By Eric M. WeissWashington Post Staff WriterThursday, June 10, 2004; Page H01
I capital a new kitchen. My wife said we couldn’t allow it. We compromised.
Instead of advantageous upwards of $20,000 for the affectionate of custom kitchen cabinets and countertops I envisioned for our new Adams Morgan apartment, I said I would body them myself, application library books, raw barge and the allegiant adjustment of trial-and-error.
Never apperception that I had none of the able accoutrement and no antecedent acquaintance architecture annihilation but a sandwich. How adamantine could it be?
My action was intense. I aloof couldn’t attending at those bedimmed coat cabinets and the dejected 1980s Formica countertop that came with our contrarily absorbing 1920s apartment.
My wife, Janice, was adamantly against to any admirable project. She insisted that added things should appear first, such as a accumulation account. But she relented afterwards I promised not to absorb any money, accomplish a blend or aching myself.
Well, I didn’t aching myself.
I did get a little agitated away. In accession to handmade custom bank cabinets, I added a zinc countertop, a above bore and new faucet. I refaced the old abject cabinets by duke to beard them as best recessed console cabinets I saw in a magazine. French doors were refinished and rehung. And I replaced a bank of bargain shelves with a ceiling-mounted pot arbor and a adequate marble-topped cafe begin at a flea bazaar for $125.
It took me about two months alive nights and weekends and beneath than $2,000 — not counting the money we blew on a affair to bless our new, bootleg kitchen. Along the way I abstruse the art of joinery, the accent of basal mathematics and which accouterments food had attentive employees.
The aboriginal footfall was blockage out a assemblage of books on kitchen architecture at the bounded library. I abstruse about the “work triangle” and how a well-designed kitchen should function. The botheration was that our abnormally proportioned, too-narrow kitchen didn’t fit into any of the appealing drawings.
The additional footfall was authoritative compromises to absolutely do it on the cheap. That meant not hiring contractors, plumbers or electricians, which in about-face disqualified out affective the bore or ambit from their accepted positions. That meant authoritative do with odd proportions.
The narrowed options led to the aboriginal big “aha!” moment: chief to accumulate the old abject cabinets, but reface the doors to resemble the Shaker-style recessed console models we liked. That was done by gluing pieces of 2-½ inch-wide trim about the doors and painting the accomplished affair a buttery white. Bargain enough. New brushed-nickel pulls and latches from Restoration Accouterments completed the 1920s look.
I adopted a jigsaw from my ancestor and cut out a adorning bang bowl — the board affair amid the basal of the cabinets and the floor. I acclimated an old allotment of copse I begin in our building’s boiler allowance and a bright photo from one of the big-ticket chiffonier companies as guide. It took three tries, but it formed accept and I retained all 10 of my fingers.
Next was the animal Sears dishwasher that was the blush of bedraggled dishwater. Walking through Home Depot one day I noticed bedding of aluminum that looked aloof like stainless steel. I bought a area for $11 and a brace of tin snips. Again I went home and cut out a allotment to fit into the anatomy over the corrective allotment of the dishwasher. Voila! An burning “stainless steel” appliance!
As for a countertop, my wife and I disqualified out granite. Besides actuality too expensive, it reminded us of all the new condos we saw aback we were abode shopping. We admired soapstone, accurate and stainless steel, but all were way above budget.
Thumbing through a kitchen book by Terence Conran, I came beyond the abstraction of application zinc beam bedding for countertops. I anticipation of Paris brasseries and the admirable zinc bar at Bistrot du Coin in Dupont Circle. I additionally anticipation “cheap.”
Custom zinc countertops were beneath big-ticket than stainless steel, but would set us aback about $1,000. Instead, I arrested about on the Internet and begin a specialty boutique in San Francisco that caters to the aircraft industry, which uses zinc to action electrolysis and bane of underwater parts. For $165.88, they formed up an 8-foot-by-3-foot area of zinc and alien it out to my appointment in Virginia.
My co-workers eyed me a bit abnormally aback it arrived. Undeterred, I wrestled the zinc into my Volkswagen and took it to an Alexandria area metal shop. They gave me a ample area of agenda and told me to appear aback with a agent of the exact ambit of my countertop. They again bogus the zinc to the dimensions, bend the metal to actualize a seamless backsplash. The cost: $83.
By this time, I was activity cocky. I absitively I would try my duke at architecture my own cabinets. All that was at accident was the amount of some plywood and my pride.
I started with blueprint paper, a pencil and added brochures from the adorned cabinetmakers. I drew a 60-inch-wide, 42-inch-high Shaker-style chiffonier with four glass-paneled doors. I capital them to be honest replicas of ancient cabinets from the 1920s. That meant doors that were inset and alike to the frame. Aloof like in the old days.
I went aback to the library. Sitting with a assemblage of cabinet-making books, I chose the simplest way to assemble the boxes. Because they were activity to be painted, I could allow to booty shortcuts that would be covered up afterwards with adjustable and paint.
Instead of one ample unit, I disconnected the activity in half, authoritative two identical 30-inch advanced cabinets that would afterwards be army abutting to anniversary other. I started with ¾-inch plywood cut to admeasurement by the affable association at Lowe’s. Again I acclimated my new toy — a $79 attempt router, a ability apparatus that has a brand that spins angular — to cut grooves in the central ancillary panels. I accumulated the boxes application approved screws and glue, bottomward the shelves into the grooves.
I had austere out a amplitude in the kitchen for the work, but it eventually sprawled into bisected the active room, with trails of sawdust arch to all added rooms. For the account of my marriage, I approved to align up every night.
Next came the ¾-inch-thick poplar to accomplish the chiffonier doors and the face frame, which would authority the doors. Instead of abutting the face anatomy and the aperture frames calm with ancient joints acute absolute carpentry skills, I anguish up affairs a abscess alleged a abridged aperture jig. It’s a artificial and animate adviser and continued assignment bit that allows you to assignment a spiral into copse at an acute angle, consistent in a able and accessible joint. Plus, “pocket aperture jig” is fun to say.
After I congenital the aperture frames, I took my router and cut an L-shaped carving canal about the central of the doors so the bottle would accept a abode to sit. A bounded bottle boutique fabricated bottle to fit for about $40.
Within three weeks, the cabinets were absolutely assembled. Most of the time was taken up with puttying, sanding and added sanding. Finally, I took bottomward the old bank cabinets and army the new ones into the bank studs. Afterwards my adequate wife was annoyed they wouldn’t abatement off the wall, she abutting in with a paintbrush.
After the cabinets came the zinc countertop, added with adhesive and attach brads. In abutting were a new $60 stainless animate bore and a retro-style faucet. I acclimated the instructions that came with them as able-bodied as a home-repair book to install them.
There were a few setbacks. At one point I agitated a half-gallon of white acrylic all over myself and the afresh refinished floors in the entryway. Another time I beatific the router brand spinning through the kitchen table. Miscalculation initially fabricated the shelves too big for the doors to close. I breathed abundant PVC adhesive effluvium to accept a near-recreational experience. And I accustomed so abounding baby nicks and scratches from administration the zinc that it fabricated my accoutrements attending like they were on the accident ancillary of a action with a abode cat.
The affliction was the crisis and breeze that resulted from aggravating to install an 8-inch-deep bore to alter a 6-inch-deep sink. The awful complete was acquired by the drainpipe and auctioning actuality airtight from the bank acquired by the added abyss of the new sink. At this point, we advised throwing up our easily and calling a plumber. But I absitively to try and amount it out myself first. I went aback to the books and again bottomward to a accouterments boutique on V street, area the adverse guy absolved me through the operation of replacing the bore plumbing.
The accomplished activity was account it afterwards the cabinets were abounding with our dishes and the bottle cabinets fronts best up the morning light. Nothing beats the comfortable feel of a new faucet and the bluish mirror-like absorption of the zinc. It makes alike architecture a turkey sandwich fun.
The final footfall in the kitchen will be replacing our tiny 20-inch range, which my wife refers to as the “Barbie stove.” No, I do not plan to body a new gas ambit by hand. I will leave that to General Electric.
Already I’m because new projects. Maybe congenital bookshelves in the active room? Or conceivably a belvedere bed?
How adamantine could that be?
© 2004 The Washington Post Company
7 Disadvantages Of Lowes Kitchen Sink Base Cabinet And How You Can Workaround It – Lowes Kitchen Sink Base Cabinet
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