Armed with my drill, I took off all the cupboard doors and then removed all the screws that attached the cabinets to the wall and to each other. For the most part, the cabinets came down pretty easily . . . a little too easily in some cases.
As you can see, the cabinet on the left side of the front door was a little worse for wear: it was coming out of the bulkhead on one side, and as a result, the cupboard doors were wonky. The cabinet used to be a pantry cupboard that went from floor to ceiling. A few years ago, Dan and I installed the peninsula cabinet you see in the foreground because I wanted more counter space and a spot to hide the portable dishwasher (the previous owners kept it in front of the door). To put in the counter, we had to remove half of the pantry. We checked the cabinet to see if it was anchored to the wall and the bulkhead, and it was - minimally - so we drilled a few more screws into the left side of the cabinet to anchor it into a stud in the wall. Then we cut out the bottom.
I took this photo after I removed the cabinet, and it shows how badly the cabinet had been sagging, probably 3/4" where it met the wall. When I removed the wood after taking this picture, the screw in that corner literally fell out of the bulkhead.
And then there's the wood trim - or whatever - between the cabinet and the bulkhead. I always assumed there was a solid piece of wood there, for aesthetic impact or something - and when I took down the cabinets, I was amused to discover what it really was: 1x4 plywood. I have no idea what purpose it served. Any ideas?
Another mystery behind the cabinet was the line of nails at the top of the wall. I have no idea what that's about.
I was super excited and nervous to take down the cabinets on the other side of the front door. I couldn't wait to reveal the window behind them, but I was afraid of what sort of damage or other curiousities I might find. All the cabinets in our kitchen are backless, except for the corner cupboard that covers the window. The mystery behind that cabinet has niggled at me for years.
As I removed the cabinets, I discovered more iffy construction. Again, these cabinets were secured with very few screws in rather random places. (I now feel pretty iffy about all the other upper cabinets in my kitchen.) I also discovered more mystery nails at the top of the wall and more plywood trim stuff. And behind the corner cupboard . . . ta da! . . .
See the ceiling tile? Heh, heh.
The window is in good shape. We need to tidy up the framing, but otherwise, it is better than I could have hoped for. I'm so thrilled to have this source of light freed up to brighten my kitchen.
As you can see, the walls need some work, so I have had to spend a little money for some spackle. I have also had to shell out for some spray foam to seal a big gap - previously covered by the pantry cabinet - between the wall and the trim on the left side of the front door. So, here's what I've spent so far on my (almost) free kitchen update:
The Almost Part
+ $4.59 (spray foam)
Next comes repairing and painting walls and dealing with the hideous backsplash. And I'll get to do it all while basking in the light from the front window.