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Old 03-03-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Welcome all! This is my very first project showcase but hopefully not my last.

I hope it will interest or entertain some of you the way other's showcases have done for me. In fact, many of you out there have already helped me with my progress through previous topic-specific posts of mine. These were instances where I had no idea what I was doing but, through haste, decided to take on the project anyway - a recurring strategy of mine. I have many of you to thank for helping me out! If this showcase of mine can come close to helping or instructing just one person the way many have helped me then I will consider it a great sucess!

This project has undergone an interesting evolution from the beginning and I will do my best to capture all the twists and turns, all the mysteries and intrigue that have unfolded. If I've learned one thing it's just how quickly a project can "get away from you" and multiply itself into many many more projects - especially when you're unemployed, have oodles of free time, and no real deadline in sight. I'm about "half-way" through my kitchen remodel, so I will try my best to re-cap what's already happened through pictures and storytelling until we're up to date and posting live...

So without further delay, I ask you to please join me now as we embark upon an adventure driven by hubris and underscored with countless miscalculation, mishappery, and misplaced tools! Sounds like a classic DIY project to me!

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Old 03-03-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


So let's take it back to the start.

Here's what the kitchen used to look like a few months ago:


A look at the gross old set of cabinets, the slightly less gross old fridge and oven, and the unspeakably gross old microwave.

You'll likely notice a few curiosities, such as the odd placement of the microwave (A bit of an excessive take on child proofing perhaps?), the even stranger configuration of cabinets that has the above range cabinet way above the others, the equally strange and incongruous placement of the fridge, and - my favorite - the EXTENSION CORD that connects the range hood to a concealed plug behind the stove! Oh, you might also notice the hideous backsplash. And finally, if you could see inside the drawers you would discover to your delight the remnants of various creepy crawlers and food waste all wrapped in a set of expertly folded inserts made from the pages of a Chinese pin-up girl calender circa 1983!

While it might have been fun to try and cook a singular meal in this disaster of a kitchen, I thought a better approach would be to rip the whole thing apart and install a brand spanking new set of IKEA cabinets.

Now I know what you're thinking: "IKEA you say? Kitchen cabinets? But that's crazy talk!"

Well here's what I've learned after building two previous kitchens courtesy of our friends at IKEA: the cabinets are all very decent and well made (assuming you put them together properly , but this part is easy too. and fun.) By way of comparison, I installed two separate bathroom cabinets that came pre-assembled from Home Depot and I wasn't too thrilled. They were held together by L brackets and seemed much flimsier as a result compared to IKEA's fancy pants "bar in hole with the twisty bit" - you know what I'm talking about right? Finally, in most cases a kitchen purchased through IKEA is often cheaper than that of the big box stores! I can see how it might look bad for a contractor to be walking into an IKEA, but I'd just like to give it a and encourage any other DIYer thinking of kitchen renos to give it a look.

To give a (very amateur) example of what's possible, here's a before and after look at my first attempt at a kitchen remodel:




It's far from perfect, pretty plain, but for a rental kitchen as well as my first try I'd like to think I done OK. At the very least, I hope you can see that IKEA ain't all that bad. Who knows, maybe you love IKEA? If so you should tell me all about it. This current kitchen will be my third IKEA kitchen and I hope to make it the nicest!

So, I've set the stage, made my IKEA plug, now it's time for some demolition!

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Old 03-03-2012, 09:02 PM   #3
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


So begins the demolition! My original plan was fairly modest. I was just going to replace the kitchen cabinets...right?

They were pretty old and "custom" built, which made for an interesting time come removal. Remember the picture I posted of the original cabinets? Well imagine if you can that the uppers were only secured to the walls at either end of the run, with the middle cabinets merely sandwiched in the middle and supported with one screw each on either side! So I was a little surprised when working my way along the cabinets and all of a sudden they all fell down together! I guess you could call it efficient demolition?

Then there came an interesting moment. One of the shutoffs under the sink had seized up so there was no longer an easy way to remove the sink and counter! Here was my first mini panic moment. I had not woken up that morning prepared to sweat copper - it's something I rather like to mentally prep for you might say. I suppose I could have waited until a later date when I was "ready" but this event happened to unfold at the exact time when a plumber was already working in my basement upgrading the main line. The water was already off, it was going to be off for another hour, so it was now or never as far as I was concerned. So, in I went with my pipe cutter! I quickly removed the old shutoff, tore out the sink, the counter, and all the remaining base cabinets, and then set about soldering on a new shutoff. Just in time. The plumber finished in the basement, we exchanged our plumbing stories, and he gave a nod of approval to my work. The day was done..but this would not be my last plumbing under pressure experience..

If there was one regret from the day it was not having a sawsall. This would have made my life a whole lot easier as instead I had to make do with a jig saw to hack up the sides of the cabinets that were built around the plumbing.

Last edited by demandrew; 03-03-2012 at 11:59 PM.
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Old 03-03-2012, 09:46 PM   #4
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


The old plumbing always seemed a little troubling to me. It entered the kitchen at the far left of the room, and ran underneath the counter-top inside the cabinets for about 4'. There was very little support or protection for any of the pipes, and the drain was a heavy galvanized sucker that helped weigh the whole system down the farther it extended from the wall.

My new thought was this: "I'm going to replace all of this plumbing, but how bout when I replace it I hide it inside a newly constructed wall?"

So now I have to stud out the wall. But I don't just want to put studs over the existing wall (which by the way was severely damaged, stained, and just all around terrible looking) so I began to embark on a long and dirty mission of first removing the drywall, which I was able with varying success to rip down in large squares, and then attacking the plaster and lath wall hidden beneath.

Yay plaster and lath! This job is not for the faint of heart. It's messy messy stuff so I was real glad I had my heavy duty face mask and glasses with me. But then I wondered, "How do you make removing a plaster and lath wall even more fun?" How about lacking any efficient means for garbage removal and disposal? OK!

My house and its surroundings did not allow for renting a skid, so I had to meticulously pack all the lath into boxes, collect all the drywall fragmants and even smaller dustier plaster fragments into heavy duty garbage bags, probably averaging 50lbs a piece, and haul them from the top of my house down to my front porch where they gathered in a huge mound until the poor garbage man whom I hired came to collect them (I made sure to pay him well for that one). Interestingly, I still have a huge pile of all the lath I removed sitting in my garage. My thinking at the time was that I could recycle/repurpose them into something nice. Maybe one or two or..5000 picture frames? I have a lot of lath..does anyone want some??

Here's a look at the warzone after doing battle with the plaster and lath:



There's the scary plumbing I mentioned. I had to prop it up with a piece of wood otherwise that whole system would have hung a foot lower placing undue stress I'm sure further back in the wall. Over on the right is my inadequately sized vent (do i smell another addition to this project??) and that green there on the adjacent wall is how the old plaster wall looked underneath the drywall. There were some funky layers of wall paper mixed in somewhere as well. That stack of lath in the left of the photo represents about 2% of all that I would come to collect by the end of demolition. And that's about it. I'm going to stud out a new wall with 2x4s roughly where the existing furring strips run and pass new plumbing through the studs.
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:07 PM   #5
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Were the IKEA cabinets the typical American versions for the price market or the European ones where kitchen cabinets are often considered furniture and when people move, they take the cabinets with them. Were the uppers hung on continuous rails? Do the bases have adjustable legs with a removable kick-plate or do the set on the floor the way it is and shimmed?

That is a great improvement in your kitchen!! I imagine that after you saw how the "custom" cabinets were hung, you realized you were doing the right thing. I think the result is good and you certainly cleaned up the soffit areas.

Dick
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Old 03-03-2012, 10:48 PM   #6
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


I got to thinking..I'm studding out this wall. I could insulate this wall..how interesting. But if I'm going to insulate this wall I should probably insulate the other exterior wall right? And so began another day of packing bags and boxes of drywall, plaster, and lath and hauling them downstairs to the front porch! Only this wall was twice the length of the previous wall!

And then there was this third wall..

If you look at my original kitchen again



you'll notice the wall behind the fridge extends out a bit. Any guesses as to why this was? Without thinking about it much I decided that it should be corrected, or rather extended down the wall closer to the fridge and past the point where my planned cabinets would be. I'm planning on having an L shaped counter, so, if left as is, there would be a sudden corner and change in the wall in the middle of my counter as it progressed towards the fridge. I was only going to remove as much wall as I needed to stud in a new corner and then leave the rest of the wall alone. That thinking didn't last very long. Apparently I'm addicted to plaster and lath. I just needed to see more! So, long story short, down comes another wall. That's right, more drywall, plaster, and lath to add to my collection downstairs. At this point my girlfriend was growing a little concerned and upset. She doesn't deal well with dust and..well, you might say there was a bit of dust being kicked about.

Hey, and guess what I found? None other than our good friend mr. knob and tube! And it just happened to branch through three junction boxes giving power to the fridge, the lights, the bathroom next door (lights, plugs, washing machine) the bedroom beyond that, and the hallway. Oh yeah, and this is the same 20amp circuit that the ENTIRE 1st floor kitchen runs off of, as well as the lights in the back stairwell, a random light in the basement shower, AND, just for good measure, the madman who wired this place decided to include the garage as well. Welcome to the infamous #5 circuit!

I admit, typical to my rushed and improvised style, I hadn't yet given much thought to the electrical in my kitchen. The old kitchen had one countertop plug, and two plugs near the floor (one of which was hidden behind the stove to service the range hood) They were all on a multi-branch 15 amp circuit. Not really enough to bring everything up to code. So the original plan was to more or less just put everything back the way it was, maybe bringing the one plug out from behind the stove to above counter, and then trying my best to be content with the fact that the lights and fridge (and another half of the floor) were all tied into that same dreaded circuit #5.

But this was all before I opened the wall and discovered the precise location where #5 opened up into the top floor and distributed all of its foolish energy. Here it was staring me in the face in all its ridiculousness. And so the wheels in my mind started turning once more...

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Old 03-03-2012, 10:58 PM   #7
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


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Originally Posted by concretemasonry View Post
Were the IKEA cabinets the typical American versions for the price market or the European ones where kitchen cabinets are often considered furniture and when people move, they take the cabinets with them. Were the uppers hung on continuous rails? Do the bases have adjustable legs with a removable kick-plate or do the set on the floor the way it is and shimmed?

That is a great improvement in your kitchen!! I imagine that after you saw how the "custom" cabinets were hung, you realized you were doing the right thing. I think the result is good and you certainly cleaned up the soffit areas.

Dick
I'm not too sure how they do it in Europe, but I'm hoping these are here to stay. I'm certainly not planning on taking them away with me whenever I leave.

Ikea has two different styles of kitchen, the "built-in" and the "free-standing". Perhaps this second kind is what you're referring to and some people treat them as furniture to take away? Still sounds a little crazy to me though!

The uppers are hung on a continuous rail, and the bottoms have adjustable legs that you hide with a toe kick as you said. This was perhaps the one aspect that I didn't like about the cabinets, and might have preferred shimming solid bottoms. But maybe there's pros and cons to both. It gets tricky when your floor, like mine, is uneven. Then the toe kick that they provide almost certainly won't fit properly. You can't see it in the picture, but at one end of the run there's a huge gap between the toe kick and the cabinet...

Thanks for the complement though! I think it helps that my first photo is so dark. Kinda like those cheasy dish washing adds or something where the end product is so dramatically better only beacause the original was so terrible.
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:23 PM   #8
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


The potential right now for adding additional jobs to my project is rapidly increasing. I'm starting to think more and more about the electrical as each time I walk into the kitchen I have that terrible #5 circuit to look at.

Then there's that whole insulation plan of mine. Afterall, it's why I opened up those first two exterior walls right? But what sense is there really in insulating the walls but not the ceiling? This is something I probably should have asked myself in the beginning and not the middle of the demolition.

At any rate, I now have my excuse to remove the ceiling. So if you're keeping track, that's the 4th of 6 possible surfaces I am removing. Got an idea of where this is headed?

Down comes the ceiling with a thundering crash! Fortunately there was no plaster this time. just lath and then drywall. Unfortunate however was how insufficiently the drywall had been fastened to the ceiling joists. The first panel came down without incident. It was panels 2-4 however that all fell down together and crashed to the floor. I yelled and screamed a bit. Good thing no one else was home. The bonus is what was hidden above the drywall and lath: a crap tonne of densely packed cellulose insulation - but only across the center of the ceiling. ? It all came snowing down and so became added to my insane garbage pile on the front porch (I wish I had a picture for you).
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:42 PM   #9
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Three walls and a ceiling are gone, so really what chance does that last remaining wall stand, especially when I know there's the possibilty that a nice brick wall is waiting behind it?

But do I really want to go down this road? I don't really know what condition the brick is in, and it's quite possible that it's been parged like my exterior walls. I've been doing some casual research into what exactly is invovled in cleaning and possibly repointing brick and it does all seem rather overwhelming, especially on top of everything else I've challenged myself with...

Off comes the first section of drywall and plaster - just to see what we're dealing with.

The drywall came off fine, the plaster was a little trickier. I eventually developed a system of "lightly hammering" the plaster in key areas to eventually weaken it to a point where large sections would eventually fall away from the brick. So far so good. The brick looks pretty sweet, and well I guess I'm just a sucker for exposed brick walls. It wasn't in the original kitchen plans, but then again neither was tearing down all the walls and ceiling! And it's mentioned in the title of this thread so I just gotta...
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Old 03-03-2012, 11:44 PM   #10
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Let the hammering and scraping begin! A day later and I'm left with this:



Still lots of residue on the bricks, some of the bricks and a lot of the mortar are damaged, but then some of the bricks look real nice. So who knows? Did I do a bad thing? Maybe. Am I up to the challenge of restoring this wall? Uncertain. Am I going to worry about it now? Probably not. This will become a problem for a later day...
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:16 AM   #11
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


I love new threads! You are doing the right thing by tearing it all out. I also endorse Ikea kitchens . Check out German House Rebuild. I like your writing style but more pictures please!! Keep up the great work. dorf dude...
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:20 AM   #12
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


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Let the hammering and scraping begin! A day later and I'm left with this:



Still lots of residue on the bricks, some of the bricks and a lot of the mortar are damaged, but then some of the bricks look real nice. So who knows? Did I do a bad thing? Maybe. Am I up to the challenge of restoring this wall? Uncertain. Am I going to worry about it now? Probably not. This will become a problem for a later day...
You need a "Needle Scaler" I will clean up the face of the brick real easy. dorf dude...
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:11 PM   #13
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


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I love new threads! You are doing the right thing by tearing it all out. I also endorse Ikea kitchens . Check out German House Rebuild. I like your writing style but more pictures please!! Keep up the great work. dorf dude...
Mr. Dorf Dude, I'm thrilled to see you here. Your thread is legendary and one of the inspirations for my being here posting my own adventure. I'm still working my way through your thread so I haven't gotten to the interior yet. Did you put in an IKEA kitchen? Can't wait to see it!

Sorry for the lack of photos. I agree they really help to beef up the thread, but unfortunately, in keeping with my haphazard building style, I didn't decide to start documenting the reno until about half way through so I only have a few random photos of the beginning phase.

Once I get the posts up to date and start posting live I'll be sure to keep a better record of things. But I assure you, pictures or no pictures, exciting developments are just around the corner!
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:17 PM   #14
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


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You need a "Needle Scaler" I will clean up the face of the brick real easy. dorf dude...
Thanks for the tip. Unfortunately this phase of the project ocurred about two months ago, so I've actually taken care of a few things since then, including some of this brick cleaning, but for the purpose of this developing thread I've been keeping silent..

Everything will be revealed in good time. For the moment we'll pretend it hasn't happened yet and be surprised together.

Do keep reading and commenting. Exciting times are near!
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Old 03-04-2012, 02:37 PM   #15
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My full kitchen remodel! Lots of improvisation mixed with IKEA and exposed brick


Demolition is now officially - kind of, more or less - over!

The garbage man came by and now I have my front porch back. At the same time, however, I've lost a little space in the garage...



As you can see, I really wasn't joking about collecting all the lath. I guess I felt bad enough with all the other waste I was creating and thought the least I could do was entertain the thought of repurposing some scrap wood. Any thoughts on what to do with it??

Here are some pretty impressive results using recycled lath:

http://goodsfromthehoods.com/
http://designskool.net/lath-goods-by...-ice-cream-co/

My only issue with the second site is their example of an entire wall covered in lathing. Seems a little crazy to me...Tear down an old wall, remove the lath, build a new wall and then cover it with the old lath?? You mean the old lath that is caked in plaster and is probably carcenogenic? The old lath that is extremely incredibly flammable? And that's your entire feature wall in your bedroom?

For those who are wondering, I decided to stop short of ripping out the floor. I thought removing 5 of 6 sides of the room was sufficient and taking out the floor would have added way more work than even I was willing to take on. The tile is in good shape, relatively recent, and the colors are not too atrocious. So it stays.

No more destruction, time for construction!

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