Kitchen cabinets and a weekend with dad {renovation update #8}

We’re finally starting to get back in the swing of home renovations. After all the moving and unpacking, we needed a little bit of a break. Not to mention that the weather here has been gorgeous lately making it hard to focus on renovations inside.

Our goal at move-in was to have a fully functioning kitchen, and I am glad to report that we achieved exactly that. The kitchen may not be 100% finished yet, but it is definitely usable!

When we last left off in the home renovation saga, we had just finished installing the hardwood floors, and we were finally ready for kitchen cabinets! As with some of the other projects that we’ve tackled in the house, Steve and I had no idea how to install cabinets. Usually we resort to YouTube and the internet, but we got lucky this time; we had an expert carpenter who was going to come help us! That’s right, my dad, who used to be a full-time carpenter, flew out for the weekend to help us set all of the cabinets!

We actually began the kitchen design process back in November before we even closed on the house. When we were doing our home inspection, we took measurements of the kitchen and started talking to a few kitchen design centers to see what options we had. We knew we were going to put in a brand new kitchen and we had a pretty good handle on a logical design for the space, but we definitely wanted some expert opinions. A new kitchen is a pretty big investment!

After talking with our buddy Jim over at Cabinet Discounters, here’s what we came up with.


We had decided on maple cabinets that were a toffee color with a more traditional door style. We ended up purchasing cabinets that were pretty middle of the road price-wise. We weren’t willing to shell out a lot of money for total custom cabinets, but we weren’t really impressed with the options available with the cheapest cabinets.

Even though we did our designing in November, we didn’t actually order the cabinets until February. We wanted to make sure that our load bearing wall could be taken down and our water lines could be relocated before placing the final order. After placing our order, it didn’t take more than a few weeks, and they were sitting taking over our living room!


Luckily, my dad came only a few days after the cabinets were delivered. Even though we weren’t living in the house at the time, they took up an awful lot of space that we were ready to reclaim. So with everything in place, the cabinet fun began! Step number one, take the cabinets out of the box.

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We hang the upper cabinets first. After locating and marking all the studs and determining the height at which we wanted the cabinets to be, it was time to hang the first one in place.

We started in the corner and worked from left to right. We had snapped a chalk line at the appropriate height, so we just lined it up and attached it to both the wall and to the cabinet next to it.

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Attaching cabinets to each other

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Measuring and then measuring some more

The uppers were smooth sailing until we got to the very last cabinet, and even then, nothing went wrong, it just got a bit more complicated. Due to the length of the wall and the bulkhead, we had to do a little bit of detail work. First, we had to use what they call filler strips to properly space the cabinets.

We also had to notch a corner out of the cabinet for the bulkhead. Of course this bulkhead wasn’t a 90 degree corner so the cut we had to make wasn’t a right angle, but luckily for us, it was no match for our master carpenter.

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With the uppers in place, it was time to tackle the lower cabinets.

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The first thing we did was get all of the cabinets out of boxes and set up in the correct order.

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This was after one day of work…not too shabby considering we had installed the floors in the morning and only spent the afternoon on the cabinets!

Despite what you may think, the lower cabinets were actually much harder than the upper cabinets to get started. With the uppers, we simply placed the cabinet in the corner and attached it to the wall. However, with the lower cabinets the corner cabinets were lazy susans, which were round and didn’t fit snugly against the wall. Let’s just say there was lots of measuring and leveling involved.

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We learned that the most important tool when installing cabinets is a level!

Similarly to the upper cabinets, once level and in position, the lower cabinets were screwed to the wall, if possible, and to each other. We also screwed the cabinets in the peninsula to the floor to ensure they didn’t move around before the granite was delivered.

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After all the uppers and lowers were in place, we had one last cabinet to install. There was a cabinet and a wooden panel to install over the refrigerator.

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It makes me so happy to see my two favorite boys working together!

With the cabinets all in place, it was time to start putting on the finishing touches. First up, crown molding! It didn’t take my dad long to admit that he wasn’t exactly thrilled that we had crown molding, mainly because he had never worked with it before. However, after putting all our heads together and a few many, many tries we were able to get the angles correct and the molding nailed in place.

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It was fun to get a chance to work with my dad again!

The next finishing detail was the toe kick, which was really pretty simple. When the cabinets arrive, they do not have the toe kick finished, and after you put all the cabinets in place it looks a little something like this.

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To cover all the gaps in between the cabinets then sent us a thin strip of wood that matched the color of the cabinets. All we had to do was measure the appropriate length, cut it, and attach it with the brad nailer.

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The final task we had left was to fill in all of the holes we had just made. With the cabinets we got a wax stick that was the same color as the cabinets. Then it was time to pull out the rusty crayon coloring skills from Kindergarten. That’s right, you literally just colored the holes until they disappeared. It was a lot of fun!

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And with that we had a kitchen!

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Don’t get me wrong, we still had some work to do, like getting counter tops and tiling a back splash, but it was starting to look like a kitchen! We had a great time with my dad, and we are incredibly grateful and thankful for all of his help! Next time he comes to visit I’ll be able to cook him some tasty food!

Until our next renovation update,



3 thoughts on “Kitchen cabinets and a weekend with dad {renovation update #8}

  1. The cupboards make the kitchen come a live. It was so nice to have Randy their with his expertise to help you install the cupboards. You will really enjoy them after the ones you have had in your apartments, Glad you are taking some time off between major tasks. The body/mind needs to get away from the redo activities every once in a while.
    We are busy here sorting and packing. The house has been sold. We go tomorrow morning and sign the papers as well as turn in the abstract for the property. We need to have our estate sale and get the things we are keeping packed by July 22nd. Hope we can get everything done in time. You remember how full the storeroom was with a little bit of everything. We are not taking any furniture to AZ, just “stuff”. Dillon has been a great help. The stairs are very tiring for my knees.
    Again, you should be proud of your work in your “new house”. Will be anxious to see and talk with you at the wedding. As ever, Earl & Sheila

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