Weeknd Project: Low-Budget Kitchen Renovation

Low-Budget Kitchen Remodel

New kitchen on a budget. An easy make-over in a weekend brightens up a gloomy kitchen.

I’ve been talking about renovating our kitchen for years but I suffer from a problem that I’m sure many young homeowners face. Lack of funds. And because I can’t afford to tackle a huge kitchen remodel I’ve avoid even them most basic upgrades.

I don’t know if it is the cold weather, the night-time mice problem, or the downtime on my holiday vacation, but this past week I decided it was finally time to make a few kitchen upgrades.

The beauty of the projects I took on is that they make a big difference without breaking the bank.  I have access to a woodshop, which made all of these upgrades doable, but only spent about $300 on supplies.

1. Beadboard Wainscoting with chair rail and baseboard: After removing a bank of cabinets along the wall below the window I applied beadboard panels with a decorative chair rail and wide baseboard. Learn how to apply wainscot panels and trim in our previous post. Materials: 1/4 Masonite beadboard. 20 linear feet of 8-in. wide poplar. One tube Liquid Nails. One tube silicon latex caulking. Cost: $80.

2. Hanging Wall Cabinet: In less than three hours I built a simple hanging wall cabinet with shelves for mugs, cups, glasses and vases. I have yet to make the glass-paned doors so I added those with Photoshop. Materials: Half sheet 3/4-in. birch plywood. Half sheet 1/4 in. birch plywood. 12 linear feet 4 in. wide poplar. Cost: $80

3. Rolling Kitchen Island: I reassembled the bank of cabinets that I removed from the wall into a kitchen island. Five casters screwed to the underside allow it to roll around to accommodate the ever changing layout of our small house. Materials: Recycled base cabinets. 10 linear feet 4 in. wide poplar. Half sheet 1/4 in. birch plywood Cost: $25

4. Laminate Island Countertop: A friend of mine turned me on to soapstone countertops because they’re great for high-end DIY work. Soapstone can be cut an shaped with standard woodworking tools like routers and jig saws. That would have been an ambitious project so instead I picked up a sheet of MDF and countertop laminate at Lowes and cut, shaped, and laminated  a shapely countertop. I’ll be applying an edge veneer next week. One sheet 3/4 in. MDF. One sheet laminate countertop. Cost: $100

Next up… I’ll be extending the beadboard frame and panel theme into the kitchen over the next few weeks. Stay tuned…

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1995 Ford F150 Pick-Up: A Love Story

1995 Ford F150 Pickup

Today marks a new chapter in the life of one 1995 Ford F150 pick-up truck, which served me well for 12 years and 80k miles and is likely to continue serving its new owner another 12 years and 80k miles more.

First purchased in 1995 in lovely Buellton, Ca., a small dusty town best known for its close proximity to the Danish-maniacal city of Solvang, I came to be the owner in 1997 after buying it used from its trustworthy original owner. For five years following it was my trusty sidekick as I navigated the hills and narrow streets of San Francisco, and on several occasions its bulbous green camper shell provide refuge to stray homeless people, who discovered how to sneak inside the pickup, get a good night sleep, and clear out by dawn. After being delivered cross-country on the top rack of a semi it has since served its duty as a local commuter vehicle and dump-truck. Until today.

The 1995 F150 was the final year Ford produced this model truck following a nearly 30-year run. As a result, it was an shining example of American automotive engineering. It rarely if ever suffered mecahnical failures and survived the most brutal driving conditions. This truck will surely be missed.

Oh, Christmas Tree

We went to the a local garden center to buy a fresh-cut Coniferious Christmacus, aka Christmas Tree, yesterday. They were neatly displayed in a unique way I’d never seen before: hung by their tips from the ceiling with rope. Dozens of fresh-cut tree stems hovered 6 in. above ground, a surreal sight when captured with our Canon Rebel T1i.

Once home, the kids quickly trimmed the tree up right.