Monday, August 20

Base Cabinets - DIY Style

Sometimes taking a project really slow turns out to be a good thing. Saturday night we (once again) had a change of plans for our kitchen! If you want to follow the evolution of our kitchen plans you can see my original inspiration post here:

My original design plan here:

And my most recent plans here:

The footprint hasn't changed, but we did tweak one thing. The space under the window on the right wall was going to be left open for a stool - mostly because the window goes below the cabinet line and because there is a vent there. But after a quick brainstorming session, we quickly decided we couldn't miss the opportunity to add some more storage (and value!). We drew up a plan that would make the most of the space with one large cabinet and one set of drawers, and got to busy that very night.

 We definitely don't have the budget for anything as drastic as moving the window up, but we did find a way to work around the obstacles. We didn't wast to mess with the window trim - it is original and matches the rest of the house, we want it to still be there if we (or the next owners) ever want to open things back up - so we made our new cabinets shallower than standard so they could sit in front of the window and trim. You can find basic cabinet building instruction here, we just modified them to be only 22" deep which left 2" of space behind the cabinet. Here is a basic sketch of the layout:

A couple things to note here:
  1. The space behind the cabinet - it allows it to sit in front of the window frame.
  2. The spacers in the corner - anytime you have a corner in cabinetry (unless it's something like a lazy Susan, of course) you need to have spacers. If you don't your cabinet doors and drawers won't open properly because the knobs will be in the way of each other.
  3. We built our cabinet units first - then we measure the openings before making our doors & drawers to make sure we get a perfect fit.

So this is where the new layout put us. Can you believe how much storage that added? Really, we would have been crazy not to do it. And if you're worried about the window, we only blocked the bottom few inches so plenty of light still comes in and we can still slide it open. To keep things looking pretty from outside, we painted the back of the cabinets white (so no bare plywood is visible).

 My sister S tested out the new peninsula layout by mixing up the best cheesecake ever. Seriously. There is cookie dough in it. And we all agreed the peninsula was a keeper. It added so much work space without feeling too big or crowded.

 Once we got the cabinet built (see how-to build basic cabinets here) we made the face frames. We found it was easiest to assemble them on the floor like this...

 ... and then attach it to the cabinet. It kept things looking more even and tidy.

For our door openings, we just framed the cabinet with 1x2's and will make doors to match later. For the drawers we wanted to be a little more precise. We plan to use 1x6s for the drawer fronts (which are actually 5 1/2" wide) so we framed our drawer openings about 5 3/4" wide, which will inset the drawers and leave about 1/8" of space above and below. We're still working on the drawers, but I'll add a post with more details about that once they are finished!

So this is where we're at. Everything is built and trimmed out! We are working on drawers and doors, and have plans to do countertops during a long weekend next month. I'll keep you posted! :)

This is definitely the kind of project that reminds us DIY isn't all fun and games. I have made so many mistakes already - mostly involving measuring and math. Including making every.single.drawer the wrong size on my first try. Major fail. But fortunately my level headed husband is always there to fix my problems and keep us moving forward! And, you know, do math stuff. And he's cute so that's a bonus. :)

Anybody else tackling some long overdue projects this weekend?


  1. Amazing project! Although I am trying to get away from saying 'amazing' and 'awesome,' so your project is...stupefying.

    I nominated you for The Sunshine Award. Check it out:

    1. Ha ha! :) Why thank you!
      That is so sweet Rhetta! I'm going to check it out now! Thank you!