The debt-free, DIY kitchen remodel. Part one. 

Last month I began what I’m hoping will be a debt-free kitchen remodel. Since moving into this house, I have fantasized at every meal what kind of a difference a nice new kitchen would make. My house was built in the early 1970s and it shows in many ways, not the least being the kitchen. The kitchen had two very small sections of countertop on either side of the sink, barely enough to line up plates, let alone chop, mix, store, decorate, knead, or anything else that happens in a kitchen. I am convinced that everyone who has lived in this house either are out a lot, ate out of boxes, or just didn’t eat. Somewhere along the way, previous owners raised the wall cabinets to the ceiling, which served only to highlight how crooked the ceiling is and eliminate half of the storage for being out of reach. A small dining area sat adjacent to the kitchen. 

At 5’7″ I’m not a short woman, but I can’t use the top shelf of any of the wall cabinets. Take note of the increasing gap along the ceiling.

The bench/table combo didn’t come with the house.

Since I can’t really afford to change the footprint, and a tiny dining area is not a must for me, I opted to take over the entire space for the kitchen. Some things that I absolutely wanted: 

  • An efficient work triangle. 
  • More counter space. So much more counter space.
  • A small pantry unit for non-perishables. 
  • Open, light space. 
  • Durable flooring. 
  • Would like: an eat-in counter

The first thing to buy was a new floor. After looking at nearly every option I decided on Core-tec HD laminate flooring and it is AMAZING. This house will likely be a rental at some point so I’m trying to think in terms of durability for at least a decade to come, possibly in the absence of my care. A problem that I encountered with less expensive laminates was that they appeared shiny in direct sunlight, of which I get plenty with two southern facing windows. The Core-tec looks great under direct light, has a realistic texture, and-best of all-a lifetime residential warranty and it is 100% waterPROOF (not water resistant). It was also borderline insulting how easy the boards were to install–the BF and a friend did the entire floor in less than a day having never worked with the stuff before. The Core-tec comes with a cork underlayment, which helped keep the cost to less than $800 for the product, tax, and delivery to a local store.

Seriously, did they have that much trouble finding a stud?

For the cabinets I decided to go with IKEA. Most complaints seemed to be from people whose livelihood depends on seeing IKEA fail, and for a fraction (literally, about 1/3) of the cost I could get better cabinetry, Blum soft close hardware, and access to all of the interior organizers designed to work with the new Sektion cabinetry system. I waited for a kitchen sale and got 20% directly off of the purchase price, bringing the cabinets in under $5000, including tax and home delivery. 

I originally didn’t want to leave the one wall empty, but the odd length made it nearly impossible to fit corner cabinets in any meaningful way.

I chose the Bodbyn grey cabinet faces, with the intention of getting some kind of white countertop. I love the look of grey and white kitchens. The sink was a bit tricky since I had originally designed it next to the eat-in, and made a last minute change in-store when I was told that that that would not work. In the end, I got a single bowl farmhouse sink and one of the IKEA dishwashers, which are rated second to Bosch for the price range.  I also purchased one of their exhaust hoods that can hold spice jars around the edge. I purchased my drawer pulls, faucet, and countertops elsewhere to match what I had in mind. 

Some problems encountered so far: 

  • The room is neither level nor square. 
  • The wall lengths are odd, and do not lend themselves to easy design for standard sized cabinets, appliances, etc. 
  • The windows are horribly, horribly placed and do not allow for wall cabinets in the corners. 
  • All of the appliances changed location, meaning new electrical and plumbing. Permits are not overly expensive, and it has been more of an inconvenience. 
  • Extensive drywall damage meant that it was easier to just replace the drywall, adding an unexpected cost. 
  • The floor vent was originally located next to the refrigerator and is now covered with cabinets. We removed it prior to installing the floor, knowing that it would need to be relocated. We ultimately decided to move it under the eat-in. 

Doberman Genetics/WZ Registration/Albinism

Facepalm Friday has come early folks. 

If you’re at all familiar with Doberman, you know that “Z-factor” or WZ registration is kind of a big deal. If you’re not, Google it real quick. Undoubtedly the entire first page is filled with forum and blog and breeder posts berating the existence of these dogs. You will probably see posts like the one below: 

Or this:

According to these, WZ (or “Z-factored”) Doberman are albinos, right? Or at least definitively carry the gene for albinism. 


This is probably the biggest myth and misconception about WZ Doberman. “Z” is NOT a gene, it is a registration tracking device based solely on the phenotype of one ancestor. “Z” is not, nor has it ever been, an actual testable gene. WZ was used prior to DNA sequencing technology to track any dog that descended from the original albino Doberman, without knowing if they carried the gene or not. 

So pop quiz. Given the definitions provided by our friend in the Facebook post and the folks over at Idlewild Doberman, is this a WZ Doberman?

If you said “No,” you are absolutely… Wrong. This Doberman has a WZ number. 

Some of you are probably thinking, “but tUH, that dog is CLEARLY not albino/white coated/whatever, how is that possible?” And some are probably hunched in a corner guarding their dog’s 10 generation pedigree and COI thinking, “nasty tricksy little dobe has the nasty Z gene.” 

Okay, fair assessment. So then we add this: 

(This is the UC Davis VGL report stating that the Doberman shown above is genetically incapable of producing an albino. He DOES NOT possess the gene that produces albinos, the demonized “Z gene.”) Soooo… If it doesn’t look like a rat and it doesn’t act like a rat…It must be a rat? That’s illogical. 

Saying that WZ Doberman carry the albino gene and will “eventually throw a white pup” would be akin to me saying, “hey, since your great-great-great-great-grandfather got cancer, you must carry the cancer gene” or, “since you have one red head person in your ten generational pedigree then you must carry the red head gene.” Is it possible that you inherited a gene for either of those? Of course. Is it a given? Far from it. If DNA shows that you are incapable of producing a red head, is it fair of me to run around calling you a ginger? No! (Not that it would be nice regardless.) Or say that you MUST be hot-headed because there was once-upon-a-time a red head in your family? That’s just ignorant and narrow-minded. 

Have people exploited albino Doberman as “rare” to make an extra buck? Yeah, but no more so than unscrupulous breeders of poorly bred WS Doberman have taken advantage of their dogs. Plenty of sickly, poorly built, temperamentally unstable Doberman who are NOT WZ registered make their way into the hands of people spouting nonsense about WZ, when their own dog is just as inbred and likely to die early. 

When there was no better way to test for the presence of the albinism gene the WZ registration was a good option. But now we have all kinds of testing available to potentially increase the gene pool in a breed so miserably lacking in diversity that to turn down an otherwise healthy and temperamentally sound dog solely because of a registration number is cutting off our nose to spite our face. Doberman breeders need to take diversity where they can find it, and look at the individual dog, regardless of registration or lineage, to determine soundness for breeding. 

As a side note, the Doberman pictured above is also less inbred than breed average, less homozygous (homozygosity increases likelihood for disease) than breed average, and has a relatively rare haplotype group that could benefit breed diversity if bred back into the general gene pool. 

I in no way support the blanket reassignment of registration numbers; however, in a dog that does not carry the gene for which WZ registration was created, and who is otherwise healthy, it is time that the DPCA and the AKC assign a non-stigmatized registration number and stop ostracizing diverse blood from the gene pool.