We spent the better part of last week and through the weekend at Tree House with the goal of installing every last kitchen and mudroom cabinet … and we did it! But just barely – ha! Our cabinets were delivered on a Wednesday morning, and we spent the rest of the day going over the inventory and unboxing a handful of the more obvious pieces (Ooh, this is part of the island! And here’s the mudroom bench!). Scott’s parents came into help Wednesday evening (for which we are eternally grateful), and by Thursday morning, we had hit the ground running. Although we had every intention of leaving Tree House by Sunday morning, we were still wrapping up photos and video(!) well through the dinner hour, and we made it back to Chicago just in time to tuck Lucy into her crib.
We’ve partnered with our friends at Lowe’s for the entire kitchen and mudroom renovation, and when we last got into the meat of the plans, we had just sat down with a Lowe’s Design Specialist. For several hours, we went over every last cabinet option, paint finish and countertop. After solidifying the design (you can see how that whole process went down right here), we received a call a couple of weeks later to set up the delivery.
The only day that the cabinets could be delivered to Tree House was on a Wednesday, so we chose the first possible time slot, which was last week! We decided that we should take advantage of the mid-week delivery and push through with installation in the following days. When the truck arrived, we asked them to leave all the boxes on our deck – we’re thanking our lucky stars that it was a (cold) sunny few days! – which would allow us to keep the house (somewhat) clean and organized during the install.
Installing the Cabinets
You might remember that we landed on the Kraftmaid cabinetry line in ‘Cayden.’ The Cayden style is a full overlay, meaning that the cabinet doors cover most of the frame – a look that we personally prefer. We chose two colors: Dove White and Natural, with both in a Suede finish. The Suede finish has a sheen somewhere between eggshell and satin, softer than the standard semi-gloss. They’re still super wipeable, and we love the look of the lower sheen!
We started by focusing on the peninsula, maybe because we thought it would be the easiest? (It was.) When installing cabinets, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, such as the placement of door and window trim! For example, in order to make sure that the drawers in our peninsula would open all the way, the entire structure would need to be at least 1″ off of the wall. Otherwise, the drawers would bump into the trim on the door that leads into the mudroom, see?:
To remedy this, we used 2x4s as a spacer, and the exposed edges will eventually get a filler in the same finish as the drawers. (Although to be fair, it blends in pretty nicely as is!) Because the peninsula couldn’t be secured to the wall, we took careful measurements with a dry fit, and then Scott secured 2x4s to the floors. The components of the peninsula fit snugly over the 2x4s, and the cabinets could be attached to the 2x4s from the outside, through the base.
Along the way, and this is true for every cabinet, we relied on our level. We leveled from the front, from the side, from front to back; we leveled, leveled, leveled! Shims were our best friend to keep everything perfectly aligned.
When it came to the L-shape of cabinetry around the kitchen, we used our favorite 360 laser level (it comes in handy for installing beadboard, too!) to find the high point of the perimeter. This did not replace our handheld level, but it helped us to notice where the floor was higher in some areas versus others. Before taking the laser level off the tripod, we also made marks along the walls as a guide.
The perimeter cabinets were attached to the walls with drywall screws, and then we moved onto the uppers – or should I say, upper? There is only one upper cabinet in the kitchen, above the refrigerator. It will be balanced by a range hood to the left, but the real reason for this guy is to conceal an exposed duct from our HVAC system! Instead of a 24″ deep cabinet that’s typical above a fridge, we chose a 12″ deep cabinet so that the duct could tuck neatly behind it. No one will ever know!
The mudroom has a bench in the middle-ish, and it’s flanked by a tall pantry to the left and a stacked washer/dryer to the right. Above the pantry, bench and washer/dryer is a row of deep cabinets for lesser used storage. This was, hands down, the trickiest part of the install! We started on the right and worked left, only because any remaining gap to the left of the pantry would receive a filler. Although we estimated that filler to be 3″ wide, we wouldn’t know for sure until all the cabinets were installed. (Spoiler: The filler turned out to be exactly 3″!)
The cabinets are in, hooray! Up next? Measuring for counters, tiling, and open-shelf-building. All of the door and window trim needs to be caulked and painted, which is so much easier to type than to do!
The pantry is filled with pull out drawers, but the only item missing from our entire cabinet order was the hinges for the pantry door. We’d call that a huge success for two whole rooms of cabinets! Once those hinges come in, we can get that door on. In addition, we’re still waiting on hardware before we can install the panel-ready dishwasher and refrigerator.
We’re taking a much needed weekend off from Tree House, and instead, we’re working on our 2018 goals – family time all the way. Happy Friday!
Kim- it looks so beautiful ! And like a TON of work! I can’t believe you installed all of those cabinets in a few days. Also, is there anything more pretty than a white kitchen?! What a gorgeous space!
Thanks, Ashley! It WAS a ton of work, that’s for sure, haha. We’re still a little achey from it all! We couldn’t have completed everything in those handful of days without help from Scott’s parents.
Progress is looking great!! Will you be posting about your appliance selections at some point? I used that kitchenaid range in my kitchen remodel two years ago because it had all the function we wanted and was a great price point for what I thought was the most attractive slide-in range for non-luxury appliances. Unfortunately we are not happy with it! The keypad is so sensitive to moisture, and malfunctioned almost immediately after we got it from simple cleaning with a sponge and water. Seems to be a common problem. That means our oven hasn’t worked since then (luckily we have the convection kitchenaid microwave which is AMAZING). Would love to know why you selected it and how it holds up after some time!
Oh, no, yikes! We chose the KitchenAid for the same reason you did – it’s a super attractive slide-in and a much nicer price point than the other one we were considering (from Bosch). Were you able to have it repaired under their warranty? Thank you for the tip!
looks great! we have new kitchen cabinets project in our future so this was helpful. I was hoping you would have detailed how the install of the flat panels that box in the fridge and stacked washer/dryer went…
Those were the trickiest, hands down, and it’s also why I don’t have any good pictures of the process. (All hands on deck!) But essentially, one panel gets attached directly to the wall into studs. Then the cabinet gets attached to that, and the other panel gets attached to the cabinet. The hardest part is supporting the cabinet at the right height and level! Phew. Definitely a 2-3 person job unless you have a cabinet jack (which most people wouldn’t have!). We considered adding a box frame of 2x4s behind the cabinet for extra stability behind, but they felt SO strong being attached to our thick side panels. We ended up not needing a 2×4 box support in the back at all!
thanks, extra hands noted!
Wow it looks awesome! I bet you guys are so excited about the process. Quick question, is the sconce light above the bench in the laundry room also from Lowe’s?
Yup, it’s from Lowe’s! It’s this light in bronze (which is really black).
Love it!! Just curious if you have plans to put molding around the washer and dryer to close it off some more? Or maybe a plan to paint the underside of that cabinet?
Yes! We’ll be talking about allllll the moldings, fillers and panels soon! And good call on the underside of the cabinet. I was thinking we have enough room to put a basket on the top of the dryer, but a panel on the underside would also help. Definitely something to consider!
Are you building your own open shelves or are you sourcing them from a retailer? We are remodeling our kitchen and plan to do open shelving on one side… then I realized, where do you buy open shelves that are large enough and sturdy enough to hold heavy plates, bowls, glasses, etc!?
Good question! Lowe’s actually had floating shelves that we could buy that matched our cabinets, but we’re going for a slightly different look, so we’ll be going the DIY route. There are a TON of tutorials online, and we’ll do a mash up of a few of them to make the shelves that fit our space just right. We will definitely be sharing the process!
Another route we were considering (although I don’t think we’re doing anymore) would have been to purchase some floating shelf brackets on Etsy. There are a lot of sellers out there that offer solutions, but we personally loved this shop. Worth looking into!
This is awesome!! Thanks so much for sharing. I had seen a lot of floating shelf options on etsy but sometimes it’s so hard to sort through all the options to find the really good sellers :)
Sure would look nice with some Walnut Butcher Block ;)
Wow, that mudroom wall is so functional in so many ways now!
The problem with your blog is that you are so organized and methodical, taking one project at a time (or writing blog posts as if you do), and you power through on projects (like installing the cabinets so quickly) so you don’t get bogged down, so that you make doing a total renovation look easy! You make me think I could do it.
Maybe that’s not such a bad thing – your posts are both inspirational and instructional – perhaps they will inspire me to take on a home renovation some day. I love reading about your renovations for now.
Ann, you are so nice. Thank you! And you really can do it, promise.
That looks wonderful you two (four!). Well done.
Everything is looking so good!
This looks amazing!!!
what type of fridge did you get and how deep are the cabinets for the laundry room?
We got a Bosch panel ready fridge, so it will eventually blend in with the cabinets around it! And the cabinets in the mud/laundry room are all 24″ deep. However, we added a deeper side panel to hide the side of the washer/dryer completely (about 30″), and the cabinet above is cheated forward as well for a nice, seamless look.
Would like to know how you painted the window ron black? We just installed new windows and they are white but looking at your kitchen window I would like to have them black. And do u recommend having from a around the window? Specially the one above the sink in kitchen.thabkyoy