Friday, 22 August 2014

A new look

I have to keep on reminding myself that I live in an old house.....lovingly built back in 1970 by my two hard-working parents.....they did the best that they could with the resources that were available to them at the time.
After my Mum passed and the house maintenance fell under my portfolio, I began taking small bites off of long-forsaken projects that were never thought of or completed.
I worked hard on the downstairs, and I am fairly pleased with its outcome.
Upstairs however is another matter.....some areas still look as if they're stuck in a time warp.
I had been wanting to update the kitchen for a while now, and recently I bit the bullet and started the process.
Remember the ugly piece of purpleheart wood that was delivered many many weeks ago that had to be returned and then another piece came to replace it?  It was the beginning of the project.
Let's get started.
The eyesore for me was this cupboard above the bar....and those two lonesome spindles..... and the two shelfie thingys weren't doing it for me either.....every time I looked at it, I just wanted to rip it down.
It was definitely time for that "ugliness" to go.

I loathed the entire look...the dark wood was not my favourite, and the arched raised insets continued to just get my goat every time I saw them....they somehow reminded me of a coffin insert....perhaps something from the recesses of a childhood memory at a funeral......I don't know.

Wow I took a selfie!!!

Now we can see where the wood comes into play.  The countertop was resurfaced with some large 24"x48" black ceramic tiles, and the countertop edge needed to be finished properly.

There goes the long length of wood through the planing machine on its way to becoming a thing of beauty.
Time to remove all the doors and shelves.

Note the new open look kitchen without the "bar cupboard whatchamacallit" hanging around.

 Removed all the hinges, knobs and catches too.

I then set about removing the raised "coffin" inserts from the doors.

It's nice to have friends who have power tools that you can borrow at a minute's notice.
The jigsaw came in quite handy and the job was finished in no time.

I know you're wondering what on earth I would do with these was suggested that they be tossed as firewood.

A large sheet of 1/4" plywood was used to make new flat inserts for the doors. Templates were drawn and cut out using the same jigsaw.
My friend then used his high-powered router to cut a rebate for the new inserts to sit in.
Glued the new inserts in with Liquid Nails, and the "new" doors were beginning to take shape.

Next it was time to paint the hinges.

All the hardware was cleaned and sanded and then a silver paint (Sherwin Williams) was applied.

Yes, every single piece of hardware was painted....even those tiny tiny screws for the hinges.

Throughout the process, I had several work tables....because I am crazy....and only crazy old me would decide to refurbish her kitchen cabinets all by herself.

 After a few days of cleaning (Purple Blaster), sanding, caulking, and making minor and major repairs, it was time to start painting.

First step a good primer.

The "new" wood trim around the countertop was painted black to match the black tile.

The fridge was feeling left out, so I painted that as well with a special RustPro paint.

It was then time to sand off the old varnish from the doors.
I worked outside on this task, and my Overseer made sure that they were all done properly.

The upstairs back patio became my painting workshop.

Drawers all finished.

No project runs smoothly from start to finish, and I encountered some problems along the way.
Problem Number One moved into position.
The new wood trim was not adhering well to the edge by the sink drain board.... this was due to the bad fabrication of the countertop edge.
Thank goodness for my friend who came along and saved the day by affixing a long bar clamp with extra nails in the trim to hold it all together.  The clamp was in place for a few days to make sure that the wood behaved properly.

It was exciting when I finally managed to replace the newly painted doors back on to the cupboards.
See how excited I was, I have already packed the ware back into the upper cupboards even though all  the doors were not finished.

Time to choose the back splash tile.  I chose the one on the left  which was a bigger tile and had a rough textured stone finish. 
  Bigger tiles meant I spent less time tiling....yeah!

The tile spacers that I had were way too big for the space I wanted to create under the first row of back splash tiles on top of the countertop, yes folks, what you are seeing is plain old pieces of cardboard that were used as a spacer for that purpose.

Problem number two then reared its ugly head.

The bar had a wooden surface area and therefore needed a special tile adhesive to use with a wooden surface.
A friend of mine recommended a tile cement especially formulated for this purpose, "but it dries really quick, you have to work fast when using it" he said.
I thought we worked fast when installing the tiles (yes, ex-hubby was helping me with the tile cutting of the huge tiles), but oh heavens after we had installed the tiles, they were still quite loose after a few days, and the middle tile in particular was quite rocky like a  see-saw.  I decided to take them all up, and scrape off the dried on adhesive and start over again.

After scraping it all off, and dry-fitting the tiles once more, the middle tile continued to rock. We thought we had an uneven surface, and the bar top was secured, but the tile continued to rock.
It was then discovered that the tile was warped and could not work.
I know I purchased B-grade tiles, but all the others were great.
 Called up my friends at the tile store, and they told me to bring it back (yes already cut).  I received a tile to finish up my project.  A big thank you to Terrific Tiles and Mr. Hoyte for putting customer satisfaction as their number one priority.
 DAP Weldwood Multi-Purpose Ceramic Tile Adhesive
Now armed with a new tile, this time I purchased a different tile adhesive, a pre-mixed mastic for wooden surfaces.

After the last piece of tile was installed, it still felt rocky, maybe paranoia on my part, I decided to weigh it down with some large bottles of water for good measure.....worked like a charm.
 Finally, I could see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel.
Ta-dah!!!   dah!!!!  dahh!!

It's not completely finished yet, but at least it's back in operation.
I've still got some shelves to install above the stove area, and the floor tiles need to be replaced....all in good time.

This story would not be complete without filling in a few gaps.
I know you're wondering what became of the cupboard above the bar... it went to a new home.
Yes, ex-hubby will be able to make use of it....reduce, reuse, recycle in action.

My girlfriend also made use of the raised wooden insets from the cupboard doors. She decided that she would have her carpenter make her some bedside tables and use them for that purpose.....reduce, reuse, and recycle at its best.

The good thing is, is that I can see where the best part of the month of July and part of August went to, and even though my summer was an extra hard working one, I wouldn't change a moment...I enjoyed it all.


  1. What an improvement! I am so impressed. I agree that thing does look like a coffin. Now the place is beautiful.

    1. Thanks so much Jenny for your kind compliment...I am not one to shy away from hard work, and I love the sense of accomplishment when a particularly hard project is completed.

  2. It looks wonderful! I love the white cabinets with the dark tile countertops. Your back splash looks great too. You know ... you probably could go into business doing this stuff ... but no, it probably wouldn't be as much fun if you had to do it to suit someone else's ideas! But you've really done a fabulous job with your kitchen. Congratulations!

  3. Thank you Canadian Chickadee for your lovely compliments....I do have a few friends who call me up for opinions and ideas when they are about to start projects....I love comes natural for me.
    Just tell me you're thinking of throwing a party or whatever and the whole thing comes together in my head like magic.
    I love sharing ideas and I would never think of charging my friends for something that is easy peasy for me.

  4. Wow. Not only does it look good but it also kept you out of mischief for more than a month!

    1. Ssshhhhhh.....don't tell everyone I like to get up to mischief.....thanks for the compliment.

  5. WOW what a big job - I'm duly impressed, and the result looks fantastic! :)

    1. Thanks Monica....yes, a big job with BIGGG satisfaction at the end of it.

  6. It looks great! I love how light and bright it is. It has a very elegant, modern style. :o)

    1. It was about time the kitchen emerged from the 70s.....thanks.


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