Today, I’m sharing 3 details that really make a difference when remodeling some existing cabinets.
Of course, it’s always good to go for new cabinets if you can. There’s not that much savings when you think about all the work that could possibly go into redoing existing, however, I repeatedly have clients that prefer this route. So, I’m sharing some of our secrets with you, if you happen to need some modification to your cabinetry, and can’t go for new.
Just remember, the "befores" are all very low-grade quality cabinets and we are updating them to look as good as possible.
1 - Change out the hinges
I recently had an email from a reader who asked this question about one of my remodels…. “It looks like you changed out the hinges in this project to something different. What did you change them out too?”
She was referring to this project where we took these ugly cabinets and made them look so much better by changing out the moulding, taking them to the ceiling, painting them, and then yes, also, changing out the hinges. I barely remembered that and had to go back and ask my contractor on that job, Tony Knepper, to see what was used. He used hinges like these. Knife hinges.
I always prefer Euro hinges, but when you’re remodeling and using existing cabinets that have this type of framing and cabinet door, you are limited in the style of hinge that can be used.
This exposed hinge is just the cheapest around. So, if we can do something better, although it might not be ideal, well, we’ll take it. It’s also making a difference in this kitchen we’re remodeling now, one that I shared a few weeks ago. You can see it’s coming along nicely and we are changing out the hinges in the same way, with the knife hinges.
2 - Undercabinet lighting
Another item we are adding into this remodel is LED tape undercabinet lighting. It’s super slim, easily applied, cool to the touch, and creates a continuous wash of light in a white color (not blue or yellow tinted if you buy the right color/quality). LED does require a transformer somewhere, but boy, what an improvement over the big fluorescent lights or those yellow rope lights.
We used to use halogen puck lights, they had nice white light, but they generated sooooo much heat, created the light cone effect at the backsplash and would burn out too. LED is the best thing since sliced bread, IMO, and you won’t have to change it out for 30 years or so. :-)
Here’s how we installed it in my kitchen. It’s located at the front of the upper cabinet, applied at an angle, taped onto a painted strip of wood. That way the light is cast toward the back of the countertop and backsplash, and it doesn’t reflect into the countertop if the counter is a polished finish. Perfect application.
The light really is white, it's just my poor photography skills that don't render the color accurately. :-) (The photos of my kitchen remodel are coming soon! I just had my daughter photograph it when she was here for my son’s wedding. :-)
3 - Drawer glides
Lastly, changing out the drawer glides can just make a huge difference in the function of your cabinetry. Full extension is the bomb, I’m telling you! It enables you to fully use your drawer and keeps items from getting stuck in the drawers. The usefulness of a cabinet is improved dramatically with this detail.
I'm in San Francisco this week at Zephyr Ventilation, learning all about their kitchen products with a really fun group of design bloggers. We're visiting their fabulous showroom, meeting one of their product designers, Fu-Tung Cheng, and then touring the Design District. We'll be dining in some fabulous SF restaurants and even get to slip up to Napa for a day. I'm sharing pics on Instagram, so I invite you to check out some of our special moments of design immersion.
(I think if I lived in California, I'd never get any work done.:-)
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