My Big Fat Reveal - pics of everything

annkh_ndSeptember 13, 2013

First, the background: DH and I have lived in this house for 24 years - we bought it new; it was a spec house. The kitchen was adequate, but cheap builder grade, and poorly laid out. Over the years we learned what we liked and hated about the design, and I've spent many years working on plans, but nothing was "it". I wanted to make the kitchen more efficient, improve the storage space, and reduce clutter. We had shelves in the laundry room that served as pantry for bulk purchases.

Finally I had a breakthrough in my plans, and everything fell into place. I met with Dan the Cabinet Man in January. He and his brother co-own a custom cabinet shop; they've been in business for 25 years.

Next, the details:
Cabinets: oak, built by Radi�s Custom Woodworks; Blumotion softclose hinges and drawer glides; uppers to 8�
Countertop: Cambria Somerset
Pulls: Bayport, South Bay, 5", satin nickel
Sink: MR Direct stainless 503L
Faucet: Grohe Eurostyle with side spray, satin nickel
Fridge: LG LFC25776ST
DW: Whirlpool gold (re-use)
Range: GE 90313 with convection
Hood: Zephyr Breeze II AK1200
Disposal: InSinkErator Evolution
Undercab lights: LED strips, no dimmer
Paint: BM Putnam Ivory; ceiling BM Elephant Tusk
Stencils: Cutting Edge Stencils
Pantry cabinets with built-in file drawers, charging station. Half 12" deep; half 20" deep
Full-depth pull-outs over fridge
Trash/recycling pullout
Super susan
Easy-reach upper cabinets
Built-in spice rack on the back of a cabinet door
Tray storage
Closed off corner � drawers on both sides
Built-in cutting board
Wusthoff knife drawer insert
Lee Valley drawer organizers
Extra shelves in some cabinets
Powered phone jack (direct power for cordless phone/answering machine)
Folding step stool
Special requests I made of Dan the Cabinet Man:
- Super susan heights are different, to accommodate taller items
- Drawer heights to my specs
- Shelf in one of the pantry cabinets to my measurement (for beer and pop storage)
- Cabinet over range hood as low as possible (I'm only 5'4"). He checked code on that one - his software spits out 33" above the cooktop; code was actually 30". It's an electric range, and the clearance to my hood was adequate.
Other things Dan did to make me happy:
- every time we met to go over the plans, he reminded me that by putting drawers on each side of a corner, I would never have access to it.
- He was always upfront about scheduling issues. For example, he told me that getting the stain color right could take several days, and he would go through as many iterations as necessary to get exactly the color I wanted (he has colors custom mixed). And as soon as I told him I wanted Cambria counters, he said it would be at least 3 weeks from template to install.
- His two most-used phrases in our meetings were "I want you to be happy", and "I don't want you to have any surprises".
- When there were mistakes, he took responsibility, addressed them promptly, and fixed them to my satisfaction.
- He complimented me on being thorough!
- Dan recommended his favorite electrician (though I could have hired anyone I wanted). I was very happy with his choice.
- He insisted on being on site during counter install, if I couldn't be there (that was one sub I didn't hire myself).
- The bill was, to the penny, exactly the same as the bid.

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Building up the suspense before we can see any pictures?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 6:59PM
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Such a lil tease!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:10PM
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And now, the photos!


Among the things I wanted to get rid of: junk tossed up on top of cabinets; beer and pop stacked next to the fridge.

My "command center" - my Grandpa's ash desk, which was too small for a normal chair. I never wanted to sit there anyway - not only was it usually piled high with stuff, I preferred to sit at the dining room table, 4 feet away. Above I kept cookbooks, phone books, envelopes, etc. This little nook stymied me for a long time - I couldn't figure out how best to use that space.

Here was my only drawer stack - 12" wide.

I had a 48" sink base! There were lazy susans on each side, which tended to slip on the poles and required adjustment every few months. And I hated the diagonal corner uppers.

The only other drawers in the kitchen - utensils next to the stove worked out OK, but the right-hand drawer held silverware, which wasn't very convenient. And I disliked the clutter of having chargers out on the counters.

Here's how I solved the problem of the little desk alcove - I built 8'-tall cabinets. I also moved the fridge to the left 8", giving me more space inside the U. The tall cabinets are 12" deep on the right side; 20" deep on the left.

I moved the range a foot to the right, allowing more work space on that side. I added 8" to this run as well.

I love my new sink and faucet! I am still startled by how deep the sink is on the left side. I can hide a lot of dirty dishes in there!

Fun features:
I thought I came up with the idea for pull-outs over the fridge all by myself, but when I talked to Dan about it, he said "I've done that before!"

This one is in progress - you can see the shelves in the dining room, which served as temporary kitchen storage.

For perspective - this is the dining room, opposite the kitchen. Obviously it was demo day! In normal usage, the table is tirned the other way, and doesn't look nearly so crowded.

I have always loved the built-in cutting board in my Mom's kitchen, so now I have one:

I put in a 30" sink base, to give me better use of space on each side. One side has a diagonal super susan and a cookie sheet cabinet:

Built-in spice rack next to the stove:

Trash used to be under the sink, and recyclables piled up on the counter until someone got around to carrying the out to the garage. Now I have convenient trash and recycle, next to the DW.

There was a 2-week delay in cabinet construction, and I couldn't stand sitting around and waiting, so I stenciled a backsplash. There are falling leaves scattered around the kitchen.

DH is the cook in our family - here he is making the first meal in the new kitchen!

This post was edited by annkh on Sun, Sep 22, 13 at 10:22

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:28PM
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You must be SO pleased at how all your ideas have come to fruition. What a well thought out plan . It all works and you have a great space. Congratulations !

What did DH make for the first dinner :) ?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:42PM
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Hurray! Congratulations, what a beautiful combination of form and function! I just love those stencils and wonder how I can get you to my house and then bore you into creativity like that.
Can show me some of your lee valley drawer organization? Did you cut dividers yourself (out of what, please)? They have free shipping now.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:53PM
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Hi Annkh:
Looks great and very functional. What are the shallow drawers in the 8' tall cabinet holding? I am intrigued by those middle drawers :)

Also curious whether you can reach those drawers over the refrigerator. I am fairly short and might have a hard time without a stepstool, but I like the thought of drawers rather than the cabs where you really need height to go digging for stuff up there!!

After all those years, you must be thrilled! Congrats to you!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 7:54PM
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And now, the interiors. I have put away everything - including things stored in the basement, and I still have empty shelf space.

I wish I had photos of the insides of all the old cabinets - I only have two:

This was the upper to the right of the range. As you can see, it's a jumble - stuff got crammed in there because I couldn't find another place. microwave popcorn, oatmeal, dog food/treats, batteries - it had to go somewhere.

The same location in the new kitchen - it's 8" narrower, but I found logical places for the rest of the crap, leaving plenty of room for what belonged there:

Before - the base cab next to the range. There is a 1/2 shelf in there - cake pans are stacked up on top of it, a big roaster underneath. You'll see cookie sheets, canisters of flour, sugar, rice, etc; mixing bowls, junk.

After - I found logical homes for everything. Sugar, flour, etc in a drawer to the left of the range. This was one of the drawers that I specified had to be a certain depth, to accommodate my containers.

Above that, plastic containers - which used to be in one of the lazy susans.

Right of stove - bottom drawer - this one is deeper than the middle one as well, so the cake pans fit.

Above that, I have room for the cast-iron pans that used to live in the oven!

Two top drawers to the right of the stove - potholders and tools.

Above the range hood (which vents directly outside, by the way) - a perfect place for my stock pot.

I used Lee Valley drawer dividers to organize my utensil drawer (left of the stove) and silverware drawer (above the trash pull-out, next to the DW - no longer across the room!)

In my desire to reduce countertop clutter, I got a knife insert for the drawer about the super susan:

Speaking of which - I had Dan build the shelf up high enough to allow my crock pot and rice cooker to fit on the bottom shelf.

I tried to keep things in more or less their same location as the old kitchen (when it made sense). We have two teenaged sons, and we eat a lot of cereal. We've always had a cereal cupboard next to the fridge. I was very pleased with myself when I put the bowls below the cereal, so I can easily reach both shelves.

DH is still getting used to the way the doors work on the Easy Reach cabinets; I love being able to see what's in there. I told him we could rearrange things, so less-used items go in the corner, if he would prefer.

I call the tall cabinets facing the dining room "pantry", but there isn't a lot of food storage there. I'm still working out what will go in some of them, but a few were designated in the original design.

Starting at the top, left side, 20" deep shelves for roasters, big mixing bowls. Remember some of these things from the jam-packed base cabinet? I had Dan make extra shelves for several of the upper cabinets, to minimize stacking.

I'm still working on my new "command center". I haven't had time to arrange things here from my desk. That's a magnetic white board on the right door.

My "desk" drawers - the one on the right is the only non-soft-close drawer in the place, because I guess they don't make them in 12".

One of my favorite features - built-in files drawers.

Below the file drawers - another storage idea that was in the plans from the beginning - a place for beer and pop. No more stacks on the floor!

Right-hand side (12" deep):
We do a lot of outdoor stuff, and have a large collection of Nalgene water bottes. After living with them tossed up above the cabinets for years, I dreamed of a whole shelf of Nalgenes - and I got it,above the cookbooks!

Finally, the lower cabs on that side. For years my purse has been stashed under the desk, and the big blue bag I carry to work every day has sat on a dining room chair. Now they have their own cabinet:

This post was edited by annkh on Sat, Sep 21, 13 at 23:50

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:05PM
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kksmama, I used 1/4" x 3" poplar for the drawer inserts. It took me a couple of hours, mostly because I have a hand miter saw.

DH made macaroni hot dish. Nothing special, really, but after not having a stove for 3 months, it was wonderful!

firsthouse, I am 5'4", and I can reach the cabinets over the fridge. It helps that there are large things stored there, easy to grab. I did get a folding step stool, however, because I now have a lot of shelves I can't reach! It fits perfectly under the sink.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:10PM
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Annkh - Sweet! Very nice job and very organized cabinets. Love your command center and your cutting board!
Love the pulls and your organized drawers!
Great job on the stencils - Do you have glass over the stencils?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:31PM
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Love it! What great use of space! And such a huge change without major structural changes. That dual depth "pantry" is amazing.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 8:40PM
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It's awesome!!! Look at all the space you have! So happy that your experience with your GC was so positive.

Can you explain what your mean "by putting drawers on each side of a corner, I would never have access to it." Cannot figure out what that means.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:15PM
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Annkh: Thank you for posting all those pics; I love the bank of cabinets surrounding your new fridge as well as the lovely new sink and faucet.
My favorite picture: your DH making the "first" meal in your new kitchen! I can imagine how you must have enjoyed it - we are so 'homesick' for home cooking!
Kudos to you *and* Dan the Cabinet Man!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:39PM
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I am so loving your wonderful kitchen. The same needs and wishes you asked for and the same things that drove my remodel. I still haven't learned how to post photos but it's ok bc am an old lady now, lol.

I love your storage and functionality. I also have file drawers. I love your purse and blue work bag storage, smart cookie. Cereal storage-perfect.

Ann, you have such versatile storage that in a year or six months, it will be easy to move things to different locations-which is good and which happens in well thought out kitchens. Enjoy your lovely kitchen. It is a marvelous room and easy, easy cooking, and putting away, and good living. I am still smiling and thanks for the details.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:39PM
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It was fun getting sneak peeks here and there, but I'm glad we finally get to see the official reveal! You did an awesome job, and must be so happy to have all that great space to keep everything organized. Dan the Cabinet Man did a great job on the cabinets, too! Really, really nice space...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 9:47PM
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Congrats! It looks like all the time you took to bring your vision to life really paid off. It's amazing how much more space you can get in the same footprint with a well thought out plan. It's awesome that you had such a good guy and that everything went so smoothly. You must be soooo happy - Woo hoo!!!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:06PM
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Awesome! Your pics look great-thanks for sharing all the storage options. It must be so nice for each thing to have its own space. Wishing you many yrs of happiness in your new space.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:15PM
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Wow, your kitchen looks wonderful and love your falling leaves stencil, nice touch! I'm oogling your storage... thanks for the interior pictures. I'm going to be studying those. Such smart storage... that tall wall of storage makes me jealous. So wish I had room for something like that. Off to look some more...

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Great reveal! You're storage is amazing. My before mimics yours. I hope my after is half as organized. File drawers in the kitchen. I wish I would have thought of that, definitely would have included those in my reno. Beautiful kitchen and what a good looking guy doing the cooking!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:52PM
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Everything looks great! I love the organization of the drawers. I especially like the tall 'pantry.' I also love the designated cabinet for your purse!

Enjoy your new kitchen!

    Bookmark   September 13, 2013 at 10:56PM
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It's a terrific kitchen and a really useful and well-thought-out reveal. I love your explanations of the thinking behind each decision and the photos illustrating your use of cabinets and drawers. It will give hope to legions of future GWers: you don't need a gigantic kitchen to get a beautiful and highly functional space. Congratulations!

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 12:09AM
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Thanks so much, everyone, for the kind words!

Linelle, I don't have a blind corner - I have a dead corner between the sink and range. Once the countertops were put in, there was no way to get to that space.

I know there are all kinds of clever gadgets to allow access to blind corners, but they all require a cabinet beside it. I gained so much useful space with my new cabinets, with room for seldom-used or odd-sized things, that I felt I didn't need any space that was hard to access. Instead, I put drawer banks on each side of the corner. The drawers contain things we'll use almost daily; after great deliberation and calculation, I decided it was better to give up hard-to-use space in favor of very functional drawers.

Because the cabinets were custom made, the only filler anywhere in the kitchen is in that corner, to allow room for the drawers to open.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 2:54AM
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robo (z6a)

The kitchen looks great and it's amazing how much you increased the function and storage. My personal favorite is that built in spice rack -- something about the way the shelves are two depths just strikes me as really cool.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:13AM
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Beautifully done and very well thought out! Enjoy your new kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2013 at 9:25AM
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Beautiful! When I saw the first "after" picture, I really wanted to see what was behind all those cabinets! Thanks for the behind the scenes views! You have created a great family kitchen- love the desk area, and especially the purse storage!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 1:35AM
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Great storage and functionality! There's something amazingly satisfying about having 'the right' place for everything, no? Congratulations on your fantastic remodel.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 7:07AM
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I'm amazed when I see that all you GW-er's think of EVERYTHING! Going through your reveal, I kept thinking, why didn't I think of that?" Nice job!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 9:09AM
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Wow, what a fantastic new kitchen!! You did an amazing job. I love all the details, like the cutting board, spice holders, tray storage, purse storage, etc. And I really like your sink and faucet, and of course your lovely stencilling work.

Your space is so well thought out to fit your family's needs and it will be a kitchen that brings you joy for years and years to come!

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 11:18AM
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I love the upgraded kitchen's organization and the new granite counters. What a difference updated cabinets look to the ceiling with nice hardware. Love the way you did the corner cabinet to avoid that blind corner. I love the file drawers. I love how organized your spices are and that nice cutting board you installed. I lover your pull-out cabinet with the trash cans hidden inside! I love the super susan. I love your new appliances. Solid Oak is always pretty. It is the builder grade oak cabinets that give oak a bad name. I would love such an organized kitchen! Great that you hardly have any filler and really are making great use of your space. Thank you for sharing. Enjoy your new organized pretty space.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 5:07PM
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Really nice kitchen and I love all the storage.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 5:51PM
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Holly- Kay

Ann, you hit a home run on this one. I LOVE everything about your new kitchen. It is lovely and functional. Wishing you many happy years in your lovely kitchen.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2013 at 8:56PM
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So it's been over a week, and I've hardly done anything in the kitchen but pour a bowl of cereal - I've been working 12-hour graveyard shifts for the last 8 days (which hopefully excuses some of my typos in this thread). My college-aged sons were home for the weekend, and took the new oven on its maiden voyage (pizza), and made popcorn on the stove - something we missed a lot when we were sans kitchen. Yesterday DH made refrigerator pickles and pineapple upside-down cake, so he's having fun at least!

I want to thank everyone here for the support and encouragement. I didn't find this site until I was finished with the layout, but I still had an awful lot to learn, and many decisions to make. I am so grateful to have had such a wonderful group of TKO friends to share the journey with me!

    Bookmark   September 16, 2013 at 10:37AM
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shamelessly bumping...

DH has had a chance to do some cooking, and his favorite items so far are the cutting board and knife drawer.

Sons and I did a little rearranging of pots over the weekend - they usually have pretty good ideas (in spite of their protests that I moved the spoons, and screwed up their breakfast routine).

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 11:31AM
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Your kitchen is beautiful! One never can have enough storage! This site is a great way to have vicarious experiences with our internet friends.

When my kitchen is finished, I will post pictures (I hope)!


    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 12:50PM
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Well done! I'm looking forward to finally getting ORGANIZED when my kitchen is done.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:34PM
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What a great job of organizing and thinking things through! Hopefully you will settle on the best locations for things soon, but as was mentioned, you have lots of flexibility to change your mind. Enjoy your wonderful home!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2013 at 12:23AM
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