When your house doesn’t meet your family’s needs — especially in the kitchen — it’s time to customize your space.

Seven years ago, Whit and Andrea Qualls bought this home as newlyweds. Then they had three children and recognized some problems as the outgrew the home.

The Problem Areas

Upon entry, guests are abruptly greeted with a half-wall and a column.

This area serves as a backstage for the young girls who like to perform shows, but Mom and Dad want to see it gone to open up some space.

This half-wall at the home’s entry is awkward and unnecessary. It has to go!

The couple are also concerned about the refrigerator — it’s too big for the space and too close to the island.

When Andrea opens the door, the two almost touch!

There’s no room for someone to pass between the refrigerator and the island, so we’re going to move the island, and Chelsea wants to paint it too.

Whit and Andrea’s refrigerator is too big for this space. The family can barely open the door because it’s so close to the island. So we’re just going to move the island.

The range in this kitchen isn’t properly vented — that’s often the case with over-the-range microwaves — so we’re going to install a range hood that vents through the roof, and move the microwave.

Those are the problem areas. Now let’s work on these projects!

This room needs more ventilation than an over-the-range microwave can provide.

The Projects

Remove the Half-Wall

We cut the drywall cleanly at the end of the half-wall where the demolition will end. Then we remove all of the trim board so we can remove all of the drywall off the studs.

Next, we remove the final support, install the new drywall, and add joint compound so Whit and Andrea can paint the area.

Afterward, we have to replace flooring where the half-wall used to be.

The home is much more open and inviting without that awkward half-wall.

The subfloor is rough, but that’s OK because we have Custom Building Products’ SpeedFinish, a floor patch the dries within 15 minutes.

Moving the Island

We’re going to shift the kitchen island over so that the family has more space between it and the refrigerator.

Fortunately, it was held to the floor with glue, so it was easy to move.

As a bonus blessing, there was flooring underneath the island, so we won’t have to install new flooring.

Adding ‘legs’ to the island gives it more detail and visual interest.

Chelsea noticed that moving the island also meant moving an exposed trash can closer to the living room, so she wants to build a cabinet to hide that container.
The trash can cabinet will let the Qualls family hide all their trash in plain sight.

Chelsea and Andrea paint the cabinets using the HomeRight paint sprayer and the HomeRight Spray Shelter to prevent overspray from touching surrounding items.

Moving the Microwave and Adding a Range Hood

We removed the microwave from underneath the cabinets and cut holes in the ceiling for the duct that will vent a new range hood. I then got on the roof and cut the access hole for the range hood’s ductwork.

Now we’re ready to install a Broan range hood that has a three-speed motor and moves 600 cubic feet of air per minute with a super-quiet motor.

Danny and Chelsea install a microwave into the island.
The kitchen now has proper ventilation, which is great because Whit and Andrea love to cook!

As for the microwave, we cut a hole for that in the island, add a shelf, and we have what appears to be a built-in microwave!

Now, Whit and Andrea have the kitchen that truly fits their family’s needs, and the materials for this project cost less than $1,000.

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Further Reading

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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