Full Kitchen Remodel for the Brimer Residence

This was a complete kitchen remodel. Let’s take a look at where we started to explain the changes they


Brimer - Before

Besides the obvious wear and tear, the sink is against a wall and the stove is in front of the window. The architect who designed this kitchen obviously doesn’t spend a lot of time cooking. Everybody wants the sink in front of the window because doing dishes is the worst and you at least want some natural light, and to be able to stare out the window while you’re cleaning. Likewise, the stove should be against a wall because when you are at it, you are busy and concentrating on your cooking. It also keeps grease splatters off your window. Just bad design here.

So we will move the sink to the window and the stove to the wall. This will require some work by the plumber, but it’s well worth it.

The cabinets never got handles put on, so they’re dirty from hands. The countertop is just formica, and we’re going to step up to some beautiful granite. The wallpaper will be removed for paint, but the homeowners will do that (or rather their college age children!)


As usual, the first thing we want to do is put up plastic and put down paper to protect the environment from the demolition we are about to do.

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We are protecting the island because the owner is going to keep that cabinet for a storage cabinet in his garage.

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Next we pull out all the cabinets.


Electrical and Plumbing

And then the plumbers and electricians will come in to move the pipes around, move a few plugs, and tear up the walls (it’s okay, we will fix them).

Plumbers Mess

Yes, they do make a mess. In this next photo you can see a fat wire that will power the electric range that is going where the sink used to be. Also, the water pipes and drain are now leading to where the sink will be, in front of the window. In the very corner the plumbing pipe goes into the room area, but that’s okay because there is a triangular space behind the lazy susan. All is good here.

Corner Plumbing

The electricians missed this one a little. The switch is too close to the wall and would have been (out of the backsplash tile) so we moved it over a few inches.

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Rebuilding the Walls

And after inspection I get to put the walls back together, keeping the insulation nice and tight to save them money.

Wall Reconstruction

And put the wallboard back. They grey board is called “DensGuard” and is made for tile. It is tough and water resistant, and easier to work with than older products like concrete board or HardiBacker.

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Here’s the niche area to the right.

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Some drywall patches needed to be done to the ceiling where the electrician brought through some new wires. You can see the holes above.

Patching those is no big deal, but matching the texture requires a little bit of art. The texture is called a ‘knock down’ because you spray on drywall, wait for it to set, then ‘knock down’ the high spots with your drywall knife (trowel). To match this finish, most guys use a spray out of a can. I do it differently to match it more closely. I put on dabs of drywall mud mixed thick like so:

Texture Prep

Then I knock them down to match the rest of the ceiling. The dark areas are what I just did. When they dry they will turn white, then we will paint and they will blend in to the surrounding texture.

Ceiling Texture

Cabinet Installation

Cabinets Installing

Backsplash Tile

The owners had some coasters with photos of local Austin scenes printed on clay tile and glazed. They wanted these mixed in with their backsplash tile so we had some fun laying them out together.

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Once they decided which tiles would go where, I put the tile up.Here’s a progress photo.

Backsplash Application

This is grouting in progress. It is a very dark grout that really brought out the interesting tile pattern. You can see it looks messy, grouting always is.

Backsplash Grout

And after backsplash.

Backsplash Final

We are getting close! There are a few more things to do.

Tile by the Island

The new island has space all around for your feet to go when you’re standing by it. That space is called the “toe kick.” The old island only had that on one side, so even though the islands are the same size, the footprint is smaller for the new one. This left some blank space in the concrete. Fortunately the owners had some floor tile they saved.

Island Tile Layout

We don’t want to just put in pieces, though. We want the floor to look like the island was always there, so we will break out the tile up to the blue tape, make new cuts, and replace whole tiles. then we will try to make sure nobody walks on it while it sets up over night. Including the dog!

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Crown Molding

Crown Molding

It looks easy from here, but the cabinet was a little short to mount the crown directly, so we had to build up the cabinet sides with a little wood to give us something to attach the crown to. These small pieces are glued and nailed.

Crown Prep

Final Details

Now we have installed the decorative fume hood over the stove. The plumber has come back and installed the sink faucets, the electrician has put up the lights. We have painted the ceiling and the kitchen is fully functional and is being used.

Brimer Kitchen - Final