Friday, July 29, 2011

Low-Budget Kitchen Renovation

When we first moved into our house, our kitchen looked like this (except the fridge and the stove were old - I forgot to take a picture before we replaced these appliances - oops!) :

It was in good-shape, but sorely out-dated. Full kitchen renovations are pricey. We couldn't afford a whole new kitchen, so we decided to make the best of what we had. The trick with this is not to see things as they are, but to see them as they could be:

To break up the expense, we decided to renovate our kitchen in stages as time and money came available.

First we replaced the appliances, installed a dishwasher, painted the cabinets in an ivory, and replaced the cabinet hardware. That made the kitchen livable, but I wasn't finished yet.

The next year, we boosted the cabinet above the stove, installed an over-the-range microwave underneath, and installed crown moulding on the cabinets (I would love to do a how-to on installing crown moulding here, but honestly, it turned out to be a lot more complicated than I realized, espeically when it came to odd angles. I had to have my Dad come in and help me. My suggestion to anyone wanting to do it would be to have someone who's done it before walk you through it)

Next, I was determined to turn 2 of the existing cabinet doors to glass (and here's where I can offer a how-to):

Tools and Materials:

- Screwdriver
- Drill
- Jigsaw
- Router with Rabbit bit
- 2 C clamps


1) Detatch the doors and remove all the hardware.

2) Drill a hole (large enough to fit your jigsaw blade into) in the corner of the inside panel of the cabinet door (be careful not to get too close to the edge lest you damage it):

3) Insert your jigsaw blade and proceed to cut out the inside panel (being careful not to get too close and damage the inside edge of the cabinet):

Round out your cuts in the corners, and then go back and clean them out after the main panel is removed:
4) Install rabbit bit into router, and adjust depth so that it will clean out the remaining rough edges, and create the indentation in the back of the cabinet door nessesary to install the glass, without damaging the front of the cabinet door. (if in doubt go on the shallow side as opposed to the deep side)

5) Clamp cabinet door to work-table edge. Run the router over a small test section to test depth.

Adjust router bit if necessary. If satisfied with router depth, proceed to run the router along all of the inside edges of the cabinet door, unclamping, turning and re-clamping the door as required.

6) My Dad was going to teach me how to cut and install the glass myself, but I happened to drive by a aluminum and glass shop in town, and stopped in out of curiosity (Lethbridge Aluminum and Glass on 2nd Ave). They sold me the glass, cut and installed it in my freshly routered cabinet doors for $15/door and had it ready the next day. I couldn't beat that - even if did it myself!

7) Replace hardware on the door, and reinstall the door on the cabinet!


And here my kitchen will rest until next year when I can afford to replace the counter tops, and put up a tile backsplash (stay posted til then!).

Incase you're wondering who was in those pictures - it was my dear ol' Dad (aren't Father's wonderful!), he did one door to teach me how and then I did the other. To prove it here's a picture (look at me go! lol . . .):


  1. I absolutely LOVE the transformation of your kitchen, EXACTLY what I would love to do to my kitchen...what I thought I was going to do when we moved in and well...haven't.

    LOVE your style Abby. Modren but still so classic.

  2. Abby, if you don't mind, what are the dimensions of your kitchen? We have a super tiny one 7 x 12 and are debating whether to work with what we have or wait for a full renovation. Thanks!

  3. I love the kitchen makeover when u mentioned a backsplash I instantly thought of an fantastic painted backsplash i saw on pinterest and looked up the link for you check out this creative husband and wife team at her blog

  4. Where did you get the rods under the cabinets!?!?

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