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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Rental Renovation: Retro Kitchen Makeover for $350

retro renovation for rental kitchen

Is it worthwhile spending money to upgrade a rental?

For two years before we bought our current home, we lived in a cute cottage in Sunnyside Gardens. It was a rental - Ross had been living there 14 years before we met. Our landlady, a lovely woman who lived in the cottage across the path, was born and raised there. Like almost all of the buildings in the neighborhood, it was a 3-family residence - two up and one down, as they say. Generally, owners lived in the two-bedroom units on the ground floor while the one-bedrooms above them provided rental income. The neighborhood was booming, with the cottages increasingly being converted to one-family homes.

sunnyside gardens in Queens, NY

Sunnyside is a charming neighborhood in NYC, about a 20-minute train ride into Manhattan. Sunnyside Gardens is the historic district within Sunnyside, comprised of about 8 blocks of two-story cottages that share common gardens - building plans in the 1930s were influenced by the English Garden style architecture in Britain of the same period. 

Our apartment was charming, as well - in a crumbly sort of fashion. Built in the 1930s, it boasted some Craftsmen era design elements, including bay windows, hardwood floors, plentiful wood molding, solid panel doors, brass door knobs, and the like. What was not so charming was our kitchen. 

My only "before" while I was covering over the checkerboard backsplash
Though there was room for a full galley kitchen, very little of the space was being utilized at the time. A previous renter had papered a checkerboard backsplash and a tiny slice of counter between the range and sink. And that was it for counter space! About 12" to prep your food on.

The opposite wall had one wall cabinet and a pantry - original built-ins that surrounded the refrigerator. There was one other wall cabinet - a metal one over the sink. And that was it for storage space! Two cabinets and an 18" pantry.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

A large blank space to the left of the fridge had likely been furnished for many generations with a small chrome and vinyl kitchen table and two chairs - you know the kind. I figured at the very least, I could utilize that space to add some base cabinets and a butcher block counter and give us more storage and prep space. 

As I started to plan it out, I could see that this kitchen had potential. The Youngstown double sink was in good condition.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

And the built-in pantry and fridge surround just needed a good coat of paint. Appliances were circa 1970 but functional. 

retro renovation for rental kitchen

I knew that with a little bit of work and not a lot of money I could make this kitchen look great. I headed to Ikea Brooklyn to see what I could scrounge from their "As Is" department, where they sell their markdowns. And I got lucky! It was a Tuesday afternoon, no one was shopping, and the staff were just bringing down a lot of mark-downs, as the designers were remodeling all the kitchen display rooms. I hit the jackpot, scoring an 8 foot stretch of butcher block (Numerar) counter top for $80 and two base cabinets for $22 each. 

retro renovation for rental kitchen

I only needed a 6-foot counter for our kitchen, so I was able to salvage some remnant butcher block to replace the checkerboard counter piece between stove and sink. And that helped give the kitchen a unified look.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

I installed a new backsplash right over the old checkerboard papered one by affixing faux tin ceiling tiles with adhesive. I painted the new backsplash to match the cabinets. Above the range, I installed a metal Ikea Grundtal rack to hold bins for spices and cooking supplies. Also from the Grundtal line, I installed two hanging dish racks and a paper towel holder above the sink.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

Two Ikea Lack Floating shelves gave us some open storage above the countertop.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

I painted the built-ins a hi-gloss creamy white, called Cottage White, from Home Depot's Behr paint line. And I am in love with this paint for retro kitchens!  It goes on like cake batter. For the walls, I had the Home Depot paint department color-match a Tiffany jewelry box, to get exactly the timeless turquoise I wanted. Hinges and hardware in the kitchen were all a mis-match - some chrome, some gold, most of them painted over white by previous renters. All different styles and different eras. I didn't even try to strip them. I just spray painted them all black to give them a unified look.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

The new base cabinets were not going to match the original built-ins no matter what I did, so I didn't bother with doors but left them open for storing small appliances.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

And I left a good stretch of countertop open-span to accommodate a stool, where I set up a small desk area.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

I also scored a roll of sheer white window fabric in the As-Is department at Ikea and made these cheerful window treatments.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

For a spend of about $350, we gained enough storage and counter space for comfortably prepping meals. This kitchen turned out to be one of the most accessible kitchens I've ever cooked in - everything was literally at my fingertips. We had some memorable meals in that cottage.

In addition, I always felt the kitchen looked like it belonged to the era of the cottage, with it's cheerful turquoise walls and "cake batter" cabinets and trim.

retro renovation for rental kitchen

retro renovation for rental kitchen

retro renovation for rental kitchen

Product list:

Wall paint: Behr Interior Eggshell, Base, $26 a gallon + $6 custom blend (to match Tiffany box turquoise)
Trim paint, Behr Interior Hi-Gloss, Cottage White, $29.98 a gallon
Black spray paint for hardware, Rust-Oleum, $4.98
Faux tin backsplash, Fasade, $21.97 each
Countertop, Ikea Numerar, $80 (As Is department) - discontinued, so I linked you to similar Hammarp
Base cabinet frames, Ikea Akurum, $22 (As Is department) - discontinued, so I linked you to similar Sektion
Hanging dish racks, Ikea Grundtal, $26 each
Hanging rails, Ikea Grundtal, $7.99 and $9.99
Wall shelf, Ikea Grundtal, $19.99
Bins for storing spices, Ikea Pluggis, $9.99 each
Floating wall shelves, Ikea Lack, $14.99 each
Barstool, Ikea Franklin, $45
Window treatments, Ikea fabric, $3 a roll (As Is department)

Total: $345

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Covering Exposed Heating Pipes with Rope

covering exposed heat pipes with rope
The formerly exposed pipe is now completely covered to shoulder height

When we gut-renovated the bathroom, one of the first things we demo'd was some ugly crumbling insulation covering the heat pipe. The previous owners had small children, so that insulation was a necessary safety measure. But I was sure that I could find something nicer looking, fit to be seen outside of the walls.

A whole year went by before I got around to it, though. And in the interim, both Ross and I have scalded ourselves while drying off after a shower.  So this year, covering this pipe was top on my list of things to do before cold weather hit and the heat was turned on in our building.

With this weekend turning unseasonably cold for early fall - no time like the present to check this project off my list. 

If you are interested in covering an exposed heat pipe with rope, here's what you will need:
  • 150 feet of 1/4" manila rope (will cover 5 feet of pipe)
  • Scissors or knife
  • An assistant (possibly not required, but helped a lot)

covering exposed heat pipes with rope
The rope arrived coiled in a box

I purchased my rope online from Sea Gear Marine Supply, which I found by googling 1/4" manila rope and comparison shopping for the best price. Sea Gear charges $.05 per foot, so the total bill was about $7.50 plus $8 and change for shipping. Arriving by ground ship, it took about a week to get here.

covering exposed heat pipes with rope
Unwind the rope completely, and coil it into a much larger thinner loop

Step 1: I started by taking about 4 inches of the end of the rope and holding it in place up the side of the pipe. 

covering exposed heat pipes with rope

Then I wound a few rounds of coil on top of that, effectively locking the rope upon itself.

covering exposed heat pipes with rope

Step 2: While I held this in place, Ross started looping the rope around the pipe. After a few rounds of pulling the whole 150 feet of rope around and through, around and through, around and through the back of the pipe - like trying to sew with the world's longest piece of thread - I realized that if we uncoiled it, then recoiled it in a larger loop, the whole coil would be thin enough to pass between the wall and pipe at once. This made the "winding" up the pipe move much faster!

It really helped to have a partner working with me on this project. As Ross passed the rope through and around, I kept tightening it and smoothing it. 

covering exposed heat pipes with rope
Coiled in a big loop like you would a hose, the whole length was thin enough to pass behind the pipe

Step 3: When we started approaching the end of the line, I let the loops be looser and looser so that I could tuck the end of the rope through, then Ross tightened the loose coils up by sliding them all counterclockwise. 

Step 4: Cut off the leftover rope if you want to. I chose to leave a bit of rope hanging out the back, in case we need to adjust the tightness once the heat comes on.

covering exposed heat pipes with rope
Manila rope is very rough and fibrous

Tip 1: 150 feet of rope was just enough to cover about 5 feet of pipe - high enough to protect all body parts that might get scalded while coming out of a shower. If you prefer the look of the rope going all the way up to the ceiling, you will need to order about 50 additional feet. 

Tip 2: The rope is treated with a preservative chemical at the manufacturing source - Sea Gear warns about this in the product description on their website. To off-gas, we worked with the window wide open and left it open a full 24 hours with the door to the room closed.

covering exposed heat pipes with rope

Tip 3: The rope was unexpectedly messy. When we finished, I swept a whole pile of rope fibers. 

Tip 4: If I had this to do again, I would wear jeans, safety glasses, and canvas work gloves. The stiff fibers that fall off the rope float through the air and get in your eyes. And I did get a splinter in my fingers from "smoothing" the coils up the pipe.

Tip 5: It's possible our cat may use this as a scratching post. That would be an unexpected and cool thing. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Midcentury Apartment Door Hardware

restoring midcentury door hardware

I finally got around to a small project that I'd been ignoring for some time: The entryway door to our apartment. 

It's not that I have been blissfully unaware of how bad it looked. Here's a shot that I took on my first viewing of this home before we bought it. 

Don't you just love the "Fire Safety Notice" sticker. It's like living in a hotel, right? Not. And look, previous painters managed to get drips on it, too. Even though it is one of those removable stickers. They could have removed it, painted, then put it back. They. Could. Have.

restoring midcentury door hardware

The first thing I did after I was handed the keys to the place was remove that sticker. Sure, fire instructions are important. I located it in a place where our guests will not see it and be compelled to think of fire emergencies while we hang their coats and offer hospitality.

painted over hardware

Already, the door was looking slightly better without the fire sign, though the "ghost" of the sticker remained. I was definitely going to need to paint the door. But before I did, the hardware needed serious scraping of paint left by the previous owners - or their inept painters if they paid someone. (Do we think they paid someone?)

Anyway, here was my plan:

painted over door hardware

  • Scrape away old paint
  • Restore peep hole and original brass door knob and buff them out with Brasso
  • Sand, fill, and repaint door
  • Cover ugly bolts with brass hex caps

Step 1: Chip away at that painted over peep hole.

Using variously paint scraper, razor scraper (the type used to scrape paint off windows), box cutter, and even Exacto knife, I was able to keep chipping away. It took a few hours, but I got almost all traces of paint off.

restoring midcentury door peep hole

The peep hole is interesting.  I'm not sure what metal it is. At first glance brass, but Brasso did not shine it up the way it usually does. Perhaps steel with brass plate that has worn off? No, magnets do not stick to it. Could it be copper? I'm going to have to experiment with how to clean it properly. First I'll try the all purpose vinegar and baking soda. If that doesn't work I'll try citric acid.

Removing the paint revealed patent markings: George W. Ackerman, Inc., Pat. No. 1749055. When I googled, I found the actual patent file from 1926, where the inventor writes: "Object of the invention is to provide a grille which will present a neat and attractive appearance both at the outside and inside of a door, a grille in which the closure may be conveniently manipulated."

I think he achieved his objective.  The visitor-facing side of the peep hole is quite nice, and now that I've removed all the gunked up paint, it is very easy to manipulate. Our home was built in 1946, so this is very likely original. 

restoring midcentury door peephole

Step 2: Restore the door knob. It is clearly solid brass, as it cleaned up nicely with Brasso. You can see that it is the original mid-century door knob, circa 1946, by the square escutcheon with rounded corners. It shows as well in the solid brass construction as well as the shape and hand feel. It is midcentury modern at its best. You can't buy this today, folks.

Step 3: Sand, fill, and repaint door. I didn't take any progress shots of this, but you know the drill. Sadly, previous painters had used rollers instead of a brush and this left very visible "stiple" (a bumpy texture akin to the skin of an orange). I tried to sand it out - but we are talking years of poor paint jobs. To totally remove the stiple I would have to heat strip this steel door and start from scratch. Which I am tempted to do... Moment of craziness averted. For now, I had to be content with removing drip marks and filling holes.

Step 4: Cover bolts with brass hex caps.

Ah, now we come to the deadlock. I hate it, and I have no one to blame but myself. I actually had this thing installed by a locksmith the day we moved in. Mea culpa. We were in a hurry to secure the place, and this was the only model the locksmith had on hand, so I said yes. I'm kicking myself now and I may replace it if I can find something more period looking.

cover ugly bolts with hex caps

Here was the old deadlock, I wish that I had thought to salvage. Sure, it is not original to the house either, but it is older and seemingly had some patina.

cover ugly bolts with hex caps

The ugly hex bolts are there because they're holding in place a pick guard on the outside of the door. A pick guard keeps burglars from being able to pick your lock. Though not a serious risk in our doorman building, seems best to leave it rather than deal with the holes removing it would leave. And at just a $1.50 each, four brass hex covers made those ugly bolts disappear!

restoring midcentury door hardware

I have just one more thing to add - a brass kick plate for the bottom of the door. I have one coming from in a few days. And that is going to pull all this brass hardware together.

Meanwhile, here's a finish shot that I will update when the kick plate comes in.

restoring midcentury door hardware

Monday, September 21, 2015

Replacing a Kitchen Sink False Front with a Tip-Out Tray

kitchen sink tip-out tray

Does your sink have one of those fake panels that looks like a drawer front but doesn't open? Some cabinetry lines use this space for a tip-out tray, where you can store sponges and scrubbers. But if your kitchen sink base doesn't have one, you can easily retrofit it using a kit like this one from Rev-a-Shelf.

Rev-a-shelf kitchen sink tip-out tray

I bought mine at Home Depot. They come in various sizes. I bought two 11-inch trays ($18.43 each) to fit my 36" wide cabinet. I considered buying the durable looking stainless steel version, but we are planning to update the kitchen in the near future, so I went with the less expensive polymer one.

Each kit contains everything you need to install one tray: Tray, tip-out hinges and hardware.

kitchen sink tip-out tray kit

Step 1: Before you buy your kit, measure the space from the sink basin underneath your cabinet to the back of the false-front panel, to make sure there will be enough room for the tray to tip out all the way and also to close completely.

measuring for a kitchen sink tip-out tray
Step 2: Take a pencil and lightly trace around the false front, so that you can later refer to its position if you need to.

Step 3: Remove everything from underneath the sink. Really. You are going to be sitting in there quite a bit and you will need every inch of space. Take a seat beneath your sink and shine a flashlight at the back of your false-front panel to see how it is being held in place. They are usually held in place by plastic hardware. Mine looked like a little plastic wheel. Take a screwdriver and pry the wood facing loose from the plastic wheel. The door will snap free.

removing kitchen sink cabinet false-front

Step 5. Using the paper template that comes with the instructions, mark your screw holes for the hinges on the back of the false front. (Note: It helps to be sitting under your sink and facing out when you do this, unless you are really good at picturing everything backwards.) Make similar marks for where the screws for the trays will hang.

Step 6: Drill pilot holes on the back of the false front, being careful not to drill so deep you come out the other side. Some people put a piece of tape on the drill bit to prevent this. Screw the tray hardware in - but do not over-tighten. You will need some give to hang your trays.

Step 7: Following the instructions, install the hinges to the cabinet frame. You will need to be sitting under your sink to do this. If your sink basin has not been installed yet, this will be a breeze. If your sink is already in place, as mine was, this is going to be the most tedious step, due entirely to cramped conditions. 

I'm sorry that I did not stop to take progress photos of this tedious step. That's how tedious it was. I couldn't wait to finish. But check out this tutorial on the Lowes site if you need step by step photos regarding the hinges.  

hinges for kitchen sink tip-out tray

Step 8: Attach the other side of the hinge to the false front. It would help to have an assistant to hold it while you do this, but I was able to do it without. This is where your pencil tracing earlier helps position it properly.

kitchen sink tip-out tray

Step 9: If your hinges are operating smoothly, hang the plastic trays and install whatever type pulls you are using to the front facing. I installed a towel rack.

kitchen sink tip-out tray

Step 10: Take a step back and admire your handy work. 

replacing kitchen sink false front with tip-out tray

You now have a place to store your sponges and scrubbers out of view. And you've made use of what was previously wasted space.

kitchen sink tip-out tray

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

FSBO: How to Get a Good Appraisal

When I set out to sell my Brooklyn apartment FSBO in 2013, I was expecting a challenge with the appraisal. Though the real estate market in NYC had fully recovered from the wake of the housing bubble of 2008 and prices were back up, lender appraisals were not keeping up with fair market values.

Looking at comps in my neighborhood - my subscription to "insider" showed me what homes actually sold for not just what they listed for - I was 100% certain that I would get my asking price due to 1. very very low inventory in what was now the hottest Brooklyn neighborhood and 2. the desirability of my home, given the thoughtful renovation I had done and the unusually large private back garden.

I was equally certain that the bank appraisal would come in low.

I was on the board of my co-op and privy to the details of sales contracts and mortgage refinances, so I was seeing firsthand what the other units in our building were appraising for. The backlash against mortgage appraisals post housing bubble made banks skittish. Regulatory changes had been put in place to ensure appraisals were not "inflated" with the result that appraisals were now swinging cautiously the other way, toward under-valuation.

I set out to manage this by:

  • Pricing and marketing the home such that I would get competitive bids
  • Getting a cash buyer or, failing that, an offer that waived contingencies
  • Creating a stellar comps package to help the bank appraiser make the best valuation

The appraisal happens after:

  • The buyer has made an offer and shown proof of mortgage pre-approval (if he is getting a mortgage)
  • The seller has accepted the offer
  • The buyer has signed the contract and put down a deposit (customarily, 10% of the offer price) - which he will forfeit to the seller if he withdraws his offer

There are only a few circumstances in which the buyer can withdraw without forfeiting his deposit:
  • Mortgage contingency: The bank refuses to give the buyer the loan (if he is getting one)
  • Home inspection contingency: The home inspection turns up something major
  • Appraisal contingency: The home appraises for less than the offer price, causing the lender to decrease the amount of the loan

All of these instances allow the buyer to get out of the contract, but more often they do not nix the deal but simply introduce another round of negotiation between buyer and seller. When a home appraises for less than the offer price, for example, the lender's appraiser is telling the bank the home is not worth x it is worth z. The lender will then lower the amount of money it will loan the buyer. The buyer has three choices:
  • Get out of the deal altogether without forfeiting his deposit
  • Make up the difference out of his own pocket
  • Renegotiate the purchase price with the seller

Say the offer price is $550k but the home appraises for $500k. That's a difference of $50k. The standard compromise is the buyer and seller split the difference, thus the purchase price is reduced to $525k.

I wanted to avoid ever getting to this point.

With a big renovation planned for our new home, I was looking at that $25k as my renovations budget and I would need every penny. So, what did I do?

  • Staged my home and had professional photos taken
  • Marketed my home online, where I knew the young hipsters moving into my neighborhood would be looking (StreetEasy, Zillow Postlets, Facebook,
  • Scheduled perspective buyers appointments to overlap - so that the competition would "see" and "hear" one another
  • Obtained competing bids
  • Negotiated waiver of the appraisal contingency with the perspective buyer who was most eager to win the home
  • Created a stellar comps package to help the lender's appraiser make the best valuation

What was that last thing? You can create a comps package for the lender's appraiser? 

Yes, you can and you should. Savvy real estate agents do this all the time. 

Many people do not know that you can communicate with the lender's appraiser. In fact, as the owner you actually have a little more leeway to communicate than the average real estate agent does, due to stricter guidelines post-housing bubble. 

And the time for you to communicate is before the appraiser has issued his appraisal. Because after he has issued it, if the appraisal is low, the window is closed for you to influence his decision.

I always arrange to be there for the appraisal inspection, to provide the appraiser with supporting information if he has questions. 

I made a case for how the floor plans affected market pricing

The key is to make his job easy. Provide him with sources for the information he will be researching, such as the boundaries and desirability of your neighborhood, and include links so that he can view the information himself. 

Here is a 10-page comps summary that I prepared for the lender's appraiser to explain the thinking behind my pricing, offer remodel costs that included an appliances list, as well as comparable sales in the neighborhood. My main objective was to explain why some same-size units in my very co-op were selling for less - so I provided a side by side comparison of floor plans and explained why floor plan affects pricing. In addition, I provided a copy of the contract and appraisal that had been done when I purchased the place 8 years previous. I pointed out mistakes that had been made in the measurements of the backyard, so that he didn't duplicate those mistakes that would diminish the value. As a bonus, one of the comparables that had been used in the previous appraisal had just sold again, and I pointed this out. It was very valuable for the appraiser to see that this previous comp in the neighborhood had also risen in value. I also included my co-op's financial statements from the last annual meeting, to show that the building itself was in sound financial shape. 

You want to be careful not to be pushy with the appraiser, of course. This is not the time to launch into a lecture on home values. Simply introduce yourself as the property owner and say that you are here to answer any questions he may have. Hand him your comps report, saying: "Here are some comparables in the neighborhood and how we arrived at the sale price. My contact information is in there if you have any questions." Then get out of the appraiser's way and let him do his job. The key is to be useful to him and not a nuisance. Make his job easier by ensuring that he has all the information at his fingertips that shows your property to its best advantage.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Adding Shelves to Organize an Antique Cupboard

shabby chic cupboard

Inspired by Daniel at Manhattan Nest, who posted last week about adding shelves to his hutch with great result, I was inspired to make some long-needed changes to the cupboard in our cottage. The scope of the job seemed fairly straightforward - I simply needed to add a shelf to both the top and bottom sections of our hutch. In fact, getting the shelf in the top to fit the interior properly took more "tries" than I anticipated. Hopefully you can avoid my mistake, by first removing the existing shelf and using it as a "template".

shelves for the cupboard

Currently the top of this hutch has two portions divided by a single shelf and the bottom has no shelves, so we find ourselves stacking things in a rather precarious fashion. It's annoying, because when you simply want to pull out a plate, you have to pull out all the serving bowls that are nestling on top of the plate stack and set them aside. In addition, the glasses are currently at the bottom of the hutch, when these are items we use most often. There's a ton of space down there - and I can even see by brackets on the side that there once was another shelf. At the very least, I wanted to restore that shelf.

This cupboard is prime for a much-needed organizational makeover, starting with the addition of two shelves.

Ready? Let's go!

Step 1: Remove everything from the cupboard.

Step 2: Measure the interior of the cupboard to see what dimensions your shelves need to be. (Better yet, do what I should have done and remove the existing shelf in the top portion to use as a template.)

In the top half of the hutch I measured 11" deep by 33-1/2 wide, and noticed that some notches would need to be cut out of each corner.

The width I measured was actually 33-3/4", but standard carpentry practice says take off 1/4" to ensure the wood is not too long to fit. How did I know it wouldn't then be too short? The brackets on the sides that will hold up the shelf are about 1/8" on either side, giving me some wiggle room.

The bottom of the hutch is much deeper, so that shelf could go as deep as 22", but I decided a shallower shelf would be better, to give us full access to the things on the very bottom and make it easy to get things in and out. 

As 11-3/4" deep is the size of a pre-primed white shelf being sold at our local Riverside Building Supply, where I went to purchase mine, I decided to go with that.

Step 3: Purchase the wood and have them cut it for you. I bought one 72" long shelf and asked them to cut it into two pieces each 33-1/2". 

(While they made the cuts I asked if I could search their scrap box for some small scraps of trim that I could use to make the brackets that will hold up my new shelf. Riverside are nice about that.)

Step 4: Place the bottom hutch shelf on the already existing brackets. 

That was easy. Perfect fit!

Now comes the hard part. The top half of the hutch. My top shelf needs a lot more work, for several reasons:
  • There are no existing brackets to hold it, so I have to make them and glue/screw them in.
  • To fit the depth, I need to rip 3/4" off the back of the new shelf.
  • Then I need to saw notches to each corner of my new shelf to fit around some interior struts.

Step 5:  Remove the existing shelf in the top of the hutch and use it as a template for the new shelf. 

Using a sharpee, draw lines following the shape of the original shelf. Leave the original shelf out, as you will need space to tilt and place the new shelf once your brackets are in. (I replaced it and actually hammered it in, only to have to remove it again to get the second shelf in - doh!)

Step 6:  Using a Skil saw with a reverse blade (the blade I use most often!) rip an inch off the back of the new shelf and cut notches in each corner so it will fit around the internal struts. 

Step 7: Take your brackets (mine are the two pieces of scrap trim I scrounged from Riverside Lumber). Drill pilot holes for your nails and add wood glue or liquid nails to the side that will abut the cupboard. Nail in your brackets, then go eat lunch or take a coffee break while your glue dries.

Step 8. Place your new shelf. Then restore the existing shelf.

Step 9: Reorganize.

Before replacing all of the dishes and glassware that you removed, take inventory. Group things you 1. never use, 2. often use, 3. sometimes use, 4. seldom use.

Take a good look at the things you never use. Why are they here? 

Common excuses:
-You used to use them but you don't anymore? (Example: baby cups, bowls, and spoons that are long out-grown.) Time to give them away.
-Sentimental attachment? Grandma's teapot, for example - if it's truly a keepsake, put it in a visible spot!
-That thing you got at a yard sale for an unbelievable price? It's not worth anything to you if you are not using it. Give it away to someone who will use it.
-Cracked or chipped? Throw it out.

Of the things you often use, separate light things from heavy things. Put the heavy things you often use in the lower hutch in a place that is easy to get them in and out. Place the rest of the often used things in the top hutch. The bulk of this will likely be glasses, cups, plates and bowls - yes, everyday tableware. Count out enough for the people living in your house plus two. Call this the everyday set and put them all in an easy to reach place. If there are additional place settings, put them aside and group them with the "sometimes use."

That tray and serving bowl you only break out when you are cooking for a crowd. Those extra plates, glasses, cups. Store them in the bottom hutch toward the front so they are easy to retrieve.

Place seldom used items in the bottom hutch far in the back. Sure, you will have to move things to get them out, but as you seldom use them it won't be often.

The upper half of the hutch can now hold the most-often used glasses and dishware

The lower half of the hutch holds serving platters and extras that we break out for big gatherings 

Step 10:  Once everything is back in place, step back and admire your handiwork. 

The cupboard is now organized in a way that the things you use most often are easy to retrieve and those you use less often are tucked away. This was a small job, but it will have a daily impact. 

Organized Home = Happy Home!