Tuesday, January 10, 2017

How to make a kitchen island from old cabinetry

Re purposed cabinet as kitchen island
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

If you remodeled your older kitchen and did so on a shoe string budget, you may have realized that the new cabinets you bought, let's say from a home center near you, were not solid wood, but mostly comprised of some MDF for the body and only the front facade of the cabinets were actual wood. There's nothing wrong with that. Newer cabinets are still nice to have, offer ease of use, are clean and usually bright on the inside and easy to install. That being said, what you may have noticed is your old site built cabinets were solid wood, strong and difficult to remove.

When we remodeled our kitchen I saved all the good usable wood and some of the cabinetry. It's a complete mystery to me when watching renovation shows how often they throw away all the old cabinetry. I understand in some cases why new cabinetry is needed. In my case my old  cabinets were dark, had an old old smell to them..and when I opened up a wall, I was unable to match the newer cabinets with the existing cabinets. So I had no choice but to buy all new. One cabinet in particular I had a vision for, and it was a mobile island. It had three good drawers and I could not see throwing it away.

Here's the solution:
For the top, no need to go all crazy trying to find a fancy granite top, (not that it wouldn't be amazing..) But the simple 2 X 4 top made this project super inexpensive and allowed me to use it the same day!
wooden counter top
©Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

By placing the cabinet on metal casters and adding a simple top made of 2 X 4's we were able to salvage a super functional piece of cabinetry and give it new life. Next time you're doing a renovation, remember the value in those old solid wood cabinets. Don't be so quick to throw them away. Have a vision, there's lots of solutions for your salvaged wood and cabinets.

metal casters
© Dawn Gagnon Photography 2017

Adding some decorative touches made it feel like a part of the kitchen design as well with these wooden scrolled brackets;
Scrolled brackets
©Dawn Gagnon Photography

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Ways to cover, renovate and fix your ugly damaged ceilings

One of the single more important updates you can do to your home is dealing with popcorn ceilings. No one likes them and if you neglect to update them in major living spaces, whatever updates you do make will be tempered by this oversight.

Popcorn ceilings have been around for a long time and aside from the fact that cob webs and dust cling to it, they also date the home. The best renovations occur when you have a home that is 30-40 years old that can stand up to and surpass new construction.

Whether you're planning on selling your home or not, it is really unimportant. Your home is still your investment and unless you can see well into your future financial needs with your crystal ball, you should always invest in updates that make sense for your home's value.

Ceilings often get overlooked in renovations by do it yourself types. Why? Well its the un-fun part of the cosmetic aspect. However, if you don't address it, it will actually take away from all the hard work you put elsewhere.

If you're doing a full from top to bottom renovation, you'll want to tackle your popcorn ceiling first. It's messy..and no matter what you read or research, there is no exceptionally "easy" pain free way to tackle it. If you're lucky and it has not been painted over, it should come off a little easier, but it will be very messy and if your home is an older home you will want to have windows opened, everything removed from the room possible, and what stays must be covered, and covered well. The dust and debris get everywhere, even in places you haven't thought of. Keep a dust mask on and protective eye wear. If you forego the dust mask..and I don't recommend it, keep your mouth closed.  You'd be surprised how many of us have our mouths open when we are looking up and scraping..its weird but true.
Now there are some work around ideas you may want to do if you absolutely want to avoid scraping a popcorn ceiling.  Research these:
Ceiling Tins- expensive if your kitchen is large, but they do come in a variety of textures, and colors. You can also find them in pvc form.
Styrofoam ceiling tiles- These are far less expensive than the aforementioned and can give you a very nice look. I would suggest researching online images of projects done by others to see if it is something you can do.
Panels- You can use bead board paneling and tongue and groove wood on your ceilings. It is very expensive to go this route as well depending on the size of your kitchen.
All of these ideas will likely still require some sanding of the popcorn, especially if it is very textured. I would try an inconspicuous place in a closet or hallway ceiling to test out which idea works.
Wall Paper- I know a few years back wall paper was considered the scourge of the renovation world. However today, textured wall paper that can be painted can be your best friend. If you add in faux beams like in the photographs to this post, you can cut them shorter and have an easier time.  Don't dip and drip, use wall paper paste, it really is far easier.