Bear’s Kitchen Replacement (from our Old House)

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Bearcarver

Gone but not forgotten RIP
Original poster
OTBS Member
Group Lead
Sep 12, 2009
45,279
18,184
Macungie, PA
Bear’s Kitchen Replacement (from our Old House)


This is going to be the one I promised, about that Kitchen I made from scratch for Myself, for in the house where my Cabinet Shop was for 12 years.

I often thought about having my own shop, but other things came first, and after getting a Great Job at the Bethlehem Steel, I pretty much stopped thinking about it (mostly).
So like I said in another Thread, after bouncing around & then working at Bethlehem Steel for 19 years, then for a small Cabinet Shop with an old Buddy of mine for another 10 years, I finally decided to give it a go.

So we started looking at Homes, with outbuildings big enough for a shop. Then we looked at land where I would be allowed to build a shop on it. Everything was either not allowed, due to zoning rules, or too expensive.
However we finally found a nice 2900 Sq Ft Rancher, in Coopersburg, with a 2900’ Basement, with an extra block in the basement walls, giving me the height I needed.
I wasn’t crazy about having to take everything down 13 steps on the way in, and back up 13 steps on the way out, but this house also had an elevator, with a 500 lb weight limit that went from the corner of the kitchen to the basement Laundry area. The woman of that house was in a Wheelchair, and she used the elevator to go down to the basement to do the wash, and when they had big get-togethers, some people stayed over down there, which is why my shop was carpeted. LOL—A carpeted Complete Cabinet Shop!!! How many of them, have you seen?
Note: There was even a corded dial phone in the elevator, in case there was an emergency, like being trapped in the elevator.
The place had a Dark Walnut Kitchen, with Red Formica tops, and Red vinyl floors. There were also Red Drapes in some of the rooms, and one room had a floor that looked like Astro-Turf (Bright Green). I didn’t mind any of this, because this just gave us more reason to redo it all the way we want it.

So we bought it, and lived in that house, while only changing some minor things, because we had to catch up with everything else in life, and it takes awhile to get ahead when starting over. Mrs Bear was always a big help, because she always had at least one job, anywhere from running a punch-press, making 5 gallon steel buckets for paint type things @ Cleveland Steel Container Corp. She used to wear my old Army Fatigues but she ruined all six sets I had, by getting them shredded with the edges of the sheets of steel she worked with. Then one day we got audited, and she got mad, because H & R Block screwed it up. She said nobody is ever doing our Income Taxes again, so she went to school for Income Tax Prep, and got out of the Steel Bucket Job.
So she got a Job preparing Taxes, and eventually she was running an Income Tax Office inside a Nationwide Insurance Office.
Now for the last 20 years she’s been doing many Income Taxes at our home, plus she works nearly full-time for Bear Jr, doing all his Payroll, Insurances, and any other kind of Paperwork that comes through “TAC Pro. Inc.”.

Alright, Back to My House & Cabinets; Finally there came the time to do that one big Kitchen for myself.
So I drew it up, and figured what I wanted & where I wanted what. I decided on Natural Red Oak, because it’s what I like the most, and it’s what I always gave people the best price for. Most Cabinet Manufacturers used to charge more for Natural (Unstained) wood Kitchens, because they could buy a lower grade of wood, and hide the defects & discolorations with Wood Stain. They couldn’t hide it with Natural Oak Cabinets.
I did the opposite—- I used to give a 10 % Discount for Natural Oak, because I always bought the best Red Oak they had.
It was called “LANROS2S7/8SLR1”, which meant the following— “Light And Natural Red Oak, Surface 2 Sides to 7/8”, Straight Line Rip 1 Edge”. This way I didn’t have as much scrap, after using the good stuff, because the wood I bought was all good stuff. And the less scrap meant less trips carrying scrap back up the steps to whoever was picking it up to use it.
It also meant we didn’t have to spray the stain on & wipe it all down, before applying the first coat of Pre-Cat Lacquer.
Those 13 steps were for carrying raw wood down and carrying finished Cabinets back up to my truck for delivery.
I could take you through each step I took in the making of these cabinets, but that would be a little much, so I’ll move to the Pics, at this time.


Thanks for stopping in.

Bear



BEFORE:
Here is a shot of the Old Kitchen. Note the Red Counter tops, Red floor, Red range hood cover & Window Valance.
Also that right wall separated the Kitchen from the Dining room on the other side of the wall, which made both rooms seem too “Jammed In”. There is no “Front” under the sink, exposing the Garbage disposal, but I assume that was so she could get closer to the sink, with her wheelchair.
It’s also quite dark in that kitchen, mainly due to how dark the cabinets are. Some of the light in this picture was from the Flash of my camera, as you can see the reflection in the Kitchen Window @ night.
unnamed-9.jpg

AFTER--Here is a shot of My New Natural Oak Kitchen. This is the North & East sides, before I installed the Center Piece.
As you can see, I opened the whole thing up, by removing that one wall, allowing the Dining Room & Kitchen to be one room. Notice I installed “Plate Rail” above everything, all the way around, so Mrs Bear would have a place for her collection of “Royal Copenhagen Plates”.
unnamed-6.jpg


Now the Center Island is installed. It consists of 42” high cabinets, with Natural Oak Wainscott on the outside to match the rest of the bottom, on the rest of the Dining Room walls. The Bar top is a full 1 3/4” thick, with a solid Oak edge, with a “Step & Round-over” shaped front edge, like the rest of the countertops in this kitchen. Island also had an 11" overhang on the Back Sides.
As you can see the 4 High-back Natural Oak Bar Chairs had not arrived yet, at the time of these pictures.
unnamed-7.jpg


North Wall of Kitchen, includes Sink & Dishwasher:
unnamed-5.jpg


This was the most I could get in one picture. It was a very big kitchen. However in this Picture, you can see how the Dining Room & table became part of the Kitchen, And that big Picture Window saw many a deer come through the back yard, while we were eating.
unnamed-1.jpg

This was the most I could get in one Picture, in this Easterly Direction. If you look to the far left corner, that door goes out to the 2 car garage, but just to the right of that door is another door, behind the Refrigerator. That door goes to the Elevator that takes you down to the Basement.
unnamed.jpg

Aiming toward the South-East, you can see the Desk area to the left of the Tall Pantry cabinets, along with a Trash can storage cabinet & broom & mop storage, etc.
unnamed-8.jpg


South Wall has the Glass Window Doors, over the Desk area, and the Tall Cabinets to the right.
unnamed-3.jpg


Glass Door “Show-case” cabinets above the desk area:
unnamed-2.jpg
 
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Very nice work Bear, I bet that project took a while to around all your other work? That sure does look like a well fed kitty in the one pic...lol
 
That looks incredible, John. Great work and excellent attn to detail.
Very impressive.
 
Really nice . Never saw those before . That's awesome . Would have been hard for me to leave that .
So you made the island bar height . That's a great idea . I've seen them with the counter top , then a bar height step up .
I really like the solid bar top . Love the plate rail . Don't see those much any more . I made matching shelves for mine , and add a plate stop .
Nice work John . Really nice . Love an open kitchen .
Thanks for posting .
 
Very nice work Bear, I bet that project took a while to around all your other work? That sure does look like a well fed kitty in the one pic...lol
Thank You Cliff !!
That was "Bozo". He moved with us years before he died.
He was 17 years & 3 months old, and we buried him in our Pet Cemetery.
We can see the head-stones from our front porch.

Bear
 
Bear that was a huge transformation! Very Nice Work!

And very cool on the basement shop story! We bought our house because of the shop but as you know we have been making changes to make the house workable
 
Nice craftsmanship John. Did the previous owner every see the changes you made?

Chris
 
Wow! The picture of the old red kitchen looks like it was inspired by Pizza Hut. Haha!

I wish I could hire you to remodel my kitchen. That’s amazing work.
Thank You Sven!!
Appreciate that!

Bear

That looks incredible, John. Great work and excellent attn to detail.
Very impressive.
Thank You Mike!!
This placed had strange problems then we moved in:
She was in a Wheelchair, and he was rarely home, so all of the heavy drapes were closed all the time---I guess she was scared all the time, since the house was about 1/2 mile from the road. We had to get the guns out, because there were 19 groundhog holes under the hedges, right against the foundation, and even a Fox Den right outside the back door. The animals didn't think anybody lived there, because there was hardly ever any sign of humans before we got there.
I talked to the Chief of Police, and he said one of the times the owner called him, she said somebody was trying to get in the front door, so he raced over there. When he got there, he saw a Groundhog chewing on the bottom of the front door.
So that was the noise that she heard, until he got there.
So in a little while, we had a pile of groundhog carcasses, the Foxes left, and we filled all 19 holes around the foundation. And we opened all the drapes. Then we ripped out all the continuous hedges, and opened everything up. We left them know that people were moving in & taking over. There's a New Sheriff in Town. LOL
And Thanks for the like.

Bear
 
That's interesting. Great story, with 19 holes you could have made a very very small Golf Course, lol.
 
  • Haha
Reactions: bauchjw
Really nice . Never saw those before . That's awesome . Would have been hard for me to leave that .
So you made the island bar height . That's a great idea . I've seen them with the counter top , then a bar height step up .
I really like the solid bar top . Love the plate rail . Don't see those much any more . I made matching shelves for mine , and add a plate stop .
Nice work John . Really nice . Love an open kitchen .
Thanks for posting .
Thank You Rich!!
I actually broke this Kitchen down in 2 parts due to the room needed.
I did all the Base Cabinets first, and got them out of the shop. Then I did the wall cabinets. I had a guy who used to make my counter tops, but I made these myself, because he couldn't do the edging like I did. I fastened a 3/4" X 1 1/2" Oak rail to the whole perimeter. Then after dropping the laminate on it, I routed the top edge.
I used a "Step & Roundover Bit", and dropped the cut through the laminate & about another 1/8" farther. Then that whole front edge & the round-over got finished just like the cabinets.
The easiest place to see that is if you zoom in to the edge of the Island top.
And Thanks for the Like, Rich.

Bear
 
  • Like
Reactions: chopsaw
That looks very nice. Removing the wall created a much more friendly space and more
light. Always loved natural red Oak.
Thank You!!
I believe about 80% of my Jobs were Natural Red Oak, in part to my 10% Discount for Nat Red Oak.

Bear
Very nice bear
Thank You Jim!!
And for the Like.

Bear
 
Nice craftsmanship John. Did the previous owner every see the changes you made?

Chris
Thank You Chris!!
No, they never did. They moved everything to Florida.
Mrs Bear emailed back & forth a few times, but that faded off.

Bear

Bear that was a huge transformation! Very Nice Work!

And very cool on the basement shop story! We bought our house because of the shop but as you know we have been making changes to make the house workable
Thank You Civil !!
I wish you guys could have seen it close up, to really appreciate it all.

Bear
 
  • Like
Reactions: civilsmoker
Wow! That is an incredible transformation! It’s my wife’s dream kitchen….shoot, mine too🤣 Your description of the elevator brought me home, my oldest sister became a paraplegic when she was 14 and we installed one in our house too, same corded phone. It’s worked out because it helps my dad out now, they would have had to move out otherwise.

Beautiful cabinets and craftsmanship. Thank you for sharing Bear!
 
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