With all the holes now patched up, including the rat entrance around the old gas pipe and valve that are still sticking out of the wall, we have installed the base cabinets. Here are the cabinets we chose, from Ikea. The fronts, at least, are solid wood, and they fit our measly educator/non-profit employee budget at $1100. The full overlay is an acceptable substitute for the face-frame, for me.
The idea is to paint them, with appropriate bronze hardware, to match these in the breakfast nook. Not to make them blotchy like these partially stripped guys, but to paint the entire set in the same cream color. I should mention, I've tried every stripper method I know on this pantry; chemicals, heat etc., but the thing that worked the best, and cleanest, was just peeling off the layers with a razor blade. The layers are 1/8 thick in some areas, and they peel with diligent coercion.
Here is where we are now, about 36 work-hours into the project. The fronts had to be ordered and we are picking them up in a few weeks from an Ikea warehouse. The wood-colored post in the cabinet center is my own replacement of a part Ikea got wrong. I didn't feel like fighting with them over the phone about how they had given me an older cabinet and a 2009-model rotating tray. In the past their telephone customer service wasn't great.
The countertop and floor haven't been ordered yet because I thought I'd be pink-slipped this week in surprise cuts. It has been depressing to walk into the unfinished kitchen everyday thinking it might look like this for months. I don't know how I became lucky, because I'm usually not, and am sad to be losing so many friends and good people from my workplace.
I'm doing the plumbing myself. My mom asked me how that was different from the mess the flipper left us in, and wondered if I should call a plumber. But I've done code research, and if it really gets screwed up then I will call someone. Working in my favor is that every bit of the plumbing is exposed under the house, the drain already at the proper incline, and easy to install. In the crawlspace, however, the glue smells awful!