…In Which A Very Pregnant Woman and a Grandmother Make a Custom Kitchen Cabinet – Part 1

When we moved into Nyack Nest, we quickly discovered that many apparently functional appliances really would need to be replaced, including our old refrigerator.  The old fridge was the traditional tall narrow type with a small freezer over a larger fridge.  I was insistent that we get one that allowed us to get cold filtered water and ice dispensed through the door without opening it, and it needed to be white because I wasn’t ready to replace the stove/microwave which are white and so I’d already replaced the dishwasher with a white unit.

It also needed to be bigger, but that meant tearing out a bunch of cabinets next to and above the old fridge.  Which my husband did with great aplomb, leaving a pretty gnarly view over the new fridge:

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What we didn’t realize was how difficult it would be to fill said gaping hole in a nice, symmetrical way now that there was no more tall side cabinet. The space is not a standard width, and Home Depot estimated it would cost almost $1k to buy 3 cheapie cabinets to put up there that wouldn’t even be symmetrical.  Not what I was hoping for.

So instead we just left the gaping hole for months.

When my mom came for ‘Babywatch 2015’ (the week before my due date with Baby #3) we decided that this would be among the projects we would tackle.  We measured the space, bought plywood and screws and a powersaw, and went at it.

We learned the hard way you shouldn’t cut your wood all the way to the width you measured (or the height) because if you’re even a little off, well, that thing is not going to fit.  We realized this after assembling the first version of our cabinet, partway. Luckily, we did have that power saw.

Here’s the basic “box” (cabinet frame) we made (patched up with caulk where we had to do hand-sawing that wasn’t as perfect as the Home Depot cuts), painted and with facing along the front:

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I ordered some Grass euro hinges to match the ones used on the existing kitchen cabinets, even though you won’t see them from the outside.  The installation instructions are heinously complicated — have to admit, not totally confident we will be able to install those, but we will see.  The doors are supposed to arrive Monday, so we will soon see.

If we succeed in installing the hinges, next step will be to order some custom-made pull-out shelves and install some shims inside the box that the pull-out shelf hardware will attach to so that the shelves don’t get caught by the front facing.  (The cabinet is very deep and high so without pull-out shelves much of it would really be dead, hard-to-use storage).  The pull-out shelves aren’t cheap ($80 a pop!) so I’m holding off until I’m pretty sure the rest of this cabinet is going to work as planned.  Otherwise, total cost so far is about $30 for paint, $70 for plywood, $20 for facing, $160 for custom cabinet doors, and maybe $40 for hardware (including hinges which were most of that).  We did have to buy some paint brushes, caulk and the power saw (the most significant expense – something like $60?) too.  Plus car mileage going back and forth to Home Depot an embarrassing number of times already.  And we’re pretty sure we’re going to have to hire a handyman to install this thing if we actually do pull it off.  But I’m pretty sure the Home Depot price quote we got was just for the cabinet and didn’t include the installation fee either, so…we might still come out ahead.  And I’ll actually get a nice, symmetrical cabinet with pull-out shelves (fingers crossed).

To be continued…

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