October 5, 2016

DIY Custom Kitchen Cabinets

As I mentioned in my previous post, we recently bought an old farmhouse that needs a tremendous amount of work.  One of the items is a kitchen renovation.  It took us nearly 60 days to close on the home, because of the renovation type of loan we used. During that time, we did a lot of planning, researching, going to home goods stores, and (of course) watching Fixer Upper Season 3. As an aside, Chip and Joanna are amazing, and you should totally check out their blog here.

I'll be the first to admit that I had no real concept of what a kitchen renovation, in particular cabinets and countertops, cost. My visions exceeded my budget . . . big time.  Being an optimist, and probably slightly delusional, one day I suggested to my wife, Vanessa, that I should just build custom cabinets, because I could do them myself for a fraction of the cost of even Ready To Assemble (RTA) Cabinets, and I wasn't particularly excited about the quality of RTA.  I'm not entirely delusional. I worked for a construction company that also made custom cabinets for about 5 years, and had access to a fully equipped shop, so I had a good foundation. 

It had been about a decade since I had done any sort of cabinet work, and so while Vanessa work on designing what she wanted the cabinets to look like, I began Googling  how-to videos to bring it all back to mind. There were a couple of tools that made this phase so much easier.  The first was floorplanner.com. It was super helpful for laying out the house. The second program was Cutlist Plus.
That program was amazing. I keyed in the dimensions of all of the pieces I needed (it took me about a week to figure that out before I was ready to key them in) and once keyed in, the program told me how many pieces to buy, and how to cut the pieces to get the most economical use.  It easily saved me a lot of money and time.

So once all of the figuring and planning was done, we went to the local Menards and ordered what we needed through our Contractor, Andrew Hurst Construction. So the cabinets are going to be white shaker style cabinets and we opted to go with maple as our cabinet and door/drawer frames, as it is a harder wood than some other cheaper alternatives, and should hold up better over the long run. In addition, Menard has a great plywood product that already comes pre-finished. So that's what I decided to use for the boxes.

I started the cabinet project about 3 weeks ago, and have made some pretty significant progress.

I'm going to post a couple of pictures now, but look for more over the next couple of days.



I started by doing an entire cabinet, start to finish, just to refresh myself on how it all worked. This was the first box, and my little helper.

 The Faceframe, and my other helper.

All put together



I made a door with a scrap piece of plywood. This is what it will look like with doors and drawers on.

That's it for now. Stay tuned for next time!

Chris