Kitchen Cabinets!

Gasp! We finally got our new kitchen cabinets in!

When we moved into our new apartment a few months ago, we knew we were going to have to do something about the lack of counter space. There was one little IKEA sideboard and one tiny little ledge near the sink that turned cooking into a bit of a juggling act.

Here’s what the area near the stove used to look like:

before cabinets

left of stove before

And here’s what we have now (almost done!)

cabinets almost doneOur initial idea was to get something premade and perhaps modify it a bit, but we couldn’t find anything that quite worked. Forrest suggested cabinets and at first I thought he had lost his mind, but after a trip to Home Depot I learned that kitchen cabinets come in modular, pre-fab units. This seems quite obvious now, but before that I’d imagined they were all built from scratch. I was rather tickled to discover we could pick from LEGO-like blocks, deciding on width and drawer configuration. After we got our landlord’s permission, we decided to go for it! The plain white laminate ones weren’t super expensive, and we managed to get them 20% off, plus a discount for one that was a little bit dinged up. We didn’t much like the laminate countertops Home Depot had, but I fell for a walnut veneer counter IKEA carries.

So far the whole project has taken us 7 weeks, 3 trips to Home Depot, 4 trips to IKEA, something like 8 trips to our local Ace Hardware, rides from friends, family, and Lyft, and trekking bits of wood on BART. Also a lot of calls home to our somewhat more competent family members! We learned a lot, but I think the most important part was getting better at not bickering while trying to get it done. At the beginning of the project there was a lot of “you’re not holding it level!” “well you do it then!” and at the end it was more like “can you help me with this?” and “how about you do this part and I do this one” and “wow nice job!” and we were much happier.

Some process photos!

Leveling the cabinets (possibly this is not unusual, but our walls and floor were amazingly wonky. I am still boggled at Forrest’s patience in doing this part. I think I freaked out at the finickiness and shopped for drawer pulls online or something).

cabinets without frontsGetting ready to cut the countertop. Forrest found the most adorable cordless circular saw. I *finally* got to use my folding sawhorses for something. 🙂 After some trial and error we figured out how to cut it smoothly (good side down with blue tape over the cut). We got good at double checking each others’ measurements.

countertop outside

Cabinet in place with no pulls or toe kick yet and with the countertop not yet attached. Still a pretty exciting milestone. We decided to replace the existing pulls on the older cabinets to the left to tie everything together a little better.

cabinets no handlesTesting out removable wallpapers as a non-permanent backsplash. These designs are mint coffee and teapots by andrea_lauren and Dark Matter by spellstone on Spoonflower. Now that we have the pots and pans hanging we’ve decided that both of these are a little too busy for the space (but I have some other projects planned for the samples 🙂 ).

testing wallpaper cabinets Tada! I was particularly proud of the toe kick, which I cut in my school’s woodshop (with some help on the table saw which I haven’t learned to use yet), brought back carefully on BART, and painted to match. Forrest kicked butt on every part of this, including surprising me by putting in all the drawer pulls one day when I was at work. We still have to put in a backsplash of some sort and we’re working on a combination knife rack / cutting board holder on the right. Drawer pulls are these ones and the hanging rack is from the IKEA Fintorp series.

cabinets almost doneOne more kitchen project: on the other side, the storage used to look like this:

before pantry shelfMy friend Wendy of Walrus Oakland let me do some work exchange for this lovely piece which gives us a lot more pantry space.

DSC02678 copyPhew! brb, going to gaze happily at kitchen some more.

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