Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Homemade Pasta

I promised Zach homemade pasta when the kitchen was finished. So after five years of collecting dust, I finally put my grandmother's pasta maker to use.

I also made my grandmother's homemade pasta sauce and meatballs. It was a full day of cooking!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Kitchen Before and After


Our Design Plan

Our design plan included butcher block counter tops, subway tile back splash, refacing and painting the cabinetry, and an apron front sink. We decided not to carry the blue wall color from the living room into the kitchen, and went with a neutral gray instead.

We expanded a doorway...

ripped out the old counter tops...

installed a recessed light above the kitchen sink...

stained, sealed and installed butcher block counters and a new sink...

installed cabinet organizers...

and a subway tile back splash...

refaced and painted the cabinetry...

and painted the walls.


Budget Breakdown

Backsplash (tile, grout, mortar): $111
Counter tops (butcher block, wood conditioner, stain, Waterlox sealer): $270
Paint: $69
Sink: $275
Faucet: $138
Hinges and cabinet hardware: $104
Drawer slides: $13
Recessed light cover: $8
Light switches and outlets: $14
Electrical wire: $25
Wood brackets for bar: $21
Lumber for cabinets: $105
Cabinet organizers: $177

Total: $1,330

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kitchen Cabinets

With the help of a $100 Visa card from One Project Closer, we were able to give our kitchen cabinets a brand new look.

Before, they were a dark-stained wood with a decorative design carved in the front. They were in pretty good shape so we decided to reface them, rather than replace them.


We were inspired by this kitchen, featured on The Lettered Cottage, to transform them into shaker style cabinets.


Tools and Materials

poplar board (1/4" thick)
wood putty
Youngdale hinges
belt sander
wood glue
nail gun and nails
primer and paint
dremel (optional)

Our plan was to trim out the cabinet doors with four pieces of wood trim, creating a simple shaker style panel. We opted against adding another piece of trim in the middle, like in the inspiration photo. We wanted to keep it simple and also keep the cost down, since more trim would mean more money. We also wanted to replace the exposed hinges with something a little more hidden. We looked at several different hinge options and decided that Youngdale hinges were the best option.

hinges before

Youngdale hinges

The first major change was to fill in the design routed into the front of the panels. The trim would cover up most of it, but the rounded part had to be filled in with wood putty. To make sure the wood putty bonded well, we used a Dremel sanding head to sand inside the decorative grooves, but you could probably skip this step. This required a fairly large amount of the wood putty since we did this to every cabinet panel. After the wood putty dried, we sanded it smooth with fine grit sandpaper. Wood putty isn't perfect with a large area like this, so there were some minor gaps. We applied more wood putty where necessary and sanded, repeating the process until the panel was one smooth surface. Using the belt sander to get a smooth finish with fine grit paper is the key to making that groove look like it was never there. We were uncertain how well this would turn out since the trim would not cover the putty, but the paint job ended up totally concealing the minor differences between the two surfaces.

Attaching the trim was the most time consuming aspect of the whole project. I (Zach speaking here) never used a measuring tape once to do this and instead relied on sight on and feel. Measuring the door and then marking the board will always introduce a slight error. I always recommend skipping the measuring device when making precise cuts if its possible and logical. Two cabinet doors of the same size weren't precisely the same size, especially after 45+ years of use, and many varied by 1/16 of inch or more. Every poplar board was laid out on the cabinet face, marked, cut and then tested to fit so that the edges would be as flush as possible. I always cut on the long side just in case I needed to shave off 1/32" or so. After the vertical board was cut for one side, it was glued and clamped. The rest of the pieces were cut after I secured that one edge so that the pieces would match the profile of the door as closely as possible.

After everything was trimmed out, we applied a coat of Kilz primer, followed by two coats of Sherwin Williams Pro-Classic paint, matched to Behr's Bleached Linen.

We reused the existing cabinet knobs but upgraded the drawer pulls to cup pulls, in brushed nickel.

Youngdale hinges

Before, the two drawers beneath our electric cooktop were false drawers. After removing the false drawer fronts we realized there was no reason they couldn't be made into real drawers. We did a little research online and looked at other kitchens, and found no safety concerns with having drawers below an electric cooktop. Zach built two new drawers out of some scrap wood we had on hand, then trimmed the drawer fronts out like the rest of the cabinetry.  I am so excited to have more drawer space in the kitchen!

Check back in Monday for photos of the completed kitchen!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Vday highlights

For Valentine's day we enjoyed dinner at a local Italian restaurant, Fratelli's.

I gave Zach a folding spork (which can be easily packed in his backpack when he takes his lunch to campus) and a set of Asian soup spoons. This may sound like a lame gift, but I promise, he actually wanted these things.

I kept the theme going with a utensil-themed Valentine's card.

I got a sweet card and a box of chocolates. Flowers are always nice, but Zach definitely had the right idea when he bought this pregnant woman something edible.