Grit Blogs > The Daily Commute

Kitchen Renovation: Cabinet Facelift Progresses

By Hank Will, Editor-in-Chief

Tags: kitchen, renovation, farmhouse,

GRIT Editor Hank Will at the wheel of his 1964 IH pickup.I haven't reported on our kitchen renovation project for a couple of weeks, but the cabinet facelift project has been making steady progress. We sourced the single-bowl cast-iron sink and faucet and met with a countertop fabricator. Last Friday, I took the day off to travel with my Partner In Culinary Crime to the bustling Kansas City suburb of Lenexa to visit a slab broker. What's a slab broker you might wonder? The slab broker is a business that sources all kinds of stone slabs from all over the world, it turns out. I won't tell you which stone we picked out for the countertops just yet, but I will let you know what we've been up to.

 Kitchen Cabinet Rehab 

So, we left off last time having more or less figured out how to redo these old build-in-place hardwood plywood cabinets. In a nutshell, we are painting them inside and out and giving the doors a little character by making them look like they were made of tongue-and-groove boards. You can see here that we made some decent progress on the upper cabinets ... the house has settled sufficiently that we weren't able to take every bow and bend out of the cabinets and the doors still don't line up perfectly in some places. That's OK with us because this 104 year old house probably has even more settling to do down the road.

Kitchen renovation 

Whew, this place has a lot of cabinets ... about $40,000 worth if we tried to replace them with good custom cabinets. Here you can see the white tile backsplash that was installed above the laminate backsplash, which was glued to the countertop. I pried off the laminate backsplash so that the countertop fabricator can make an accurate template -- there aren't too many perfectly square angles in this house. We removed the old light above the sink and built a new one using readily available fixtures and an antique Ball jar. I will blog about that little project later.

Kitchen rehab: adjusting a cabinet. 

The range was pretty well crammed in there before and since the pantry cabinet to the right was right up against the burners, we always brooded about setting it on fire. The cabinet got scorched mildly once when I was making a white sauce for macaroni and cheese. So I decided to remove part of it, shore up the remaining upper cabinet and prepare the lower section for countertop. Suffice it to say that some careful work with the sawsall, level, measuring tape, chisel, pry bar and hammer got the project to this point. Don't you love that old cherry-print wallpaper? I had to take the hood down to make the cabinet adjustment and it made prepping and priming the upper cabinets a lot easier too. Once we get the finish coats on these upper cabinets, we'll move on to the bottoms. They will get treated roughly the same way but with a different topcoat color. Stay tuned.  

Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper's Farmer magazines. Connect with him on .