Month: April 2017

DIY Kitchen Reno PHASE 5: Customizing your kitchen

Well, I’m happy to say that one no longer requires a strong imagination to envision what my kitchen is going to look like finished.  In fact, I’ve had several people say something similar to “It looks done to me, what do you have left to do?” This statement, and those like it always send me into a tizzy.  It inspires me to stomp around huffing and pointing at all of the “obvious” things I have left to finish while my guest just nods in shame for having not noticed.  But seriously, did they think I was going to leave the windows and doorways with no trim?  Or leave out a section of crown moulding as some sort of statement?  How about the base trim?  The caulking, the island makeover?  And all of the finishing touches that make a person want to dance and pet cats?  Funny how things stick out like a sore thumb to me, (probably because I’m stuck doing them) but most people just see a mostly finished kitchen.

And I suppose I should be thankful for that.

For a brief recap, we’ve painted the lower cabinets and the upper cabinets using two different techniques, we saved a load of money installing the quartz countertops ourselves, we tiled, and we tiled and we tiled.  And now we get to have a little fun.   It’s time to make these cabinets look like they were made for MY kitchen.  We are going to do a little customization.

On we go!

For the section by the sink and over the fridge, I made a simple three-sided box using the exact depth and width of the cabinets.  I used Menards best quality pine to ensure it was perfectly straight.  And yes, since the kitchen cabinets are oak, I should have used oak.  Even painted, you can see the wood grain is different, but it’s not noticeable unless you point it out, and it saved me a load of money to go with pine.  And you know by now that I’m a frugal bugle.

Cabinet before
Using a piece of wood as a spacer, nail in a piece of wood to the wall so that we have something to nail the box into. Do this on both sides.
See! Now the side of your box will fit in perfect and you’ll have something you can sink a nail into.

Full disclosure.  I forgot to take a photo of this next step but it’s simple enough.  Using some scrap wood, I nailed some pieces along the inside, front top of the current cabinets, again, so I’d have something to sink ,my nail into when I put the three-sided box in place.

Grab the box and put it in place. Sink the nails into the places where you placed the wood scraps.
Looks good, don’t worry about the gaps between the current cabinet and the box, the trim and caulk will clean that up.
Make sure your edges meet up perfectly.
Add your moulding, patch your nails holes, and add paintable caulk along the gaps. I was lucky enough to be able to re-use my old crown moulding without making any new cuts!  Give everything a light sanding and cleaning and you’re ready to prime and paint.
Using the FREE 3D design program on my computer called “Sketch UP” I was able to design something that looked very close to my final product!

Now for the creme de la creme.  It’s not a long stretch to say that the WHOLE kitchen makeover started with my dream for one particular section of my cabinetry.  I planned this design one evening after I was sent home from work, sick with the flu. I arrived home at 10 am, slept until 5 pm, woke with a splitting headache and body chills, and while laying in bed feeling miserable, I got a whim to start designing how I wanted the cabinets to look someday, so I crawled out of bed and whipped up this design.  And you know, it’s just what I wanted.  Flu works for me I guess.


First things first, I wanted to extend the middle cabinet out further in front, about 2-3 inches, just to give it a more custom look.  We emptied and removed the middle cabinet and we placed a piece of 1 inch plywood and two strips of 2×4’s where the cabinet would hang and screwed them to the studs.  Then we replaced the cabinet by nailing it to the studs, with longer screws of course.










Now onto the top.  Just like the cabinet over the refrigerator, it’s all about finding a place to secure the “boxes” to the wall and to the current cabinets and also finding places to sink your nails.  And this time, I’m making three “boxes” instead of one, so it is a little more complicated.  I put quotations around boxes because none of them actually formed a box, the left and right hand sides are more like an L-shape, and the middle was made by securing the sides first, and then adding a front.



Ryan would cringe at this photo, but really, it’s all about establishing a solid base to nail my wood in place. This did the trick.  And I continued bracing, spacing and nailing until everything was sturdy and the top section had been “built up”.

So as you can see, the middle section isn’t exactly a box, it is just a front, (the tall pieces of wood are the sides of the middle cabinet which are already in place) and there are several places I have created to sink my nails into.  Once you put the front piece in, you won’t know about all the ugly behind it.


Next came the trim.

I know, my miters aren’t pretty! Thank God for wood filler, caulk and paint, you won’t even see it, I promise.
Add a quarter inch wood spacer so the trim can lay flush with the cabinet.

Add the crown moulding, fill in the nail holes, caulk the gaps, sand, clean, prime and paint that baby up!  Oh she looks goooooooood.


On to the appliance garage.  I’ll admit, this wasn’t a DIY on my part.  I told Ryan what I wanted to have in that area, a very detailed description, (which included my sketch-up drawing) right down to the type of hinge I wanted, and he surprised me by making  it for me for Christmas.  I was so excited, I painted it that night so I could see what it looked like put in place.  Now for the most part, Ryan used scrap pieces of oak to make this cabinet, so most of the cost wasn’t in the lumber.  It was in the super fancy hinge I encouraged him to splurge on.  And a splurge it was, but to me, it was well worth it.  This hinge ROCKS.  Once the garage was painted, we installed it by putting it in place, screwing it to the cabinet above, and caulking the seams.


Once in place we added an outlet (because what’s an appliance garage without a place to plug?).  And then I tiled the inside.  Yep, more tiling.  But thankfully, it was a quick job.


Let me remind you what that section of kitchen looked like before…..

Here’s a before photo
Section of kitchen before.

And there you have it!  The pièce de résistance of my humble kitchen.  (why are French words so much better?)

Adding an appliance garage
After! Customized, tiled, and painted!



DIY kitchen appliance garage added

DIY kitchen appliance garage


Kitchen makeover, adding an appliance garage, building up the cabinets to the ceiling, painting cabinets, subway tile backsplash, DIY kitchen makeover
Don’t you just love before and after!

What do you think about that!?  Next up, kitchen island makeover!


Thank you so much for reading!


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