Friday, December 21, 2012

The Great Kitchen Remodel

Merry Christmas to me! It all started a few months ago when I said to Mr. Frisby, “how about if we don’t get anything for each other for Christmas and we just get a new dishwasher?” It was a great plan, but due to other circumstances and plans that came up, we decided to go all in and just redo the whole kitchen. We headed to IKEA about two weeks before Thanksgiving and over 6,000 dollars later, we had new cabinets and a countertop on order. It was supposed to take two to two and a half weeks for the cabinets to be delivered. We got a phone call the Saturday before Thanksgiving (a week after initially ordering the goods) saying our cabinets were ready to be delivered. Mr. Frisby had Thanksgiving week off work, so he happily told them to deliver on Monday and planned to have an exciting and busy week installing cabinets. The old kitchen, which we’ve hated since we moved in, was on its way out. Let’s take a walk down memory lane:

You might remember that I gave the cabinets a facelift and painted them orange and white when we moved in. It was a huge improvement over the nasty brown varnish they had before. And I figured it would be fun for a little while. A LITTLE while. That little while was over. The countertop was a lovely faux wood laminate. All of this, we believe, was original from when the house was built in 1977. The appliances weren't original, but they were old. And black. Not to mention Mr. Frisby and I have hated the dishwasher with a passion since we moved in. We were also done doing dishes with a faucet that barely reached the back side of the sink and a sprayer that was 88% clogged and, therefore, useless. We were not sad to see it all go.

Monday morning, I left with Stella and Scout to go to my parents’ house. We figured it would be best to have them out of the demolition and construction zone. Mr. Frisby got to work tearing out the old cabinets. All went well until he tore out the cabinets by the dishwasher and behind the sink and saw what lied behind. Setback #1. Previous to our owning the house, there was, apparently, a ginormous leak into the wall that had been “fixed”. Their idea of a fix was, shall we say, subpar. Consequently, Mr. Frisby had to rip out the area of drywall that had been fixed and do it right. In addition, moldy insulation had to be replaced. Fortunately, a friend had come to help, but the drywall repair still put us behind.

In the midst of the demolition, IKEA arrived with the cabinet delivery. Mr. Frisby had them unload everything into the garage. As IKEA was finishing up, another truck arrived with stones that we had ordered to redo our retaining wall. They weren’t supposed to come until Tuesday, but there they were. Mr. Frisby had them deposit the stones in the driveway. The only place left for the old cabinets to go was the rest of the driveway and the front lawn. Yep, we were totally the white trash house in the neighborhood with old furniture/cabinets in the front yard. We apologized to our neighbors for bringing the property values down. Shamefully, we didn’t get any pictures of this.

IKEA delivery disassembled:

IKEA delivery assembled:

When I arrived home Monday evening, Mr. Frisby and his friend had gotten everything ripped out, part of the drywall patched up properly, and were just getting ready to hang the bracket to which the upper cabinets would be attached. After getting that hung, Mr. Frisby’s friend had to go. I got Stella to bed and Mr. Frisby and I began assembling cabinets. We got the upper cabinets assembled and hung them that night, so it was nice to see some progress.

The rest of the project became a bit of a blur. We had all of the cabinets and cover panels in place by the following Monday when they came to make the template for the countertop. After making the template, it took them two and a half weeks to deliver and install the countertop. And since everything was in at that point, we could do nothing but sit around and wait. We had some other setbacks during the project, like having to drop the microwave and its exhaust vent down several inches because they don’t make tiny cupboards like our old one anymore. And having to deal with a cover panel that had been damaged during delivery and trying to get it replaced.

Serious props to Mr. Frisby on this project. There were many VERY late nights and lots of hard work. Mr. Frisby has no experience putting in kitchen cabinets, but I never doubted his abilities. The man knows how to follow instructions and he can do internet research like crazy to find those instructions.

I'd say all of the hard work paid off because we're both extremely happy with how it turned out:

The countertop is caesarstone. From what we've read, it's a manmade quartz. It's not as expensive as granite, but we like how it looks more. Win win. Win.

We decided to do a tile backsplash. We had tons of subway tile leftover from our bathroom remodel that we decided to put to good use. The backsplash was a bit of a fiasco and a lot more work than it should have been simply because we were rusty on our grouting skills and didn't brush up well enough on what we were supposed to do. But that was our fault and we got it all cleaned up and, in the end, we love how it turned out.

We also love our new appliances. We love that they're shiny and beautiful and that they work well. The dishwasher no longer screeches like a dying witch when you open the door and it's really nice to not have rusted racks and calcium build up everywhere in it. We also love our new faucet. It has a sprayer built in to the faucet that is not clogged at all and works like a charm. And, it reaches to the middle of the sink. Dishes, while still a chore, are not the chore they used to be.

And, finally, the window sill. When Mr. Frisby ripped out the old countertop, he discovered that the window was actually sitting on top of it. The new cabinets were just slightly shorter than the old ones, so putting the new countertop under the window wouldn't really work anymore. Yet another setback. So, Mr. Frisby had to build out a window sill and we decided to tile it. I think it turned out well.

And that is our kitchen remodel. A huge thanks to everyone who helped us out during the process. Three and a half weeks is a long time to be without a kitchen, but the end result made it well worth it. Now, after doing a bathroom and a kitchen remodel all in the same year, I think we'll hang up our home improvement shoes for awhile.