One of the main ways we are saving huge amounts of money on the kitchen is by building our own cabinets. Way back when Adam and I were dating (as teenagers about 14 years ago) his family ran a custom cabinet shop. They built the cabinets themselves, which means that my handy husband isn’t new to this whole cabinet building thing. We got a quote for cabinets anyway (just to make sure building our own was worth the time and effort) and it came back around 10K. So far Adam has built and installed all the cabinet boxes (so no drawers or doors yet) and it has only cost us $500. Worth it. It helps that we are making paint grade cabinets, if we were leaving them wood we would need to buy much more expensive materials and build them more carefully.
The first step in building cabinets was designing exactly how we wanted them. I’m not going to lie, this stressed me out a little. I felt like I had to plan where every pot, dish, and utensil was going before we even started building. I wanted everything to have a place so that the kitchen would be functional and organized, but doing that much planning in that much detail is just hard. Anyway, Adam and I talked, pinned, planned, he asked me a million questions, and eventually he drew up some sketches.
Then it was time to start building. Adam and Darin (remember Darin and Jody, our house building buddies?) built them together in Darin’s workshop, and since we basically have the same house they built the exact same kitchen twice. Makes it easy.
(They built them back in January…no one is wearing sweaters in Texas in June, trust me).
So about an hour into working Adam called me and said “Darin and I talked and you and Jody no longer have an opinion about the cabinets. We’re just going to build them the way that makes the most sense and you will love them.” As soon as he said that I breathed a huge sigh of relief. The kitchen design was no longer my concern and I felt pretty darn great about that.
Anyway, the actual cabinets look almost nothing like the design sketches. The biggest change is that there are only two upper cabinets instead of five intricate ones (which I love), plus they somehow managed to center the vent hood and oven and switch the dishwasher to the other side of the sink.
So here is the quick and dirty version of how they made them.
First they made the face frames, which are made from 3/4 inch thick (and 1.5 inch wide) poplar strips and assembled with wood glue and a Kreg Jig.
Next they cut all the sides, which are made from 5/8 thick birch plywood (thicker than normal plywood).
Then they started assembling the cases, with wood glue and the Kreg Jig again. Adam really loves his Kreg Jig.
And voila, cabinets!
You like how I make this sound the easiest project ever? I think Adam would write a very different blog post (a much more useful and valuable one, I’m sure).
Next we moved to the outside “workshop” for caulking, priming, and painting.
Adam painted them first with an oil based primer (this one) and then went over that with a latex paint (SW ProClassic). I know that oil and latex paints aren’t supposed to be used together, but I promise you that’s not true anymore and this is the way to do it. I literally spent hours researching this (because our current painted kitchen cabinets are peeling) and all the paint professionals and internet info led me to the same conclusion.
Also, Adam used our trusty paint sprayer (same one he used to paint the whole house) to paint all the cabinets and it took him absolutely no time at all. I can’t recommend this sprayer enough if you have a lot of painting to do.
The above picture is them painted with the green I originally picked (SW Grassland), when I was trying to copy my favorite kitchen (this one). After they were painted though, I kinda hated them. Instead of looking like a light neutral green, they look very…. pastel. They reminded me of an Easter egg. So I went back to Sherwin Williams to look for a better (darker) color…
The first sample is the one I already used, the last one is the one I think I am gong to go with. Maybe. I’m having a really hard time with this, and they are already installed in the new house in the original color. I’ll repaint them by hand as soon as I can find something to do with Judah, who is 15 months now and mighty handsy. Actually, I imagine it would happen sometime after we move in so I can work after the kids go to bed.
Anyway, that is part one of the cabinet adventure, next up I’ll show them to you all installed in the house (or you can just cheat and check it out on Instagram).