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Diary of a Fixer-Upper: Heather Takes on a Different Kind of “Flipping”

Once the cabinets were installed, my new kitchen started to look real. I had a snag finding countertops—most granite warehouses are far outside the city, not easy to reach for a carless homeowner—so in the meantime I tried to polish up the kitchen where

For the wall cabinets, I had asked my contractors to space out the shelves evenly, but I didn’t realize there were way too many shelves.  They were barely five inches apart, and I spent a day removing and rearranging them. (Is there a shelf high enough for the big olive oil jar?  Will this one fit my glasses comfortably?)

The pantry was installed last, since it is a stand-alone piece. I knew how many shelves it came with and it seemed alright, but I came home to find it all jumbled. I spent another day removing and testing heights of cereal boxes and whiskey bottles. I wore out the heads on a couple screws and scratched the cabinet door and two of the shelves, then kicked myself for putting all this unnecessary wear on brand new units. Eventually, I got everything customized…except for the missing piece that would require another trip to IKEA, naturally.

The real interesting experience, and one I do not wish to repeat, was flipping the refrigerator doors after I moved the appliance to the other side of the room. I inspected the screws. The door seemed connected in just a few places, and easy enough to unhook and turn around. But I underestimated the complicated work put into appliance hinges.

The right side had screw holes with gray plastic covers that matched the ones on the left side. I carefully removed the covers, clutching each one to make sure I didn’t drop it and lose it forever underneath the fridge. Next I started unscrewing what I thought were the appropriate screws in the appropriate order, to keep the entire seven-foot front of the fridge from collapsing on top of me. It’s tough to explain the number of factors I had to keep track of while doing this: unscrew this, hold door corner here, find correct allen wrench, get on stepstool and use foot to keep bottom door on while unhinging the top door, and so on.

Whew. It took over an hour, and though I managed not to drop the heavy doors, I did encounter one major issue when one hole on the right side wasn’t big enough for its accompanying screw. I substituted a screw meant to be used in the middle portion, essentially MacGyver-ing and brute-forcing the hinge into its proper place. The door didn’t line up correctly at first, but some forceful allen wrench twisting, powered by pure frustration, wedged the door back into place. It probably can never be undone—I hope all future owners of this home enjoy the right-sided door opening.  

To read Heather's home adventures from the beginning, click here. 

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