Old kitchen cabinets need not be scrapped

  • Wednesday, August 4, 2004 9:00pm
  • Life

Interest rates are on the upswing. The economy appears much stronger now than it was last year. It looks like we can expect job growth and possibly even a raise or two over the next several years. Unfortunately, as with all recoveries, we should also expect higher interest rates.

Bottom line: we can enjoy a growing economy where interest rates are pretty darn low and the job market is in growth mode.

There couldn’t be a better time to invest in our home.

In our opinion, this window of opportunity won’t come along again for years to come. But it doesn’t mean that you have to go ape and spend needlessly.

As with anything, and especially in a home, it doesn’t make sense to discard and completely replace something that can be modified or updated instead. Even in the best of economies, it doesn’t pay to be wasteful.

For example: a new set of kitchen cabinets can easily cost $20,000 to $30,000 or more. However, cabinet doors and drawer fronts (finished to match what exists) can be had for $3,000 or less. So, if your cabinets are in good shape you may want to look into the possibility of upgrading to fancier cabinet doors and drawer fronts. Keeping the casework and updating the exterior is only the first step. Accessories that will enhance storage and versatility can also be considered.

The Internet is loaded with sites that offer cost-effective alternatives to replacement. We went to Yahoo and typed in “kitchen cabinet accessories” and the search engine found 643,000 sites.

There were cabinet organizers, handles and knobs, waste and recycling accessories, lazy Susans, spice racks and spice drawers, glass doors, crown molding, valances, refrigerator cabinets, island cabinets, decorator doors, appliance garages, plate racks and wine racks to name a few. The possibilities were endless.

We aren’t saying that you shouldn’t replace your cabinets. If they are falling apart and a complete mess, then it would definitely be wise to study replacement – but only if what you have can’t be modified or upgraded to something a little more modern and versatile.

Some builders have a tendency to give up on using storage space to keep their construction costs (and consequently their selling price) down.

For example: we all know about inside corners in a kitchen where storage space is often totally unutilized. Ever hear this one? “If they had only used a lazy Susan cabinet there, the storage space in this kitchen would nearly double!” Attempting to build in a lazy Susan corner cabinet after the fact is a stretch at best normally there just isn’t enough room. A lazy Susan cabinet takes up a lot of space.

However, there are other configurations and accessories that may just do the trick.

Have you ever heard of a pivot out blind corner unit? Well, there is such a thing and in “some instances” this accessory can be used to change a dead corner to addition and convenient storage space. When you open the door of the modified corner cabinet, it pulls out a storage system mounted on tracks that utilize every square inch of corner dead space.

Here’s one you’ll really love: a wire frame pull-out for an entire pantry cabinet. That’s right. You know that 2-foot-deep floor-to-ceiling cabinet that you have in your kitchen that contains stuff that you haven’t seen for at least six years? Well, you can purchase an accessory that can be installed in less than 30 minutes that will give you a bird’s-eye view of every single thing on every single shelf in your pantry.

All you have to do is open the pantry door, pull out on the handle and a wire system of adjustable shelves pulls completely out of the cabinet so that everything on every shelf can be easily seen and accessed.

The price for the fanciest of these options is just under $1,000. That may seem like a lot, but compared to what it would take to effectively double the cabinet’s storage space, the price turns out to be a bargain.

Adding new doors and drawer fronts can be accomplished by contacting a local cabinet company or by making a visit to the Web. Appearance has a great deal to do with one’s comfort level. And when it comes to the most used space in the home your kitchen it is important that you be as comfortable as possible while there. Organizing storage space to maximize the amount of usable storage can save the cost of cabinet replacement and can be done for a fourth of the cost of replacement.

So, when it comes to kitchen cabinets, the buzzwords are new fronts and better organized interiors.

And, that’s all there is to it.

For more home improvement tips and information visit James and Morris Carey on the Web at www.onthehouse.com.

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