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Story of Varmint's Kitchen Renovation


Varmint
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I have an old craptacular caloric gas range with a self-cleaning oven feature. When I say "craptacular" I mean "the kind of range you get when you renovate a small inner city rowhouse for renters in the mid 1980s."

Of course I've never used the self-cleaning oven, because I suspect it's somehow connected to the clocks and timers on the back of the stove, which don't work, and I wouldn't know how long to keep the cleaning cycle going. I've thought about messing with it to see if I can get the oven up to 650 or 700 for pizza making, but in the interest of not burning down my house I haven't... yet.

Either way, it's interesting that it is actually a pretty common feature on low-end models (a google on self clean gas range turns up a bunch of results), but not at the level you're looking at. I wonder why that is.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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Particle board vs. plywood. I went with the particle board because I wanted to put my limited amount of money into a decent range, sink, etc. And it's a lot drier here than where Mayhaw is. (Right now the humidity in the house is close to zero because the outside temp was 15F below this morning and never got above zero today, so the woodstove has been keeping things dried out.)

Anyhow, my reasoning was when I bought the particle board cabinets and formica counter tops was that they could be upgraded later whenever I felt the need and had the money. Another factor was that the cabinets I really wanted (no particle board) were going to take six weeks to get here and I needed them in a couple of weeks. They were the Dynasty line and are pretty well put together. Solid wood on the doors, drawers, and fronts, and plywood for the rest. Really nice sliders on the drawers and the drawers were full opening - the latter being something to look for. I was going to go for the western alder for wood. Quite nice. Watch out for the hickory because the grain varies from really nice to really dark streaks that don't look so good.

Varmint, you said that your carpenter is a cabinet maker. Any honest cabinet maker will tell you that there's no way they can compete on price with the ready-mades.

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Particle board vs. plywood. I went with the particle board because I wanted to put my limited amount of money into a decent range, sink, etc. And it's a lot drier here than where Mayhaw is. (Right now the humidity in the house is close to zero because the outside temp was 15F below this morning and never got above zero today, so the woodstove has been keeping things dried out.)

Anyhow, my reasoning was when I bought the particle board cabinets and formica counter tops was that they could be upgraded later whenever I felt the need and had the money. Another factor was that the cabinets I really wanted (no particle board) were going to take six weeks to get here and I needed them in a couple of weeks. They were the Dynasty line and are pretty well put together. Solid wood on the doors, drawers, and fronts, and plywood for the rest. Really nice sliders on the drawers and the drawers were full opening - the latter being something to look for. I was going to go for the western alder for wood. Quite nice. Watch out for the hickory because the grain varies from really nice to really dark streaks that don't look so good.

Varmint, you said that your carpenter is a cabinet maker. Any honest cabinet maker will tell you that there's no way they can compete on price with the ready-mades.

For what it's worth - I think a lot of people use the phrase "particle board" when what they're really talking about is "not wood". There are non-wood cabinets made of things like MDF that can be very high quality. And composite materials like MDF are frequently more stable than solid wood products in parts of the south (where one day it might be 80 and humid - and two days later it's 45 and the heat in the house has dried everything out). By the way - I am a big fan of humidifiers -you might try one to get your humidity above zero (it's cost effective - you'll save on heating and hand lotion :smile: ).

As far as local carpenter/cabinet guys are concerned - I know that no one has discussed any of the legal stuff involved here yet. But - unless the laws where Varmint lives are kind of strange - you're dealing with the following areas at a minimum: building permits and inspections; contract law; and mechanics liens. Unless you know what you're doing - you want to deal with a general contractor who's responsible for everything. And - even if you use a GC - you have to make sure you have a decent contract and that you as the owner comply with your end of the mechanics lien law (which involves filing a notice of commencement, getting releases of liens when you pay draws, etc.). An owner who doesn't comply with the mechanics lien laws runs the risk of paying for his job twice - even if it's never finished.

Because of the legalities involved - I am generally wary of dealing with small subs that I retain on my own (I have done it - but I'm a lawyer with some expertise in construction law - I don't need to hire a lawyer to make sure all the legal documents are done properly). Anyone who isn't a lawyer should retain one unless you're talking about a very small job. Robyn

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Varmint, you said that your carpenter is a cabinet maker. Any honest cabinet maker will tell you that there's no way they can compete on price with the ready-mades.

I can cut my own permit if the project is under $30K. I'm acting as GC, and this guy (and the plumber and electricians) are subs. Exciting, eh? In the end, realize that this is going to be less than a $10K job, including the cabinets (but excluding the appliances).

Yup, that's likely the case. There's some quirks with this job that may require us to go with some custom stuff -- but remember, all we're doing is painted plywood. Very cheap stuff.

Robyn, I'm a lawyer. I've already had one of my partners (a construction lawyer) get me a homeowner-friendly contract. One of the beauties of working in a decent-sized firm.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Varmint, you said that your carpenter is a cabinet maker. Any honest cabinet maker will tell you that there's no way they can compete on price with the ready-mades.

I can cut my own permit if the project is under $30K.  I'm acting as GC, and this guy (and the plumber and electricians) are subs.  Exciting, eh?  In the end, realize that this is going to be less than a $10K job, including the cabinets (but excluding the appliances).

Robyn, I'm a lawyer. I've already had one of my partners (a construction lawyer) get me a homeowner-friendly contract. One of the beauties of working in a decent-sized firm.

Varmint, I don't know where that second paragraph in my quote came from. I didn't say it. :blink:

And knowing you're a lawyer I'd thought about suggesting you do it on the cheap for now and wait for that big case and payout. :biggrin:

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Varmint, you said that your carpenter is a cabinet maker. Any honest cabinet maker will tell you that there's no way they can compete on price with the ready-mades.

I can cut my own permit if the project is under $30K.  I'm acting as GC, and this guy (and the plumber and electricians) are subs.  Exciting, eh?  In the end, realize that this is going to be less than a $10K job, including the cabinets (but excluding the appliances).

Yup, that's likely the case. There's some quirks with this job that may require us to go with some custom stuff -- but remember, all we're doing is painted plywood. Very cheap stuff.

Robyn, I'm a lawyer. I've already had one of my partners (a construction lawyer) get me a homeowner-friendly contract. One of the beauties of working in a decent-sized firm.

Oops, I screwed up in my own post. Obviously, this quote:

I can cut my own permit if the project is under $30K.  I'm acting as GC, and this guy (and the plumber and electricians) are subs.  Exciting, eh?  In the end, realize that this is going to be less than a $10K job, including the cabinets (but excluding the appliances).

is my own, not Nick's.

I just started a spec sheet -- here it is:

KITCHEN RENOVATION SPECS – JANUARY 14, 2004

1. DEMOLITION

• Remove upper cabinets above current cooktop

• Remove cooktop and sink cabinets

• Remove cabinets by driveway window and surrounding compactor & grill

• Remove all ceiling level cabinets

• Cut off end of cabinet next to wall ovens to make flush with wall

• Remove current wall ovens

2. PLUMBING, GAS, ELECTRICITY, HVAC

• Run gas line to cooktop location

• Run plumbing for new sink

• Run plumbing for dishwasher

• Add required outlets near sink

• Add wiring for new disposal

• Add new disposal switch

• Add electrical outlets near cooktop (if necessary)

• Wiring for cooktop and hood

• Check wiring for new wall ovens

• Reconfigure ductwork near window

• Reconfigure ductwork under current sink cabinet

• Replace lighting where appropriate

• Prepare wiring around I-beam for lighting

3. CABINETS AND CARPENTRY

• Create new wall oven space

• Configure cabinets above wall ovens

• Build and Install Lower 24” cabinet to replace marble slab (3 linear feet)

• Build and install upper 12” cabinet over old marble slab area (3 linear feet)

• Build and install cabinets for cooktop (5 linear feet)

• Build and install cabinets to house dishwasher and sink (~9 linear feet)

• Build and install housing around I-beams

• Countertops – tile?

• Replacement cabinet and drawer pulls (28)

• Need to determine cabinet configuration (drawers, lazy susans, etc.)

4. INSTALLATION

• Cut and install ductwork for hood

• Install stainless backsplash

• Install hood

• Install cooktop

• Install wall ovens

• Install dishwasher

• Install sink and disposal

• Install lighting

5. FOLLOW-UP

• Paint cabinets

• Floor configuration

• Replace Sub-Zero panels

So, what'd I forget?

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Looks together to me. Make sure you get everything on order and see what might have to be back-ordered. With the cabinets make sure your guy can get'em cranked out in time. Especially if he's going to be working on the rest of the job.

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Is your current electrical panel enough to handel additional wiring? We had to upgrade our panel in order to accommodate new stuff.

Marlene

cookskorner

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I have been told to check on the size of the gas line to the stove. I don't know if it needs to be larger than normal or not.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Robyn, I'm a lawyer.  I've already had one of my partners (a construction lawyer) get me a homeowner-friendly contract.  One of the beauties of working in a decent-sized firm.

As a lawyer - I feel competent to do contracts. I don't feel competent to act as a GC. Too many hassles with permits (the building department gives amateurs a hard time and I don't blame them). Worker's comp is also a huge problem (don't know what the law is there - but here - if you act as your own GC - you're responsible for all the worker's comp that a GC would have to provide). It would probably cost me more to place a policy than to hire a GC. Robyn

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3. CABINETS AND CARPENTRY

• Build and Install Lower 24” cabinet to replace marble slab (3 linear feet)

• Build and install upper 12” cabinet over old marble slab area (3 linear feet)

Dean, if I were to suggest only one change in this it would be to try for an extra 6 inches in the lower cabinets (for a countertop depth of 30 inches) and a corresponding extra 3 inches in the upper, to make them 15 inches deep and hence easier to reach.

We did this with our new kitchen, and it's wonderful. Machines (stand mixer, food processor, etc.) can co-exist with cutting boards. There is enough room for a proper mise en place. The entire space has a less crowded feel, and there's also more room for multiple cooks working together. The idea comes from Don Silvers, the chef / kitchen designer I mentioned upthread. It works.

The "maze" design of your kitchen may make this impossible. Even a bit of extra depth would be well worth going for, in my view.

Jonathan Day

"La cuisine, c'est quand les choses ont le go�t de ce qu'elles sont."

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That's a good thought, Jonathan, and it's something that I looked at this morning, yardstick in hand. It very well may be possible and even necessary, but until we remove some of the existing cupboards, and counters, it'll be hard to decide. The current marble slab area is about 38 inches out from the wall. Carving off 8 inches may be enough, but I'm not sure. Since I'm working with a cabinet maker, it may be that he can do a 28 inch lower cupboard. It's pretty funny how a couple of inches makes a big difference (no snickers from the peanut gallery, please).

I'm pretty sure I'll go with the double ovens. If I install a standard double oven unit, that'll leave me with some room (about a foot) under the lower oven for another drawer.

I'm going to start another thread about the importance of ovens.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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There is so much cool hardware around these days for pullouts,  lazy susans, slides, etc. that you can do some pretty amzing stuff with lower cabinets that used to have lots of dead space in them and generally look like big giant disasters. Especially stuff in the corners, those twistl out corner shelves coupled with double doors in the corners (I hope you know what I am talking about or that makes no sense :wacko: )

Hafele is a good source for this type of hardware.

Has anyone else taken a look at this site? Amazing!

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In the spirit of candor, here's my appliance budget, which is probably higher than what I'll actually spend:

1. Rangetop $2,500

2. Hood $1,500

3. Double ovens $2,500

4. Ductwork $ 200

5. Sink + Disposal $1,000

TAX $ 527

TOTAL $8,227

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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Hi,

I am also renovating my kitchen and this website has been wonderful

http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/ it has an appliance and kitchen area. Check it out. We were also on a budget and here is what we did- gut the kitchen - did all the plumbing, electic, drywall and subfloor. I stained the subfloor (plywood). We are using our old refrig and dishwasher. I purchased a new range. We got an big old wire rack from a store going out of business (our storage). We purchased the cheapest sink and faucet from home depot also bought 6 foot run of premade formica. This is our temp kitchen. Our next step will be the cabinets and floor and counters (probably in a year or two).

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In the spirit of candor, here's my appliance budget, which is probably higher than what I'll actually spend:

1. Rangetop $2,500

2. Hood $1,500

3. Double ovens $2,500

4. Ductwork $ 200

5. Sink + Disposal $1,000

TAX $ 527

TOTAL $8,227

Dean does you sink amount include a new faucet? Our Grohe (which I love) and soap dispenser tacked $500 onto our budget.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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If your budget is $5k for a range and ovens take a look at this imperial range, Basildog ended up with the commercial version when he redid his restaurant kitchen.

I'm hoping to find bargains, as any money I save goes into wine!!!

I don't have room for such an awe-inspiring piece of equipment.

I'm most likely going with the 36" DCS 6 burner rangetop.

Dean McCord

VarmintBites

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