This maybe the kitchen of my dreams, but it was a nightmare getting there. Not really, but we did have some challenges. Because we did a full gut on the kitchen, we didn’t even have all the walls in place or electric installed and the floor and sub-floor had to go as well.

Its actually fun starting with a blank canvas. If you read my previous blog posts, you are aware that I designed our kitchen layout and order our cabinets already. I like to do decor board to help guide my planning and purchasing decisions. I don’t have the resources like a designer to make an actual design board, but I use Pinterest and create a vision board – Kitchen Design Ideas

But long before paint and tile – electrical wiring has to be in place, plumping installed or upgraded, drywall goes up and the floors are installed. Of course we had a cabinet layout and could develop wiring specifics to accommodate our kitchen layout, but long before this we had to apply for an electrical permit with the county. This required a detailed drawing of the current electric configuration and any changes that we were proposing. Things we had to consider when determining electrical requires were: Overhead lighting, electric plug placement for large and small appliances, under-counter lighting, over the sink lighting, and of course code requirements. We were in good shape for the code requirements with the exception of one additional plug required because of the distance required from walls to plugs, who would have thought. I’m actually glad for this, since we now use that plug for our toaster – just the perfect little spot for it to be placed.

With the electric run, dry walls hung and wood floors laid, we are ready to begin installing cabinets. Wow, where to begin?

We decided to start with the pantry which has to be installed against a small wall in the kitchen. This is the start of our refrigerator wall and seems like as good as any spot to start. In this picture you can see the pantry cabinets and the over refrigerator cabinet supported by a support. This is the start of my dream kitchen.

We actually built this small wall to contain the kitchen cabinets and it is the support wall for the beam we installed when we took down the load bearing wall. Our measurements and cabinet layout was designed to fit up to this small wall. With these two cabinets in place we moved on with this wall moving toward the corner cabinet.

Once we set the next two cabinets we had to set in the corner cabinet. A spacer is required between the corner cabinet and the set of drawers. And of course, the corner isn’t square. We were pretty lucky that the floor is fairly level, but all along the way we had to shim the cabinets and ensure they are level before securing in place with wood screens. The corner cabinet was tricky, squaring to the corner both at the floor and wall. This caused a lot of trimming and shimming but finally it’s in place. We had to cut the spacer to fit between the two cabinets. Spacers come in a standard 3″ and you cut to fit as needed.

In this picture you can see the refrigerator panel and the three drawer cabinet installed. We set the corner and began the effort of leveling and measuring for the spacer.

A question we always get, is why do you do the bottom cabinets first? Aren’t they in your way to install the top cabinets? Always the bottom first, the you use the bottom cabinets to help support the top cabinets during installation.

Cabinets are harder than one might think. Leveling and installing spacers can prove to be a challenge. We had a few problems along the way, the refrigerator panel was damaged, the spacers ordered for the each side of the microwave were the wrong size (only size they made), and one cabinet door was damaged. Sometimes you just have to make something work, Steve had to cut down the microwave spacers to make them fit.

Now that the cabinets are installed we can order counter tops. Of course, I have been exploring my options, get rough estimates and determining where to purchase the counter tops long before now. You would be surprised how time consuming option shopping can be.

We decided, well, I decided on white quartz counter tops and we are both so happy with that decision. I wanted to keep the kitchen looking light, clean and uncluttered.

As you can see in this picture, we added an island, installed the light fixtures and appliances and had the counter tops installed. What a difference it makes. You really can’t see here, but we had the hardwood floors refinished before we installed the island, so they floors are also done throughout the entire house. I love, love, love the new floors.

Now for all the finishing touches. I selected our back splash tile from Home Depot. The back splash is a combination of stone and glass. I picked this specifically so that it would match the stone tile surround for the fireplace we have planned for the lower family room. I like my rooms, especially in an open floor plan to flow in both color and materials. Soon you will be reading about of fireplace replacement.

No, he’s not napping on the counter top, just trying to figure how to wire the under counter lights. You can see the back space here, really happy with this choice. Yep, this is the end. It must seem simple, but it felt like we would never finish the kitchen remodel check list. Now I get to put it together and start cooking in the kitchen of my dreams.

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