Friday, February 24, 2017

Kitchen remodel Part 1

I haven't posted recently because I am in the midst of a major kitchen remodel involving removing a wall, electrical, plumbing and mechanical rearrangements, new kitchen cabinets, replacing a 4'x6' window, replacing ceramic floor tile, new appliances and misc. related items.  It's quite a project and, like Ralph, The Accidental Woodworker, who is also engaged in a kitchen remodel, I am experiencing aches and pains that remind me I'm not as young and fit as I used to be.

This is a woodworking blog and much of this is not of interest here, but I do think that there are aspects of it that are worth discussing.

My first instinct was that I would do everything myself, including making the cabinets from scratch, but that idea went out the window pretty fast for these reasons:
  1. We don't want to be without a kitchen for more than a month or so and it would take me a very long time;
  2. I haven't made or installed kitchen cabinets before and I don't have space to prefabricate a kitchen.  I told my wife that I felt the second set of cabinets I made would be quite good but I wasn't too sure about the first set and that it would take me a long time;
  3. We decided we wanted european style cabinets and making them requires specialized equipment, at minimum the deluxe version of this;
  4. Here in Oregon, you are absolutely forced to have rough and final plumbing, mechanical, electrical and structural permits and inspections (at a cost of $700 in my case).  Eight inspections for a kitchen remodel seems a little over the top to me, but it is what it is.  Electrical and plumbing methods and codes have become so complex and arcane (examples:  because I was moving the range a little, the entire circuit had to be brought up to code, necessitating replacing the three wire circuit with a four wire circuit all the way to the service panel) that I didn't feel it was worth the trouble to figure out what was required and how to do it myself;
  5. There is no way I could replace a 4'x6' window by myself.
I started trying to figure out realistically what I could .do and how I would do it.  I decided to contract for electrical, plumbing and window replacement for the aforementioned reasons.  I've done all the demolition myself including removing the wall and I also did the mechanical (range vent).  I am doing all the framing and finish carpentry associated with the removal of the wall and the window replacement.  That left cabinets.  I really wanted to make them myself but ultimately decided not to, the major reason being the time we would be without a kitchen.  I'm disappointed but know it was the right decision.

I did a lot of research before making my cabinet choice and that is what I am going to post about next time.      


  1. Being without the kitchen is more of a hindrance then I anticipated it being. Ouch on the rough in work. That is one problem I didn't have - If I had moved anything (electrical/plumbing) I would have had the bring it up code issues also.

  2. I'm with you Andy. I worked in a cabinet shop for about a year (long ago), but still couldn't justify the time to build cabinets when we redid our kitchen. It seemed to take forever as it was. Maybe next time, if I'm retired then. But probably not!

  3. Andy, you to Ralph,

    I can feel your pain. I did everything other than move the plumbing and we were without a kitchen for 3 months. I saved the old cabinets, put the sink cabinet on the patio and ran a garden hose to the faucet and PVC off the sink drain to the gully. It worked but was a PITA. BTW, it was a good thing I moved the plumbing, when we opened the wall to move it we found the main house drain line was missing about a foot of its top. From looking at it it had been that way from the time the house was built back in the '70s. There was no indication of an overflow in all that time which was also amazing.

    Bottom line: I'm glad I built the cabinets but I'm not sure I would do it again if I couldn't do it in stages

    Good luck,


  4. I can understand feeling torn. When I finished out my garage, I had a fairly firm timeline to get it done, 2 months. I had two months off from work for my sabbatical. I was afraid if I didn't get it done by then it may never happen. As such, I outsorced some things I wanted to do but knew I couldn't get done by myself in that timeframe. Part of it also was I'm no longer young. The good news is that it got done on time and I've been enjoying it ever since.