Keep the cabinets or start all over?

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Keep the cabinets or start all over?

Postby blackdog » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:42 pm


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Postby MattMCM » Tue Sep 23, 2008 7:54 pm


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Postby blackdog » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:05 pm


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Postby Joe » Tue Sep 23, 2008 8:28 pm


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Postby redneckmodern » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:08 pm

from my POV, it's kinda hard to tell the overall quality. while we'd like to assume that they're old, solid wood cabinets with rock-solid frames, they could be veneered crap baskets... again, hard to tell.

the placement of the cooktop (and very low hood) is very awkward right next to the sink -- seems like that would make a better prep-area. the switch on the sink face in jinky (and hard to patch if removed). plus... lots of holes from ice grinders (?) towel loops and bars... the lines of the current cooktop cabinet don't seem to pair well with the rest of the cabinets (belt-line) and the mix of sliding and swing doors is weird to me.

if it were my kitchen, i might think about moving the cooktop to the island with a downdraft vent. comboed with a complete tear out and replace... refinishing all that wood would suck.

having just done a similar sized project, new cabinets from ikea in the nexus yellow brown would run about $5K without counter-tops.

however, looks like you just refinished the concrete up to the kickpanels which would make new cabinets hard to refit in the same footprint...

if it were me, i'd replace, but i'd have ripped out before the refinish... now you're kinda stuck with that footprint (or would have to go larger)...

where's the fridge?

god that backsplash is awful. are those goldfish fighting with the white blob creature from the ...

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Postby Perks » Tue Sep 23, 2008 9:48 pm

While I'm sure they look worse in person, the photos don't look too bad...which probably shows the potential that you have with a restoration. Assuming they're in decent enough condition.

Having recently done a complete replacement, I would second Joe's opinion that it will be hard to equal the quality of a well-built, older cabinet set with anything that your average homeowner could afford nowadays. The cabinets I ripped out of my house were practically indestructible. The new cabinets that replaced them will never last 50+ years. I'd have kept the old ones had the layout not been so downright awkward.

Call me crazy, but I for one kinda like the idea of having the cooktop next to the sink--easy to transfer pots full of water to the stove, and dirty pots straight into water to soak. The low-hanging hood is rather awkward, though. The thought of having to bend down to see what's on the back burner isn't particularly appealing.

Though I'm definitely not crazy enough to enjoy that backsplash. Whoa.
Andy Perkins, Broker/Owner

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Postby egads » Tue Sep 23, 2008 10:04 pm

I'd like to see more details of the build quality. How the drawers work, some close ups of the worst areas. My initial impression is that the kitchen is savable. The quality, if it was a custom home, is probably way better than something new from Ikea. The hinges are called "youngsdale" and are still available. New versions have a self closing feature. I would be very careful sanding. Try using a citrus based stripper instead.

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Postby ch » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:12 am

Is that backsplash original to the house? King of reminds me of the Ray Eames "sea things" pattern. I'm kind of surprised that everyone would just want to rip it out - looks like it's all glass tile mosaic.

I do agree that if the cabinets are all hard wood that you will not be able to replace them with anything that comes close in quality, certainly not from IKEA. But if the drawers no longer work properly and there are multiple drill holes, gouges and other damage there may be little to do to make it all nice again.

Then, of course, are the issues of the functionality of the layout. An awkward layout for how you want to use the kitchen may ultimately be the deciding factor in consideration of all of the above.

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Postby MattMCM » Wed Sep 24, 2008 5:37 am

I don't think the backsplash is horrible, but I am not sure about it either. It is one of those things I would have to see in person to make a fair judgement.

I chose to keep my original cabinets because they are solid wood and still in good shape. Even the original formica is in good shape. The only thing I am trying to update is the cabinet pulls because they were in bad shape. I am having a very difficult time finding pulls with the (2 3/8") hole to hole spacing though. You can not find this anywhere except a few sites online. Most pulls are 3" and above. I do not have the option of drilling new holes because my cabinets are not painted.

What I did was take all the pulls off, buffed and repainted them. It doesn't look that great, but it is all I have to work with right now until I find some pulls I like that have the correct spacing.

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Postby Izzy » Wed Sep 24, 2008 12:17 pm

Polite and Cordial

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Postby sdmod » Wed Sep 24, 2008 1:34 pm


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Postby classic form » Wed Sep 24, 2008 2:58 pm

I'd keep 'em. Instead of ripping out the backsplash maybe you can cover it up with some material that can be removed in the future if desired? As far as the sink next to the stovetop this is the way our kitchen is set up and I like it as well...very easy to move large pots of water. If you clean the cabinets first and see how they turn out I don't think you could go wrong, worth a try?

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Postby blackdog » Wed Sep 24, 2008 6:22 pm

Thanks for all your suggestions and insights. The cabinets are plywood with a thin veneer surrounding the majority of surfaces (Phillipine Mahogany according to the specificaiton sheets). The cabinet frames are plywood as well. I have removed about four of the doors and stripped them. I am going to try and do some sanding this weekend and then use a red mahogany stain on them.

The refrigerator was located next to the island, but the opening only accomodates a small refrigerator. We would like to have a larger refrigerator, so we are thinking of relocating it to what is currently a pantry to the right of the oven. If we move the refrigerator, then we will probably also move the cooktop to the island. We are considering a cooktop with a downdraft vent. If we decide to keep the cabinets, I think we can incorporate all the changes without too much heartburn.

However, if we open the area where the refrigerator used to be, then we may not be able to match the Philippine mahogany to fill the space.

I am all for keeping the cabinets, I think I can refinish some life into them. But I don't have the only say. My partner wants cabinets that do not look tired, dirty/holey (cabinet interior), or mismatched. We have yet to determine if they are standard size. If they are not standard, then we may not have a choice. We are going to do some measurements tomorrow.

We do not think the backsplash is original to the house. From what we were told it sounded like a neighbor did it for the previous owners. We are still trying to find out what some of those shapes in there are. Some of it does resemble sea life, but we also think some of the shapes resemble food items. Covering it with something that could later be removed would not work, because that wall has actually been water damaged. So the drywall will have to be replaced.

I will try and get some close up pictures tomorrow and post them. Thanks for all your comments.

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downdraft, bad

Postby ValleyModern » Wed Sep 24, 2008 7:21 pm

I would caution against a downdraft cooktop. The fatal flaw in this design is that when the fan is actually strong enough to draw the air from above a pan, it is also drawing the flame away as well. Hence, you have to turn the fan off or way down if you want a decent amount of heat, making the fan useless. I made this mistake in my current house. I will probably switch it out for the type with a pop-up ventilator, that draws the air from above, more like a hood.

Those are great looking cabinets! I hope you are successful in restoring them. You might then want to go through and add lots of pull-outs and other modern conveniences on the inside, to try and bring them up to date (functionally).
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Postby blackdog » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:02 pm

I added additional kitchen photos, which shows more detail. Just ignore all the dust, I have been sanding the finish off a cypress wall.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/merriammod ... 503575757/

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definitely keep the cabinets!

Postby Slim and Gabby » Sat Sep 27, 2008 4:25 pm

Well-those of you who know us will hardly be surprised at our advice to keep the cabinets, but really these are pretty nice. Echoing the posts that nothing comparable will be available at any remotely reasonable price point today.

I kinda like some of the goofy interiors-the in the door can corral is totally period. I don't know about storing flat pans and trays right under the sink, though.

Not sure what to say about the backsplash. It looks so quirky it might be sort of charming, but charm is in the eye of the beholder. If it's not your style, it would be pretty darn limiting.

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Postby egads » Sat Sep 27, 2008 6:44 pm

Well....I guess there are some parts that will need work. But really, they are way cool and real. Completely worth fixing. To start, here is the hinge manufacturers' website:

http://www.youngdale.com/

In addition, may I suggest using a Piet Mondrian approach for the areas you need to replace. Using new plywood for new cabinets and replacement faces with color. Either solid or as a stain. You could easily make a repaired surface look like it was on purpose. I'd even go as far as spending the money for a fully integrated subzero refrigerator and panel front dishwasher. The splash is just not very good art. (apologies to the neighbor if living) It could be saved as an outdoor table top. Is the range top hood vented? If so, a very thin one could be used in it's place.
The drawer glides can also be replaced with newer ones that will make a big difference in the "feel" of them. The ones currently there are standard 1/2" thick. I hope you are handy, you have a lot of work there. But all new is not really going to make the work much less. And it will cost money you could spend on high end appliances.





*http://www.pietmondrian.org/

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Postby robbhouston » Sun Sep 28, 2008 4:17 am

The cabinets look to be in decent shape, in the photos at least. I like the sliding doors up top. Pretty cool... :)

Whatever you do, you want it all to seem like it's original. Or at least all match. Since it sounds like you want to rearranging the kitchen, adding and/or removing pieces parts, that might be a good reason to gut and replace. Although, as others have pointed out, new bolt-to-the-wall cabinets won't be near as well built as originals. Our 1961 cabinets seem to have been built on site (ie: are made from the same material as the kitchen walls themselves), and they're super stout.

Food for thought... We kept our cabinets, removed the doors and drawer fronts, painted everything crisp gloss white, and had new doors and drawer fronts made (which I shellacked myself). Had the cabinet maker install. Although painting was kind of a severe thing to do, it solved a lot of problems. And all the shellacked doors/drawers did a good job bringing the warmth of wood back into the room.

Before...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... before.jpg

After...
http://0044f49.netsolhost.com/nashville ... en2_lg.jpg

Here's a detailed thread with lots of photos...
http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=6757

Hope that's helpful. Good luck with your project!

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A little website I created to showcase my home and other MCMs in and around the Nashville TN area.

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Postby sumu » Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:24 pm

OMG, I think that backsplash is a scream. I can't imagine ripping it out, unless its damaged. What's the alternative, glass mosaics that will look dated in 10 years? (Everyone will say, 'oh, remodeled in '08, didn't you?')

The cabinets are lovely, really. You're just not going to find anything nearly as well made - not affordably, anyway.

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Postby bluecherub » Mon Oct 13, 2008 7:41 pm

I would keep the back splash and the cabinets! Just refinish them they will look great if you get a competent refinisher. The backsplash is a unique piece that is authentic to the house, I would NEVER replace it! Its very cool.

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Postby egads » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:01 pm

Actually it has been established that the backsplash is not original.

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Postby peterm » Mon Oct 13, 2008 8:59 pm

please do not rip out the cabinets. they are great! if there are spots that are problematic, consider open shelving in those spots. the cabinets are vertical grained veneer over plywood. there is nothing at all wrong with veneer! much better than new particle board...

do what you feel is best with the backsplash, but leave the cabinets.

good luck!
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Postby N.U.Mod » Tue Oct 21, 2008 9:38 am

MattMCM,

One of my favorite sources for cabinet hardware has a solution for that. Their nickel bar pulls are fabulous, have amazing weight to them and are priced much better than the larger stores. I redid a whole kitchen and got 57 pulls in a day.

Check out this site or contact them to see if they do custom work. Its been a while for me but at the time they were very nice people to work with:

http://www.coolknobsandpulls.com/cabine ... N=37731050

As far as the kitchen remodel goes, I agree with redneck modern. The cabinet retrofit would have been more effective prior to the floor refinish. But if the cabinets are solid, and you can live with the layout, I would definitely keep them and update the hardware. Its hard to tell in the photos but they really don't look that bad. In fact, I think they are quite nice!


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