Tuesday, April 15, 2014

CABINETS!

As you probably know from my incessant whining over the last three months, we moved to a smaller place in December and it was immediately obvious that our (not so insubstantial) cooking/baking supplies weren't going to fit in the new kitchen.

Luckily, D was willing to tackle the challenge. We added shelves first (p.s. - had our first decent earthquake a few weeks ago and everything was fine! but I'm still planning on putting in bars or something). The next project was a wall of counter height cabinets that would provide us with storage space and also give us enough counter room for more than one person to be in the kitchen at once.

We couldn't buy cabinets because the space was narrower than a standard cabinet depth. Otherwise we would have farmed this out to Ikea for sure.

Here is the progress over the last couple months ...

west wall
{west wall}

I don't have a picture of the space empty because moving was a blur. But this is what that wall looked like right after we moved in. We temporarily stacked a shelving unit and a bench there.

pre-cabinets
{pre-cabinets}

D built a false wall to temporarily* cover up the built in ironing board cupboard (I know, I know. In theory, it's a charming feature. In reality, it hadn't been cleaned since 1935 and I wanted the cabinets more) and put in the base.

cabinets
{cabinet boxes}

After building the cabinet boxes and squaring them up, he put them in place.

cabinets!
{cabinets!}

We painted everything the closest match to our kitchen white we could find, including the false wall.

fully installed
{fully installed}

And then we added the cabinet doors and D built the most beautiful walnut top for it, to match our floating credenza.

finished
{finished!}

In the area above we hung the old chalkboard and the dessert frame from our wedding. It's the only wedding related decor we let ourselves keep and we're planning to repurpose it at some point (photo collage? another chalkboard?) but for now we hung it as is.

We built a tiny shelf with a space for a plant, inspired by this post. D added a groove along the shelf so we could safely stash the iPad there, since it always lives in the kitchen.

The minute the cabinets were finished our apartment felt a million times more functional. Having the extra counter space means both of us can cook at the same time and our kitchen stuff finally has a place to live. I'm over the moon.


*Whenever I share projects like this I get questions about installing stuff in a rental. All I can say is, no, we usually don't ask for permission first and no, we've never lost a security deposit. I take the risk on it because the additions make our apartment so much more livable. We're always careful to remove anything we've added and then patch and paint properly when we move out, although it certainly makes the moving process more intense. We're pretty considerate in general and I think the bar is pretty low - our landlords always seem relieved if there aren't gaping holes in the walls and broken windows. Your mileage may vary.



33 comments:

  1. Holy crap that D's a keeper. It turned out great!

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    Replies
    1. Seriously! He loves doing this stuff which is so lucky for me, because I'm an enthusiastic collaborator but definitely don't have the woodworking skills to match.

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  2. Ahh, this looks amazing! Luckily our "landlords" (we are renting from a 'creative project' so it's a bit different) don't mind us putting up shelves, units, hooks, whatever, so long as we don't cut holes in the wall (!) which is a good thing since there is nowhere near enough storage space!

    I definitely think it's easier to apologise after than to ask permission and get denied!

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    Replies
    1. At first I read that as "put" holes in the wall and I was wondering what magic you were using to hang shelves, etc. without any holes! But "cut" holes in the wall - that's crazy! Do people do that in rentals? I guess you could patch it with drywall afterwards but that would suck.

      I wish places came with more storage space!

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  3. Love this fix! I'm going to keep this in mind as far as renting goes because I have a feeling we could be renting our next place. I've always been the type to ask first, but how could they not love the improvement you made if they do end up seeing it?

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    Replies
    1. Our landlord at our last place saw the credenza installed and didn't bat an eye. I think if you already have a good relationship with your manager/landlord then they usually trust you to take good care of the space (we treat our rentals like we own them, in the good sense - we'd never trash a place or make it difficult to rent out later).

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  4. Love it! We've also done custom built-ins in rental units and our landlord was initially skeptical but more so that we were going to ask him to pay for the materials - which we weren't going to do - than damage. And we would up selling the unit to the next group of renters because it made such an improvement. So there might be an option to leave some custom work.

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  5. That space is absolutely beautiful now! Had I not seen the before, I'd never know it wasn't original. Way to go guys; excellent execution!!
    I dream of one day having a kitchen large enough for me and my guy to not constantly hip bump each other!

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  6. Oh my goodness, this is amazing. You have exquisite taste, Rachel!

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  7. oh I love that you saved & hung up your wedding dessert menu!

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  8. Oh hey hi! sounds like us as a matter of fact my husband just put in a giant wall cabinet with 6 deep shelves and I found nice mesh baskets on rail slides great size too! We purchased them at costco you really must check them out! 19$ for 2 pack rails included, I like you am always searching for space and organization .we have about 650sqft. But we manage! Keep up the good work!

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  9. Wow. I am so impressed. It looks beautiful!

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  10. This turned out really amazing - such inspiration for small spaces! The floating shelf is small detail but makes a really big impact.

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  11. This is awesome! What a wonderful solution to make the space so much more functional and a beautiful one at that!

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  12. Yowza! That D's a keeper for sure :)

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  13. Gorgeous. Do you ever offer to leave in your improvements? Or do you avoid interactions like that with landlords?

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    Replies
    1. It's not so much that we avoid it, it's just that we usually want to take them with us! I think the only thing we've left in place was a few shelves that D built in the cupboards at our old apartment. They made the space way more functional and honestly, I doubt the landlord even noticed the difference (who notices when there are extra shelves inside cupboards?) but hopefully it was more functional for the next tenant.

      In general, though, everything comes with us because we can either use the piece or the materials.

      These cupboards will be a toss up. Because they were designed specifically for this space and custom built, we might not be able to re-purpose them in a new apartment. If that's the case, we'd probably offer to leave them in (but we would take the walnut top with us and repurpose it - D made sure to put in a regular veneer top as well and keep the walnut removable in case that ends up being what we do).

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  14. Wow! Well done.

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  15. Looks gorgeous! I feel the same way about rental living - you've got to make it as functional as you can while you're there (otherwise it somehow feels temporary and unsettled, at least to me), and as long as you're good about patching holes before you leave managers are cool.

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  16. The fauxdenza is still my favourite DIY thing you and D have ever done. And it's been repinned from my Pinterest about a million times.

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  17. wow, d is so talented (but i already knew that!) where on earth does he find the space to build stuff? does he build it at work and install it at home?

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    1. That is tricky! We have a couple friends with a woodshop not too far from his office, so most of this work was done in their space and then brought home in pieces to be installed. I can't tell you what D would give to have a small garage with a few woodworking tools in it!

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  18. If I were your landlord, I'd want you to leave that! It's gorgeous. And you should keep your dessert menu forever.

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  19. Replies
    1. No, my husband custom built them for the space. The space is narrower than a standard cabinet so we couldn't just use regular cabinet bases.

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  20. Wow!!! Beautiful!!!

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  21. Love that bright orange chalkboard. I need it! Did you buy or make it?

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    Replies
    1. Made it! http://heart-of-light.blogspot.com/2009/02/keeping-in-touch.html

      It was a pretty easy project!

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