Hello friends!

Here we are in December. I’m not sure how you’ve found the last few weeks, but around here it has been nuts. Tons of holiday preparation, lots of parties (poor us!), and plenty of work too. It’s felt a little like groundhog day — sleep, coffee, work, eat, sleep, coffee, work, party, sleep, coffee, work…

Thankfully, we’ve still found some time to enjoy a few of our favourite traditions, including cutting down a Christmas tree, baking, and watching It’s A Wonderful Life. This year, however, we added the new tradition — replacing a major appliance.


Yep, we finally got the new dishwasher picked-up and installed. So, here’s how it all went down.

First up, we had to relocate all of the pots and pans currently stored in the cabinet:

2015-11-08 10.45.30

Although this could be (maybe should be?) an entire post of it’s own, I’ll use the magic of the internet to get ‘er done in record time. Our tall cabinet beside the fridge was the new home for everything, but I wanted to make the deep and narrow set-up a little more useable.

2015-11-08 10.45.52

Queue the custom built, slide out drawers! I used a bunch of shop scrap (mostly plywood) to whip up a few boxes and I picked up some drawer slides from Amazon. Jeff helped me router the edges for a more finished look. If you’re into kitchen organization, you’ll know that pre-fab versions can run upwards of $200 for each piece. Our knock-off versions ended up around $60 all in, mostly for hardware.


The bottom slider doesn’t have sides, because our soup pot needs to go on a diet.

I’m especially proud of my pan storage solution. The cabinet is too narrow to allow our pans to be stacked flat, they needed to hang sideways if we were going to get them in there. Here’s the weird (re: genius) solution I came up with:


I know it’s hard to understand how that thing helps with pan storage without seeing it in use. So, here’s the cabinet in all its finished glory:


Overall, I’m quite tickled with myself. Sometimes even crazy ideas work out excellently.

With the pots and pans happily stored in their new home, I could turn my attention back to the root project.

First up, I removed the doors, shelves, drawers and related hardware. Next I attacked the cabinet with the jig-saw to rid it of its bottom and a bit of the face frame. Here’s the resulting hole:


If you’re wondering, yes, it is slightly terrifying to rip into your mostly OK cabinets with a saw. But, things always look worse before they look better.

Next we set to work boring holes in the floor and cabinet sides to allow us to run the plumbing and electrical. Because this is the first built-in dishwasher the house has had, we had to set everything up from scratch. This meant that Jeff installed a new breaker and ran wiring, while I worked on the plumbing.

(Check-out that checkered linoleum we found under the cabinet!)


Neither the plumbing nor the electrical work is particularly interesting, but they did take a little bit of time and rejigging. On the plumbing side this meant adjusting the under sink drain — chopping out the old, fitting the new intake, and gluing it all back together — as well as tapping into the hot water line and adding a new shut-off.  plumbing

Once all of the back-end stuff was in place, I had to rejig the cabinet face frame to suite the new machine. In this not-messy-at-all photo (below), that white board is the new piece I added. Short story: I cut some pine to size, prime it, added pocket holes along the back, and affixed it to the existing cabinet. I also used wood filler to patch the holes from the old hinges.

You can also see the drain hose resting on the lazy susan. Because our dishwasher isn’t immediately next to the sink, we had to buy a drain extension line. It was ultimately affixed to the top along the back of the corner cabinet and narrow cabinet beside the sink, keeping everything nice and neat.


Ohia and I (Jeff too!) were really excited to get everything in place and turn it on for the first time. Yay! We did it!


After a bit of paint, all we had to do was reattach the cabinet doors and clean up a bit.


So far, the new dishwasher is running great. While smaller, it has been more than sufficient for the two of use, and has a lot of cool features like a third rack, adjustable rack heights and ultra silent operation. We are quite happy!

Kind of cool to see how far this little kitchen has come:



Nothing around here is ever done, but for now we’re happy to be enjoying a major upgrade. Thankfully we got it installed before hosting our first big holiday party — hello easy clean-up!

What’s been keeping you busy this December? Hopefully you’ve got some rest (and day drinking) coming up on the calendar. Happy holidays!

3 thoughts on “Small Kitchen Solutions

  1. Anna Prokofieva

    That’s a big change! I really like this shade of grey!
    Kitchen looks great now! Can you tell approximately how much did it ALL run you – the renovation that you did? I’m from Waterloo myself so it would be interesting to know the local pricing…


    1. Tia Lougas Post author

      Hey Anna. We have done all of the work ourselves with the exception of wiring for the lights. That obviously cuts costs considerably. Here’s a rough estimate:

      Wall paint (free from PARA)
      Trim & ceiling paint (free from other projects)
      Cabinet primer and paint – $120 (we’ve used the grey elsewhere)
      Kitchen pluming updates – $50
      Wallpaper (cabinet backs) – $40
      Drawer pulls – $40
      Drywall – $30
      Potlights & wiring – $200
      Crown moulding – $40
      Kitchen cart – $120
      Drawer slides & hardware (for pots/pans sliders) – $60
      New dishwasher – $1300 (unit cost, install was DIY)

      So without the dishwasher, we’re around the $700 mark at this point.

      Hope that helps 🙂


      1. Holly Phillips

        Hey! Just curious what make and model that dishwasher is. I have an identical kitchen dilemma.


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