Ben the Builder

Our boys are fans of Handy Manny, not Bob the Builder, but building better describes what Ben was up to.  Maybe we could call his cousin/apprentice, Sam, Handy Sammy.  Last Friday, Ben bought twelve sheets of 3/4 inch cabinet grade plywood.  You see where I’m going with this, right?  Yes, cabinets are built.  Kind of.  The boxes are assembled.  Before Ben could start cutting, we had to do a lot of measuring and some bickering.  Both indoors and out in the garage.  The measuring, not bickering.

After tons of cutting, Ben had a stack of plywood to piece together like a three-dimensional puzzle.  A line of glue around the edges first.

Followed up by several nails to hold the sides together tightly.

After each cabinet piece was assembled, Ben checked to see if everything was square by measuring diagonally each direction.

Surprisingly, building nine frames only took a few hours.  Of course, they’re far from finished, but here’s the super rough version of the peninsula, on the left, with the lower sink cabinet to the far right.  The cabinet on top will be divided into two with doors.

Just so you can get an idea of how huge these are, here’s Vincent modeling the coffin cabinet.  (Just to clarify, we joked that Ben was building coffins because these cabinet are so huge.  I have no intentions of tossing Vincent in one, other than for this picture.)  Sam (on the left) is a little over six feet tall.  Yeah, I won’t be able to reach the top shelf without a chair or stool to stand on.

And, here’s what the stove side will look like.

Yesterday afternoon, I primed the insides of the cabinets.  Afterward, I got a raging headache.  We (meaning Ben and Sam while I ‘supervised’) also cut pieces for the drawers.  I know these boxes are far from finished, but it’s a start.  Still to do:

  • Build drawers and prime and paint the insides
  • Build two by four bases for the toe kick
  • Install the drawers, then build drawer fronts
  • Prime and paint the drawer fronts and visible outsides of the cabinets
  • Install in the house, the add the face framing for a seamless look
  • More priming and painting

Speaking of painting, here’s a glimpse of where we’re headed.

Color me excited.  Literally.  We saved some money on the paint, too.  More pricing details coming tomorrow.

Do you and your spouse bicker about little details?  Have you remodeled a kitchen?  I think planning a DIY kitchen remodel should be part of marriage classes.  If you can successfully plan a kitchen together, I think you can make it through anything.  Haha.

17 thoughts on “Ben the Builder

  1. Again (I feel like I am always saying this to you)- when are you coming to visit and help me with all these projects? I could use a Ben the Builder.

    Looking good!!

  2. Steph, Yep, Ben insisted on building cabinets. Some of our designs are too specific for box store items, so we have to do the work ourselves. 🙂

    Stephanie, You make me laugh. 🙂 Maybe some day when we’re not as busy with our stuff we’ll start a traveling home renovation business. Hahah.


  3. Yes, my hubby and I bicker about EVERYthing. I don’t know if we could stand a kitchen remodel! I will have to suck it up tho, because I’m the design head, but he’s the brawn. If I want something built, I’ll have to go to him! LOL!

  4. I have fantasies about upgrading our kitchen countertops from green Formica to home-made concrete. I originally thought concrete counters would be too industrial for our cottage-house, but then I realized we could stain the concrete to warm it up. But my husband is stuck on my original idea of wooden countertops – while also charming and economical, they are not nearly as durable. How do I convince him that I’m right? ? =)

    1. Andrea, I have the same problem with Ben. Usually, I tell him all of the pros, then he tells me his cons. The problem with wood (we very briefly considered this option): everyone is going to treat it as a cutting board. So, if you want your counters to look pristine (like I do), they probably won’t. Also, you still have to seal the wood. Whether you use an oil finish or otherwise. However, concrete is porous, but wood has the same bacteria problem. I’d just research as much as I could about it and see what people who have each think. I don’t know if that actually helped or not but good luck!


  5. Wow, that is ALOT of work!! You are so lucky you have someone to do it for you and also save a TON of money! I cant even imagine doing something like this with my husband, we would most likely end up not speaking for months, so I give you and yours huge props- you two are awesome!!

    1. Hi LindsB, Oh yes, it’s a LOT of work! But, it should pay off in the end because we can determine every. tiny. detail. Though, that’s part of what makes it difficult. We have to think of every.tiny.detail. Which leaves more room for disagreement. Surprisingly, since actively starting on the kitchen, we’ve agreed pretty easily. Before, we just got annoyed because one couldn’t explain their thoughts adequately to the other. So, hopefully we continue to be as calm with eachother as we have been so far. Thank you so much for your kind words, too!

      Kristen, I’ll be incredibly impressed when we’re done with the cabinets. It seems like such a pain in the butt until you have that “aaaaahhhh” (those were angles singing) moment. But, Ben is fantastic and he does great work. I’m constantly impressed with his talent and awesome ideas. I think we’ll have an abundance of both in the completed kitchen. 🙂


  6. you guys are amazing! I love that you are building your own cabinets. We personally haven’t done any kitchen upgrades recently but my parents did a big reno in their mobile home. They took out a closet and added a penisula to create more counter space and a eating bar for the the grandkids. It is so much fun seeing the before’s and after’s.

  7. We’ve not remodeled anything before, but we do intend to build a house in the future. We hope to do a lot of the work ourselves, though I’m pretty sure we won’t be building our own cabinets (though I know my hubby has the ability to do so) due to the time situation of building/designing an entire house. We have some ideas for when the house is built. I want concrete counters and he wants granite. I think he may be coming around though.

    We have, however, begun building a play house (known as the sandhouse) for the kids, which has caused some bickering. I’ll be glad when it’s done though.

  8. Amanda, I love reading your blog. I think I found it through Just wanted to say “hey” and “kudos” to you guys for building your own cabinets. You will be so glad you did!

    My husband, Dave, & his brother, Patrick built ours. It was wonderful being able to customize certain aspects and make them extra sturdy for a lot less money than store-bought. A lot more work. But who doesn’t love a little DIY?

    Check out my blog post here for more info on our kitchen project and links to the detailed cabinet posts:

  9. Thanks Amanda for checking out my link. No one can believe we did them ourselves in person either. People usually guess they’re KraftMaid cabinets. 🙂 Not long until yours are done too and people will say the same about yours. You will be so pleased with yourselves for doing such a big project!

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