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Mr. Farmiga
Join Date: May 2004
2009-09-03, 16:48

My Mom's cluttered (I am forbidden to show any "before" pics, she'll kill me to death), outdated kitchen was in really bad need of work. Since my stepfather died in November 2004, this was just "one of those things" that fell by the wayside (sadly, that was something they were going to tackle the following year).

I finally got tired of looking at it when I'd go over (and hearing how unhappy she was with it all) and said "let me do this, and just get it done and let's quit talking about it" (because we'd "plan" it until 2015, otherwise).

In a nutshell? It was yellow and white striped wallpaper, lattice on the upper soffit(?), "country" shit everywhere, bowls, pans, food, knickknacks EVERYWHERE, old, chipped, yellowed cabinets with underlying paint, rusting gold hinges and a 20-year-old vinyl floor that was so nasty and stained from years and years. Not to mention just "ugly".

My goal? Remove the wallpaper, patch the walls, repaint, paint the cabinets, putty old holes and install new hardware, lay down new floor, replace outlets and switches and their faceplates, remove old, oversized (for the space) table and hutch and "go small" with the newer items (she had no room to move or walk, and now with my stepfather and grandparents gone, the need for a big four-seater table has gone).

The one thing that I did get into some time on was totally stripping the cabinets (and four layers of peeling, nasty paint) down to the raw wood, sanding, priming and painting them fresh). I spray-painted the hinges the same oil-rubbed bronze finish as the new hardware. And I even spray-painted the floor AC vents (they were a rusty, nasty white). So I improvised and saved where I could (not having to buy new hinges and two floor AC vents probably saved $50 or so).

Just to give you an idea, here are five "during" pics of the how bad it was after I'd gutted the cabinets, threw about six huge bags of useless, old crap out, stripped the 2-3 layers of wallpaper, etc. (yes, those are pink walls...when we moved into the place in 1978, it already had some ridiculous brown and orange wallpaper...I guess before us, someone had painted the joint pink back in the 60's or early 70's? I nearly puked...).

During, #1
During, #2
During, #3
During, #4 (cabinets, post-stripping)
During, #5 (grey primer for the red wall)

Anyway, no real carpentry, plumbing or electrical (everything stayed where it was)...pretty much all cosmetic. But I did fix some things (the wall, various holes and gouges, spackled and sanded the walls, remounted a dishwasher counter the right way, added some trim and moulding, etc.

Here are the "after" pics, in a MobileMe gallery.

Actually, they were taken about a week-and-a-half ago, and she's done a few smaller things and gotten rid of some things seen here (and I've done some touch-up painting as well, tucked in a few phone wires, etc.). But it's essentially the same (and I've added a black metal backsplash/grease shield behind the stove the other day).

It's quite an improvement, I learned a lot (mainly that I hate wallpaper ) and she's happy as can be (and is no longer embarrassed about her old kitchen). And she has room to move around and actually prep/cook the right way...all kinds of space to work in now.

Not bad for an idiot whose only "training" is HGTV, a couple of websites and a helpful, advice-giving ex father-in-law. I had some help from my friend for about three days on the wallpaper removal and cabinet stripping. Other than that, I was solo the entire time (just under three week).

Final budget (including paint, flooring, etc.)...just under $500. Things were bought on sale, items reused, tools and primer left over from a previous project, I "worked smart" where I could, etc.