Made at 173: The (Old) Medicine Cabinet

May 29, 2017


Taking a break from the kitchen posts until some of the punch list items are done, so I thought this might be the perfect opportunity to document an old, minor project.  Not long after moving into 173, it became apparent there was a need for a medicine cabinet.  Fortunately, there's this funky little spot between the entryway and the kitchen, where the basement door is, that is too small to do anything with:


That little wall was the perfect spot for a medicine cabinet, and after some project or other (I don't recall at this point) I had some scrap wood available.  If you've been reading this blog at all, you know I usually try to find a project to use up the scraps, and that's exactly what I did for this cabinet.


Yup! Pretty rustic, but almost 20 years ago I think that's what we were going for (that's my excuse anyway - just let me have it!).  To show the scraps used, and just how rustic this thing was:


The panel in the door is leftover from the original front porch makeover - which took place pre-173 blog!


I digress...as time went on, and 173ites grew older, the number of medications, balms and salves grew, and as you can see - anarchy reigned!


Here's a shot so you can see the old medicine cabinet's natural habitat.


If you noticed, I've referred to this medicine cabinet as the old medicine cabinet.  There's a reason for that - next post!  Until then....

The Kitchen - Part 4: Cabinets

May 23, 2017

The cabinets were a bitter-sweet project.  The sweet part was adding a couple new base cabinets, new countertops, new color and new handles.  The bitter part was kinda two-fold.  First - I wanted to tear them all out and start afresh, but at the same time this was a refresh more than a complete remodel.  Besides that - I hate to get rid of these huge, solid, built-in-place cabinets:


Alas, they had to stay, which was okay in the end because of my constant struggle to want to keep things here at 173 as close to "original" as I can (within reason).  One of the big problems in the kitchen is lack of counter space.  On the side with the sink, this was compounded by a third of the countertop essentially disabled by the design of the cabinets, and the low placement:


You can really see that in the area of that pineapple.  See how the sides of the cabinet sloped down?  Not only that, there was also a little half-shelf at the bottom of it - leaving about 3" below it to the counter, and maybe 10" in front (Sorry for the terrible quality - early cell phone camera!):


In a kitchen with precious little counter space - this was a real hindrance.  Maybe this is a better picture:


After much deliberation, there was only one thing to do.  Pull out this saw:


And have at it:


Believe it or not, it made a huge difference!  Then there's the counter tops.  Look closely at the picture below.  Ah heck - you don't even have to look closely!


Notice the two different tops?  One is the 1950s teal blue (which I like by the way), and the other is a wood grain laminate.  That's because of this thing!:


Yes, ladies and gentlemen!  That's the sink/dishwasher combo.  It may have been a good idea in the '50s, but it was hideous!  And, it was so old, the dishwasher hasn't been used for anything but a storage cabinet for the past 20 years!  But let me tell you something - that stinkin' thing was built to last!  Couple that with Mr. Mosher installing it to withstand a nuclear blast and you have almost 8 hours of cussin' and swearin' trying to get that thing out!


I mean, I had to literally tear it out.  That dishwasher was incredibly heavy, but I was so frustrated by the time I got it out that I picked it up, hauled it outside and dumped it in the yard until Sunday night when one of those guys that pick up scrap metal on trash night helped me haul it to his truck.


All of which left the kitchen with a view of every color and surface used in the kitchen in the 90 year history of 173!


Oh, and here's the dishwasher wiring just a-comin' through the wall!


Then came time to figure out how to reconfigure a couple new base cabinets and marry them up with a couple old/original ones.  I hated to cut into the cabinet floor, but in the end, you do what you gotta do.


You know how, when you pay money for something, even at a very affordable price, and you just don't want to screw something up to the point you'd have to go buy another one?  And you know all the pressure you put on yourself?  Well, I had to cut part of the counter off because I just couldn't squeeze another inch of wallspace...so I got a bit stressed.  Setting up for the cut involved more than just a few YouTube videos (again), and at least an hour of measuring, aligning, and re-measuring and re-aligning.  I was going to use my little 4" circular saw, but I got nervous about controlling it, so I went with the trusty ol' hand saw!


Meanwhile, with uneven walls and unlevel floors, installation of the cabinets was a ball!  And trying to fit the sink base just so was a bit tricky too, but it did end up coming together.


Then, of course, came another cut in the counter.  I'd never cut a hole for a sink before, so I watched a another bunch of YouTube videos - really, a ridiculous number of YouTube videos.  After all that, I nearly screwed it up anyway, but it worked out - barely.


Eventually, the cabinets and sink were all installed:


Luckily, the base cabinet on the other side of the kitchen didn't require any cutting (except for one small thing I'll get to later - probably!).


Here's a little bonus shot so you can see both counters at once.  It also shows the extent of mess that was going on in the kitchen!


One more bonus shot - told ya - MESS!


And that's the story of the cabinets.  We're getting there, I suppose the next post will be about the painting of it all!

The Kitchen - Part 3: Walls

May 14, 2017

The walls were solid, but paint was peeling everywhere, and there were some rough spots throughout...
If you look closely at the picture above (and below for that matter, you can see the spackle in pink.  And, this next picture shows where there was a large dip in the wall that leads to the dining room.  It was significant enough that it made the ceiling look horrible, and I had to put so much spackle on that I figured I better put some tape in it:
I used this stuff:
I liked it because it went on pink, and when it was dry it turned white, taking the guessing game out of it.  Besides that, as to quality - well, it worked just like any spackling I suppose.
Then there was the area behind the stove - what a mess.  All these years there was this big piece of metal on the wall behind the stove, and a large piece of melamine on the wall next to it:
And here's the sheet of metal behind it:
Luckily it all came off pretty easily, but how ugly is that glue?
Only one thing to do - cover it:
I know that's looking pretty hideous at this point, but it gets better.  I had run out of the brick-relief paneling, so I used some leftovers from the ceiling for the lower half behind the stove - it'll never be seen!  That's the run-down of the walls (no pun intended!).

The Kitchen - Part 2: Ceiling

When last me met, the ceiling looked like this:
Obviously, it was time to do something about this!  So the best idea I had (absent ripping it all out - which I wasn't ready to do) was to go over that mess.  Here's a couple shots of the progress:
Front hall as staging area.
The panels were so heavy they had to be cut in half.
Which of course meant the seams had to be covered.
Probably an easier way to make sure the
boards lined up - but I couldn't think of one!
So, that's the ceiling until the reveal.  It came out quite nice, but to be honest pulling it down and putting up a new ceiling would have been a thousand times easier.  Because of the plaster-and-lathe and the weight of the panels, I had to use toggle bolts (look closely at the pictures) to make the panels flush with the ceiling.  These things worked great:


Next up:  The walls!

The Kitchen - Part 1: Wainscoting

It's been awhile since the last post, but with school and work projects generally have to take  back seat.  However, One project did get started in the midst of my last class - the kitchen.  I still recall the day we had the first viewing of 173 way back in 1997, and the first thing noticed was that the kitchen needed to be redone.  Well, here we are 20 years later, and it's finally getting a refresh.  I'm still looking forward to one day having a complete remodel, but at least for now it's looking better.  The kitchen was so bad, I used to take pictures in black and white: 
Here's an old grainy pic looking toward the front hallway.  Dear lord, when you are living in it, you don't realize how bad it looks...soooo much stuff!
Same end, looking at the other side:
Then looking toward the back yard:
As I go through this post, I'll point out a few key items...like:
This is in the breakfast nook.  The paint on the walls was peeling badly...I wanted to tear the walls out, but this was intended to be a quick refresh, so I just went with wainscoting.  Just like the basement stairwell, I milled my own chair rail, and the rest easy peasy!
Good start.  But then there was the ceiling.  It looked like they butted sheetrock up against plaster-and-lathe, and over the years the joint loosened and of course there was the ever-present loose paint:
Then there was this hole, that I created when there was a leak from the bathroom. I'm not going to tell you when that occurred, but here's the post about that.
So, what to do? I know! Go over it!  Stay tuned!

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