Dan's Kitchen: Some Finishing Details

Renovation Diary

A newly-installed box conceals the exhaust duct.
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Name: Dan Bailey
Type of Project: Kitchen remodel
Location: East Boston, Boston, Massachusetts
Type of building: 2nd Floor Condo in a Greek-Revival Row House

The Renovation Diaries are a collaboration with our community in which we feature your step by step renovation progress and provide monetary support towards getting it done in style. See all of our Reno Diaries here.

At the start of this renovation, I figured that the work that made the biggest visual impact would be the most time consuming. I imagined that most of the renovation would consist of refinishing floors, installing cabinets, tiling, and other similar work. But in the end, the prep work — repairing the floor, installing cement backer board for tile, framing and leveling the walls — took much longer. And now that the kitchen is nearly done, I’m finding that the finishing details are also taking longer than expected.

Shelving installation in progress.
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Installing shelving in the pantry was the main focus this week. Early in the week my contractor Gregg and I made a trip to Home Depot to pick up some pine lumber for shelving. Since I’m planning to finish the shelves with clear polyurethane, I was looking for clean boards with minimal knots. Home Depot has a nice selection of “select” grade pine, which is almost completely knot-free. But at almost twice the cost of standard pine, it isn’t cheap. So we sorted through the stacks of standard pine and managed to find a few boards with nice grain and very few knots. Gregg reserved the best-looking boards for the eye-level shelves.

But before he could install shelving, Gregg needed to add baseboard to the pantry. I briefly considered using the same three-piece baseboard that Gregg installed in the kitchen. But this seemed like overkill for the pantry, which is really just a large closet. So instead I chose some simple off-the-shelf baseboard, which, after installation, looks pretty inconspicuous.

Close up of one of the cleats used to support the shelves.
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Gregg used a cleat system to install the shelves. The cleats consist of blocks of wood screwed into the wall studs, which provide a surface to support the shelves. Gregg added a decorative curved detail to the front of each cleat with a router before fixing it to the wall. He then assembled the shelves using an angled Kreg jig and screws.

We’ll need to use a step stool to reach the upper pantry shelves.
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Each shelf is L-shaped and runs along the rear wall and one side of the pantry. Since I’m planning to put a microwave along the side wall of the pantry, Gregg put together a deeper shelf to accommodate the microwave. Finally, he placed the shelves in the pantry and sanded everything to a smooth finish. There’s still one more lower shelf awaiting installation, and we need to add wall brackets to support the center of each shelf along the rear wall.

The cabinet hardware.
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While Gregg worked on the pantry, I finished painting the cabinet doors and trim in the kitchen. I also painted the box that Gregg installed inside the cabinet over the range hood to conceal the exhaust duct. At the end of the week, the cabinet hardware arrived. I decided on offset pulls for the drawers and simple mushroom knobs for the cabinet doors, both in oil-rubbed bronze finish. We’ll install the hardware next week, and I think it will complement the style and color scheme of the rest of the kitchen. I don’t want to give too much away ahead of the big reveal post, so I haven’t included any photos of the full kitchen, but it’s finally beginning to look like a finished space.

A sneak peek at the finished upper cabinets, without hardware.
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Estimated time for project: 33 weeks
Time remaining: 1 week

Check out the full series (so far) and be sure to join us next week for installment #36 of Dan's Kitchen Renovation.

(Images and diary text: Dan Bailey)

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