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CROSS POSTED ON HOW TO LBYM (the nice board)

We are in the process of reconverting our house from a two-family to a single family residence, which means we get to take over the downstairs kitchen. Since that used to be the tenant's kitchen, it is so much better than ours. Our previous two tenants are the reason we're not having them anymore, at least for now, for reasons too lengthy to get into. Just as well, since it is a fixer upper and now we can get to serious fixing upping.

The downstairs kitchen is a mess, but it has a lot of potential. The guys we bought the place from had no sense of style whatsoever, and they cut a lot of corners that never should have been cut. A shame, really, because this house is an Italianate style Victorian built in 1874 and has a lot of cool features hidden under years of neglect. The bad things about the kitchen are fairly minor. It's ugly. Really ugly. All the woodwork is painted a shiny poop brown, and the windowframes need to be replaced. The floor is all right for now, vinyl tiles that I would like to replace with either ceramic tile or hardwood, but not today. I can live with the floor for a few years. On the other hand, the cabinets and drawers are solid wood, well constructed with dovetail joints, one of the drawers is a tin lined breadbox with minimum rust, and the beadboard wainscoting is in very good condition. It's just all that nasty poop brown, and it's shiny.

I've already sanded and repainted one set of cabinet doors and drawers. It's not easy, but it's not backbreaking, either. I removed the doors, removed the hardware, sanded everything down, put down two coats of primer and three coats of paint, and shined up the hinges a bit and reinstalled the doors once everything was dry. Gone is the shiny brown, in its place is a semigloss bright white. What a difference! I was going to replace the pulls but decided against it. The pulls are a crackled off white porcelain which looked awful against the brown but gorgeous against the white. What is that, roughly 15 pulls at $3.99 per -- $59.85 saved right there. Not counting the thousands saved by not replacing the cabinets. I plan to have the woodwork finished by the end of the month, then I'm painting the walls sage green.

The wall behind the sink is faux brick, and the guys put it up badly. That, however, will have to wait until spring. There is no way I'm going to rip out an exterior wall in the middle of a New England winter.

I will have to have an electrician come in to install an outlet near the stove, somewhere around $100-250 depending on how long it takes to do it, and it makes more sense to buy a new dishwasher than to have it repaired again. The countertops are a faux butcher block linoleum thing, but again I can live with that for a few years. I'm going to replace outlet covers, no big deal.

I have estimated that by doing the kitchen myself, I will spend about $800, not counting the faux brick wall (another $350 for drywall, insulation, plaster and paint), most of that going toward the dishwasher and electrician. I took a few pictures, but I'm not sure this camera is working. I'll post them if they come out.

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