Welcome to Part 2 of our interview with Kim Johnson, co-author of the blog Desire to Inspire. In Fall 2008 Kim remodeled her kitchen using Greentea Mizuya Cabinets, and covered the entire process on her blog.
Part 2 covers the actual installation and demolition process, and is meant to help potential kitchen remodelers. Part 1 covered the design and planning process and Part 3 features the finished kitchen.
Before: An 80’s Style Kitchen
Kim's Kitchen before the remodel. "There was not one thing in the kitchen I wanted to keep. The cabinets, island, the floor, the appliances, door and window all had to go."
After: The Asian Bistro
The final remodel. View photos of the final kitchen as well as a cost breakdown of the entire remodel.
Price of cabinetry: $10,590.
Greentea Design: What aspects of the demolition and initial construction work did you expect and plan for? Were there any surprises and how did you deal with them?
Kim: To save on contractor costs, my boyfriend and I had planned on doing the majority of the demolition ourselves. It turned out that much more of the old room needed to be demolished than we thought, as the contractor found that the walls and ceiling consisted of tongue and groove paneling covered in drywall, all of which needed to be removed.
The ceiling was a big job that none of us expected to have to demolish, but the electrician assured us that he was unable to install the pot lights within the tongue and groove as it was against regulations.
What I didn’t initially plan for was the wall cut out by the basement stairs. During the removal of the walls, it was brought to my attention that removing a section of the wall would open up the space more. It turns out that it would have been such a tight fit to try and get around the dining table (tighter than I had anticipated) had that wall been left standing.
Being without a kitchen throughout the renovation was pretty difficult. A lot of fast food was consumed, as well as sandwiches from a deli around the corner. I was without a functioning kitchen for one month. It was a VERY long month.
GT: What changes to the cabinets were made on-site for things like your sink and plumbing?
Kim: 2 of the 3 base cabinets required modifications. Greg from Greentea suggested we do this on-site as opposed to having the holes cut out at their cabinetry shop, so we could change our minds in case the plan had evolved.
The cabinet next to the fridge required a hole cut out of the back for a furnace duct as well as a hole for some plumbing to the adjacent bathroom. I requested that the sink be placed to the left of the cabinet it is housed in, in order to salvage one of the 3 drawers in that unit.
A hole was cut in the top of the cabinet for the sink, and the drawer fronts were removed and glued in place. A hole was also cut in the back of the cabinet to accomodate the plumbing for the sink.
I decided after ordering the cabinets to use under-cabinet lighting. To conceal the bulbs, my contractor bought wood, stained it to match the cabinets and installed it along the bottom of the upper cabinets. Greentea does offer totally custom cabinetry, and if I had planned on under-cabinet lighting from the beginning I could have had an extending beam conceal it – but hey, you live and learn!
GT: Can you describe the process by which the cabinets were fixed into place and the countertop and backsplash then installed?
Kim: Because most of the cabinets I chose were base cabinets and a pantry, there was not much securing required. My contractor insisted on screwing the base cabinets to the wall, but it really wasn’t necessary. We did not fix the pantry in place, but had considered mounting a bracket to the back to hold the top and bottom parts together.
My contractor screwed the upper cabinets to the wall, which was a simple process as the room has tongue and groove boards behind the drywall so he was able to screw directly into wall. He also mounted some pieces of wood into the corner between the 2 base cabinets to support the corner of the countertop.
The countertop was simply placed in position and siliconed to the cabinets and the wall. The backsplash (which consisted of strips of the countertop) was siliconed to the countertop.