My Kitchen Renovation–First Weekend

DSCF0284bSince the day I moved into my house 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve been dying to update the kitchen. I hate the laminate counters, with the fake wood look. I hate having a stovetop taking up a massive amount of counter space, with the tiniest oven known to man in the cabinet across the kitchen. While I like the solid oak cabinets, the color is dated and the hardware is dreadful.

After debating a few configurations, I settled on the least destructive. But, before I could do anything, I needed to find a 24” range oven. Standard size is 30”, but I have a small kitchen, and in order to keep the drawers I definitely wanted to keep, I settled for 24”. Anything’s larger than the old one anyway! Once I found one, hardly used, for $300 on Craig’s List, it was ready to start the kitchen renovation!

Here are my tasks (at a high level):

  1. Cut out the existing cabinet and remove the cooktop
  2. Wire up a new outlet.
  3. Insert the 24” Range in it’s place
  4. Build up the piece on the left side, against the wall, to support a thin countertop
  5. Refinish the cabinets with white paint 
  6. Put on fabulous new hardware
  7. Get new countertops installed
  8. Paint the walls a cheery yellow
  9. Install a tile backsplash – subway tile with green accent
  10. Build new cabinets or open shelving above the new range, to include the range hood

Saturday Morning

Saturday got off to a rough start. I couldn’t find the key to my barn. Where nearly all my tools are. Frustrated, I headed to Home Depot, since there were things I needed anyway. After being convinced by the helpful Home Depot guy to buy a Makita multi-tool that could cut through my cabinet like I needed, and drywall, too, I returned home.

DSCF0299I set to work removing the cooktop. It was harder than I expected – mostly in that it took awhile to figure out how it was installed. Turned out to be simple – loosen the screws and lift it out. Of course, by the time I’d figured that out, I’d already taken a hammer to the counter in front of the cooktop and removed it. (Felt soooo good to pound the hell out of that awful laminate!!) Once the cooktop was out, I removed the duct work. This ended up being more of a challenge. Now, I have a hole in the wall. That goes to the outside! I have a spare piece of drywall that I cut the same size as the hole. A little drywall tape and some mudding, and the hole is gone. Although, I still need to cover the hole outside. Ugh. Kitchen first!

Next came the re-wiring. The cooktop was hard wired. The range requires an outlet. Wiring the outlet was relatively easy, as I’ve done it before. Same principle, although the power coming through these wires could actually kill you! The multi-tool came in handy already, as I cut a hole to insert the outlet box. Hooray for new power tools! (On a side note, I found the key. It was in the washing machine. You know, keys need washing sometimes.)

DSCF0304DSCF0306Time to remove the cabinet. Using the multi-tool, I sawed through the base of the cabinet on both sides. A crowbar and a little elbow grease and it was out. Fun to see the previous flooring – two additional layers of hideous linoleum. (Hmmm… maybe I need to get new flooring… I’ll think about that later.) With the cabinet out, I plug in the range and push it into place. It can live here ‘til I build up the left counter space. Hurrah! It works. By now, it’s dark out, and well, I’m tired.




Sunday morning came with the happiness of seeing a range in my kitchen! And the sobering knowledge of a lot of work still ahead.

The evening before, I tried a product called a ‘deglosser’. It is supposed to remove the glossy finish from your cabinets to make it so you don’t have to sand prior to painting. I had read about it on an article at It was worthless. I tried it with a rag, like it said on the bottle. The cabinet was glossier than before I started. So, I tried it with an abrasive scrubbing sponge, and poured the stuff on. Again, the cabinet was glossier than ever! Worthless. Armed with that knowledge, I headed back to Home Depot, this time for a random orbital sander.

To prep the cabinets for painting, I started with the drawers and removed the hardware. I washed the faces with TSP. This heavy duty cleaner will remove grease, and, as I discovered, is infinitely better at ‘deglossing’ than the product I tried the night before. I then set to work removing the cabinet doors and cleaning those as well.

DSCF0315DSCF0316At this point, I realized the long task ahead and called in some back up – my friend Stefeny. She got to work on the sanding, while I took out and cleaned the remaining cabinet doors. Then we sanded, and sanded and sanded (damn that worthless deglosser!)

With the sanding complete, it was starting to get dark. We set up the living room with a drop cloth and spent the evening watching Amazing Race, drinking wine, and painting drawers! (The cat supervised)

So I come to the end of the weekend feeling like I accomplished a lot. I have my range in – and, even better, it’s working. I have the cabinets sanded, the drawers sanded and painted. Definitely a few items off the list.

Plans for the coming week

I think the guys are coming out on Wednesday to measure my countertops, which is exciting! Before they get there, I need to build up the left side of the range. I also really want to get the cabinets painted, as I’m sick of having to go rummage through the dining room looking for the contents of my kitchen!

Oh! Budget so far!
I didn’t set a budget for myself – it’s literally “how little can I spend”? Here’s what I’m up to (as much as I remember – and rounding numbers)

Countertop: $2,800 (Lowes)
Tile: $130 (Custom glass tile, not the full amount I need yet)
Range: $300 (Craig’s List)
Paint: $60 (Home Depot)
Paint Brushes: $20 (Home Depot)
Sandpaper, etc: $40 (Not counting the sander – $70 – Home Depot)
Crappy Deglosser BS: $7
Total so far: $3,357

What I get to come home to for the near future:


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