Kitchen Refresh & Makeover Timelapse

In this job I’m giving an apartment kitchen a bit of a refresh with a modern new gloss white slab finish. The customer provided the new kitchen materials, all sourced from B&Q (Cooke & Lewis).

Watch the video here:

The existing kitchen is about 20 years old, a lot of the cupboard fronts have yellowed with age, filler pieces have rotted due to moisture ingress and the whole thing is in need of some TLC. Luckily the cabinets are more or less fine and the worktops are in good condition so the job will consist of:

  • Removing existing doors, plinths, cornice & pelmet
  • Fitting new doors with new soft-close hinges
  • Fitting new plinths, cornice & pelmet
  • Fitting new filler pieces are required
  • Fitting a custom sized extractor panel and under-oven filler piece
  • Fitting a custom sized corner fillet
  • Fitting new handles
  • Taking all rubbish down 2 flights of stairs to the customer’s garage
  • Generally making good by caulking and filling as required

The first task is to remove all existing doors, plinths, pelmets, cornice and filler pieces to get down to bare cabinets. From there I like to do a rough fit of the new doors first so I can double check pelmet & cornice alignment against the new doors. Doors are easy to adjust, pelmet & cornice are not, so it’s essential everything looks ‘right’ from the outset, paying particular attention to door edges, cabinet edges and pelmet alignment as this is very much at eye level. Pelmet mitres are pre-glued using a mitre adhesive (essentially CA glue / superglue but designed for the purpose). An activator is used and this sets the joint solid in around 10 seconds.

In this instance the hinge positions on the new doors didn’t match the hinge positions in the older cabinets. This is always a risk with older kitchens and worth checking before you start work. As a result all of the cabinets needed to be re-drilled with new hinge holes – luckily only one hole needed re-drilled per hinge at the upper and lower-most sides – these were drilled using a 5mm drill with a depth stop fitted.

Once all of the doors, cornice and pelmet were fitted the next task was to fit the custom made panels. In this instance a door panel was cut ripped down to fit on the extractor hood and a drawer panel was cut to match the filler strip for under the oven. Gloss iron-on edging tape was applied to each using a sheet of paper between the iron and the door edge to protect the tape during application. A seam roller was used while the glue was still hot to ensure a good bond. Excess tape was cut away and then a final careful sanding with a medium-fine sandpaper gave a neat clean edge. Unfortunately the entire oven had to come out to fit the filler strip underneath as the original one was attached from the inside. Had this been a new kitchen I’d have probably used clip brackets to make it more easily removable for maintenance etc.

The corner fillet needed to be custom made from a purpose designed corner filler piece. This was a tricky one since it needed to be ripped on both edges and edge tape applied to the top face. I didn’t have any gloss iron-on edging wide enough to cover the entire top in one piece so two pieces were applied diagonally so that there would be no visible join on the outermost edge. I had to climb inside the cupboard to fit this one using a few L-brackets – again, a relatively easy job before worktops are fitted but slightly more tricky to retro fit!

Plinths were relatively easy to fit – all had to be ripped down by around 5mm, which I did in the workshop on the table saw. Decorative touches involved filling holes in the tiles using an appropriate white grout – the old tiles had been cut around the cornice & pelmet so there was just some minor tidy-ups to do here. New caulk was applied between cabinets and the walls where the old caulk had cracket with age. Then we’re ready to fit handles!

I chatted about handle positioning in a separate joinery vlog / blog post so I’ll not go in to that in too much detail on here. Bear in mind at this stage the protective clear plastic film is still in place on all doors. Masking tape was used to mark approximate handle positions – this was then accurately marked with all the final handle positions and carefully drilled, avoiding any break-out on the back side of the doors. Before fitting the handles the protective film was removed from all doors – this alone took about an hour so make sure you allow plenty time for this, it’s a fiddly job as it needs removed from the tops and bottoms of all doors and drawers too. Last jobs were to fit all the handles, do a final alignment of all doors & drawers and give the whole kitchen a clean-up from top to bottom – by this stage there’s always dust everywhere! As a finishing touch I used baby oil (mineral oil) to clean all of the stainless steel appliances, something I’ve done a #GHTL tips video about already! The whole job took around 2 days.

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