Trash and Drawers

I promised a more detailed post about each section of cabinetry in our kitchen renovation. Today is about the ~3 foot section of cabinetry that we added where the refrigerator was previously.

Here’s a reminder of what it looked like before.


We moved the refrigerator and opened the wall to the living room.


I wanted to extend the base cabinetry to where the refrigerator ended before.

Remember I showed you this pic and said we were keeping those cut-off studs in place when we removed the top of the old wall?

cut wall2

Rather than tearing the studs out and building all new bar supports, we (the hubs) added a top 2×4 and reused the cut-off 2x4s. Pretty much like framing out a pony wall.

new top

This would be the beginning of our new bar.

We added some new cabinetry in that area. Here’s a shot from the living room side (after the cabinet was extended) to help you see what I mean.

pony wall

We’re trying to reuse as much wood as possible in this kitchen renovation. We took out a whole stinkin’ ton (not really 2000 pounds) of wood when we tore out the dropped ceiling and soffits and upper cabinets. Most of it will get burned and/or thrown into a landfill somewhere as it’s not the right sizes or it’s too damaged or whatever, but we’re using what we can. We’re also using leftover scrap wood that we have from other projects (you’ve seen some bunk-bed-green wood in the microwave cabinet and the buffet already).

I’m serious about my vacations. They’re major to me. (Probably because I have a difficult time not working unless I’m traveling.) I’m not even joking when I say things like, “The less I spend on a kitchen, the more I have to travel.” We all only have so much money, and we have to decide how to spend it. I’m truly thankful to have enough at this point in our lives for luxuries like home remodeling and traveling, but we’re still just a one-income family who lives on a strict budget. I have to make choices. This particular time I’m choosing to reuse as much as possible in this renovation (while still getting a “new” kitchen) in order to take an epic vacay in the fall. Because my first-born is now a teenager and we have a lot of country to cover before he goes off and does his own life.

So, we’re using scrap wood where we can, and we’ll be reusing our cabinet doors. My favorite style is shaker, and the hubs has been so amazing to build me all new cabinet doors on multiple occasions! But he’s not up for the task right now, and neither of us is willing to spend the money for all new cabinetry.

This house has some more traditional and “formal” features than I’d typically prefer. Formal is a funny word to use because they were probably considered formal in 1983, but not necessarily today. Like the living room ceiling (which you’ll see more of when I get to that) and the catwalk.


Is that the correct term? I think builders call it a catwalk when your second floor overlooks your first floor like this. My kids call it a balcony, so I do too.


Since this house is a bit more traditional, I’m fine with reusing the raised panel cabinet doors. I don’t hate them. Thankfully, they don’t have any 80’s-specific routered pattern or funky design.

I gotta say, though, that designing a kitchen with a pile of random doors and drawers is much more difficult than just measuring your space and deciding what size you’d like your cabinets to be. Making predetermined (size and quantity) cabinet doors fit into an also-predetermined-size room is not an easy task. I finally got something figured out, but it took lots of creativity and I lost sleep over it.

We added a cabinet and a bank of drawers (well, the drawers aren’t in yet) to where the cabinet ended before.

new cabinet

You can see in that picture that we hadn’t even removed the old countertop yet. When you live in and use a house while you remodel it, you don’t necessarily do everything in the exact order that you would if you weren’t still trying to make it function during construction. Typically you’d demo everything that was getting demo’d before you started building new additions. But, I was still using the old drop-in stove at this point so we didn’t remove the countertop until we absolutely had to.

The cabinet that was in the peninsula had two pull-out shelves. Almost like drawers, but they’re only a couple inches deep. We modified the width of one of those to act as a pull-out trashcan.

old drawer for trash

The glides are in at this point, but the shelf hasn’t been cut down yet. The trashcan won’t sit directly on the cabinet bottom like it is in this image.


Building cabinet boxes really isn’t too difficult. If you can manage basic power tools, you can definitely do it. Measuring is the hardest part (and we’ve mismeasured dozens of times over the years). The base is just a simple 2×4 frame, and then plywood or, more commonly, particle board, is over the top of that.

cabinet4 cabinet5

That green back there is drywall. The green kind is moisture resistant which isn’t required here, but we had it leftover from the bathroom. If you were just building an island, you wouldn’t use drywall…probably plywood. But since there was already drywall behind the other cabinets here (because they were up against a wall before it got cut off), we used drywall in the part that we added so that our measurements were consistent. Make sense?

We added new drywall over the back also.

drywall back

I didn’t just leave it as drywall, though, because I want it to look as much like a stand-alone piece as possible. You’ll see more about that in a different post. (Notice the outlet, too. Hooray!)

Back around to the kitchen side, you can see that we added a face frame after the basic cabinet box was built. Some of it is stained and some isn’t because of how it was positioned up in the ceiling frame that we tore out. Also, you can see a spot for a door hinge on the top horizontal piece (that came from the upper cabinets). This is what I meant about reusing what we can!

old hinge

That all got wood filler and primer and paint, of course, so that it blends right in with the old cabinetry. In the pic below, the two cabinets on the left side (the wide one and the one to the right of it with a top drawer opening) are original (and thus have dark stain on the end) and the two cabinets on the right are new. The end will be a bank of drawers, and the cabinet to the left of that will be a pull-out trash can.


The drawers are left over from our bathroom vanity; see what I mean about having to design the dimensions according to whatever you have to use? Most mentally exhausting thing I’ve done in a while…and that’s saying something considering I teach three grades at a time and all my students are boys!

Tell me what you think