Home. 2017:1



January 30th, 2017

Hey guys!

It was about February or early March last year that I tore down my laundry room for two reasons: a) because the washing machine had a small leak and I figured it would be better to replace most of the room rather than just fix the leak and b) to help me prepare for larger undertakings… notably, the kitchen.

Just kidding about (a), the laundry room plumbing and electric was a disaster…



So this is our original all-cheap plywood kitchen from the 1950s in our Clifton raised ranch.  Exposed hinges, exposed frame, exposed water stains…

This is not the original tile floor but it is just as bad.  It was poorly installed and the dishwasher is sitting in a hole as a result.  There is not enough electric outlets in the kitchen, the plumbing under the sink… well I won’t even share that picture with you…

Anyway, I am embarrassed to even show these photographs but in the end, I think we are going to be quite proud of the outcome.

This makeshift breakfast bar was an addition they made at some point.  It was held in place by nothing more than two beads of silicone.  I kid you not.  The wall was loose, and I had strong suspicions they did not lengthen the header when they cut out the opening for the breakfast bar.

In addition, the bar was the proper height but not the proper width for a bar.  It should have had 12″ of room underneath for the seating.  This had about 3 inches of room underneath…  The arc on the bar is not a problem with my camera… that much I can assure you.  That arc is in real life.


Who drives sheetrock screws right through the decorative edge on something and then leaves them exposed?!?  Wrong type of screws, wrong type of fastener, period.  And they didn’t even connect to the barter in any manner.

Anyway, to get going on this project we spent nearly two months working with a designer (Cesar) from Home Depot to build this kitchen.  The cabinets were ordered yesterday, and we are going with all plywood construction on maple faced hardwood doors in a light coffee color.  Thats the general bit…  more details will follow.

I decided to do a combination self-install and hired help install, but since they won’t be here for about a month, I decided to get going to see where I can take myself before needing help.


So I took the heater covers off.  Yay.  Go me.


Then when I saw how shoddy the breakfast bar was “constructed,” a term I use loosely, I knew I could not stop there!  When I say I merely lifted the counter top to remove it, I mean exactly that!  So the walls started coming down.  It was a ferocious combination of determination and curiosity that kept me digging further.  With every panel piece removed, the previous “home improvements” made by the previous owners kept outdoing themselves in a desperate attempt to find how poorly anything could be constructed!

I am a firm believer that a thick enough coat of sparkle can hide any flaw.  This house and every model in every magazine is proof of that fact…

But look at the HEADER!  They never extended it!  They never did anything to attempt a reinforcement of any kind.  It just spanned across what was the original doorway opening. This is unacceptable.


No top plate for the breakfast bar opening.  It’s all constructed with little blocks between the coarsely cut studs.  The breakfast bar was no different.


…And here we are one and a half days later, looking very professional!  Starting from the left, I extended that wall over fifteen inches to compensate for the new wall cabinet bank that will be installed on the previously naked west wall.  There will be a L-shape counter top there and a breakfast bar plate on top.  New 12/2 electric is coming in nicely, and all counter outlets will be on a GFCI circuit, per code.  (Something the old owners knew nothing about)  The breakfast barter will now be 36 inches wide.  The opening between the barter and the other wall is now a proper 37 inches, as opposed to the previous 32 inches.

Oh, and of course there is a very thoughtfully installed 2x10x78 inch header crossing the enter span, with a proper top plate mounted over the jack studs.


Lower breakfast bar showing the electric and hydronic baseboard heaters.  I used a patio deck L plate to stiffen the end cap, which is now also (2) 2×4 for extra rigidity.


These switches power the dining room chandelier and the kitchen overhead light.  Previously, the old owners dropped the light switch below the counter top at something light 30 inches from the floor.  You quite literally had to reach down to hit the dining room light switch.  What else will they come up with?  I am not sure, but I am going to find out and fix it!


Project signing.  This won’t be the only time- but it is the start!

Dad-  I put you on there because I can’t tell you enough how much you helped me along when we redid the bedroom.  That and the garage and all the other years of projects has given me all the confidence in the world to tackle anything, and it is paying off in dividends!


These pictures on WordPress don’t enlarge very well (or at all), so if you’d like to see larger full screen versions of the photos, click here to go to my special Smugmug album for this project.  The link will update as I get more photos along the way, so check back here (or there)!

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