has a crack in it and will need to be replaced. Some other minor finish issues here and there. The super susan is missing the 2nd shelf. All will be corrected before the final inspection.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2013 at 12:49AM
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The last couple of days have been busy.

The cabinet installers were not able to finish up due to running out of crown molding and toe kick. That and we had to wait until the island was in place to get the gas line run into it. The gas line goes in Monday. So, when the installers come back to finish the molding, they will also finish putting the panels and baseboard around the island.

The granite guys came out to template this morning. That is a bit of a misnomer. The guy simply took measurements. That makes me a bit nervous. Monday we will get with the fabricator to determine how things will layout on the granite slabs. I have to build a support structure for the sink, as the fabricator indicates that they do not secure farmhouse sinks to the bottom of the granite. I'll have to work on that over the weekend.

The drywaller put a skim coat on the ceiling yesterday and worked on some wall patches. Today, he sanded everything and sprayed on texture. Now we can get the ceiling and walls painted. It will be a pain with the cabinets in place, but unfortunately we couldn't get anyone in to do the texturing before the cabinets went in.

A rep from the cabinet maker was out today to go over the list of issues that I wrote up. Three doors need replacing (crack, long dent, and knot in a bad place). The super susan is missing the 2nd tier. Their engineering dept seems confused about having a two tier super without a center pole. It should have a middle shelf that the turntable is mounted to. I also noticed a cross piece to one of the pantry cabinets was split where they installed the soft closer for one of the doors They will have a tech come out to resolve the problems. The super susan issue must be resolved before the counters can be installed, as they will need to put the 2nd tier in through the top.

We need to finalize what we are doing for the backsplash, as the installer said it would be easier to install the light rail after the tile was in place than trying to cut the tile around the profile of the molding. We will probably do a beige travertine with a few 2x2 copper accent tiles.

We also need to put up something over the sliding glass door. It had vertical blinds there originally, but they were pretty ugly. I'm not fond of the idea of putting verticals back up there, but other solutions look to be way more expensive.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2013 at 11:56PM
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Wow, the cabs are beautiful. There are always a few kinks. Sounds like you have it all worked out. Anxious to see the rest of the renovation. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 7, 2013 at 11:08PM
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Beautiful cabinets! Love the color and wood.

We are debating between slab and shaker door styles for our cabinets. Do you mind if I ask what size of rails and stiles of these shaker doors?

Why do you use different door styles on the large drawers as in the last photo? Is it trying to keep consistency among all the drawers?

Good job! cannot wait to see the final reveal.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 9:13AM
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The doors are actually a raised panel. Below is the door photo from the manufacturer. We debated between raised panel and shaker and this one was the compromise. The space between the frame and the panel is rather narrow, so it doesn't quite look like a typical raised panel. The pieces that make up the frames of the doors are 3-1/2" wide, but look 3" wide due to the routing of the edges. Also, shaker style seems so over done. We figured that what is popular now, will probably look "dated" later on.

We used 5 piece drawer fronts (same as the door construction) on all of the larger drawers and slab drawer fronts on the smaller drawer fronts. They would not have been able to do the 5 piece for the smaller drawer fronts, as the frame pieces are too wide. The slab drawer fronts look weird on the larger drawers, so we got the mix. Our only small drawers are the top drawers, so they all look consistent.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2013 at 10:26AM
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We are getting there, slowly but surely.

We primed and painted the ceiling and walls over the weekend. It was a pain with the cabinets in place, but it is finally done. You can't tell that the ceiling was a bunch of swiss cheese at one point.

All recessed lights now have the Cree CR6 bulbs in them.

The gas line for the cooktop is installed. There is a shutoff valve at the back of the island, where the granite will overhang, so it should be fairly out of sight.

Two techs, from the cabinet maker, came out and put the 2nd shelf and turntable into the Super Susan. That is a relief, as I doubt they could have done that with the counters in place.

The sink is secured in place. It took some trimming and custom carpentry for me to get it to fit down into the cabinet, level with the top. We made the mistake of believing the sink manufacturer's specs on the depth of the sink. They indicated 9", so that is what the cabinet maker built to. The problem was that the sink was a bit over 9" in some spots. We should have had them make the support shelf just a tad lower and just shimmed up the sink. I still need to install the plumbing for the sink.

The dishwasher, oven and microwave are installed. That just leaves the cooktop and vent hood. Those have to wait until the countertop is in place. That is supposed to be on Thursday.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 1:54AM
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Unfortunately, the granite counter installation will be delayed until Tuesday. We put the brakes on things to make sure that we were clear on where the seams were going to go and to make sure that they were keeping the grain flowing all the same direction.

The sink drain is now hooked up. It only took 3 trips to home improvement stores to get the correct parts. The disposer sitting lower than before, due to the depth of the new sink, caused things not to lone up well. I tried out the air switch for the disposer. That is pretty cool. Now, if we only were able to get the faucets installed.

On the island, I got the hidden granite support brackets installed. They had to be recessed into the stud wall. I sure hope that they work well. They are 1/4" thick steel, but they seem to me to flex a bit too much. I wish I had gotten the 1/2" thick brackets to be on the safe side. Oh well, it's too late now. Leveling them was a bit of a pain, as I had to re-level one of the back cabinets to get everything in line.

There's just a few things that we can do before counters go in. In the kitchen, it is install the UCL and baseboards. We have some things to do in the family room and powder room to get those put back together.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 1:23AM
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Beautiful job! Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

I know your floor stain is nutmeg, but what is the hardwood? Red oak?

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 7:39AM
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@javachik - Yes, they are red oak.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 10:48AM
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I got an unexpected call this morning. The granite is ready to go in today, instead of tomorrow. That means that we could have a functional kitchen tonight!

Of all things, the granite has had me the most nervous. That is probably since it is the thing that I have had the least control over in this project. Reading and seeing photos of poorly fitting and mismatched joints and gaps between walls and cabinetry certainly has not helped. I just had pray and trust DW's intuition that all would work out fine.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 3:15PM
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Oh, how exciting that your granite is ready to go in early!!! I hope everything goes smoothly for the install.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 7:33PM
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Great work, I feel your pain, but it will be done. We just finished the same painstaking journey. Stick with your guns, get what you want and get cooking.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Great work, I feel your pain, but it will be done. We just finished the same painstaking journey. Stick with your guns, get what you want and get cooking.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2013 at 10:07PM
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Well, there's good and bad with the countertop install. They miscut the island countertop when trying to notch out for the column. Mistakes happen, but the joint is far from acceptable. Fortunately, we didn't have any hassle with the fabricator about it. They told us to go pick out another slab and they will rush cutting us a new counter. So, tomorrow we hit the stone yards in hopes of finding another slab we like. Sadly, we have to wait to have our kitchen fully functional as we cannot install the cooktop or vent hood yet.

The perimeter counters fared better, but there were challenges. The sink cabinet was not properly leveled by the cabinet installers, so the two pieces of granite that meet in the middle of the sink were well off of each other, height wise. I had to do some quick adjusting of the cabinet to get it to all work out. The two pieces came from different slabs and they were noticeably different thicknesses. Fortunately, the installers were able to grind down the thicker slab to blend them together better.

The joint by the sink is not noticeable unless you go looking for it. The joint near the corner is more noticeable due to the grain pattern difference, but it is something that we can live with.

With the perimeter counters in, I was able to get the faucets and disposal air switch all hooked up. We have a mostly functional kitchen now. We can go ahead and start moving stuff into the perimeter cabinets.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 1:13AM
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We went to several different stone yards Monday and really did not find a slab that we like. That is disheartening. We might have to wait until more inventory arrives.

We still have to move forward. So, I have been working on the fireplace mantel for the family room. The structure for the surround is built. Soapstone tiles have been cut and dry fitted for the inlays into the columns and frieze. The square tiles in the frieze were going to be fully inlaid, but once I put them in part way to test fit, DW and I really like them sticking out a bit. There are several pieces of molding to still go up, but I need to first hang the soapstone tiles around the firebox. The tiles will overlap the firebox a bit, like the old tiles did. Once it is primed and painted to match our trim, I think we will have a really nice and unique fireplace surround.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2013 at 12:09PM
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It's looking good! I too am in search of slabs that I like and am running into low inventory as well.

I had a couple questions, if you don't mind.

How far did you pull your sink out (what is the distance from the face of the cabinet to the outside edge of the sink)? I plan on doing the same think. You had to have it installed before they did the template, correct?

What edge did you go with, and how much is your overhang?


    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:19AM
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The sink sticks out 2-1/2". If you page up to the sink photo, you will see the edge that goes against the face frame giving that 2-1/2". The sink did need to be in place before they measured for the counters.

We went with a 1/2 bullnose edge, as we wanted a soft edge. Also, uur last home had counters with a full bullnose and any liquid spills would get onto the face of the cabinets and even into drawers. With the 1/2 bullnose the liquid should drop straight to the floor.

The overhang is the standard 1-1/2".

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:36AM
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Such a quick response -- thanks! That helps!

    Bookmark   June 20, 2013 at 12:58AM
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I'm still working on the fireplace surround, but I thought that I would take a diversion and get the UCL installed. I think that it turned out pretty well and they seem plenty bright to me.

Total cost was $161. I used Armacost brand LED strips from Home Depot. Needed parts were the 30W power supply, 12ft LED tape, 18 gauge CL2 rated speaker wire, snap connectors for the LED tape, wire connectors, terminal strip and jumpers, and aluminum flat bars. I could have done without the aluminum bars, but it made mounting easier. The 12ft of LEDs was perfect for our needs, as I had just a little left over.

First, cut the LED tape so there is a maximum number of LED's to fit under each particular cabinet. Then cut the aluminum bars a bit shorter, so the snap connectors can fit over the tape ends. Peel off the LED tape backing and press onto the corresponding bar. Attach pieces of heavy duty double sided tape to the back of the bars. Using a 3/4" wide wood strip as a spacer, adhere the bars under the corresponding cabinets. The spacer makes placement easier and puts the LED's about 1-1/4" from the front edge of the cabinet frame. That distance works out well, as there is no shadow of the front edge being cast onto the counter. To make sure that polarity of the strips would not be an issue, all strips where mounted so the writing on the strips were all in the same orientation with respect to the front edge of the cabinet.

Before the cabinets went in, I installed an outlet above one cabinet, controlled by a switch. It is hidden by the crown molding. Plugged into that is the 30W power supply. The output side is connected to a terminal strip which allows connection of the two LED runs. Speaker wire runs behind the wall and to the bottom of the upper cabinets flanking our window.

The two upper cabinets were notched around the speaker wires. That is the only modification of the cabinets that was required in this whole install. Bullet connectors attach the speaker wire to the first LED strip in the run.

Snap connectors for the LED tape daisy chain the strips together. Once the light rail is installed, any wire hanging down a bit will be hidden.

Though, after bending over backwards to mount these strips, I may need to get DW to give me a good back massage.

Here is a link that might be useful: Armacost LED Lighting

This post was edited by gpraceman on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 20:25

    Bookmark   June 21, 2013 at 8:07PM
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No news on the granite for the island, unfortunately. The stone yard was expecting to get more Crema Bordeaux in, but the shipment has been delayed. We bought a hot plate, so we can at least get back to regular cooking in the kitchen.

On Monday, the cabinet installers will be finally coming back to finish off things. They delivered replacement doors and the missing moldings on Friday.

DW has been getting stuff moved into the cabinets. It is so nice to have the extra storage space, compared to the old layout.

I got the fireplace surround done for the family room. I think it turned out pretty well. Soapstone tiles surround the firebox and are inlaid into the surround as well. The hearth is a slab of soapstone.

The next thing to work on is the backsplash.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 12:33PM
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WalnutCreek Zone 7b/8a

gpraceman, I enjoyed reading your journey today and am looking forward to the rest of it. I especially appreciated the detailed info about installing the undercounter lighting. The kitchen is coming along fantastically well.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 1:49PM
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This is so interesting to me. Especially since I have very recently installed creme de Bordeaux countertop. Waiting for backsplash tiles to arrive. Took forever to find the perfect tile, but I think I did. From Fireclay, the Butter Toffee 3x6, handmade debris series, is a perfect match for my countertop, cream cabinets and Saltillo floor. Love seeing your countertop, makes me really appreciate mind even more. However, I did not work hard enough to make the seams as seamless as possible, but I still love it!
Thanks again for your detailed journey!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 2:26PM
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Your fireplace is awesome! The soapstone is stunning, the inlaid is brilliant. You did a beautiful job on the surrounding.

Thank you for the detailed instructions of installing under cabinet lighting. I saved your instructions for future reference.

Looking forward to the upcoming progress.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 10:27PM
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On the under cabinet lighting, I did a better write up of that at http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg0620295110811.html.

@azmom - I'm glad that you like the fireplace surround. We definitely wanted something unique, with a Craftsman Style look to it. The inlay idea came from a couple of mantels that I found online while searching for design ideas. We chose the soapstone since it is good at absorbing heat and will radiate it back after the fireplace is turned off. That and we liked the way it looked.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2013 at 11:14PM
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gpraceman: I just posted a response to your helpful feedback on my thread about patch/paint after demo and noticed this thread right after!
I loved reading about your remodel journey so far; you ( and your DW) have done a fantastic job. The soapstone for the fireplace is gorgeous, your cabinets go so well with the Crema Bordeaux and I'm really impressed with your obvious patient and calm attitude about the whole remodel, any glitches included. I admire your DIY skills ( as I do the skills of so many others on this forum) - we are, sadly, not as handy-minded now as we used to be!
Thank you for posting all those pics and links; I've bookmarked your thread for future reference( our cabinets will arrive in mid-July).

    Bookmark   June 30, 2013 at 3:10AM
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Cabinet installers came today and wrapped up things. All of the crown and light rail molding is up. Island is skinned out, decorative panels installed and baseboard molding on. They also replaced the 3 doors that had issues.

Yesterday, DW and I started on the backsplash. We got the sink wall nearly done. It was getting too late and our neighbors would not have appreciated a noisy tile saw running, so we called it a night. Hopefully, we will be able to get the rest of the tile hung tonight and grout tomorrow. I thought that mosaic tile would be easier to deal with, but it makes it harder to do the cutouts for the outlets. DW is liking how it is looking so far, so that is all that matters. Happy wife = happy life

    Bookmark   July 1, 2013 at 4:00PM
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DW and I got the rest of the backsplash up last night. I was afraid that the linear mosaic would look too modern in what is basically a traditional kitchen, but I think that it looks just fine. Today we will get it all grouted.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 2:10PM
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Wow looks really nice. Especially love the soapstone fireplace

    Bookmark   July 2, 2013 at 3:19PM
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Here it is the 4th of July. We thought that we'd be done by now. Oh well. We are at least still making progress.

The backsplash has been grouted, sealed and caulked, so it is now done. With the switch plates on, it turned out as we had hoped. The mosaic and color variations of the travertine gives the backsplash some character, but it doesn't appear to compete with the granite, at least to us. I think that it is good that the only accent on the backsplash are the switch plates. Trying to work in the accent tiles that we liked would have been too much.

I installed the cabinet hardware yesterday. All doors got knobs and all drawers, including the trash pullout, got handles. It was a bit unnerving to be drilling holes in our new cabinets. I built a couple of jigs to make sure that the holes were consistently placed. The drawer jig put the holes at the right height, but I would double and triple check my measurements for center of the drawer width-wise. The screws for the handles were too short so I had to hunt around to find the right size. I finally found some at Ace Hardware.

The next task is the kitchen window sill. Fortunately, the cabinet installers left all of the extra molding they didn't use. I hope to use a piece of the island baseboard and cut it to be the new window sill. We got a pint of stain from the cabinet maker which can dress up the ends.

The only other thing that we can do until the island granite issue is resolved is to do the baseboard moldings. We will reclaim what we can of the old baseboard (some broke during demo), but we will need to get some more to match.

We are still waiting to hear from the slab yard on when their expected shipment will be available. It is already a week overdue. We cannot do anything about our cooktop, vent hood or pendant lights until the island granite is in.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2013 at 3:15PM
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The backsplash looks wonderful. You and your DW are so talented. Everything falls at the right place in your beautiful kitchen.

Thank you for sharing the info about soap stone absobs heat. I of course also saved your new write up of installing LED lighting, thank you again.

May I ask how you handle the up corner cabinet? Is it possible to post a photo showing the inside of it?

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 2:54PM
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@azmom - Here's the inside of the corner cabinet. This is intended for our good china, which we don't often use. Other lesser used items will go in there as well. To make the crown molding work out with the differing height of the uppers, it is a 27" wide cabinet instead of the usual 24" wide.

The window sill is in and looks good.

I'll be starting on the baseboard this weekend. After looking closely at the old baseboards, we decided to go with new. The old moldings were beat up and the previous owner did not do a good job getting them painted (runs and drips). It would have taken too much patching and sanding to get them looking good. The old baseboards were 2-1/2" tall but the new baseboards will be 3-1/4". We like the look of taller baseboards and found a "contractor pack" at Lowes that saves us 20%.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, Jul 6, 13 at 16:31

    Bookmark   July 6, 2013 at 4:26PM
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A technician from the cabinet maker came and did some finish touch up where needed. So, the cabinets are now officially completed. Though, we may order and extra pullout for the pantry cabinet.

Baseboards are now installed from the front entry, to the kitchen, family room, coat closet, and powder room. It was rather of a pain getting them cut right to fit around the bullnose corners, even using a commercial marking jig.

We found a blue-gray set of drapes for the sliding glass door. I really did not want to put vertical blinds back up there. Drapes are less convenient than verticals, but we like the looks of them better. The drapes go well with the blueish gray color in the granite. We are also looking at bringing that color into the family room, around the fireplace, to help make both rooms more cohesive.

The hardwood floor guy is coming back on Monday to put on the final clear coat. After a couple of days we will be able to move the refrigerator out of the dining room and into its new home. We will also be able to get all of our furniture put back in place. Though, I think that we are more looking forward to finally having our powder room operational again, as it is the only bathroom on the main floor.

All that will be left is the granite for the island. The slab yard doesn't expect their next shipment to arrive now until July 20. It sure is hard to be patient and wait for that shipment.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2013 at 11:26PM
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The last coat of the floor finish is finally done. We can finally get all of our furniture put back where it belongs. Though, we do have to wait a few more days before we can put down any area rugs. We moved the refrigerator into the kitchen from the dining room this morning. Its a novel idea having a refrigerator live in the kitchen instead of another room.

We now have a working bathroom on the main floor. We replaced the old pedestal sink, which I hated, with a small vanity. I took a soapstone remnant and cut, routed and drilled it to be the countertop for it. The hammered copper sink is made from the same company as for our kitchen farmhouse sink. With the soapstone and the copper sink, we are trying to tie the kitchen, family room and powder room all together. I still need to put up a small backsplash for it.

We are still twiddling our thumbs waiting for the slab yard to get more of our granite in.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2013 at 7:27PM
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I saw another GWer with these custom drawer inserts and decided to get one for our cutlery. It was $35 plus shipping, which seems like a good deal for a custom insert. We just needed to provide them with the inner dimensions of the drawer. Its much nicer than the store bought one that we had which didn't take up enough of the drawer space.

They also custom make up other types of kitchen organizers.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wood Hollow Cabinets

This post was edited by gpraceman on Fri, Jul 19, 13 at 16:04

    Bookmark   July 19, 2013 at 4:02PM
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The slab yard called late yesterday, saying that they had gotten in a small shipment of our granite. We rushed right over there but arrived 15 minutes after they closed. One of the staff was so kind to take us back to see the bundles anyways. We immediately saw a bundle that we liked and put a hold on one of the slabs. Hopefully, our fabricator will expedite things now that we got our slab. We hope to be all finished by next week.

I've done a couple of other tweaks to our kitchen while we've been waiting for granite. One is adding a towel holder under the sink. It is from Rev-a-Shelf and was less than $4.

The other was a pullout for our baking sheets. DW was not as excited about this change, as she loses a bit of storage space in that cabinet, but it makes it easier to access things. This is also from Rev-a-Shelf and wasn't difficult to install. I actually bought it from Amazon, as it was less expensive than through Rev-a-Shelf.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2013 at 12:53PM
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Connie K

Did you receive the last slab yet? Can't wait to see the final result.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2013 at 11:26PM
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Well, the fabricator dropped the ball and didn't rush our slab into production like they told us they would do. We thought that we'd have our counters installed as early as Wednesday. Well, Wednesday comes and we hadn't heard anything from the fabricator, so I called them. They hadn't even gotten the slab into production yet. Doh! (Slap to forehead). We got a call back and they said they'd install Saturday.

Surprisingly, the fabricator called this morning and asked if we wanted it installed today. Well, of course!! They came right after lunch and got it fitted. I was making sure they knew just how I wanted it set, as the overhang on the bookshelf side was to be less than the other sides. They did a nice tight fit to the column at the corner of the island. They then did the cooktop cutout. Unfortunately, they did it in the house and even with their vacuum, there was plenty of granite dust thrown around. I knew in advance they would be cutting in place, so I made sure to cover all of the drawer glides with plastic. I had read somewhere on GW that granite dust can cause problems with drawer glides. Anyways, the granite saga is over and we finally have our counters complete!

I didn't tell DW they were coming a day early, so she'd be surprised when she got home from work. I didn't want her to be all distracted at work nor for her to worry about them messing up this counter (which they didn't). Needless to say, she was very happy to walk in and see it done already.

So, this evening I've been working on getting the cooktop, vent hood and pendant lights installed. It only took two trips to Home Depot, which must be a record. We now have a fully functional kitchen (clouds part and angels sing)!

Once we wrap things up, I'll post a reveal.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 2:03AM
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Connie K

Can't wait to see it!

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 7:22AM
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Thank you for posting the photo of upper corner cabinet. It looks great.

The vanity in the powder room is a darling. Love the soapstone counter top.

I book marked the custom drawer insert vendor, thank you for sharing so many great tips.

May I ask how and what “plastic” did you use to cover the drawer glides as stated “I made sure to cover all of the drawer glides with plastic”?

Congratulations for getting the granite counter top done. Cannot wait to see your reveal. Please make sure to include photos of baseboard, window sill and granite seams.

You and your DW surely have done a fantastic job in this remodel.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 7:34AM
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it's all looking really good! Can you tell me how wide is the space for that vertical sheet holder?

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 8:51AM
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@azmom - I just cut up some drop cloth plastic and taped it over the drawer glides. It was a bit tedious, but those glides are expensive to replace.

@deedles - That pullout fits inside a 12" cabinet. The width of the pullout itself is 8" wide. It has two dividers that come with it. They do also have one that fits inside a 9" cabinet, with one divider. Here's a photo of the 8" wide one from the Rev-a-Shelf website, so you can see it without being crammed with cookie sheets.

Here is a link that might be useful: Base Cabinet Pullout Tray Divider/Foil Holder

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 10:05AM
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When i say that I love your kitchen, it is a major understatement. I just found this thread today so it's my first time seeing it and I can honestly tell you that it is the #1 kitchen that I have seen on here. I think every single one of your choices is gorgeous!
Can you tell me more about your sink? I have wondered what I wanted and now I know. I wonder if there is a matching prep sink?
I am in loooooove. Can't wait to see the final pictures.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 1:26PM
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@swfr - The farmhouse sink was purchased from Menards on sale for $559. Regularly, it is $699. It is also available from the Home Depot website. Shipping was free, which was an added bonus. Reviews on the Home Depot website were overwhelmingly positive.

The manufacturer, Thompson Traders, do make bar/prep sinks. The sink for our powder room vanity is one that they also made and coordinates well with the kitchen sink.

We do love our copper sinks, but it is taking some getting used to. You do have to make sure that acidic things (tomato products, lemon juice, and even pickle juice) are not left to sit on the finish or you get shiny spots. The patina will return, but it does take some time.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 1:54PM
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@swfr - Also, the sink does not come with a drain or disposer flange, so that is something that you would also need to get.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2013 at 2:09PM
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For those of you interested in the final reveal.

Here is a link that might be useful: Journey's End - Final Reveal

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:45PM
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gpraceman - I love how you captured your entire journey! Thank you for sharing! If I'm not mistaken, your cabinets are framed, correct? If so, can you tell me the height of your top drawer fronts, and well as the drawer itself? And do you have the self-closing glides that are mounted on the bottom or on the sides? Thank you!!

    Bookmark   November 12, 2013 at 11:53PM
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Yes, they are framed cabinets. The top drawer fronts are 6.5" high. The drawer boxes are 4" high. We do have soft close undermount glides.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 12:11AM
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Here's some photos of one of the drawers.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 11:57AM
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Gpraceman - thank you thank you!!!

    Bookmark   November 13, 2013 at 12:31PM
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Thank you for sharing your journey. Love your innovative ideas. You were totally organized!

    Bookmark   November 15, 2013 at 11:48PM
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Gpraceman, a question again about covering the drawer glides with plastic. I am having trouble visualizing this. Do you mean that you pulled out the drawers and taped plastic to the underside? But then you couldn't close the drawer which wouldn't be helpful. And how did you access the lower drawers?

Or did you just stretch plastic across the top and down the front of the drawer cabinets?

My granite is being installed on Tuesday and I don't know how much finishing might have to be done, so I am worried about protecting those soft-close glides.

PS I assume your user name has to do with auto racing, but it would be awesome if you meant cyclocross!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 11:59AM
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@raee - We removed all of the drawers first and put them in another room. It helps to number these, if you have a lot of them, so you can later figure out what cabinet they go to. Then we cut pieces of drop cloth and taped them over the drawer glide rails inside of the cabinets.

After the granite was installed, we removed the plastic but still made sure to vacuum the glide rails and the insides of the cabinet before putting the drawers back in.

If your sink cabinet has doors on it, you might want to remove them so they don't get granite dust inside of them when the installers drill holes for your faucet, air switch, soap dispenser, etc.

Sorry, but no on auto racing. The name comes from Awana Grand Prix races (like Cub Scout Pinewood Derbies). The kids called me that, since I was the "Grand Prix Race Man". The guy who ran the races and build workshops. I've been helping out with Awana and Cub Scout races for over 15 years now.

This post was edited by gpraceman on Sat, Nov 16, 13 at 18:36

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 6:35PM
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Imhappy&Iknowit IOWA zone 6b

"While we are at it, I wanted to replace the ......"
"Here it is the 4th of July. We thought that we'd be done by now."

You are officially a member of the remodeler's club!

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:02PM
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@lov_mkitchen - Thanks. We've been getting plenty of experience lately.

After we did our kitchen, DW and I helped her parents with their kitchen. We chopped down a knee wall to eliminate a bar counter and make a single height counter, added crown molding to their cabinets, added UCL, painted, and installed a backsplash. They had the cabinets painted and put in granite to finish things off.

Now, my sister-in law wants us to help her with some updates to her kitchen. She is going to use most of our old upper cabinets, which are taller than hers and then she plans on painting them. She also wants to put in some UCL.

    Bookmark   November 16, 2013 at 7:18PM
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