Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Two Small Home Improvement Projects = Big Reward!

Over the past year two home improvement projects have been on my mind quite a bit.  I figured if I did these two things I'd be able to create some much desired counter space and improve the efficiency of my kitchen.  I love my little kitchen and if there was one thing I'd improve, if I could, it would be to add just a little bit more counter space.  Well, at long last, I did just that.

First up was to get that microwave up off the counter and free up that space that I desired so much.  As it turned out the cupboard above the nuker was the perfect width to house that puppy, but I really didn't want to sacrifice my storage space.  So I kept on thinking...

The cabinet over the range was almost useless as it housed the vent for the range hood and other than a few cookbooks and a few glass bottles I didn't really use it for much.  But I put on my thinking cap and came up with a plan.  With much thought I figured out that if I replace the range hood with a ductless one I could remove the venting and open up that cabinet.  It would take a little work, but it would totally be doable.

Perfect fit!
I adjusted the shelves above

After emptying out the cupboard I got started by making sure the microwave would truly fit and it did.  

A hole in the back to feed the cord through

Then I used a spade bit to drill a hole in the bottom of the cupboard to fish the plug through to the outlet.

I had this wood piece in my scrap bin.  Perfect width too!

I moved the shelves and added a piece across the bottom shelf to finish it off above the microwave.  

Cut to size with a new trim piece and re-hung

Then I did the most nerve racking part of the project which was to cut down the cupboard door to fit above the microwave.  I measured it once, twice and then a third time (said a little prayer) before I cut it with my circular saw and then sanded the newly cut edge.  I had to redo the trim pieces along the edges when I was done.  Luckily I had an extra piece of the trim I needed in my scrap bin to finish it off.  I also had to move the hinges and then I hung the door back up.

This wasn't even connected

After the microwave project was done I removed the box that covered the vent and discovered the stupid thing wasn't even connected and as a result didn't vent a darn thing.  

So freaking gross inside!  Uck!

Instead it just filled up the inside of that box and the cupboard with grease and filth.  So disgusting.  But I got it all cleaned up and tossed out that nasty vent pipe.  Then I removed the range hood and cleaned up the 20 years of accumulated grease and grime from behind it and underneath the cupboard.  The range hood went right into the trash.



I used luan I had in the garage (purchased last summer for some Laverne projects) and cut two pieces to reline the top and bottom of the cupboard.  

Bottom piece in place

A piece of insulation - just sounded like a good idea

Scrap of luan to cover from underneath

I used some of that pink foam a coworker had given me last summer to fill in the hole under the cupboard, between the range hood and the cupboard, and a scrap of luan to cover the hole from underneath.  Then it was off to Lowes with my $50 gift card to pick up a shiny new range hood to replace the 20 year old one I had tossed out.

All wired up and ready to install

Must've done it right.  Everything works!

When I got home I installed the new range hood and I have to tell you - I LOVE IT!  Not only is it clean and shiny and new.  But the light is much brighter over the stove and the fan is much, much quieter.  BIG improvement.

All nice and clean and new inside

Way more storage space!
After cleaning up the mess and putting away all the tools I just stood back and admired my work.  Two projects completed in one day and did I mention neither one cost me a dime?  

I used all stuff I already had on hand, except for the new range hood of course.  The gift card I earned by participating in a wellness program at work last summer.  Whoo hoooooo.  Now that is what I call some fine and thrifty home improvement projects.

LOVE it!  It's the little things that bring me so much joy

Next up.... more kitchen projects and I'm super excited about them too!  I can't wait to get started.


  1. Oh wow. I'm properly impressed!

  2. I am so impressed! You did a fantastic job!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Anne. I may have burned up a few brain cells figuring this all out. Ha!

  4. SO IMPRESSED with how you redid your shelf/door to hold the microwave! That is some slick work on your part!

    I have to say, though, that I've lived in both vented and unvented kitchens, and I don't ever want to go back to an unvented one. If you have well-positioned windows and a good draw out of them, you'll have no issues. But I was not so lucky.

    1. Thank you Sue. I do have great ventilation in my house and I've always had to open windows. Now I know why.

  5. You did a beautiful job! How satisfying it must have been to make these improvements yourself, mostly using supplies you already had, and with everything working out smoothly.

    1. I was thrilled at how it all came together. LOTS of planning helped too.

  6. BTW, I really like the color of your cabinets--they remind me of the kitchen in our first house. I painted them a Benjamin Moore "colonial heritage" green. It was the perfect green; no blue or yellow undertones. Yours looks just the same!

    1. This color is called dried sage. I painted them about 14 years ago and they are in desperate need of a redo.

  7. I am very impressed! Pat self on back.
    Barb in PA

    1. Thanks Barb. The girls gave me lots of high fives. :0)

  8. Awwww, what a good job you did! It looks great!

  9. You are amazing. There is no way I would ever even begin to know how to do that, just seeing those wires would have sent me running. That's strange how the vent wasn't even connected.

    Your kitchen looks great!


  10. As usual, you are an amazing and a super talented woman !!!
    One days work, no cost and a professional job. How can anyone beat that ?
    Thanks so much for sharing this great remodel of your cabinet. I really appreciate it and I’m very jealous.

    1. Oh my gosh Vanessa, I'm blushing with such flattery! It was a lot of fun and I'm seriously loving my new space.

  11. I am very impressed with all of your home improvement projects. They inspire me to try many things I would never have considered doing.

    At our previous house I put our microwave into a cabinet similar to yours but it constantly overheated. There was not enough space for the air to circulate. I ended up cutting a hole in the side of the cabinet and installing a vent cover. It worked much better.

    I have not been able to read your posts in a while because life has been too busy. I have been taking care of my Mom since her vision has deteriorated. Last weekend I moved her in with my sister in another state. Now I can focus on some things around here. I am so far behind with everything...but I am NOT thinking about that! Right now I am binging on your blog. It will take me a while but I will read them all.

    Good to be back.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry

    1. I am so glad to hear from you! Sometimes life gets in our way, doesn't it? That's okay, it's only temporary. At least that's what I tell myself. ;)

      So far no overheating so I think I have enough space above and behind it. But, I like the vent idea. If I find the need I'm going to steal that from you.

    2. Don't steal it - take it freely - I give the idea to you...as long as you take pictures and post them.


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