Happy Monday loves. We are in full swing with the kitchen renovations at the house. This reno has been quite a deal different from the kitchen revamp at our last house mainly because our previous project was primarily cosmetic. This go round we're almost starting from scratch.
The plan for this project was pretty straight forward: replace lower cabinets and sink, bring in new appliances, install a backsplash, replace lighting, paint and décor. Easy enough right? WRONG!! See here's the thing about old houses...they are much like old people. They are full of character, and charm, and you just gotta respect em, BUT, at the same time they are undoubtedly set in their ways. I don't know about you , but Ive learned its pretty hard to give something that's over 70 years old a new way of being, if you will. So, I approached this project with the theory that rather than trying to change every aspect of the space to work with me, we will adjust aspects of our plans to work with the space. Im not looking for perfect, and honestly I don't want it.
We began with demo. That process was quite difficult because back in the 40's kitchens were built in place. That means cabinetry was custom built on site and they were built to last FOREVAH. Our base cabinets were built right in to the floorboards. This also means that todays building materials didn't exist. Cabinets were solid wood back then and weren't 24" deep. The ones we removed were just under 22" deep. Another common practice was to use a mortar and lathe type installation for the tile countertop and backsplash. If you aren't familiar with that its basically a layer of metal mesh nailed into the studs, then about a 1/2 inch layer of cement, then tile on top.
It was not fun to remove. A very large crowbar and sledgehammer were my besties during this process. I was patient and tried to salvage as much of the drywall as possible, but holes in some areas were pretty inevitable.
Once demo was complete we moved on to installing the cabinets. We decided on Ikea cabinet boxes and frames and will be ordering doors through Semi Handmade. One of my favorite elements of this kitchen are the corner windows and I absolutely insisted on keeping the corner sink placement, so we designed the cabinet layout around that. We also wanted to keep appliances in their current positions, so we had to tweak some things to make that happen. The biggest change we made because of this was going from a 24" dishwasher to an 18". We decided that eeking out extra storage with added cabinets was more important than losing 6" of dishwasher space. We thought about it and realized we never wash our pots and pans in the dishwasher anyway, so we still have ample space for our daily cups, plates, bowls, silverware, and meal prep dishes. We may not have done it if we needed to consider resale, but since this will be our home for a long long time, we can really customize things to our lifestyle.
The cabinet frames were really easy to build and we only have 4, so it took us about 2 hours to get them all built, including the drawers. We then moved on to install. Because we have an old house with uneven floors and wonky walls we decided to use a ledger rail as a guide. This coupled with the adjustable legs made things INCREDIBLY EASY AND FAST. If you are considering Ikea cabinets I highly recommend using a ledger rail for your base cabinet install.
We used a 1 x 4 and installed it level about 5" from the floor, which after the cabinets and countertops go in will give us a height right around 36". This gets screwed into the studs so there's no need to figure out where studs are when installing the cabinets, they simply all get installed along the ledger.
We placed the back of the cabinets on it and adjusted the legs accordingly. It took us all of 20 minutes to get them all in place. Next came sink install.
We opted for an apron front sink and because of this we hired this step out. We got our sink from here. It was a compromise element. I wanted apron front, but Naomi is not a fan of old school porcelain sinks, so I ordered a sleek contemporary stainless steel version. It took some time to find one that would work well with our requirements.
It needed to be 30" so that it would fit exactly within the cabinet base. I also wanted a flat front with straight 90 degree angles to keep things nice and flush. Since the sink and cabinets were the exact same dimensions width wise there was no need to create a frame underneath the cabinet to support it as with many other apron sinks. We were able to just move down cross piece from the cabinet itself to support the sink. He added some "extra support" purely for my sanity. It probably is doing nothing to make it stronger, but it put my mind at ease.
Since we are dealing with the corner sink, in order to get the sink base in line with the other cabinets we needed to bring the cabinet out a few inches and create a bracing system to install the cabinet into the wall
#high-tech. It looks completely sketch, but its solid as a rock. The sink def isn't going anywhere. Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do, especially when you're dealing with a corner sink.
The biggest negative to corner sinks is there is a lot of space that gets wasted unless you spring for something custom built. I've seen some awesome little storage cabinets tucked into the sides of them that help maximize space. We didn't want the extra expense of a custom build, so we made up for the space in other areas.
The 30" cabinet to the left of the sink will be an open shelving situation with no doors, similar to this
Baskets and dutch ovens will be stored in it so we could take the cabinets right up to one another without the need to account for drawers or door swings. The sink cabinet will be skirted and wont have doors either.
Today we'll be installing the countertops. We went with Ikea butcher block and Im so so excited. I loooooove butcher block counters and the price of Ikea butcher is just outta this world good. I'll be getting some help with the cuts because of the corner sink situation again. I cant wait to see them in place.
Anyone else out there design a kitchen around a corner sink? How'd it go for you? Until next time loves....