Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of not going to an office every day and stayed home to build cabinetry. Though I had planned on posting pics of everything I was working on, the reality is that I was so busy with my cabinetry-cation (and since), that I haven’t gotten the chance to post updates on everything I got done. So, sorry about the delays, but here goes.
I started my staycation with 2 upper cabinets finished* and installed – the upper corner lazy susan cabinet and a relatively straightforward cabinet that mounted next to it. (See the picture to the right.) I had also gotten a really good head start on most of the base and remaining upper cabinetry in the kitchen, but it wasn’t really ready to go. Here’s how the week shook out.
I Changed Direction
After installing those first two upper cabinets, Mr PoP and I went to install the other upper cabinet that was to go on the left side of the corner as was the plan shown in this picture:
But when we put it up there, neither of us were really a fan of it without being able to put our fingers on it. So that got pulled down and instead I spent a good chunk of this week building an open shelf (similar to this design from Ana White) to go in that spot instead. I’m pretty sure I like it, but I’ll probably hold off on getting rid of the already-built left hand cabinet for a while until I’m absolutely sure this is for us since in the past Mr PoP and I had talked about open shelving and been wary of it for cat and gross-ness reasons. (Any ideas on what we should put on these shelves?)
There were two big take-homes from this:
- It’s nice (well, as nice as it can be while requiring 2x the effort!) to be able to build two different items and actually test them out to see which we’ll like better – one of the often ignored benefits of DIY!
- Cutting curves is hard – really hard. The first one I did with the jigsaw was atrocious! Luckily, power sanders really helped remedy the problems from my imperfect cutting.
I Built Some Custom Drawers
One of the biggest reasons that I wanted to build our own cabinetry was that it would give me the opportunity to build some truly awesome drawer features without incurring a huge amount of extra cost for them. I had seen estimates of $300/drawer for every toe-kick drawer, and I wanted those and so much more without paying those steep prices.
The first ones I worked on were some really cool drawers that are going to be in the corner base unit above a big lazy Susan for our pots and pans. Instead of pulling out straight from the wall, though, these drawers pull out at a 45-degree angle from the corner. Doesn’t make sense? Here’s a couple pictures:
The cool thing about these drawers (and there are two, despite there only being one in these pictures) is that not only will their unique shape bring me great joy, but they are also deeper than normal drawers, running on 28″ sliders instead of on 22″ sliders. For now, I’m thinking they’ll be used to store lids for the pots and pans that will live below on the lazy susan, but we’ll see if that plan changes over time.
Cutting and fitting the bottoms into these drawers was tough, too – requiring me to once again use the jigsaw to make the bulk of the cuts and then follow it up with a good amount of sanding to get the fits right.
Then I also built some toe-kick drawers since I wanted the slides for these already installed before the bottom cabinets go in. While the toe-kick drawers were easier to build than the the curved open shelves or the corner drawers (rectangles are soooooo much easier!!), getting the slides and everything lined up exactly ended up taking way longer than I thought it would. And sadly, as Mr PoP reminded me when I showed him how straight and spot on I had finally gotten the two adjacent toe-kick drawers on the kitchen-sink cabinet, I will be the only one that ever really notices how perfectly level they are. (And sadly I forgot to take a picture of it before I took the slides off to varnish them, so I can’t even prove it here!) But I’m kindof okay with that.
I built a couple of other simpler drawers, and even made a temporary custom insert for our silverware with some scrap wood.
I also made good progress on this drawer that I’m calling my “no-counter-clutter” drawer. It’s not quite installed yet, but you can get the idea. This drawer will go right between the stove and fridge (see the hole in the pic with the toekick drawer for its future location) and will be my go-to place for items that I don’t want taking up precious counter space. On the left we have 3 stainless steel bins that will be stand-up storage for cooking utensils like spatulas, spoons, ladles, etc. Then on the right we’ll have dedicated storage for paper towels and clean hand-towels and kitchen wash cloths.
Also note again, cutting circles is hard! Luckily these stainless steel bins have enough of a lip on them that we won’t ever see my imperfect jigsaw cuts.
I (Mostly) Finished the Lower Cabinets
With the exception of a couple more custom drawers that can be installed after the cabinets are in place, the lower cabinets are now getting installed. After grouting some more of the floor this past weekend, Mr PoP and I got the first couple of lower cabinets installed (the corner and sink cabinets) and have two more sitting in place waiting for us to have a little more time to get them in.
We tossed a couple of pieces of spare wood on top of them and instantly increased our available “counter space” by ~1000%! (Huge gains like that are easy when you’re starting with a < 1sqft cutting board as your only counter space.)
So this is where we are now:
Starting to look like a kitchen, eh? (Okay, so technically 2 of the base cabinets – the one right of the fridge and the one left of the dishwasher aren’t screwed into the wall yet. But they’re ready!)
I’m going to try and get some temporary counters cut out of the ½” maple plywood sections that came included in our order as packing material and then we’ll really be in business.
So What’s Left?
There’s still a fair amount to do, especially in the dining room which will have two big units (built of several smaller ones). But I really did get a ton done on the cabinetry as well as taking care of some other long overdue items around the house. And it’s a huge plus that our back patio (at least for now) looks less hoarder-ish now that those cabinets are in place inside. =)
What would you do with a week-long stay-cation?