Kitchen for Keeps

Homeowners Kenneth and Kym Sigler with Danny Lipford.
Homeowners Kenneth and Kym Sigler with Danny Lipford.

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Kenneth and Kym Sigler have lived in their home for 15 years and plan to stay there for many more. So, we helped these homeowners who wanted to improve, rather than move.

To update the Siglers’ galley kitchen, we:

  • Removed the furr downs above the kitchen cabinets
  • Removed the scalloped valance above the sink
  • Converted a cabinet in the pantry to house the microwave
  • Installed a new range hood
  • Laid porcelain tile over the existing vinyl floors
  • Created a focal point for the kitchen with a mosaic tile backsplash
The furr down is the area between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling.
The furr down is the area between the top of the cabinets and the ceiling.

Removing the Furr Down

Removing the furr down gives the kitchen more vertical space.
Removing the furr down gives the kitchen more vertical space.

The furr down is the enclosed area between the top of the kitchen cabinet and the ceiling. Removing the furr down can make a kitchen feel more open, but it can also expose plumbing, wiring or duct work that may be hidden inside.

After cutting the caulk lines and carefully removing the trim, we pried off the furr downs and the framing that supported them. In the Siglers’ kitchen, removing the furr down revealed the vent pipe, so we simply enclosed it by building a box around it with plywood.

We extended the crown molding to the newly opened space above the cabinets and wrapped the molding around the box covering the vent pipe, blending it seamlessly with the wall. Finally, we added molding to the top edge of the cabinets to finish the look.

The walls got a fresh coat of paint, giving the kitchen more reflected light and vertical space.

Watch How to Remove the Furr Down Above Kitchen Cabinets for details.

Installing a Range Hood

We removed the over-the-range microwave and converted a space in the pantry cabinet to house a new microwave. The sleek design of this range hood from NuTone enhances the open feel we created, and removes cooking fumes much more effectively than the microwave unit did. Plus, it’s 50 percent quieter than the typical range hood in this class, and detects excessive heat and adjusts the hood speed for proper ventilation.

Watch Advantages of Kitchen Range Hoods Over Microwaves for Venting for more information.

Danny Lipford and homeowner Kenneth Sigler install the range hood.
Danny Lipford and Kenneth Sigler install the new range hood.

Read How to Choose a Range Hood for Your Kitchen and watch How to Replace a Range Hood in Your Kitchen for details.

Tiling Over Vinyl Floor

Allen Lyle and Kenneth Sigler lay the porcelain tile.
Allen Lyle and Kenneth Sigler lay the porcelain tile.

Kenneth and Kym wanted the look of brick floors in their kitchen, without the maintenance of brick. They picked out porcelain tiles from MS International that are made to look like brick.

We applied a multi-surface bonding primer on the old vinyl floor, so we could install the new tile directly on top of it. To create the effect of mortar joints we used a slightly larger than normal spacer for the grout lines.

The next day we applied a grout release coating to the surface of the tile, which simplified the cleanup after installation. To make things even easier, we used Fusion Pro grout, which required no mixing or sealing.

Watch How to Lay Tile Over an Existing Vinyl Floor for more info.

Installing a Tile Backsplash

Kym Sigler wipes excess the grout from the tile backsplash.
Kym Sigler wipes the excess grout from the tile backsplash.

Kym really wanted a focal point for the kitchen, and the teardrop mosaic tile she picked out for the backsplash created just that.

Check out the Ceramic Tile Backsplash Project for detailed instructions.

The Siglers' kitchen after the renovation.
The Siglers’ kitchen after the renovation.

Other Tips from This Episode


Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Tip for Cleaning Microwave

To easily clean a microwave, pour 1 cup of water and 1 cup of vinegar into a bowl. Add a toothpick to break the surface tension. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dip a sponge in the solution and wipe the inside of the microwave clean. Watch video.


Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
MS International Porcelain Tile

This porcelain tile from MS International mimics the look of brick and can be used on the floor, wall or countertop. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.


Ask Danny Lipford:
Tips for Cutting Tile

When they take on tile projects, one of the first questions people ask is whether they need a manual tile cutter, a wet saw or both. Because most tile projects eventually involve some cutting you will need one or the other, but probably not both. Watch video.


  1. It is a question more or less. My son just bought his first house and plans to be married in July. They chose the house with the intention of redoing the very old kitchen for a price of 20-25 grand. Now all the bids are 40-50 from a design group that came to see them. They charge a very large amount just to see the plans so I have not. What do you think and are there any other people he could speak with or is this something you do? They are a very disappointed young couple Thanks so much

  2. What’s the name and brand of the tile you used on the backsplash? I need a very similar one for my own project.


  3. I have 12″x12″ ceramic tiles in my kitchen/breakfast room. it has been down about 12 years and has gotten dirty looking. Can you paint or stain this flooring? What is the best way to clean this flooring?


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