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I always say that doing DIY projects is kind of like having a baby. Once you reach the finish line, it is amazing how quickly you feel like that space has always been a part of your life. You forget how long you lived without it. In this case, it's our kitchen, and particularly our kitchen cabinets. This has been a project that I have wanted to tackle since the very first day that I stepped foot in this house. It was also a really large project, so it wasn't one that we could tackle right off the bat, but TACKLE IT WE DID, and I could not be happier with the result.
If you been around for a minute, you know that my main goal is to make things look really nice, but for cheap. I don't want to have to spend a lot of money on things, but I do want things to look like I spent a lot of money on them. So, for our kitchen reno, we did our best to save money, and the main way we did that was by DIYing our cabinets. Kitchen cabinets are EXPENSIVE, but for good reason. Having beautiful cabinets in your kitchen can make a huge difference in your home. So, we wanted ours updated.
WHAT WE DID AND WHY
We had a couple of end goals before beginning this project. First and foremost, I wanted to brighten up the space while also bringing in a more updated style, and secondly, I wanted the ceilings to appear taller. We landed on keeping our existing cabinet boxes, and making them taller. But first, we had to address those soffits.
The removal of the soffits was vital to this project, because we needed to use the space above the existing boxes in order to extend our cabinets to the ceiling. We removed the soffits as much as we could, but in our case, we did have a huge plumbing line that went above the sink, so that soffit had to stay. We were, however, able to make it a lot smaller and trim it out so that it fits in much better with the new look.
For the other soffits, removing them was as easy (and dusty) as pulling out the drywall and taking down the frame. Ok fine, this isn't easy. It takes some muscle, and you will be sore when you're done (at least we were), but it isn't complicated. Just go piece by piece until they are no longer. The cabinet boxes will be attached to studs in the wall, so don't worry about your cabinets falling down once the soffits are gone. Once removed, we used plywood to build boxes that were the same footprint as the existing boxes, and the height of the distance between the existing boxes and the ceiling. We then used 1x2s to make cabinet frames and attached those to the new boxes. All of that got attached to the top of the existing boxes with cabinet screws, and once we filled the seams with Bondo and sanded, it really appeared seamless.
Now for the STAR of the show, and the piece of the puzzle that made the biggest difference in our kitchen- our CABINET DOORS (they deserve to be in caps because they are just that beautiful). Since we have used Cabinet Joint a couple of times in the past, we decided to go with them again, and once again, they didn't disappoint. The great thing about Cabinet Joint is that because their cabinets are RTA (ready to assemble), you can completely customize your order, and in our case, that meant just ordering the cabinet doors. This is a huge money saver and an awesome way to make a really big impact on your space without breaking the bank. If you follow me on Instagram, then you have heard me rant and rave about their customer service, and the lovely staff at Cabinet Joint spent over an hour on the phone with me, walking me through measuring my boxes to make sure the doors that I ordered would be perfect.
Now, since I kept the cabinet boxes, I needed the color of the cabinets to match perfectly, so if you go this route, I highly suggest taking an actual cabinet door to Sherwin Williams to have them color match. That's what I did and the color is spot on.
As for the painting, don't fret- you don't have to sand all of your cabinet boxes completely down. I do recommend scuffing them up a bit and also ensuring that they are clean and not at all greasy, but once that is done, you can hit them with a great primer like Zinsser Bin or Zinsser Bullseye. Follow the instructions on there before you paint your boxes with a nice cabinet and trim paint. As much as I like to save money, this is one area that I won't skimp on. Sherwin Williams has a great trim paint in their Emerald line, and I swear by it.
Once all the cabinets were painted and sufficiently dry, we were able to attach our new cabinet doors with some soft close hinges that we also got from Cabinet Joint. When you work through your order with them, they will also determine which type of hinge you need, depending on the type of cabinet overlay that you'd prefer. In our case, we went with an "extra full" overlay, which means that there is just 1/8 of an inch of the cabinet boxes that is showing when the doors are closed. Cabinet Joint was really great about walking me through the options of overlays and inset doors.
The before and afters of this space really speak for themselves, and I could honestly sit in this kitchen all day. I'd love to hear what you think- would you try this one? I promise you can do it. Brightening up the kitchen really brightens up the whole house- it is wild! Stay tuned for the next piece of the puzzle... the hood vent cover!