Author Topic: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)  (Read 2022 times)

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Online 4nthony

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This is my "lipstick on a pig" lower kitchen cabinet refacing project.

My house was built in 1949 and I'm guessing these cabinets are from the 80s. We moved in last year and struggled with the small drawers and shelves. I wanted to try and make the kitchen a bit more functional so I went about retrofitting new drawers into the existing cabinets.




The shelves and face frame dividers were pulled out, but the face frame around the perimeter was kept as I would be attaching a new aesthetic frame to the existing frame.



Because some of the face frame remained, I needed to shim out the drawer slides.



I wanted large and deep drawer boxes for the two middle cabinets. Drawers are 27" x 21" x 9". I used 5/8" Baltic Birch with 1/2" Baltic Birch for the bottoms.



Simple butt joint construction with Dominos.



The 2 top middle drawers will have a nested drawer for silverware and utensils. 1/2" Baltic Birch sides and bottoms.



At the time, I didn't have a 4mm cutter for my Domino so I used a locking rabbet for the joinery on the nested drawers.



I tested out some different finishes for the drawer boxes (Boiled Linseed Oil, Rubio Natural, Rubio Pure) and opted to go with Rubio Natural since it was less amber than the others.



The drawers on the far right did not clear the range so they only opened about 6". I had to reduce the width of the cabinet to accommodate a narrower drawer. I was able to use a piece of the old face frame as the spacer. How nasty is the green grim that was under the old hinges?



The shim for the drawer slide also had to be wider than the others.





With the middle drawers finished, it was time to make the two drawers for the left cabinet. I was smarter when I ordered this hardware and got the adjustable clips for the Blum slides. I still need to order some for the middle drawers as my gaps are a bit off.



The right side drawer is full-height for cutting boards, etc.



All drawers are in. We lived with it like this for 3-4 months before I started cutting up the panels for the drawer fronts.



On the opposite side live the sink and dishwasher. Same issue here with the cabinet needing a spacer to prevent the drawer from hitting the range. This side is still incomplete as I didn't have enough material to wrap it up.





The old face frames will be visible when the drawers are opened so I need to remove the old paint.



Now it's time for the lipstick. The fronts and new aesthetic face frame and fronts are white oak ply with white oak edge banding. These are the slats that will be vertical and divide the cabinets.



This is why I kept some of the old face frame. I ended up installing the slats using dowels. I thought about using the Domino but decided that trying to hold the Domino in place vertically while plunging would've been too difficult. I drilled holes in the slats, used some dowel pins, then drilled into the old face frames. You can see the paint left in the crease where the cabinets meet. You'd think they'd be plumb but turns out everything was slightly out of square and plumb.



Preparing the panels for the fronts. The countertop and edging was also not square so each top drawer front needed to be cut to the lowest point. If you were to look at the finished fronts from below, you'd see them stair stepping from right to left. I wanted to keep a continuous grain pattern as best as I could from top to bottom and left to right across the cabinets.



Edge banding for the drawer fronts.





The drawer pulls were cut from 6/4 white oak. I used Dominos to attach them to the panels.



Partially finished drawer pull. I went back later and routed a small groove on the bottom to give my fingers a bit more grip.



The location of the pull for the cutting board drawer would dictate the location of the pulls along the other drawer fronts.



Also, the pulls for the top fronts would be recessed into a dado. I used a Kerfmaker for the dado but was struggling getting an accurate dado width in my test cuts. My dados were always about .02mm off. I ended up having to shim my jig for setting the kerf width.



Drawer pull for the bottom flush cut.



Fitting the fronts and the horizontal dividers at the bottom. I was going to leave gaps on the bottom dividers to match the drawer gaps but ended up adding material back to them so they were butted up against the vertical slats.





False top and edge for the cutting board drawer.





The pull fits cleanly under the oven handle.



Dado for the pulls in the top drawers.



Gluing the new dividers to the old face frames. I opted to glue these and finish them in place.





Finish has been applied and the fronts are going on. I used Osmo PolyX Clear Matte but in hindsight I wish I'd used their raw/natural oil to less the amount of amber. Lesson learned.



Getting closer.



Done.

I think I'm going to pull the cover panel next to the stove and add a horizontal slat to the bottom just to continue the line.




Eventually, the house will get remodeled and the kitchen will be demo'd and relocated elsewhere in the house, but I'm hoping to salvage these and turn them into a built-in in another room. At the very least, the drawers and fronts will be saved and fitted to new carcasses.

This kitchen from Nordiska Kok was the inspiration for my refacing project. I originally planned for the vertical slats to continue to the floor but found that we all kept kicking them so they were removed.



Cheers!
Anthony


Edit: some of you might remember me asking about how to remove the old counters. We decided to just keep them in place for now. They don't look as bad with the new fronts and we didn't want to spend the money on new countertops since they'll be temporary. [cool]
« Last Edit: August 20, 2022, 06:53 PM by 4nthony »
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Offline Richard/RMW

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2022, 06:58 PM »
Wow! Awesome before/after result. I particularly like the design ascetic and choice of material.

I hope you get to enjoy that kitchen for many years. Congrats.

RMW
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Online 4nthony

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2022, 07:08 PM »
Wow! Awesome before/after result. I particularly like the design ascetic and choice of material.

I hope you get to enjoy that kitchen for many years. Congrats.

RMW

Thanks! It was fun and I collected a few new tools along the way.

I'm not sure when we'll get around to doing our major remodel, but I'm guessing I've still got a couple more years to enjoy the kitchen as-is (and will probably continue to make minor improvements along the way).

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Offline Yardbird

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2022, 07:13 PM »
What caught my eye was your Bronco. 

Offline Vtshopdog

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2022, 07:15 PM »
Beautiful, tons of work.  I’m a big fan of trying to reuse materials where possible, too much stuff gets sent to the landfill.

Nice vintage Bronco too

Offline dicktill

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2022, 07:15 PM »
Nice lipstick!

Offline MikeGE

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2022, 07:17 PM »

Thanks! It was fun and I collected a few new tools along the way.

Fantastic job!  My wife tells me each new project is an opportunity to buy new tools.  A kitchen remodel is on my list of projects, so I have plenty of upcoming opportunities.   [big grin]

Offline afish

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2022, 07:30 PM »
nice work.

Online 4nthony

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2022, 07:38 PM »
What caught my eye was your Bronco.

Thanks. It's an original 66 (November 65 build) with a 170 ci straight 6. I've had it for about 10 years but find myself driving it less and less. I've started debating whether or not I want to sell it. I'm really attached to it and it's a hard decision to make.

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Anthony

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Offline festal

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2022, 08:22 PM »
came out very nice

Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2022, 08:28 PM »
Great job, nice work!

I reckon people who design stuff like having the vertical slats go all the way to the floor don't have kids or pets! Vertical boards sticking up from the floor will end up kicked constantly, as well as building up crud in the corners generally.

Online mike_aa

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2022, 10:55 PM »
Great Transformation!  Thanks for sharing and all the photos!

Mike A.

Online 4nthony

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2022, 02:48 AM »
Great job, nice work!

I reckon people who design stuff like having the vertical slats go all the way to the floor don't have kids or pets! Vertical boards sticking up from the floor will end up kicked constantly, as well as building up crud in the corners generally.

I left the vertical slats in place for about a week after fitting them. My wife and the two older kids all commented that they kicked them each time they were in the kitchen. Maybe it's something you get used to after a while? Muscle memory would eventually kick in and I'm sure you'd start to avoid them. I still like the look, but would have to keep it in mind if I ever decide to build cabinets from scratch.

This guy builds a similar kitchen from scratch and around the 12:00 mark, you can see the installers kicking the toe kicks when putting the countertops in.

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Offline luvmytoolz

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2022, 05:31 AM »
Yeah I've found over the years that having kids (and pets) is a fairly good antidote to most artistically themed projects placed anywhere within reach of the munchkins. Or in reach of any and all objects said munchkins might employ in their destructive testing normal use!

Now pretty much everything I do or build I look at all the disaster scenarios and increasingly more simple common sense things like how is it with dust build up, how hard is it to keep clean, etc, etc.

Like clear glass showers with kids, how on earth is that even possible to keep clean with a brood of kids?? Let alone not getting smashed!

Offline Bob D.

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2022, 05:40 AM »
That looks great. You mentioned continuing the banding around the corner on the false front next to the stove. I think it would look good to do that for all the horizontal lines.

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Offline DynaGlide

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2022, 06:38 AM »
Excellent work. I'd like to do the same but my wife wouldn't have the patience for me to finish it around our work and kids schedules.
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Offline hdv

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2022, 07:23 AM »
Some transformation! Nice work!

I agree with Bob. Continuing all the horizontal lines will result in a more harmonious look. Now your eye involuntarily gets pulled to the cabinet next to the stove. Human brains are exceptionally good at finding patterns. Or in this case the disruption of a pattern. Sometimes you can use that on purpose. Lot's of architects and artists do. But in this case I would just go with the natural tendency and continue the lines.

Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2022, 08:50 AM »
That's a lot more than lipstick.  [eek]
Those types of facelifts don't usually involve much more that new doors and drawer fronts. This is about as far into a full-on remodel as it gets without removing/rearranging the boxes themselves.
Re-configuring the drawers and essentially converting from faceframe to overlay is a drastic change and it looks fantastic. The documentation along the way really added to the story too. You did a great job with both and just putting it together into a cohesive post was no easy task either.
 
The Bronco looks great too. You just don't see them around here anymore. They have either rusted back into the Earth or were cut up somewhere in their lifetime. Almost none still have the original rear wheel opening shape.

Just because I know how it goes, I'm probably the only one to notice the notch in the top edge of the sink base drawer to miss the drain plumbing. Adapt and move-on. I like the full drawer-bottom aspect though. Many times, a drawer like that is cut into a U shape to clear the pipes and I just don't like the look of it.

The kitchen in my nearly 100 year-old house is in a similar situation, pretty shameful for a cabinetmaker. It has been reserved as the last remodel project, after years of other things. It will probably end up as the first post-retirement project, after a home-shop build. Maybe in a year or so?
« Last Edit: August 21, 2022, 09:04 AM by Crazyraceguy »
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Offline tjbnwi

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2022, 09:19 AM »
Looks great, nice execution.

Tom

Offline Cheese

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2022, 11:13 AM »
Really nice job...that's a lot of work but well worth the effort. As Crazy R G said, that's well beyond the lipstick stage, more like some reconstructive surgery along with a bunch of cosmetic surgery.  [smile]

That Bronco is really nice, so nice to see one that isn't all rust. I'm betting it was built before you were born.  [eek]

Online 4nthony

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2022, 12:58 PM »
Yeah I've found over the years that having kids (and pets) is a fairly good antidote to most artistically themed projects placed anywhere within reach of the munchkins. Or in reach of any and all objects said munchkins might employ in their destructive testing normal use!

I was 49 when I had my first (only) child -- I'm 53 now -- and I miss those days of having things I like to look at on display throughout the house. Now, anything my daughter can get her hands on becomes a toy, noisemaker, drumstick, etc. It's as if there's a high-tide line throughout the house, but she's at the point where she now knows to grab a chair or stool to give her the extra height she needs to get what she wants. The other two kids are 10 and 12, only here part time, and have no interest in anything but their screens.  [big grin]

The Bronco looks great too. You just don't see them around here anymore. They have either rusted back into the Earth or were cut up somewhere in their lifetime. Almost none still have the original rear wheel opening shape.

I forget where the Bronco was originally delivered but I think it was the Upper Midwest, so it wasn't a dry climate and there is some rust that I need to tend to. I've thought about trying to tackle it myself and knowing how to weld would be a very useful skill to have, but as in woodworking, all the tooling (and space!) required would send me down a whole new rabbit hole. But on a nice day, it's a really fun car to take out for a cruise at the beach.

Just because I know how it goes, I'm probably the only one to notice the notch in the top edge of the sink base drawer to miss the drain plumbing. Adapt and move-on. I like the full drawer-bottom aspect though. Many times, a drawer like that is cut into a U shape to clear the pipes and I just don't like the look of it.

Ha. The notch...that's what I get for holding the tape measure in the air and trying to eye the height of the back panel. I started modeling a drawer box with the U-shape in SketchUp but then the laziness kicked in. I'm happy with the full drawer and at least you get instant feedback if you don't arrange the contents properly. :D

Excellent work. I'd like to do the same but my wife wouldn't have the patience for me to finish it around our work and kids schedules.

I caught some grief before the drawer boxes went in and things were just stacked inside the cabinets. It was in that state for about 3 weeks. Then the drawer boxes went in and she was happy again. She even said she'd be OK just leaving the drawers without fronts. An idea I actually considered, but I'm glad I followed through and finished it up.

That Bronco is really nice, so nice to see one that isn't all rust. I'm betting it was built before you were born.  [eek]

I was born in 69 so yeah, it's got a few years on me. :D

I agree with Bob. Continuing all the horizontal lines will result in a more harmonious look. Now your eye involuntarily gets pulled to the cabinet next to the stove. Human brains are exceptionally good at finding patterns. Or in this case the disruption of a pattern. Sometimes you can use that on purpose. Lot's of architects and artists do. But in this case I would just go with the natural tendency and continue the lines.

Yeah, I think I agree with Bob, too. I'll extend all the lines.

I left them off the false front as I didn't want someone to think it was functional and try to pull on it but it will offer a better visual.

I also need to look at the backside of that front. I think I put the wrong side forward as the grain pattern is much more subtle than it is on the other fronts.

Thanks again for the comments and feedback.

One of things I might do differently on future projects is related to the edge banding. I used 6mm edge banding all around and it blends well on the rip cuts, but might be a bit heavy on the cross cuts. I noticed in the walnut kitchen video posted above, he fits his edge banding into a rabbet with a small lip of veneer to hide the forward facing edge:



Definitely something I'll experiment with on future projects. As for future projects, this upstairs linen closet is well past its expiration date and might be next on the list:

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Offline afish

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2022, 01:31 PM »

Just because I know how it goes, I'm probably the only one to notice the notch in the top edge of the sink base drawer to miss the drain plumbing. Adapt and move-on. I like the full drawer-bottom aspect though. Many times, a drawer like that is cut into a U shape to clear the pipes and I just don't like the look of it.

Im a fan of all drawer bases as well and also do drawers in SB when time and budget allows. Its A LOT of extra work to really maximize every ounce of space but when home prices are what they are and easily reaching 7-800+sf it makes sense to maximize every inch of what you have. Im kind of OCD about wasted space, probably because I dont have enough. The kitchen Im doing now I was able to rework and condense the under sink plumbing as much as possible before hand so that helped.  It has full height bottom drawer that just misses the p-trap by about 1/16" the middle drawer will be custom U notched for disposal and upper will be tilt out with trays. Your drawer just missing the stove handle was tight.  When i bought my house the silverware drawer would only open about 3 inchs before hitting the dishwasher handle. so you had to open the dishwasher everytime to get silverware [eek] I lived with that far too long. 

Offline Crazyraceguy

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Re: My 80s Kitchen Cabinet Refacing Project (aka Lipstick on a Pig)
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2022, 05:54 PM »
Your drawer just missing the stove handle was tight.  When i bought my house the silverware drawer would only open about 3 inchs before hitting the dishwasher handle. so you had to open the dishwasher everytime to get silverware [eek] I lived with that far too long.

That's funny. My Ex had the bright idea to put pulls on the doors and drawers of her kitchen all by herself. It was designed with beveled edges that were not intended to have them. It was fine everywhere but one, well two actually. The cabinets in the corner had very minimal fillers, so the top drawers overlapped/interfered with each other anyway. You could only open one at a time. After she put those pulls on, they only opened 6 inches or so.
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