Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Kitchen - the cabinets go in, part 2

I left you kind of hanging yesterday - sorry about that. I thought I'd elaborate a bit with some tips on installing your own kitchen cabinets in case you want to give it a go.

First recommendation: check out the Mitre 10 guide - it's pretty helpful and gives a general overview, complete with snazzy videos. Our cabinets are not from Mitre 10 so a few details differ a bit (our soft-close drawers are a bit harder to assemble for example) but the principles stand, and wherever you get your cabinets from they should come with instructions anyway.

You do need a few tools and though it's possible to do on your own I would recommend working with someone on this - moving the cabinets around is much simpler with a teammate.

The general steps are:

1. Prepare the area
  • Remove old cabinetry
  • Repair, prep and paint walls
  • Repair floor as required
  • Have new plumbing and electrical work run as required
2. Assemble the cabinets
  • Put everything together per the instructions 
  • Work out your starting point. This will usually be a corner, since it's fixed - in our case it's the dining room end as our peninsula bit is floating and therefore that end was flexible, whereas there was a specific position we wanted for the other end. 
  • Put the first cabinet in place and adjust the feet so it's roughly level, with about 150mm between the bottom of the cabinets and the floor.
  • Put the next cabinet beside it and level it up. Repeat until all the cabinets are in position. 
  • Check the level across the first two cabinets, and adjust feet until both are level with each other (and overall). Fix them together. Repeat until all cabinets are joined. 
  • Double and triple check the levels. 
  • Fix cabinets to the walls. 
All set up - photos taken from either end of the room. 
The view from the window isn't so flash but that plumbing is very temporary!

I disagree with a couple of Mitre 10's points - it depends what you're doing to the floor but this is often best done last (or at least finished last, as in our case with the refinished floorboards). Likewise usually you'd save doing your paint top coat until after the bench has gone in because it'll probably get scuffed (I guess you can touch up but it looks better if it's a proper coat).

Once these steps are done you (like us) will be ready for your bench to go in. We're still waiting for that so in the meantime we have some chipboard and the manky stainless steel bench from the old kitchen. It's plumbed in as a temporary measure - I'll share how to rig that up soon too, along the same lines of the dishwasher setup we had. 

Our design had the fridge sitting flush with the pantry, and a cabinet over the fridge... But we're now not so sure about this. The pantry sticks out into the room quite a bit due to ducting behind it, and the fridge could go back about 200mm, which will let more light into the room. But that would create a stepped effect on that side, which I'm not a fan of - I'd rather have everything in smooth lines. So we haven't installed that last lonely cabinet yet - we need to make a call on that.

Also in the not-quite-finished category: I somehow ordered frosted glass for our wall cabinets, which is not at all the look we were going for. Surely the point of glass is being able to see what's inside! So those need to be reglazed. The rangehood will go in between, and we plan to tile the backsplash behind the rangehood and across the wall underneath those two cabinets.

The sparky is coming tomorrow, which means we'll get our wall oven installed, hopefully the hob set up on our fake bench, and the other kitchen wiring (microwave, dishwasher, rangehood, wall powerpoints, pantry powerpoint) completed so we're not running the whole kitchen off a single multi-box. That'll also mean I can sell the freestanding oven (anyone in the market for one? It's barely been used!) which will make the room feel a bit bigger.

Slowly but surely it's coming together. What do you think we should do about the over-fridge cupboard?

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