Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boom Go the Cabinets

The title for this post is inspired by a video that John showed me back in high school. This poor kid is "newscasting" for his college TV station and just doesn't quite make the mark. It's painfully funny all the way through, but the highlight hits right at about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. 

The reason I say "boom" is because I was worried that when I took the cabinets down they'd crash into the granite counter and crack it. To save you the suspense, there was no crashing whatsoever. Actually, the opposite. They did not. want. to. come. down.

Let me apologize in advance that the first couple of pictures were taken on my phone. When we finally had the courage and time to get started, I didn't have my camera handy.

To start the process, I put bubble wrap and a blanket down to protect the counter from the crashing cabinets. The cabinets were in two separate pieces (the two doors on the left are one unit, the two doors on the right are the second unit) but the trim at the top was one continuous piece which meant it had to be removed.

I put a flathead screwdriver between the trim and the cabinet and pried it off. There were just some finishing nails holding it in place, so it wasn't hard.

The front piece came off, then I did the same thing to the piece on the right.

They look naked!

Next up was to remove the under-cabinet lighting because it was connecting the two cabinets. As you can see, whoever put this in did it as an afterthought. It's completely rigged and poorly done. They drilled through the cabinets, cut the wiring in multiple places and capped it together, put in a new outlet that I'm pretty sure I could have done a better job on...

There's one light under each cabinet (so two total), but the second one stopped working right as I decided to take the picture. It's actually kind of helpful to have one off so you can see what a difference it makes. We'll be re-using them under the open shelves to add back the same light. We'll have a professional put them in though, so it won't look like an electrical massacre the way hers did. We'll also get a switch to the lights added to the wall so we can turn them on without searching for the switch underneath the cabinets.

I just unscrewed al the caps and plastic clips so I could remove the wires.

Next was to remove the outlet plate so the cabinet could come out, but when I removed it the entire box came out. Uh oh.

Looking at it I realized that box edges were on the inside of the cabinet, which meant I still couldn't remove the cabinet because the box would block it. I had to unwire the outlet and take it completely out. I turned the power off, and when I pulled the outlet out to start unscrewing the wires, I realized that there was a ground wire (the copper wire in the back left) that wasn't connected to the ground! When we got our inspection, the inspector noted that this outlet wasn't grounded, but I figured they didn't run a ground from the source, which would have been lazy. Turns out they DID run it, they just didn't connect it, which is infinitely lazier. You literally just have to put that copper wire under the green screw and then 2 seconds later it's safe. What the helllll.

I unscrewed everything, took the outlet out, and took the box out.

Next was to remove the screws that sit right inside the cabinet doors that are holding the two units together.

Then we tried to unscrew the screws under the cabinet, but they were super tight and we didn't have the right screwdriver for the job. So what did I do? Surely you know by now. Called my dad. He came and took them out in a snap (right tool + experience + brute force = recipe for success every single time).

Then he unscrewed the screws on top of the cabinet while I held it against the wall to keep it from crashing to my counter's death.

I thought it would come flying off the wall, but it actually wouldn't budge. The grout from the backsplash went right up to the bottom of the cabinet which sort of glued it to the wall and also supported it. After some shaking and banging, it came down! Victory!!!

Next was the cabinet next to it. See how hard he's trying?! Those screws did not want to come out.

But eventually they did.

To do the other side of the kitchen we decided to move the stove.

Then we had to unscrew the vent. There were just 4 screws with washers that were screwed into the cabinet above it.

And after that it all came down really fast because we had gotten the hang of it!

Boom, done. And without a scratch on my counters :)

This was by far the most exciting and rewarding change we've made. I couldn't be happier. It already feels more open and airy, and when we put in the open shelves I'm working on it's going to look GOOD. Right!? Oh my god I have so many plans for this kitchen. Just you wait... more posts are coming. I think they might even be more exciting than this one. My next post will include a celebrity encounter I had online... It's small, but I know there are a few of you that will appreciate it as much as I did.

For those of you wondering, the cabinets will be moved out to the garage for storage out there. I think I'm going to paint them white and stack them on top of each other on either side of my workbench. That's right--I have a workbench. And it's gigantor. You'll get to see it soon :)

This whole renovation process has really made me thankful that we're not living in it while fixing it up. I was worried we'd get everything done way before we were ready to move in, but it's looking like we'll be working on it all the way up to the wedding. It's totally worth the extra mortgage payments (but no other bills...) to be able to leave at the end of the night and go home to a functioning and clean space.

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