How to Upcycle Your Kitchen | HuffPost Canada

So your kitchen cabinets, decoratively speaking, are on their last legs. What, if anything, could save them from the waiting jaws of a hungry dumpster You face facts. It's time to whip 'em out and start over. Allow us to step in. Your trusty old kitchen, whilst it might appear caput, could actually be a suitable candidate for surgery.Learn how to save money and become your own designer by following Colin and Justin as they remodel an existing kitchen with paint, new counters and mirror sections...So your kitchen cabinets, decoratively speaking, are on their last legs. What, if anything, could save them from the waiting jaws of a hungry dumpster You face facts. It's time to whip 'em out and start over. Allow us to step in. Your trusty old kitchen, whilst it might appear caput, could actually be a suitable candidate for surgery. If your cabinets have rigor, it matters not that your doors are hanging off, nor that your counters have seen better days.Faced with this lack lustre pine affray (in a decidedly gloomy TV client home) we knew how to save the day. On a strict budget. It's what we do, right We hate stuffing landfill sites and we know how to produce great results using stuff that others might think un-savable. Here's our recipe for success...An open and shut caseFirst up, we removed the cabinet upper portals and replaced them with blanks, cut carefully from MDF. Next, we arranged Shaker style MDF framework, glued in place around the perimeter of each door. This done, we carefully sanded, primed and then re-coloured the doors using black satin paint by Benjamin Moore. But take a tip: remember that several light coats are way better than one sticky gloppy application. Slow down. What's the rush Mirror mirrorHaving carefully measured the aperture of each frame, we had three-millimetre mirror cut to size and secured it all in place using contact adhesive. Next, we created cardboard templates for each decorative "insert," transferred these to three mm MDF (using tracing paper) and cut it all out using a jigsaw. This done, we painted everything black, left it to dry then secured it in place with glue. Did you follow all that Simple, right Moving on...Paint, through the agesWith all painted areas thoroughly dry, we added the Midas touch using Gold Finger acrylic paint, an easy to use product that you'll find in most good craft stores. Tip: apply around the edges and smudge with a lint-free cloth to suffuse your doors with quaint, "Chinese wedding cabinet" appeal.Keep the cost downTo save cash when re-jigging, leave services such as plumbing and electrics where they are -- as long as your existing floor plan works adequately well. This simple one-in, one-out approach cuts down on contractor costs.Serious pullNew hard wares are a swish and affordable way in which to spice up kitchen aesthetics. Ours came from Lee Valley a great company who stock a fantastic range of options. And don't be afraid to play around with different (complimentary) styles; we used a combo of pull handles and knobs to give the doors an individual look.Improving eye linesThe original breakfast bar looked a little clunky so we afforded it our creative attentions. Removing the back panel allowed us to redefine the space as a display area and, painted to match the rest of the cupboards, it serves as useful storage for kitchen and dining paraphernalia.Open storageAs part of our quest to improve eye lines, and after careful dialogue with our clients, we made the decision to lose the cupboard above the island. This simple maneuver freed up space for floating shelves, an installation that proffered a touch of modern design sensibility. Isn't it nice to have a place for pretty things with which to set the scene in the kitchen Cool countertops don't have to cost a lotJust like our new knobs and upper doors, a run of impressive worktop breathed new life into the problem kitchen. We specified solid oak Numerar counter from Ikea, a product which didn't break the bank. To add a contemporary twist, we wrapped the timber down the side of the breakfast bar (mitred carefully) and used off cuts as a simple back splash to save engaging a tiler. We're Scottish, you see. And therefore canny with our spend.Avoid that sinking feelingLike a dramatic sparkling crown atop a regal queen's head, the hedonistic sink lends a dramatic finishing touch. Resilient to scratches (thanks to 90 per cent granite composition) it boasts style and deep capacity in equal measure. These days it's amazing what you can find in big box stores -- Home Depot, Lowes and Rona all now carry option such as these at affordable price points. It's so satisfying to observe the way in which the DIY market has responded to the need for stylish products at affordable price points.Find the beauty in existing flooringLook closely and you'll see we kept the existing stone tile. Set against the previous pine cabinets the contrast was poor, whereas, as a foil to our dramatic new ebony aesthetic, it comes alive. Dressed with a hide rug from Ikea (with an anti slip mat below) it's both practical and beautiful. The dining set was a factory clearance bargain (bagged for $575) and the curtains panels were $20 apiece from Ikea. Our kitchen recipe complete, it just goes to show that new isn't always better than old. When there's still life in the old dog, it's only fair to let it run another race, n'est pas Whilst saving yourself thousands of dollars into the bargain...A good start thanks to strong cabinetry and a workable layoutThe dramatic new colour scheme creates a stand out designMirror sections create a sense of spaciousness and add much needed sparkleTimber details add warmth to the black colour schemeNew dining furniture completes the lookAlso on HuffPost:

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How Do I Deep Clean My Kitchen Cabinets (non Toxic)?
MURPHY'S OIL SOAP!!1. Does anyone know of a weed killer that is non-toxic to dogs?Hot water Boiling hot2. What are your thoughts on child safe, all natural and non-toxic nail polish for kids?I do not like nail polish on little girls. It's in the same category as makeup to me and it just does not look right on a child. I think the product you mention sounds like a good idea though. A lot of little girls do want to use nail polish so that's a good way to keep them safe from harsh chemicals.3. I have ants in my kitchen!! How can I get rid of them in a non-toxic-to-humans way? I want nothing to spray!?My Mom swears by lime rind and cloves, but you end up having to put them out frequently. Also, Borax is supposed to work. (Borax is a non-toxic laundry additive that you can likely get at your local store. I know I've seen it in both Italy and England. ).4. Fireproof liquids that are non-toxic to carbon based life?If you are aiming for a conventional fireproofing solution, Hoyle's answer is probably the best. Water is nonflammable, has an very high heat capacity, is abundant, and obviously nontoxic.That said, humans contain a great deal of water and yet are still vulnerable to fire. If you want creatures that are much more resistant to flames, I would try insulating their skin, instead of attempting to make their biology inherently flame retardant.If you are okay using an ablative heat shield (which would need to be replenished over time, but that is fine if it is part of a living organism), something like Starlite could do the trick (the original formula for the insulator is actually unknown, but a really good imitation can be made with simple household ingredients). When exposed to fire, it releases a layer of CO2 just above its surface, repelling the flames. It also forms a black coating on the surface that radiates heat extremely well. Combining these two properties, a thin coating of the stuff can protect quite well against fire (some videos showcase it being able to keep an egg uncooked with direct exposure to a welding torch).The chemistry of the stuff is pretty simple, and you could probably come up with a biological analogue for it. That, or you could just give the creature thick skin/scales made of a decent insulator, so it could survive fire at least for a little while.If you want the creature to be comfortable in flames for a prolonged amount of time, the main challenge after insulating it from the heat is breathing. You would need to be able to filter out the smoke, and also deal with breathing in superheated air. You could try giving it a long-ish and more heat-resistant windpipe (not necessarily in a straight line though, so a long neck is not required) to filter the air and also absorb/radiate off some of that heat before it reaches the lungs. This is a bit inefficient for creatures on earth but if surviving fire is a requirement it's not out of the question.That, or the creatures would need to be capable of holding their breath for a long time. Certain whales can hold their breath for 90 minutes5. Clay that's non-toxic and hardens sturdy?I agree about the alginate (more below). Air-dry clays also shrink while drying but to various degrees. They will take somewhat good detail, depending on brand and type. Polymer clay would work and not shrink when hardened, but some people feel it's perhaps not really safe to eat in any way. The risk would be small if only for some seconds though and mouth washed out afterwards. It will take fine detail. Alginate is the particular molding material that many dentists use to take "impressions" of teeth in the mouth. It also wo not shrink while hardening, and will take very fine detail. It's not really "hard-hard" when hardened, but is plenty tough and only somewhat flexible. Here's the dump of info I have about it on my site, some seems to be relating to dental casts, some to ear casts (for hearing aids): ...alginate/alginate based compounds (semi-flexible ....molds last only a few days?): ....Alginate is a wonderful material. As an ex-dental assistant I MUST warn you of a few facts however for using it: 1) It MUST be mixed thoroughly. Do not leave lumps. It should not be runny when finally mixed. 2) The temperature of the water is critical. The warmer the water the faster the set up time. And I mean it can set up before you finished mixing! 3) Use a rubber mixing bowel and a plastic wide spatula. 4) Clean off the bowl and spatula as soon as possible. Many people will tell you that it is ok to let it set up and then peel it all off, but you will probably have to use scotch brite to get it all off and that will scratch the bowl. I used to teach dental assisting and after 21 years of experience it is better not to be lazy. Have someone help you while you do this. Use a small plastic container to put your alginate in and then "lay your ear" into it till it sets up. 5) Clean excess off your skin as quickly as possible. Around ears we have fine hairs that will harden up along with the alginate and it will be very uncomfortable to get off! 6) The biggest problem with alginate is air bubbles, so mix well and place your ear into it slowly to allow for the air bubbles to escape. 7) Yes! I have done this before! Good luck! Robin R. ....Alginate....FX supply houses carry it in bulk and it's cheaper than dental alginate. It sets up quickly, does not heat up the way plaster does and is more comfortable during the mold process. . . . Katherine Dewey ....Depends on how much of your body you want cast, and in how much detail. Face casts are usually made using prosthetic grade algenate, a substance made from seaweed, which picks up everything down to zits and the fine lines that texture your skin. Larger areas that do not need such fine detail can be cast using plaster bandages made for this purpose. ....Check your library for make-up books. "Techniques of 3-D Makeup" will tell you all you need to know about casting faces, ears, hands, etc. .... Various kinds of materials can be "cast" in the various mold materials after they've hardened, though plaster is one that's often used in alginate molds by dentists or at least that's been traditional for a long time.
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