Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Kitchen remodel takeaways

Things are starting to wind down with the remodel; at this point we're adding trim and waiting on counters and backsplashes.  This is a good time to share takeaways that may be of use to you if you are planning a kitchen remodel.
  1. Open floor plans are the thing these days and for good reason.  Taking out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to create one large space made a dramatic and welcome change to our house.  In fact, it is even better than we had hoped it would be;
  2. Trying to complete a major kitchen remodel in a month is unrealistic.  If you aren't removing walls, changing electricity and/or plumbing or getting custom counters, you might be able to get it done in a month.   In our case, the lead time for counters and backsplashes alone was three weeks after the cabinets were installed;
  3. The european cabinet design is outstanding and the way to go, in my opinion, unless you really prefer face frames.  It's versatile and much faster to build or assemble;
  4. Ikea cabinets are a good choice, although I recommend the semi-custom option in which you make the doors and drawer fronts yourself.  If you choose to use Ikea doors and drawers like I did, be aware that the doors on a diagonal or next to filler pieces did not fit to my satisfaction.  The only hesitation I have is that the boxes are melamine, although they are very sturdy and well-constructed.  The hardware is excellent;
  5. If you want to build your own cabinets instead and like the european style, I recommend the deluxe jig from Lee Valley and the hardware specifically designed for european cabinets that is widely available;
  6. Don't even think about remodeling a kitchen without a laser level;
  7. You can save a large sum of money by doing a kitchen remodel yourself, even if you have to hire a plumber and electrician, but it is a major time commitment.  When all is said and done, I estimate it will have taken me 200 hours.
Would I do it again?  Yes, but hopefully after I recover from doing this one.


  1. Hi Andy
    Really enjoyed your kitchen remodel posts. Very timely for me, as I will be doing a small kitchen in a cabin later this summer.

  2. 1. Yes
    2. It took me two years to buils all the cabinets and doors etc. But it only took me one week to have the kitchen back in working order. Of course, there was a lot of work done in preparation, and a lot of work done in finishing after this week, but we didn't have to eat pizza and take away chinese for more then a week.
    3. Yes
    4. No idea, you are probably right.
    5. I used a simple home made jig, nothing more then a peice of plywood with a couple of holes. It isn't rocket science.
    6. Yes, but check with a regular level too. Easy to make mistakes with just a laser level.
    7. Yes!

  3. Andy,

    Other than the Ikea boxes your experience tracked mine. If I ever do it again (Oh please no) I'm not sure I wouldn't do what you did and buy Ikea boxes. The boxes do not take much of a beating and I expect the melamine will hold up just fine.

    BTW, good on you,


  4. 2. I said the cabinets (including sink, cook top, oven and fridge) were installed ( by an experienced team of 3) in 2 days, it was of course after all the preparatory work (dismantling older kitchen, plumbing, electricity, plastering, wall painting and new floor vinyl)
    3. I am living in Europe.
    4. I see on their site: 25 year limited warranty
    7. I had managed to put the old cabinet with the old electric cook top in the living room. Cooking was possible. We also had a stand alone microwave oven.I don't remember what we were doing for the washing-up. (A basin with hot water from the bathroom?). It is a good idea to do this in a season which allow you to make barbecue and where cold dishes are welcome.

    One technical detail. My house is a brick house with a thick plastering (2cm?). The team didn't use the plugs and screws provided by IKEA which would not have held the upper cabinets with all the things my wife manage to put in them. They used much longer screws and the corresponding quality plugs (Fischer). So the screws were in the brick and not mainly in the plaster.

  5. A kitchen remodel is definitely not for the faint-hearted - it takes work, time, and knowing when to call in a pro to wrap up certain projects. But it does make a house more comfortable and valuable.