Interior Design Calgary: DIY Kitchen in Friendly Manitoba! Part 2

I left you hanging last week at day 4 of our 8 day kitchen renovation out in rural Manitoba!  Not to worry, I'm going to fill you in on the rest of our journey and ultimately, show you the final project (though that will come in a few weeks ;)  ).

Pushing Forward!

After four, twelve hour days of grueling work, we were just getting started.  We had built all the boxes for the cabinets, all the of the drawers (some of them twice) and were finally starting to install doors and handles.  The midpoint of any project I always find is the hardest part, both for clients and for designers alike.  At this stage, you're far enough in that there's no going back but you may not be far enough ahead yet to see the end game.  It's at this crucial time that you not lose heart and you keep your faith in yourself and your designer.  You will see the other side!

Here's how we endured to the other side:

Day #5:  Grind It Out

Day 5 was a grind day.  As I noted above, the middle of the project is always the hardest part.  On this day, we had lots of forward moving details being implemented although it felt as if they happened in slow motion.  My man and I got the bottom rails up, level and straight, ready to receive the base cabinets.  At first glance, we thought we were short the amount of rail we needed to complete the project, however, after a careful measure and check on the materials we had, we realized we did in fact have enough, though not by much.  I believe at the end of it all we had three or four pieces of 12" or less left over.  Yet, we got the rails up and the base cabinets were set into place - HOORAY!!

As there were many things going on at any given time, in between we started setting the drawer rails in place.  This was much easier to do before they were installed as we could set the cabinets on their sides and drill down, using gravity as our third set of hands.

Day #6: Show Me Your True Colors!

Day 6 was were it started to get a little exciting!  Because we were able to get nearly all of the cabinets in place on Day 5, Day 6 saw us mounting doors like you wouldn't believe and setting all the drawers in place.  After spending an inordinate amount of time sorting out the installation of the drawers in the first corner cabinet very late the night previous, my sister and I whipped through the second corner cabinet in 20 minutes before breakfast! 

Day 6 also saw us installing handles after my crafty man created an extremely useful metal guide so that each of the handles we installed would be properly spaced.  Handing off the camera to another team member, you'll see a few shots with yours truly and her 'concentration face'.  ;P

The key to getting the handles in the right place and not damaging any doors in the process was careful measuring, a light pencil and a white eraser, and tape all around the guide so that we did not accidentally scratch the faces.  Surprisingly (and thankfully!) using pencil to mark our levels turned out to be quite brilliant and the white eraser took any sign of our handiwork off without any hassle.

Day 7: Almost There!!!

Day 7 was a small-jobs-day.  Working through the rest of the kitchen, my sis and I got all the other handles installed while the rest of the team went to work getting the sink cabinet set in place, finishing the painting in the rest of the kitchen and doing every other small tweak you could possibly think of.  The sink proved to be a full day job whereby we needed to adjust the plumbing stack to account for the differently configured cabinets as well as cut out the sink cabinet to account for the plumbing that needed to run into it.  My man and my brother worked on this together and did an amazing job!

Interior Design Calgary, Home Decor & House Plans | Day 7 Kitchen | Dutch Touch Interiors


As it turned out, and to no surprise, Day 8 was the longest day.  Working straight through from 10 AM (we had a visitor in the morning) until 1:30AM, we had a 5 person crew ensuring everything was ready by the end of the day.  Thinking the lighting would not take too long, I started with that first thing in the morning.  8 hours later, I was done.  That said, the IKEA lighting system is really easy, though detailed.  Each glass cabinet had two lights that needed to be centered both in the door and in the cabinet; each and every cabinet had an undercabinet bar light and all of those lights plugged into four transformers tucked away above the microwave and fridge.  It took a team of 3 people to get it all done but the result at the end is absolutely spectacular!

All the while, the rest of the crew was cutting and installing temporary countertops (ie. plywood), toe kicks, cornice and undercabinet mouldings, adjusting and leveling doors and drawers, cleaning up the workspace, cutting and installing baseboards, and countless other details that needed to be done by day's end.  Here was our 2 AM result:

As we could not preorder the countertops, this is the stage we left the kitchen at on Monday morning.  Countertops are currently on order and will be installed shortly as will the backsplash.  Something to bear in mind regarding countertops and IKEA cabinets.  If you purchase your countertops from IKEA, I believe they are correctly designed to simply sit in place on top of the cabinet boxes.  However, as we selected a countertop not available at IKEA, we will have to build up the countertop base so that the edge profile sits ABOVE the drawer face.  The 3/4" plywood that you see in the images above are the correct depth to lift the countertops and account for the edge profile overhang.  Be sure if you are installing countertops yourself (which I DO NOT suggest), that you account for any discrepancies such as this.

Lessons Learned...

During the second half of the project, the lessons we learned were all about detail. 

  1. Installing the lights not only required much more time than originally thought, but also required some creative thinking in how to thread the wires up and behind the cabinets. 
  2. Installing the toekicks also required a few last minute tweaks to account for runs longer than expected and a floor that adjusted in height slightly from one side to the other. 
  3. As we used two different style cabinets throughout the kitchen, the mouldings at the top were different as well.  A quick team meeting to decide to double up the moulding above the fridge and pantry in order to account for the difference in height from one moulding to the other yielded an even better result than we had originally expected!

Ultimately, the last push required us to think creatively and as a team.  We came upon unexpected dilemmas throughout and, using four or five heads instead of one meant that we not only solved the problem more effectively, we also had better and faster results!

Second Half Take Away...

What made the whole endeavor worthwhile was the joy on Mom's face when we finally stepped back and took a look at all our hard work.  We had a lot of fun throughout the project as well, not just during the construction work but in the evenings as well, where we kicked back and enjoyed a board game or a few rounds of Uno (a family favorite).

Our goal when we designed the new kitchen was to create a space that was much brighter and lighter feeling.  We accomplished that and at the same time, created a kitchen that feels twice as big as the original one!  This new kitchen will serve all who pass through it efficiently and easily and hopefully inspire you as you move forward creating your own spaces!

What's Next?

As always, there are more projects in the works at the Dutch Touch design house and the best way to stay on top of them is to read your emails.  :)  And, if you have any questions or comments, or feedback they are always welcome below or connect with us directly to discuss your own home and how we can help you create your very own beautiful, personal spaces!