Cabinet Doors? Done

Almost.  I’ve got some touch up painting to do, but I’ll explain that later.  On Saturday, Ben built eight cabinet doors including two glass frames.  Details to come later, but you can bet I filled the doors right away.  Sunday morning I sanded those babies down and filled a few areas again.  While impatiently tapping my fingers waiting for filler to dry, I dreamed about installed cabinet doors.  A few hours later, I gave the doors a final sanding and started painting with my two in one Behr paint.  Love that I don’t have to prime.

I don’t know why, but Behr paint seems to dry faster than any other brand.  Which is good news for me because I got two coats of paint on the fronts of the cabinets on Sunday.  Then I flipped ’em over on Monday and gave the backs two more coats.  Tuesday morning, I flipped back to the front for one more coat.

Once that coat dried, I hauled the doors up to the kitchen and propped them in place.  You know, just to get a feel of what they would look like.  Because I’m impatient like that.

That’s when I discovered a problem.  The two glass door frames were about 1/8 inch wider than their lower counterparts.

Ben happened to come home to get his wallet during this and I pointed out the problem.

When Ben got home that afternoon, I politely asked begged, pleaded, and whined for him to install the cabinet doors.  He ripped down the glass door frames to make everything even and flush.  Then he started with the install of the fridge and bar doors.  To install the hidden hinges, Ben measured and marked his the hole locations.  He carefully drilled into the frames to hollow out a hole to recess the hinge in.

I admit, I was holding my breath while watching this.  Ben is skilled (as you all know) but I imagined him drilling too far or popping a screw through the front.  Luckily, everything went smoothly, other than one screw head breaking off.  Then he popped the hinge in, used a square to keep it straight and put 3/4 inch screws in to hold it in place.

Handy Sammy was over for dinner, so he held the door up for Ben to hang.  I’m too short, I can’t reach.  Okay, I’m not that short, but it is nice to pawn a job off on an unsuspecting guest.

We didn’t want the wood cabinet frames to split, so Ben used a small drill bit to make a pilot hole, followed by a 1 1/4 inch screw in each hinge to hold the door in place.  After the two bar and two fridge cabinets, Ben called it quits for the night and took a shower.  While I was in the shower, Ben did a little more work.  I walked out to see two door knobs in the fridge cabinets.

Speaking of the knobs, I had a little trouble deciding on the placement.  Like Goldilocks, one was too low; centered in the bottom corner.

Another was too high; the outer edge of the knob above the bottom edge detail.

But one was juuuust right.  And Ben agreed.  Centered width wise on the edge detail, but also centered on the cross edge.

Fortunately for me, this made measuring a cinch.  I just lined my ruler up with the raised detail and marked 1 1/4 inch from the edge (because our banding is 2 1/2 inches wide).

Yesterday afternoon, Ben finished installing the doors.  Where’d the microwave go?  Oh, it’s hidden behind a cabinet door.  Sneaky us.

And now you can’t see our pile of mail or the toaster.  But you can see our pretty dishes!

Add a few sparkly knobs and we’re done.  Wait, we’re not.  I’ve got to paint the crown moulding, those MDF brown trim pieces we’ve added, repaint the edges of the glass frames, and, oh yeah.  Get glass!  Notice the lack of glare?  Ben thinks we should leave the doors glass-less so we always have clean and clear glass that’s under control (not to be confused with the face cleanser).

And I’ve already made this a long post, so why not make it a little longer, all in the name of eye candy?  Oooooh, shiiiny.

I did realize why the knobs were so cheap, though.  Some of the bolts are bent.  Nothing Ben and a little man muscle can’t fix.

Edit:  Here are the pictures I promised to add.  I’ll have to touch up the paint on the glass frames.

And, here’s something I really love.  Ben bought soft close hinges.  No more slamming doors.

We’ve got tons more storage on the bar side, too.  So far, the only thing inside is Ben’s food dehydrator.

We used three hinges on these heavy guys.

Once we get the glass in the frames we’ll have a full cabinet building post.  I’m just excited we’ve covered the gaping holes and you can’t see our junk.  Before, it was like we left our zipper down, but no one told us.  Well, we figured it out.

One more thing checked off our to do list, one step closer to a finished kitchen, but it’s finally starting to look finished.  Just a little more sanding, priming, and painting…  Of course then we’ve got organizing and little building projects to do, but nothing that has to be done.

What do you think?  What’s your favorite part?  Who’s excited to see some paint on those walls?

I Like Big Drawers and I Cannot Lie

Due to the impending holiday, we’ve been slacking in the kitchen update department.  Shame on us.  Spank us and take away our birthdays.  Yesterday, we did share a cabinet painting tutorial, but I know you really want to see the installed, finished product.  Am I right?  After locking myself in the basement bedroom for several hours each day for a week, I finally finished priming and painting the fronts and backs of 20 drawers.

We’ve found the easiest way to install drawer fronts is by first marking and drilling holes for the handles.  Use a spacer as a guide to keep the spacing even.  In our case, we wanted a 3/4 inch reveal on all sides of the stack, so a few scraps of 3/4 inch plywood worked wonderfully.  While Handy Sammy held the drawer front in place, Ben put a screw in the holes he drilled for the handles.

For spacing between the drawers Ben used two quarters stacked together and followed the same process.  Once he liked the spacing, he went back and screwed the fronts on from inside the drawers.

Easy enough, right?

Yeah, kinda.  Some how, I don’t quite know because Ben is perfect, he misjudged the depth and screwed into the center, popping the screw through the drawer front.  He said he did it to show he is human because that fact is easily forgotten.  Haha, nerd!

In a few hours, we finished fourteen of the twenty fronts, including the stove side:

What a big difference it makes.  The lower drawers are finished.  Minus minor touch ups like one screw pop and scratches.  Oh, and you can see we decided on two handles for each of the large drawers.  Just one seemed dinky.

Ben and I agreed the handles looked better centered on each drawer.

You can see the small stack was still lacking in the drawer front department.  And, where’s Vincent?

And, here’s a look at our false front covered trash drawer.  Notice we framed out the upper cabinets, too.

We’ve got three more false fronts on the back of the peninsula.

Obviously, the other side has real drawers, and there’s also a stack of drawer fronts opening in the dining room.  Rather than a blank like the end panels, we decided to go with the false fronts.  Ben drilled the holes for the handles first, attached the handles, then screwed the panels on from inside the cabinet.

The functional drawers are customized, too.  Everything looks normal behind the curtain, right?

Wrong!  The protruding window sill called for a smaller top drawer to avoid smashing into granite.  This is the only drawer front we didn’t center the handle on.  Instead, we wanted the handles to line up to so everything looks the same.

There’s no denying it, the kitchen is starting to look finished.  Lower cabinets: done!

We found a mini microwave from Home Depot, too.  Man was than an ordeal.  It just fits in the cabinet.  When Ben told me he built the cabinet 20 inches wide, I assumed that was the inside dimension.  You know what they say about assuming…  The inside dimension is 18 inches wide and most microwaves are 18 or 19 inches.  So we started thinking of different places we could put a microwave.

Option 1: Inside one of the bar cabinets.

But those cabinets aren’t deep enough because the cabinet is built around the support post.  Next idea.

Option 2: Removing a drawer to add a microwave hidden behind a door.  We have two small-ish drawer stacks to choose from, but in the peninsula.  The front-runner to remove was the middle drawer opening on the dining side.

But it seemed inconvenient to microwave something in the dining room.  If we did this, we’d also lost a fair amount to storage space in the depth of the cabinet.  We would have the same problem if we put the microwave in the middle drawer of the kitchen peninsula.

Option 3:  Build a buffet to house a microwave and other stuff.  When we bought the marble for our dining table, we also bought a piece to top off a buffet.  Then, we gave the small desk to my sister and liked how open the room felt.

Again, not the most convenient location, and building another piece of furniture isn’t going to happen right now.

Option 4:  Build a new, wider upper cabinet to fit a microwave.  I may have mentioned this idea to Ben which he very quickly rejected.  I don’t blame him, after all, we had just added the trim detail.

Option 5:  Live without a microwave.  At first, I thought this wouldn’t be very difficult, but how would I make a baked potato?  Certainly not the old-fashioned way in the oven.

We’re so glad we found a microwave to fit in the intended cabinet.  High-fives abounded.  I never thought I’d be that excited about a cheap, ugly microwave.

That’s what we’ve been up to.  Holiday decorating, kitchen updating, and Minnesota planning.  What’s new with you?  Any kitchen work going on?  Holiday decorating and planning?  Are you going to stop by Goodwill to meet up with us?  Do you prefer a hidden microwave?  Ever gotten excited about a small appliance?

On the Drawer Front

Yesterday, we shared some of our kitchen progress.  On Sunday, Ben the builder and Handy Sammy worked on drawer fronts.  We have a post in the works detailing how we made our own cabinets, drawers, drawer fronts, and cabinet doors, so I won’t get into too much detail right now.  Basically, Ben cut a sheet of 1/2 inch thick MDF to the drawer sizes.  Then he cut countless strips of 1/4 inch thick MDF into 2 1/2 inch wide strips.  Then, he glues…

and nails (using the same pin nails) the thin strips on the 1/2 inch MDF.

Wipe away the excess glue and you’ve got a drawer front.

Repeat these steps twenty or so times and you’re almost done.

Ben likes to run each edge through the table saw to get everything perfectly lined up.  Once that’s done, he passes the unfinished fronts on to me.  Montana winter is setting in, so I hauled all 20 drawer fronts to the large basement bedroom to get started on filling the holes and seams.

In a way, I’m happy Ben used pin nails.  The holes are tiny, which makes filling easier.  At the same time, it makes finding the nail holes much more difficult.  Can you spy all six nail holes in this picture?

The brown flecks in the MDF make it difficult to decide whether I see a nail hole or just a spot.  But, I just filled every hole and crack I saw.  I like to use my finger to fill nail holes and a small spatula to fill the seams.

Two episodes of Bones later, I finished.

With the fronts!  I still have to fill all four sides of the drawers.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to fill some seams.  I think I’m going to go crazy after that.  After that, tons of sanding, priming and painting.  Yep, I’ve got plenty to keep me busy.  And you thought our kitchen was chugging right along.  This is going to take a while.

Does filling holes, priming, and painting drive you batty?  How about waiting for paint to dry?  I’m so not looking forward to all that painting, but I want pretty drawers.  Wish me luck.  Hopefully we’ll have something to share in a week or two.

Just Face It

As I had hoped, we crossed a few more items off our kitchen to do list.

  • Install the new dishwasher.  Did that on Thursday night.
  • Sand the ceiling and walls smooth
  • Build the five remaining drawers we’ve waited on (we needed to see how things were in place before we could build one drawer in the dining room, the trash can pull out, and the under the sink drawer)
  • Fill, sand, prime and paint said drawers
  • Install every drawer, 16 total
  • Buy the wood for the counters.  Hopefully we’ll get a call today!
  • Haul the wood slabs to a cabinet shop to have them sand both sides smooth
  • Cut the wood to fit and install the counters
  • Hang the upper cabinets
  • Add decorative face trim to all cabinets for a smooth, pretty, even front
  • Fill, sand, prime, and paint all cabinet faces
  • Build the drawer and cabinet fronts, including two glass front doors
  • More filling, sanding, priming, and painting of the cabinet fronts
  • Install the drawer fronts and hardware pulls
  • Prime and paint the kitchen and living room.  Probably the dining room too.
  • Add lights: sconces, recessed light halos, and the rope lighting
  • Trim out the posts and door frames
  • Add crown molding to the top of the cabinets
  • Decide whether we want to add decorative trim to the vent hood or paint it to match the wall color
  • Install the pretty new marble tile backsplash
  • Put everything back in place and enjoy
Ben built five drawers: the top dining side:
See the window sill?  We had to make this drawer narrower than the others so it doesn’t hit the sill.  Instead of wasting three inches on the entire stack, Ben attached a few plywood scraps to build the cabinet out to the width of just the top drawer.
Three for the drawer stack we thought would be the trash drawer:
The top drawer by the sink isn’t installed because we ran out of drawer glides.  We bought 15 when we planned to have only two drawers in that stack.  We’ll install it once we get another set of glides.
And one under the sink:
I think this one is my favorite, just because I’ve never seen a drawer under the sink, and it’s so much more functional with the drawer.  To cover the exposed plywood edges, we filled the top with wood filler, let it dry, then sanded it smooth.
We could have used iron-on wood veneer, but it peeled off easily when we tested it for the laundry room.  That’s why I’ve made a few light fixtures with it.
After fitting the drawers, Ben started on the cabinet face framing.  Quarter inch MDF cut into strips cover the rough plywood edges.
Visible cabinet ends got a layer of 1/2 inch MDF followed by a 2 1/2 inch wide by 1/4 inch thick MDF decorative frame.
Wood filler seals the cracks.  Once everything is sanded, it should have a seamless edge.
We have a special plan to deal with the bare back and the drawer front for the dining side.
And, the trim covers the gap between the dishwasher and counter.
If all goes well, I’ll have the trim sanded and primed later today.  Hoping Everett takes a long nap.
What did you do this weekend?  Start or finish any big projects?  Planned out your Thanksgiving dinner menu?  Rake up leaves?  We tried but then it snowed.  Can you believe winter has already started?  Folks in warm climates, please send your weather our way.

Manormous Cabinet

All of our lower cabinets are in and we’ve even installed one of the three uppers.  A giant cabinet over the refrigerator, in fact.  We decided to frame out our refrigerator for a more finished look.  This started with hanging the large cabinet, screwing into the joists and studs along the back wall.

Now do you realize how huge.  It is 36 inches wide, two feet tall and 29 inches deep.  In a small kitchen, every inch counts.  Actually, when I was painting the insides of the lower cabinets, I accidentally painted this guy because he was that big.  Moving on.  After installing the cabinet, Ben screwed a small strip of plywood to the floor.  The sheet of plywood screwed into the cabinet and this small strip to keep it from shifting.

He did the same thing on the other side, too.  Another strip of 3/4 inch plywood on each side filled the gap between the fridge and wood nicely.

We’ll cover the ugly edges with a face frame for a smooth, polished look.  But this already does a lot to make the kitchen look fancy and custom.

The doors still swing open all the way because the panels are set back slightly.  We also made the opening a standard size as we plan to get a new refrigerator when this one conks out.  And it helps detract from seeing the fridge when you walk in the front door.

Of course once we get the dishwasher, which should be here today, install the counters, (we’re hoping they get the wood by tomorrow), and hang the other upper cabinets, everything will look much more cohesive.

While we’re discussing cavernous kitchen storage, let’s look at the newly installed drawers.

Obviously we still have more to install.  Well, we have to build them first.  But the drawers on either side of the stove are in.  Those puppies are massive.  43 inches wide to be exact.  Oh, and you can see the rope lights.  Vincent wanted to show you.

I’ve already started putting things in the drawers, too.  What used to be split into three drawers now fits in the top right drawer.  Yep, every single utensil we own is visible with the pull of one drawer.

The middle drawer has all of our mixing bowls, strainers, a salad spinner, and food storage containers.

And the bottom drawer holds our pots, pans, baking dishes, and toaster with room to spare.

Other drawers have some stuff, too, but nothing else is in a permanent place.  Before we started the kitchen reno, I had a few moments of concern about having enough storage space.  Now, I’m wondering what I’ll put in the other side.  Not really because we still have food in the pantry and dishes in the guest bedroom closet.  But we’re both so excited about the space we’ve gained without enlarging the footprint of the kitchen.

So how ’bout you.  Are your drawers over sized?  No, not your pants.  Have you encased your fridge for a high-end look?  Do you have similar items dispersed all over your kitchen?