A 1970s Kitchen Before And After
A couple of years after buying her two-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s east, Handyman stylist Gema Beneitez was ready to overhaul the 70s-style kitchen.
Gema installed cabinet carcasses with Nougat Truffle door panels and drawer faces in the Alpine profile, from Kaboodle. The cabinetry, plus cut and butt benchtops cost $5000, including fasteners and sealers.
Ripping out the old kitchen left bare masonry walls to work with and revealed original kauri boards that had been hiding under the cork floor.
Update the surfaces
Gema liked the size of her eat-in kitchen and the basic floorplan, so only a few changes were needed to make the space more user-friendly.
Positioning the sink under the window with a dishwasher next to it created more functionality, but did require the services of a plumber.
Moving the oven to another wall also added to labour costs but created a better working triangle with more room for food preparation.
On the other side of the room, the cabinets surrounding the refrigerator were completely replaced, but the configuration remained the same.
The old tiled splashbacks were replaced with tiling on every wall in the kitchen, creating a unified look.
Grey paint was used on the top section of the walls, bringing the room into the 21st century.
To keep the room light and bright, Gema chose white appliances to complement the wall tiles and the slimline white cabinetry featuring push-to-open doors and drawers.
Kaboodle laminate benchtops in Flint Stone were cut to fit and joined to suit the kitchen layout.
TIP Overhead cabinets were limited to one area, so Gema could use the walls for feature lighting and accessories.
Before you install cabinetry, locate all the utilities, then factor them into the new layout.
Have a licensed tradie make changes and take a photo of any newly installed pipes and cables before covering with wall lining.
Unpack and assemble one cabinet at a time to avoid mixing up the parts. Use the supplied screws and apply adhesive to the joints for extra strength, cleaning the excess with a damp cloth.
DIY rangehood cabinet
The simple rangehood cabinet that accompanies your DIY kitchen is made from 16mm thick high moisture resistant MDF, then painted to blend in with the new colour on the kitchen walls.
The extraction fan is hidden and the cabinet is mounted on split battens for easy installation and removal for cleaning.
Make four split battens by cutting 1200 x 115 x 19mm timber in half along the grain using a circular saw with the base plate tilted to 45° and a rip fence fitted.
The battens are cut to length to fit between the cabinet sides. Secure one batten 75mm from the base and the corresponding one flush with the top.
After installing the rangehood, make sure the kitchen has a high-tech smoke alarm, by mounting a modern slimline model on the wall or ceiling.
Cutting the panels
Use a circular saw and straightedge guide to cut the MDF to size. Mark the opening for the fan on the base panel as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Drill a 10mm starter hole in the waste section and cut it out with a jigsaw.
Building the box
Drill and countersink pilot holes in the front and side panels. Position the cutout panel on the inside of the cabinet front 75mm from the base and secure with construction adhesive and 30mm x 8g screws.
Hanging the cabinet
Use a masonry bit to drill holes for plastic wall plugs, then mount a split batten 750mm above the cooktop. Secure the corresponding batten to match the cabinet spacing, then hang the cabinet on the battens.
Installing the benchtop
Cut lengths of laminate benchtop to fit the layout, then butt join pieces for an L-shape design or long run of cabinetry, making sink and stove cutouts. See the steps below for details.