Our 44 year-old home has presented us with some unique and interesting design challenges. Exhibit A: the wall o’ cabinets in our kitchen.
I appreciate the little-kitchen-needs-more-storage sentiment, but whoa. Back in the house tour post, I mentioned how this wall of various-sized doors totally channels the Wall O’ Stuff a la Nickelodeon’s “What Would You Do?” (minus the pie cream and free t-shirts). Don’t you agree? Yeah, it’s an overwhelming amount of cabinetry for one wall and it was pretty much encroaching on our lives. So from the time we first laid eyes on this craziness, we knew we’d be toning things down a smidge while maintaining the extra storage space we desperately need.
The first part of Phase One: remove the upper cabinets on the far right. (Here’s Jamie doing some learnin’ from my dad.) The positioning of this particular cabinet was too awkward and much too close to the kitchen’s entrance — it felt like it was all up in our grills when we walked into the room. On another note, the previous owner must have stored spices in this cabinet because it smelled intensely of dried herbs (not in a good way). So buh-bye went the awkward cabinet.
Once the cabinet was down and the wall behind was exposed, we made this funny slash ridiculous discovery. Stud finder much? It appears the former owners used the guess-and-check method of hammering a nail through the drywall until they hit the stud as opposed to making use of that helpful, inexpensive tool we call a stud finder. Why? Desperate times, I guess? Perhaps the holes pre-date stud finder technology? Either way, spackling was added to the to-do list.
For months we carried on with a wall o’ cabinets like this, with one long trim piece hanging out where the awkward cabinet used to be. It was up and out of the way, so for a while we really didn’t mind it much…until recently, when I finally snapped and decided I couldn’t stand looking at it anymore. You know, your typical home improvement project motivation.
Over this period of time I also decided the tiny cabinets along the top had to go. I wasn’t using them anyway and frankly, they just looked dumb. So Jamie pryed off the trim piece from the front and right side of the cabinets (set aside for later use), then removed those tiny uppers — quite easily too, as they weren’t screwed into the wall or the cabinets beneath. Good to know they were secure…not.
Removing those tiny cabinets made the room feel much more airy and open, but unfortunately revealed more evidence of the guess-and-check stud finding method (aka, drywall mutilation) on the wall behind. Really?! Who were these people? Add spackling x2 to the list.
Now that our wall o’ cabinets was taken down a notch, things weren’t matching up with all of the other ceiling-height cabinets in our kitchen. Never you fear, for I have prepared for this. In our old apartment, we used baskets along the top of the cabinets for additional storage — so once we popped those same baskets atop the wall o’ cabinets = instant height adjustment + extra storage space + increased cuteness factor. Booyah.
Next on the agenda: reattaching the trim to the top of the remaining cabinets. First, since the awkward cabinet was no longer on the wall, Jamie shortened the length of the original trim piece that ran along the front of the cabinets. (The side trim piece didn’t need to be adjusted since the cabinet width is the same.) Then he drilled small holes through the trim and into the cabinet every 12 inches or so before hammering in small nails to attach it securely.
P.S. Look at that husband go! Isn’t he awesome?
Phase One complete! Much less menacing than before, right?
Our wall o’ cabinets has a couple more phases to go until we get things how we want them. For instance, can you tell what’s wrong with this picture?
You can never understand how strange it is to have cabinets that open in the same direction until you have to live with it. Therefore Phase Two will include flipping certain cabinet doors (those in the second and fourth column, reading left to right) so they open away from each other — you know, like normal cabinets do. We’ll also be updating the hardware and painting the cabinets white (though paint might fall into Phase Three). Not to mention the surrounding projects, like spackling, priming, and painting the kitchen walls and ceiling. It’s a long to-do list, folks, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.
Got any wild and crazy design challenges in your home? What did/will you do to improve it? Are you slapping yourself in the forehead, wondering why the previous owners or builder did what they did? Me too, man.