Monday, August 13, 2012

the kitchen cometh...sluggishly

I am making awesome progress on my big cabinet.  It's gotten two coats each of paint and varnish now (arguably it needed three of each, but I got impatient and you can't go back and add more paint), which means all the structural work is done.  If not done flawlessly.  (Possibly not even well.  Well - I think I did some of it well.)  I still have to paint and varnish the insides of the cabinet doors, so it's not ready to go on the wall yet (plus I have to remove the existing cabinets, plot stud lines, and attach a ledger board...patience).  But there will be pictures. 

Then, I have to summon up the energy to make all the cuts (14 total, I believe) for the pieces for the other upper cabinet.  That one will be built almost from scratch; I have only the doors, and those I've split from a single previous door.  It may be totally insane for someone with no carpentry skills to make kitchen cabinets from scratch, but I swear, this one is going to be way easier than the previous one.  (Really.) 

And on Saturday, I bought a replacement oven.  I got a great price on it compared to its lamented awesome vintage predecessor (for which an ad will go up on craigslist, maybe as soon as tonight), which turns out to be a good thing, because getting the plumber people to come out and hook it up will not be cheap.  (I was a genius for timing the acquisition of the previous one to coincide with their rebuilding of the bathroom.  Too bad I was not enough of a genius to get that oven to work.) 

So in not too long, I should have totally working appliances, and all-new upper cabinets.  I have also ordered a pot rack from Amazon (I hope it looks as cool in person - it should be here any day), which will almost round out all the upper storage in the kitchen.  The one missing item is a fantastically cool antique cabinet that is an unusual size and shape, and will fit perfectly on a shallow wall that currently has no cabinetry.  It's being sold by someone on craigslist who appears to be a little off, and has stopped returning my emails (she seemed happy to let me buy it before that), but I have decided to be uncharacteristically philosophical: that cabinet is meant to be in my kitchen.  If I am patient, it will come back to me.  (It already has once before.  I'll tell you the story some time.) 

That leaves lower cabinets and the sink (well, I'm also repairing the walls, putting up a backsplash, replacing the floor, moving the fridge, painting, and looking for a very specific work table.  It's a fairly comprehensive remodel).  And today I found two lower cabinets that will fill just over half of the lower-cabinet spots I am seeking to fill.  Total price for this pair: $20.  I haven't picked them up yet (hoping to tonight), but I'm pretty pleased with myself. 

(For the record, both upper cabs were $170 counting the antique cabinetry and new lumber and hardware; the pot rack is $35; the mystery upper cabinet is allegedly $20; and the stove was $170...but it will cost more than that just to hook up.) 

I should be unbelievably delighted with my new skills, the lack of disasters (so far) engendered by my probably excessive ambitions, and the fact that I may be able to do a total kitchen remodel for (I'm doing some math here) $1900.  I mean, I'm not counting the purchase of a power drill or a palm sander, but I've used those for lots of things now and they weren't that expensive anyway.  I borrowed the circular saw.  And I've ballparked the price of some future purchases, but I don't think I'm that far off.  For replaced flooring, cabinetry, countertops, sink, and stove, and no stop-gap measures (i.e., I am buying only materials I actually want, and all of them are objectively upgrades from what was there, even if not to everyone's taste), I think that borders on unheard-of (and I read lots of DIY stuff).  To say nothing of doing the work myself - my DH has helped me move stoves, and I am hoping he will hold upper cabinets while I attach them, and he says very nice things about what I'm doing, but I am doing this almost entirely by myself.  (Which is sometimes scary, but actually fine with me.  Even six months ago I assumed I would hire a carpenter to help with cabinets.  I am so excited about what I have been able to do so far.) 

Instead, I am terrified - I think my spending habits have gotten out of control and I am worried that I will lose it completely and throw us into bankruptcy.  I think this might be projection of my general worry about my future and the path of my life, but after I knock a few more things off my list, I'm going to try to go a whole month and spend money on nothing but groceries (and nothing fancy) and gas.  I am hoping that will rein in the anxiety a little. 


  1. Can't wait for pics! Incrediblly low amount of money for what you purchased! You go girl! I'm with you on the money thing ... I surrendered my debit card to my husband a few months ago. What a difference it's made in my spending habits!

  2. I'm excited to see this kitchen project! It sounds amazing that you are building things yourself, which I totally could not and would not do, because I just wouldn't even think it possible. I can't wait to see pics.

  3. That's amazing!!! Sounds like you are working some kitchen miracles and I can't wait to see pics. You could make back some of your money by hiring out your design skills. I'd seriously pay you to help me redo my house.