Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Kitchen Refresh Phase II – Bringing the Cabinets Back to Life and Wrapping Things Up

One of our favorite features of the Retro Ranch are the original kitchen cabinets. They are pecan veneer over marine grade plywood. The cabinets were built in place and the matching grain patterns, floor to ceiling and left to right, are simply something you won’t find in new cabinets or new home construction, at least on homes we can afford. To continue our goal to restore the Retro Ranch to its original glory we knew we needed to refinish the cabinets. Far and away the single most expensive element of this project, it would have been much less expensive to remove and replace them.

After only several days of enjoying the new sink, counter top and back splash, Graeme and Frank came in to start almost two weeks of cabinet refinishing. The first day consisted of building a spray booth/work station in our garage (which made getting to the refrigerator an even greater challenge), building plastic curtains in the dining room to contain the dust and debris from the project and to carefully remove all of the doors, cabinets and hinges from the kitchen. Everything was tagged, numbered and away it went to the work station in the garage. The kitchen was taped off so wood that couldn’t be removed could be detailed in place.

Over the next few days, Frank repaired various dings and flaws in the doors and drawers. Every exterior finish was hand sanded and we could see how 56 years of sunlight, kitchen smoke and more had darkened the wood. After the prep work was completed the refinishing process began. Frank and Graeme are true craftsman and applied the multiple coats both in the spray booth in the garage and in the kitchen as well. At times the fumes seemed overwhelming to me but Frank said he was used to it.

At the end of the second week it was time to reinstall the doors and drawers. Prior to reinstalling the doors, they cleaned all of the existing hinges (at some point in the last 50 years they had been coated with a tinted poly varnish and had a yellow tinge to them), they now shine like new. While cleaning them, however, they lost track of what hinge was in which location. Many of the doors weren’t closing properly or in alignment. But with the cabinet doors back in place we were anxious to get our kitchen back. The NWHC team installed our new counter-depth refrigerator and microwave/hood (freeing up valuable counter space next to the refrigerator) and put the stove and dishwasher back in place. Having cleaned all the hardware for the bottle glass doors (my they look shiny and new), they reinstalled those as well!


No kitchen renovation goes off without a hitch. Stay tuned for our next blog...the Retro Ranch Blooper Reel,