Every place I've ever lived has been designed for that "average American family," with lots of bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room, etc. The problem was that I was a single person, not an average family. I needed space, but for hobbies, not people. And because I'm over 6'2", bending over to use sinks designed for children was a constant frustration. Over the years, I collected a list of things I would change if I could have my dream house. As I approached retirement, I realized time was running out for that house; it was now or never.

Dreams are not always perfect, however. I could never afford my dream house, a spacious Southern California home overlooking the Pacific Ocean. But I could afford a modest ranch house, with a 20-mile drive to the beach. It was a very long way from perfect, but it had potential.

This blog documents the process of turning that small average house into something that matches my lifestyle. It will be as close to my dream house as I can make it. I'm doing all the work myself to stretch my resources. By not hiring contractors, I can afford high quality materials, and I'll know the job is always done right. The remodeling will be my primary avocation for a few years, even as I try to fit in my writing and other hobbies.

It promises to be an interesting journey, and a challenging one!

Monday, April 13, 2015

The New Kitchen — Part 5

This post covers the completion of the basic cabinetry for the east side of the kitchen, to wit, the cabinet that supports the 5-foot stainless steel countertop, and the compartment for the refrigerator.

The base went in first, cut down in height to match the base supporting the oven cabinet.  A straightforward operation.

The basic construction of the cabinet followed my past practice—3/4" cabinet grade plywood with a half-inch plywood back, mortise and tenon connection for the corners.  This time the plywood was warped, so I could not assemble the unit all at once.  Instead, I joined a few pieces at a time using a lot of clamping pressure, cleats and screws.  Somewhat frustrating, but in the end, it will do.

When finished, I fastened that in place (to the base, wall, and adjacent cabinet).  I then built the small cabinet that goes over the refrigerator and screwed that in place.

A partition that separates the refrigerator from the stainless counter goes between the two cabinets (one low and one high).  I made the simple partition from 3/4" plywood to match the side of the tall oven cabinet, similarly faced with white plastic laminate on the side facing the countertop (some symmetry, as it were).

While Aeryn, my big female alpha cat, watches on.

After that, maple trim went on the front edges of everything (with biscuits, glue, and countersunk finish nails), sanded and polyurethaned.  Then the stainless steel countertop was put in place with some construction adhesive.  I plan to make the inaugural pizza on it tomorrow—stretch that dough! ;-)

As always, single and stacked drawers still need to be built and installed in all the cubbies.   Not happening any time soon.  The high cubbies will get sliding shelves—drawers that have side access; they will look like drawer fronts when closed.  Eventually there will be photos.

Next up — tile will go on the wall above the stainless steel countertop, something with a nice finished look to give me a little psychological boost.  Hooray!

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