Happy Friday and a Cabinetry Update


First – Happy Friday! You know what I’m happy about today? That the post office changed the printable stamps from the self service kiosk to be Holiday-themed. So I didn’t need to stand in line behind 20+ people at the post office to get some holiday stamps. In hindsight I should have pre-ordered the stamps when I saw the flyer from the post office saying they would deliver them to our door. But I procrastinated… so I ended up with these.

They’re are a step above the ones that print a little flag on them, but not a huge step. (What can I say, I never quite understood the appeal of Peanuts…) So Happy Friday thanks to the USPS! =P

And Now For The Cabinetry Update

Here’s where the kitchen stood on our last update.


While there have been some changes since then, I feel like there haven’t been nearly enough given the time that has passed. But I’ve been foiled on multiple fronts between the rain and the lack of sunlight. The horrible imposition that is adjusting the clocks forward for Daylight Saving Time* has been pretty brutal when it comes to making mid-week progress on my cabinetry-making endeavors. These days the sun is fully down by 6pm, which is around the time that I’m usually pulling in to our driveway on my bicycle after work. Which presents two challenges:

  1. No matter how confident I am in the safety guards on my lovely table saw, I’m still not going to use it with only a motion sensitive light to see by. Mr PoP likes me with 10 fingers…
  2. Sanding and varnishing goes much better under bright sunlight than trying to make sure I’ve got surfaces evenly coated while working under weak outdoor overhead lights and lots of shadows.

So I can sometimes get little steps done on week nights, but for the most part, cabinetry-making has been pushed to the weekends and those even have been pretty busy even without cabinetry making! Here’s what I’ve gotten done since the last update.

We Finished Installing The Base Cabinets

The bottom cabinets are all installed, and the new fridge and stove are in place, though only with temporary installations awaiting the full countertop installation. Once the Bottom Cabinets were installed, I also finished and installed temporary countertops across all of them out of scrap 1/2″ maple plywood that had been included as packing material in our plywood order. Having countertops again (even makeshift ones like these!) has made a world of difference, though admittedly we’re already starting to forget how difficult life was for all those months without counters!


And Built Out the Cabinetry Above the Dishwasher

The other thing that having the countertops put in helped us with was in visualizing some of the upper cabinets. After changing direction and going with a corner shelf unit to the right of our kitchen window, we wanted to actually SEE how much space we would have to deal with before finalizing the plans on the cabinet on the other side of that window. This was to be the main storage area for our dishes, so we wanted it big enough to hold the new set of dishes I picked up at the thrift store this summer. But after living with the one set of open shelves for a little while, we decided that we liked the feel of them even if they weren’t quite as flexible for storage. In the name of symmetry, we decided to go ahead and build this 2 part unit to go above the dishwasher.


I’m actually really proud of this piece. It’s built in two pieces, and they actually kindof nest together like puzzle pieces for a really snug fit. (I meant to take a picture of the join before we mounted of it, but can’t find one so I must have forgotten!) We mounted the box on the left first, and when it came to mount the open shelves to the right of it, after tapping them into place with a hammer, the fit was so snug that there was no need to use any hands to support it once it was up there. We did, of course, add screws to fully attach it. (The last thing we need is heavy shelves settling and falling down in the middle of the night!) But I was very proud of how nicely everything lined up and fit together perfectly despite Mr PoP’s initial doubts! Also, it’s worth noting that the curved shelves were WAY easier to build the second time.

IMG_5601The bulk of our new-to-us dish set also fits in the cabinet, the exception being two serving bowls and a serving platter, which will find a home somewhere eventually. Also, I just want to say that after finally unwrapping all of these dishes after buying them from the thrift store in May, I’m pretty darned happy with them and with the $100 we spent on the whole huge set to replace our dwindling set of mismatched dishes from our college years (which ended 10 years ago!). Mr PoP thinks I am subconsciously drawn to them because the design resembles graph paper, and there may be some truth to that. What can I say, I am drawn to patterns and materials that are either solid colors or that can be constructed with a compass and a straight edge!

Then I Started In On the Pantry Unit

Part of moving the wall to widen the kitchen meant that we tore out the tiny built-in pantry. This all happened a YEAR ago. So for the last twelve months the bulk of our “pantry” has been a large cardboard box which we moved around the house until it stopped on the floor of our bedroom about 5 months ago. The pantry box was never meant to be a permanent (or even semi-permanent) fixture in the PoP household. We knew *kindof* what we wanted the replacement pantry to be, but we’ve actually gone through several different design iterations on it, including getting some help and advice from one of our great readers, Jason.

The pantry cabinet we had in mind from the start was going to be tall (7-7.5 ft!), wide (~6ft), but not very deep (12-18″ max). It would run along the wall across from the new window in our dining area. Because of its placement in front of the main walkway between the living room and kitchen, we tried REALLY hard to figure out a way to make sliding doors work on this unit. Sadly, or perhaps not so sadly considering how expensive coplanar sliding door hardware is**, we couldn’t figure out how to get the design quirks of the sliding door hardware to match with the cabinetry in the rest of the kitchen. So we’ll have regular-old doors and will just have to be diligent about closing them when we’re not using them!

So far, the pantry is about half built – the bottom half to be specific. It’s 18 inches deep, just shy of six feet wide, 40 inches tall, and heavy as hell.


The small cabinet on top is the correct depth, but 14″ shorter than the upper portion of the pantry will be when it’s done. And, of course, it’ll extend the full width of the bottom half.

I mostly assembled this half while Mr PoP was out of town for Thanksgiving, and the last couple of weekends had me getting drawer slides and drawers installed for it since just the bottom half has eight sets of drawer slides. (Four will be small shelves/removable cutting boards, two will be large drawers that I think will be used for random kitchen stuff (I’m looking at you measuring cups and measuring spoons…), two are large sliding trays that will store our big kitchen appliances (and Scooba!), and there are two toe kick drawers underneath this unit that took forever to line up properly!) It’s not installed yet since we need to cut a hole in the back for the outlet to be accessible from the inside of the cabinet since we’ll have at least two things that require power inside this cabinet when it’s all done.

I’m hoping to start on the top half this coming weekend, or worst case in my next cabinetry-cation, which will start just before Christmas and last a week! It shouldn’t be quite as complicated to build since there won’t be drawers and shelves (just shelves!), but it’s another big unit that will take some time!

* Having lived with and without daylight saving time adjustments at different times in my life, I much prefer the latter. However, since the Sunshine Protection Bill seems to be going nowhere, the best we can hope for while still living in Florida is the ability to dictate our own schedules – a goal we are indeed working toward.

** Fancy coplanar sliding door hardware would have cost $1,500-$3,000 for this pantry. Not kidding.


What are you happy about this Friday?

11 comments to Happy Friday and a Cabinetry Update

  • Wow. Just, wow. I continue to be so incredibly impressed.
    Miser Mom recently posted..Encouragement. Rewards. Drums.My Profile

  • I’m super impressed by your progress. We just finished our IKEA cabinets and will have the countertops installed (by someone else) in a few weeks.

    The pantry idea is really fun (maybe something for a future kitchen).

  • Great progress. Congrats on the hard work.

    On the stamps, we got a little pamphlet in the mail a few weeks ago where we could fill out a form, put a check, stick it back in our mailbox, and our carrier brought us our stamps in two days. And it was the same price as if you went and stood in line or used the machine. So, something to consider for next time!
    Money Beagle recently posted..6 Low Cost Ways Our Family Enjoys The HolidaysMy Profile

    • We got the same post office pamphlet and I remember thinking what a great idea that would be and then misplacing the flyer and not getting it done in time. =P Totally my fault, but next year!

  • James

    Super impressed by your custom cabinets! They make me think that, when the time comes, custom cabinets might be the way to go.

    I’m going to be that guy and mention that, assuming you are speaking about the latest clock shift, we actually set the clock back not forward in order to return to standard time from Daylight Saving Time.

  • You folks are just soooo amazing! I wouldn’t even dare to launch into a project like this. And how excellent that your dishes fit in the cabinet. The fancy over-the-counter cabinetry installed by the previous owner here will not old my plates…or much of anything. So I have to put the entire set of dinnerware in the sliding drawers — and since they’re heavy stoneware, you know those drawers are going to fall apart like the minister’s one-hoss shay — sooner than later.

    Very handsome plate, BTW…nice buy!

    The other day among the 85 berjillion postal customers I got stuck behind, there was a woman who was determined to get EXACTLY THE RIGHT DESIGNER EFFECT with her stupid Christmas stamps. She stood there and argued with the CSR about which stamp size, color, and motif would be best for the given envelopes she was sending. Arghhh! It took her a good ten minutes to buy the darn stamps.
    Funny about Money recently posted..Roomie Heads WestMy Profile

  • I love how those open-shelved uppers turned out! Everything’s looking great! And yay for “countertops”! Going without them was definitely one of the more difficult parts of our reno. The other has been the same as you – finding time to work on kitchen stuff when their’s daylight. Up here in MT, it starts to get dark around 430, so it’s pretty much weekends (when it’s not absolutely freezing out) or not-at-all when it comes to woodwork. Needless to say we haven’t had much time to work on our dining room table (the last big part of our remodel that involves being outside).

    Looking forward to more updates and hope you had a lovely holiday season!
    Mrs. FI recently posted..2015 Finances – Where Did Our Money Go?My Profile

    • 4:30! That’s terrible! Reminds me of the year I spent living in England. The winter was terrible because you’d leave class a little after 4 and it’d be dark! Luckily we’re to the point where the days are getting longer, so hopefully that works in both of our favors before too long.

      Thanks so much for the kind words on the shelves. How are you finding your new cabinets after using them for a few months?

      • The days and weather are starting to cooperate once again. We’re actually in the 60’s this week. IN FEBRUARY. If this keeps up we’ll have plenty of good outdoor time to get things done! I hope you guys are experiencing the same! And we love our new cabinets. They kick our old cabinets’ metaphorical butts 😉