Kitchen Remodel Started! Photos and Updates

lothiaSeptember 26, 2013

Hello All,
I've been lurking on these forums for about a year now trying to gain as much information about Kitchens and the remodel process as possible. During that time I made a few posts asking questions and with the help of the members here I was able to actually start the remodel. Because of all the help this forum has provided I thought I'd share my remodel experience as I know it's what we enjoy most to see.

For some back story, I purchased my condominium in downtown Seattle back in October of last year. It's a single bedroom unit with roughly 633sqft and ~9' ceilings. I believe the kitchen was the original from the early 90's with it's amazing white panel construction grade quality. I quite dislike white kitchens they just feel too sterile (though they are coming back I noticed from gw).
As seen in the images below the kitchen is quite small compared to most posts on this site measuring 7'9"x9' or 69.75sqft.

Along with this the bathroom was the same style, while it wasn't ugly it didn't make good use of the space. The upper drawers had about 4" of usable space in them which wasn't enough for me a guy.

So why did I remodel my kitchen and bathroom when they were serviceable and not such bad quality? Well many on this forum complain about usable space and want to open up their kitchens and get more storage space. These people have nooo idea what it's like having a 70sqft kitchen where your corners are all dead and drawers can't even fit your silverware properly.

What I wanted was a "cheap" kitchen that would give me adequate space for all of my misc appliances as well as a manageable space for pots and pans. Food needed to be separated and overall it had to stay functional (not very hard with a U-shape).

I decided to start with a KD even though I had a good idea of what I wanted and was then quickly turned off. Being told that my $15000 budget would only get me lower cabinets and some cheap granite was horrible to hear, especially since it was BS. I decided from there on I'd look for myself, starting with Ikea. By this time I had decided on 9 boxes for the kitchen, as high of uppers as I could get and a 24" fridge if able. Ikea looked to be a perfect option I could get the kitchen cabinets I wanted there for about $4000 but something was missing. I realized I wanted pullouts for my pots and pans and I didn't like having 3-4" of wasted space on the sides.

I had to give up on Ikea and even with all the bad stories of HD decided to look there. During my time at HD I found out that their prices were usually cheaper then the small kitchen companies that sell the same products under different names. However the installation cost was a lot more. On average I was being told it would cost $3000 to do a single day install of 9 boxes... I laughed at that.

Break! Ever wonder why motorcycles are loud? Well people like to turn into you from the right lane, this took me out for about 2 weeks.

By this point I had been to 10+ small companies as well as looking at 3 different lines from HD and 1 from lowes. My list of requirements had grown larger and changed to include frameless construction (for space), Blum hardware or equivalent and more specific stain requirements. They weren't getting me anywhere from price quotes from $4200 for Shendoah to $15000 for some other random brand. At this point I succumbed and looked at 2 or 3 different custom kitchen makers in Seattle area. My expectations were right, I was being quoted $8000+ just for my basic requirements and very little show once I expressed my knowledge of kitchen construction and brands from my research. Now 3 months into my search I decided to finally contact the cabinet maker my family used for our bathrooms 5 or so year ago. I had been avoiding him as I knew the overall remodel cost ~$80000 and thought he would be way out of my price range. So I contacted Authentic Woodcraft with my generic email containing all the boxes I wanted with exact measurements and expected the worst.

How wrong I was! I knew his product was built well as I abused that bathroom for those 5 years and it still looked brand new. Authentic Woodcraft was able to give me everything I wanted and additions to my requirements when I realized I could add them and 'stay' in budget. By the end I had upper cabinets that were 56" and went to the ceiling. Had separate real doors. Fridge panel that was 96" single piece and a back panel measuring just as much. This was all for $400 more then my quote for Home Depots frameless cabinet line that only had 42" uppers with particle board construction.

FINALLY, I am now at the part I am sure most of you care about. The demolition and remodel process. This all started around September 12th and has been on going. I decided to save money and do the demo myself, which took a lot longer then I had anticipated (who would have guessed).

End of day one. We were able to take out the stove, DW and sink, as well we started to remove the pony wall behind the peninsula. This was one of the more radical and risky parts of my remodel. I discussed the idea of putting the plumbing and electrical in the back of my boxes to gain ~6" of usable space for my side cabinets. I had made measurements and hoped it would all work, but destroying the pony wall was that first step into no turning back.

Day 2 of demo was small, I had to move two lights in Kitchen as the new upper cabinets would go where they are. This should have been simple but the lights wereon racks inside the ceiling that required some crazy cutting. In the end it turned out like this.

Day 3 of demo involved more cabinet removal and pony wall removal. We were able to get all cabinets down and the ponywall removed by 90%. I don't know how I didn't take a photo of the place completely empty but here is a photo of the pony wall mostly gone. The rest was removed via plumber and cabinet installer.

As well we did a dump run, bye bye cabinets. Though I still had all the door fronts, drawers and 8 big black bags of junk in my condo.

Right before installation
Between cabinet install and the demo I had a plumber come in to lower the vent pipe from 6" above the sink to 2" below. Having the pipe go directly to a vent pipe still and all that fun jazz.

Also, you gotta wonder where all that kitchen + new cabinets are going. Well, I lost my bedroom about 4 days before installation.

The cabinet maker actually had to bring 3 more boxes after this too.


Now the important part the install. The cabinet installers I got recommended from Authentic Woodcraft were amazing. They did it all in a single day and it cost less then 40% of what HD quoted and 60% of what other installers had quoted.

Fully finished installation. The four right doors aren't there still as are back in shop.

You can see the crappy patch job on the lights in this photo. Those still need to be cleaned up. But you will notice I did a diagonal corner cabinet. This gives me huge amounts of space for larger appliances that I use rarely and I don't think it detracts from the overall look like many others.

Closer image of the corner.

This is an image of the plumbing and electrical that will be in the back of the cabinets. I was lucky with the 2 extra inches of space I used so that the drawers are all full size and the vent pipe fits perfectly.

As well as the kitchen, the other reason I was so happy with my price was it also included a bathroom vanity that was made of 3 pieces and one of those over the toilet things.

At this point, this is all the work I've done. I had an electrician come in and install the boxes and whatnot but that's not very exciting.
Granite should be installed sometime this next week (hopefully). It will be aprox 53 sqft with a 63sqft slab so I'm hoping I won't have to buy a second or part for the bathroom.

I'll write about the granite I chose and the long process it took me during my next update.

Hopefully you all enjoyed this and if you have any questions at all I would love to answer them

As well here is a link to an album with the photos + others I didn't post.

This post was edited by lothia on Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 19:12

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That's very exciting and a lot of hard work! It looks great thus far. Beautiful cabinets. Post more pics as you go:)

This post was edited by lcskaisgir on Thu, Sep 26, 13 at 19:28

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 7:27PM
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Looks gorgeous!!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 7:45PM
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Your cabinets are beautiful! Looking forward to your next update.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Great job - love the story too!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:16PM
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I love threads that show the remodeling progress, and you make it a fun read. You did great on the demo, and the lights don't look that bad at all. Sorry about your bike...idiots...

Looking forward to seeing more!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 10:54PM
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Holly- Kay

Wow, what a nice kitchen. I am so anxious to see it when finished.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2013 at 11:48PM
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Wow...very nice! Keep those pics coming!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:02AM
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I like how you took the cabinets to the ceiling - so much more usable space. The cabinets also warm up the space a lot.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 9:28AM
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Thanks all.

Yes, I had never planned on being able to actually bring the cabinets to the ceiling. I had always thought I'd get them about 14" from and use 3" molding on the ceiling and cabinets. However the price difference between 42" and the ones I got with the double doors was only $400. Easily justifiable to me.

Hopefully granite shall be installed on Monday or Tuesday just waiting to hear back from the fabricator.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Your kitchen looks great, wish they were in the Boston Area - I'll be starting mine, hopefully soon, just starting the process of looking for what I like. I have the same layout as you but with 8 ft ceilings, 9 cabinets in mine - (one corner no cabinet do to structurally jog out) small and a condo too. The living room, dining room open to kitchen layout you have looks just like mine also.

I am really looking forward to see how the 2 tier tear down to one level looks because that is what I am thinking of doing also. Can't wait to see yours finished!

In your first post you mentioned a link to other photos you have that are not posted here. I don't see the link though. Can you repost the link if it's still available?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 12:49PM
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You are right the link didn't get added. It's here It's not that many extra photos but a few. I wish I had taken more while I was doing the tear down and build but pictures are usually the last thing on the mind when doing the actual work lol.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2013 at 5:27PM
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Hi Lothia Just wondering how your counters came out and how you like it without the 2 tier. Would love to see some photos.

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Your post made me smile, as you really did your homework and had a vision of what you wanted. The wood looks beautiful.

Out of curiosity, are you leaving shower curtain, or switching to glass?

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Wow, what a HUGE difference those beautiful new cabinets make. Love them!! The gorgeous color plus taking them to the ceiling really add a depth to the space that was totally missing in your before kitchen. Looking forward to your final reveal.

    Bookmark   November 2, 2013 at 5:59PM
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