We Have Cabinets!

Our very first peak!
Cue the choir- the kitchen cabinets are up!- and after four and half years of planning, it's like music to our ears. Praise God for His perfect timing and provision, as well as enabling us to get this massive cabinet hanging project behind us!

But first let me set the stage.

We arrived at the ranch after 22 hours of driving to discover a much anticipated garage full of newly ordered cabinets. It was like Christmas morning. With glee in our eyes, we ripped open boxes like kids ripping open gifts. And just like Christmas morning, this lead to inevitable chaos;

As great as it was to stare that them amidst a sea of cardboard and scattered haphazardly on the floor, we couldn't wait to get them hung. And on the verge of chickening out and hiring a pro to do it for us, I gave Thane a hearty "you can do it!" (Easy for me to say, since I wouldn't be doing it, LOL.) But a little encouragement goes a long way, and the iron-man-cabinet-monkey (that he's now proved himself to be) did it! Along with the much appreciated assistance of somebody else we'll call cabinet monkey #2.

This was our inspiration (see the full gallery here);

And we decided on maple cabinets with an espresso stain from MidContinent Cabinetry. This look is what we based our stair design on, as well.

Now for the DIY portion of the post;

Tool List
-Measuring tape
-Electric drill
-Heavy duty general purpose screws size 9x2-3/4"
-Laser leveler
-Regular leveler
-Stud finder
-Electric rotary saw (for cutting the cabinet trim)

The laser leveler and the stud finder was extremely helpful. The last thing we wanted was crooked, ready-to-fall death traps. If we couldn't guarantee how good this whole undertaking would look when we got through with it, we at least had to make them sturdy. Here's the leveler;

And I've got to say that I'd have no idea what kind of screws to use for a project like this, but thanks to people who know a lot more than me, here they are- heavy duty general purpose screws;

Since I'm in no way a cabinet hanging expert, I can't really give you an accurate or detailed step-by-step guide. Thane could, but he has this thing called a job. So I'll just pass along a few helpful tips that we picked up throughout the process, just in case any of you are considering hanging new kitchen (or even bathroom or office) cabinetry. If nothing else, this goes to show that you don't have to be an expert to tackle this kind of project! All you need is the right tools and a little gumption. All Thane did to prep was watch a quick You Tube video (see a variety here) and enlist a little help from cabinet-monkey #2 (another able bodied man).

So here we go;

Before starting, use your cabinet blueprints to get everything laid out and prepped. Then there's no need to stress over whether you're hanging the right pieces in the right spots once you kick it off.

Tip 1- Start in the corner, if you can.

See the corner piece? We started there in order to get the right placement of the cabinetry. It would have been a nightmare to start on the outside of either wall and then realize that the corner piece didn't fit. So we avoided that possibility altogether and didn't run into any problems! This top corner piece is a "garage" with a little door that pulls down to cover whatever you store inside. It was a little tricky since the space between the garage and lazy susan underneath of it had to be the perfect width in order to accommodate our future counter tops. (How that will play out is anyone's guess...)

Tip 2- Use a 1x2 as a guide for hanging.

See the 1x2 board that's nailed under the rightmost cabinet? Thane used it as a guide for hanging the upper cabinets to be even and level. Determine how high your cabinets need to be hung on the wall (depending on if they're standard or not), and then mark that height. He marked the correct height using a regular leveler (to make sure his board was level), and then it was as easy as "stacking" each cabinet along the top of the 1x2 board and screwing it into the wall. By the way- whoa those walls are orange! Especially in this photo, haha. I'm thinking I might tweak this color a shade or two once we've picked our counter tops.

Tip 3: Studs=sturdy! Use a stud finder to mark your studs.

Screwing into studs vs. drywall is kind of a must in this case, so it was really helpful to mark out the studs so that Thane knew where to drill. There is a lip on the top back of the cabinet and one underneath as well.  Drilling into those lips will prevent anyone from seeing the screws when you're putting away dishes or just opening them up and showing them off.

Yep, they're sturdy!

Tip 4: Screw your cabinet faces together

If you screw the sides of each cabinet together it will remove any seams or gaps and make the kitchen look completely tied in.

You might remember the 3D plans our supplier drew up for us after measuring the dimensions of our space. Take a look at how one 3D compares to the real thing! (Minus counter tops and appliances...)

Unfortunately the lighting in this room isn't great. We don't have electrical lighting installed yet, and this room gets the least amount of natural sunlight. But oh well, you get the idea.

This might be my favorite section of the new kitchen;

I love the bookshelf with the cottage-y panel details. This was a total surprise to me, I assumed the backing to the shelf would be plain. Then to the right of it is a microwave shelf, which will be great for preserving counter space. Directly below the book shelves is what will be a desk for my laptop. I'm always finding myself dragging my laptop into our current kitchen to reference a recipe. But that will no longer be necessary once it gets a permanent home here! Not to mention the fact that it'll be great for playing music and sermons while I'm cooking and cleaning.

The empty hole with the wire hanging down is where the ovens will go. Word to the wise- as great as double ovens are, they're pricey. This is one thing we could have planned to do without when planning out the cabinetry. It's kind of a standard in the custom cabinet world, and it's just about all you see when you browse kitchen galleries while building your own kitchen plans. I think it'll be worthwhile in the long run, but it's a big pill to swallow right at first!

So, that's a big check on the ever long ranch house to-do list. And all glory be to Christ for providing us with the time, finances, and wonderful babysitter that enabled to get this done! This home will surely be a blessing to our family, but I'm praying that it will bless a lot of other people too. Hopefully it'll be a place for lots of wonderful family time, Christian fellowship, and service in the years to come. As imperfect as we are, we want to dedicate all we do to Jesus for the sake of His name and Kingdom. That's our desire and prayer!

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