A Total DIY Kitchen Redo in the Same Footprint
With the 2012 Reader Remodel Contest under way, we take a closer look at last year's kitchen winner to get all the painstaking details
Professional blueprints and a deadline are always a good idea. But what if you have more time and how-to chops than cash? After 27 years and nine houses, Gregg and Nancy Alling were eager to redo the kitchen in their 1968 house in Toledo, Ohio, but couldn't do it all at once.
Shown: To-the-ceiling cabinets and trim, light-reflecting finishes, a built-in plate rack, a tiled toekick, and niches for the fridge, TV, and microwave add function and updated traditional style. Take a video tour of this winning kitchen.
Enter your finished kitchen in the 2012 Reader Remodel Contest for your chance at cash prizes and a GMC Sierra truck.
So they tackled it bit by bit, using little more than his workshop, her eye, and a shared taste for bargains, including a $4 prep sink found on eBay and $6 wall spigots unearthed at a plumbing-supply shop.
Shown: Countertops and cabinets in the original kitchen harked back to the 1960s.
Custom cabinets, countertops, and trim were beyond the couple's budget—until Nancy had a great idea. "'You've done all kinds of woodworking,'" Gregg recalls her saying. "'Why don't you build them yourself?'" Next thing he knew he was hearing about her desire for a coffee station and sink within arm's reach of the breakfast table. The couple found black walnut planks for $400 to make into countertops and sleuthed out marked-down appliances and finishes, then splurged on a pot filler over the range.
Shown: Hutch-inspired built-ins, topped with dentil and crown molding, and chandeliers with home-center shades give the eating area a finished look. The coffee station fends off spills with a tile backsplash and a black-walnut countertop with 10 coats of varnish.
The bottom line: $10,000. Many months of on-the-job learning, and a lot of improvised cooking later, both agree the result was well worth it.
Shown: Salvaged leaded-glass cabinet fronts were refurbished and used as the focal point.
Existing windows have new muntins to match the glass cabinet doors. The apron sink sits on a piece of walnut that coordinates with the countertops and reinforces the farmhouse look.
Ornate feet and raised panels contribute to the cabinets' vintage look. Gregg made cabinet boxes with oak plywood backs; birch plywood sides, tops, bottoms, and shelves; and poplar doors, drawers, panels, and feet. Everything was finished with semigloss oil paint and polyurethane.
The toekick on the hutch-inspired wall cabinet is tiled to provide an accent and to resist scuffs.
A former coat closet became a pantry just steps from the fridge.
"Before tearing out soffits to run cabinets to the ceiling, be prepared to reroute pipes, ducts, or wiring that might be hidden inside."
—Gregg Alling, Toledo, Ohio
The 300-square-foot kitchen had too many doors and an awkward peninsula that blocked traffic.
The redo eliminated the peninsula, rejiggered the layout within the existing footprint, and increased storage and prep space.
1. Moved the refrigerator to end traffic jams when its door was open. Built out the cabinet to fully enclose the full-size fridge and a TV.
2. Tore out the peninsula to open up the room and improve flow.
3. Built in a coffee station and sink in the eating area. Replaced patio sliders with more-traditional French doors.
4. Created a pantry in a former closet and integrated it into the room by eliminating a pair of double doors. Changed double doors to the dining room to a single.
5. Created a cooking zone by centering the range in a short run of cabinets and placing the microwave just steps away.
6. Reduced double doors to the hallway and family room to singles.