We last left the kitchen project back in April, right before someone got a puppy and all progress seemed to come to a screeching halt. Now that the puppy is six months old and potty trained, it seemed like it was time to keep going with the project. This past weekend was the first really hot weekend in a long time. I was initially planning to do yard work (which I can never seem to stay caught up on) but it was much too hot for that. So I decided to take the next step in the kitchen: start painting the lower cabinets.
What do you mean ‘trouble’?
Of course, the last cabinet painting I did was uppers, which is out of reach of tails and curious noses. And that was before I got a puppy. Apparently I was living the kitchen remodeling dream and didn’t even know it! Remodeling with a puppy underfoot, while entertaining, is not convenient at all. And it was so hot outside I couldn’t just banish them to the yard. So there was some crazy shenanigans underfoot and some time spent in the comfort of their air conditioned crates.
When I moved in, the under the kitchen sink cabinet had a water stained icky bottom (that was a replacement- clearly the actually cabinet bottom was long gone). I’ve had a few leaks over the last two years because the sink plumbing is ridiculous (a million connections that seem loose in the stack). Anyway, I knew pulling that cabinet out was going to be bad news but I’ve put it off this long and knew I was going to have to just do it. Not to mention that I have the replacement cabinet (a couple inches wider to accommodate the farm sink I plan to get as part of the next kitchen upgrade phase). Mmmm farm sink and butcher block counters. Someday. Anyway, the new (used) cabinet is taking up valuable space in my barn and if I’m going to be painting cabinets, I should just install it, paint it, and be done with it, right? Of course right.
I also finally bit the bullet and bought a new dishwasher to replace the old one that doesn’t do much in terms of washing the dishes, which seems like it’s one main function. There was a decent 4th of July sale and I bought a low range model that will hopefully do the job. It arrived at the local Blue store and was ready to pick up last week. Clearly the stars were all aligning to begin this next part of the project.
So Saturday morning I started
trashing the place working on it. The dining room table was covered with the contents of the drawers. I set up a table on the deck to clean, sand, and prime the drawers. (And then mid-morning, after the primer was dry, I looked out and noticed the sky had gone dark and had to drag everything including the table inside just as it started raining). Anyway, I did get all the drawers cleaned, sanded, and painted (one coat of Zinsser, three coats of cabinet paint).
I cleaned, sanded, primed the lower cabinet boxes (except the sink cabinet, which was getting removed). I removed the dishwasher to find that the floor was damp and the wall behind it moldy. I even found my long lost muffin tins where they’d fallen from the corner cabinet next to the dishwasher. It was my first go at taking out a dishwasher and felt like it took way longer than it should. And of course, finding the moldy wall behind it will take the wind out of your sails pretty fast. Bah.
Then I dug in and removed the sink cabinet bottom to find it was as bad or worse than I feared. Damp, icky, buggy disgustingness under there. Shudder. And holes where the mice clearly get through. It sure doesn’t look good. Old plumbing hacked together with a history of leaks (a long history clearly). I used my “phone a friend” card to call my dad. I rarely call him in on things but this seemed like a good one to get some dad advice. He came over and agreed it didn’t look good and that the plumbing stack should be redone. He felt the boards and we agreed that we should dry it out for a few days and see how it does. It looks like the subfloor is damp and stained but not rotted through and probably salvageable. I’ll dry it out and see what happens.
My dad said “we” could and should re-plumb the stack (I hope that means he will help because I am no genius at plumbing – I mean I can do simple repairs, but reworking how all the connections fit together? Not my department).
I spent an inordinate amount of time unscrewing the counter so it is removable now. For as half ass as the plumbing is and the sink that wasn’t installed at all when I moved in, those counters were VERY secure (screwed in all kinds of hard to reach places). I plan to screw them back in exactly two places since I plan to replace them in the next year or two anyway. Next up I can install the new sink cabinet and the new dishwasher.
It is amazing how long all these things take.
I worked on it for about 12 hours on Saturday and then a couple hours Sunday to do a final coat of paint on the cabinet boxes and to haul the old dishwasher and cabinet out to the trash. I also managed to get the wiring done for the microwave / hood combo (which has been sitting in my sewing room for at least 6 weeks) and I installed the mounting plate. Now I just need another set of hands to install it.
By Monday night, with a fan blowing on the under the sink area, everything was dry (and still gross but slightly less gross). I swept it, vacuumed it, cleaned the wall and floor with vinegar, let it dry again, and then painted it with a coat of Kilz. I will need to seal the seams with something to keep the mice out, but in the meantime, it looks so much better and I am pleased that none of the boards in the subfloor needed to be replaced.
Paint lower cabinets and drawers
Remove rotting sink cabinet
Wire plug for microwave / hood
Install mounting plate for microwave
Dry out and paint wall and subfloor