Lindsey Buys a Fixer-Upper: Part 5, The Kitchen

Lindsey Buys a Fixer-Upper: Part 5, The Kitchen

By Lindsey Wolf Lunney
Last May, my husband and I unintentionally bought a major fixer-upper. In earlier posts, I talked about some of the problems we uncovered during our routine and not-so-routine inspections of the home. I hope my story will make the process easier for others who are thinking of taking on a big project like this one.

The Kitchen

Once we closed on the house, I started going through the kitchen. The cabinets and appliances, while functional, were in much worse shape than I thought. The stove was the original 1966 model, installed when the house was built!  After some debate, we decided to redo the kitchen while all the other work was being done. We had already planned to change out the floors, so why not redo everything? This was yet another expense we had not anticipated. Leister Jr. from Atlas flooring came out to the house to measure for cabinets. We settled on dark wood cabinets and very simple hardware. Leister drew up a design and we placed the order. The granite and sink selection went relatively smoothly, but we were stunned to find that kitchen faucets could range from $300.00-$2000.00!


We selected appliances, confirming that they would fit with the kitchen layout.  The cooktop and downdraft were delivered the day before the granite was to be installed so that they could be cut accordingly. This is where the kitchen challenges began. The granite company called to say that the cook top and downdraft were not going to fit with the cabinet I ordered. The specs for the appliances had included dimensions, but these dimensions didn't include the 1/8” screws on the back of the downdraft. Because of those screws, the appliances were too big for the cabinet. I called my cabinet installer, Jimmy Moore, who did an awesome job fitting the cabinets. With some teamwork between Jimmy and the granite company, they made adjustments to the cabinet and the cooktop, making the downdraft fit perfectly!


Unfortunately, the refrigerator did not. When the delivery man came to install it, he found that cabinet above the refrigerator was too big. Once again, the measurements failed to account for the door hinge, which added another inch to the refrigerator height. I ordered a new cabinet and the installers came back the following week to put it in.

Planning for Plumbing and Electricity

On a side note. When you redo a kitchen and move the locations of the appliances you also need to move the plumbing and electric. At this point, I should have hired a general contractor, but I did not. I hired an electrician come out before the installation to install outlets for the new appliances. I had a plumber do the same. However, the day that the installers arrived, there was an outlet missing. Fortunately, I had an electrician at the house that day doing a few other things so it worked out. My advice is to hire a general contractor or have a plumber and electrician on site when the appliances are being installed. And don't forget to take screws and hinges into account when measuring!

Next time: Termites!


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