Troubleshooting a Kitchen Remodel

The cabinet above the refrigerator was built with a full-length side panel running down to the floor on the left of the fridge.

The microwave and pantry base cabinets were also so large that it took four men to carry them into the house, even after we had removed the doors and drawers. The integral toekicks compounded the problem. I generally ask cabinet­makers to provide separate bases and kicks — it’s easier to level a 10-pound toekick than a 150-pound base cabinet.

One corner of the base cabinet run was a trifecta of conflicts.

The first problem had to do with the drawers on either side of the corner. These slid by each other easily until we installed the pulls; fortunately there was just enough side-to-side adjustment in the slides to gain the necessary clearance.

The second was a conflict between one of the corner drawers and the range, which prevents the drawer from opening fully. There was no good solution, but because the restriction is only a couple of inches, the owners find they can live with it.

The inside corner base cabinet to the right of the range contains baskets designed to pull out and then to the right, to give access to an inner basket. The problem was that when the hardware was pulled to the right, it ran into the projecting refrigerator panel.

The pantry unit has a rotating inner shelf that spins only if the door is opened beyond a certain angle. Unfortunately, the 5-inch fir baseboard used everywhere else in the kitchen got in the way here.

We substituted a piece of 3/4-inch base shoe, and so far, no one has complained.

We forgot to allow for the 3/4-inch-thick trim around the top of the refrigerator cabinet. I ripped the trim down to about 7/16 inch thick and cut a very slight amount off its edge to allow it to fit into place.

Due to slight discrepancies in various dimensions, we had to move the faucet ever so slightly off-center in relation to the sink, bringing it closer to the drawer-front gap. It’s good the customers had chosen a single-bowl sink, or the discrepancy would have been much more visible.

Laying out the electrical boxes was going to be more critical than usual, with all those vertical grout lines to contend with and no practical way to cut such tiny tiles. I planned the exact side-to-side location of each box, installed blocking as needed, and mounted the boxes myself. The tile installer was happy.

The high-end range hood mounts to the wall on a concealed bracket, with a telescoping two-part rectangular chase above it. It’s made for an 8-foot ceiling but we only had 7 feet 8 inches, the only way to make it work was to shorten the rectangular chase — a task we farmed out to a local sheet-metal shop.

The sharply angled corners of the hood itself have proven to be a liability. There are only two possible solutions — throw the expensive item away and install a different one, or learn to avoid the corners. The home­owners have opted for the second course.

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