Kitchen Post #3 - Cabinets Part A

Once we had decided on a new Kitchen Floorplan it was time to get a quote on the cabinets. We decided to go to Lowe's first. We began by looking at the in-stock cabinets. Even though we were very disappointed with their construction, we realized they would certainly look a lot better than what we currently had, but we noticed that the drawers were not dovetailed and that the bottoms of the drawers and the shelves were very flimsy. It would just be a matter of time until all the shelves and drawer bottoms were sagging under the weight of dishes. Just like our current ones...

But still, for kicks, we thought we'd get an estimate on what it would cost to buy all the in-stock cabinets for our kitchen. They came up with $4,300, if I remember right. Then the in-stock laminate countertops would be another $500 or so. So we were looking at nearly $5,000 and the cabinets would not be nice quality at all, and we would still need to purchase lighting, flooring, appliances, paint, etc. If we wanted to get nicer cabinets from Lowe's we knew that we could easily double that cabinet figure to $10,000 and if we wanted to pay someone to custom build the cabinets for us that price could triple or quadruple. We were very upset. We really only planned to spend about $5,000 on the entire kitchen remodel in all. We did not want to spend all that money and time and still feel that our kitchen wasn't nice quality. We would have just painted our existing cabinets, like a lot of people do for a quick kitchen makeover. But let's face it: our cabinets were WAY PAST THEIR PRIME.

The other problem was that when we looked at all the displays at Lowe's, the only ones that my husband, David, liked were the absolute most expensive cabinets on the market. The ones that had all kinds of molding on the top and bottom, the ones with alternating cabinet heights, etc. This kind of stuff:

I always say that I married a man with "expensive taste". Guess I was right...{Another interesting fact is that Lowe's didn't even show options like these at the Bellefontaine location near Patrick's house. Only here at the "elite" Zionsville Lowe's did they show off this kinds of stuff...}

So, with that, we went back to the drawing board. David & his brother Patrick began brainstorming. They both loved woodworking in high school. They had built a couple pieces of furniture themselves. They figured with the right tools they could probably build their own kitchen cabinets too. I had no idea how they were going to do it, but being the penny pincher that I am, I couldn't see spending $10,000+ on our kitchen cabinets alone. So...I decided to trust them. What other choice did I have? We had several people try to discourage them, including their own father, who is the one who taught them to be DIY-ers in the first place, and a dear friend who owns his own woodworking business. But in the end, that did not matter to David & Patrick. They just went ahead.

Patrick said if we could buy the tools, we could set them up in his shop in Ohio and he would do most of the work in exchange for being able to use the tools on his own kitchen someday. We thought that sounded like an amazing deal. So, in true Dave Ramsey fashion, Dave & I headed out to Lowe's "Tool World" one night with a stack of 100 dollar bills. We decided on what we wanted to buy - a DeWalt Planer, DeWalt Compound Miter Saw, and a DeWalt Table Saw and then we sought out the Lowe's salesguy. The total came to about $2,500 I believe. That was "not good enough", we said (only those of you who've been thru Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace class probably get that...). Dave bickered back and forth with the salesguy and the manager and we walked out of the store with everything for $1,900. My husband is a "hard man" the salesman told me as we wheeled our giant cart of tools out of the store and he helped us load them into the Jeep. He said we purchased the planer for only $3 over their cost. The next day we took the tools to Patrick in Ohio. He was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Then they headed out to an Amish man's lumber yard near Bellefontaine and bought a load of rough cut cherry for about $1,000. So for less than $3,000 we had purchased all the lumber and the tools necessary to build our custom cherry cabinets.

Now, all we needed were some cabinet building plans...hmmm....what to do about that....

So Dave & I went back to Lowe's and studied what we liked in more depth. We knew the layout/floorplan we wanted. But to actually build that required making tons of decisions on cabinet/door styles, etc. And drawing up those details. We ended up deciding we wanted something about like this display.

We liked the simpler flat panel doors, rather than raised panel doors. We figured they'd be slightly easier to construct. We also loved the arches on the faces of the wall cabinets. We weren't sure how we'd construct that, but oh well... We loved the crown molding and bottom molding on these cabinets as well.

We also decided that we wanted to add soft closers to the doors and drawers. This is an amazing feature that keeps you from slamming cupboard doors. And also keeps sleeping babies....well, asleep. :) 

Dave also insisted that the drawers be dovetailed. For Christmas that year, his dad got him and Patrick a dovetail jig which came in handy, for sure.

We also loved other details like this around the refrigerator. It really made it seem more built in.

And we studied other details such as the construction of the doors.  We determined what type of routers and roundover bits we'd need to purchase to mimic this.  Luckily, our dear friend, that same salesguy from the tool department, was available to walk us through that process as well.

We also spent a great deal of time studying how the corner cabinets would be constructed. If we'd have lazy susans, etc.  There were so many options.

And hardware was a whole other big deal. We really had to determine how far the door would overlay the face frame and how big the face frame would be before we could choose the hinge types. The more we got into this, the more we realized that we were, in a sense, re-inventing the wheel. But oh well, we had a pile of lumber sitting in a shed in Ohio and we were committed now.

The sales lady at Lowe's directed me to their hardware supplier, Courter Co, which just happens to be about 15 miles from our home. I went over there one day and came home with about $350 worth of hinges, soft closers, drawer slides, lazy susan hardware, etc. It would have easily cost us 5-10 times that ordering through Lowe's. Not to mention the guy at Courter Co was extremely helpful, in that he basically walked through the whole kitchen with me and told me exactly what I should buy. :) I love guys like that.

We also studied how the cabinets were put together. We purchased a Kreg jig so that we could pocket screw all the components together just like on our favorite display at Lowe's.


A few months later, David & Patrick had built this:

And another hundred or so hours of painstaking labor later, Patrick had built this:

And these:

Now, we just had to install them, put the countertops on, finish staining and polyurethaning every square inch of these puppies, add the crown mold, bottom mold, hardware, etc. And Patrick had to build all the doors. Whew! This was a big project. Stay tuned for Part B of the Cabinet Post.


Katie said...

If anyone has any real specific questions about how they were constructed, let me know. I'd love to defer to Dave or Patrick and get you your answer. :)

Amanda said...

Wow, I'm impressed. We are currently shopping for a kitchen remodel. I think we will end up with Home Depot cabinets.

Eva said...

Kitchen Remodeling very Important

Now the kitchen is not just a place to cook. Do you agree? In my opinion, the kitchen is a place that is ideal and very comfortable to be with his beloved family. Many things can be done for example in the kitchen than cooking a meal with people who are in love, relaxing weekend and cook while chatting with your wife or more than that. Kitchen remodel ideas are very important to make your kitchen design is better.

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