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The Cabinets Are In! (And the Mistake That Cost Us)


It’s starting to look like a kitchen in here! The cabinets are installed, and what a difference. This is true for every step in this renovation, but really, what a difference! The color (Ben Moore’s Distant Gray) is so perfectly white without a hint of blue or yellow. These old, crooked walls of ours have caused the installation to take a bit longer than expected (who’s surprised?), and throughout this update, you’ll notice blue tape marking imperfections and a couple missing and uneven doors, but we’re thisclose to putting our dishes back behind closed doors! Yes, there’s still a lot to do, but it’s worlds away from where we started.

Below, you’ll see our view from the back door. The first photo is still sans trim at the top, but you can see how it looks in the second photo. We landed on a simple 3″ trim, which was dictated solely on the obnoxious furnace soffit we have to work around; by dropping the upper cabinets 3″ to make them accessible, the trim was added to snug them up and give a taller appearance. And speaking of soffits, we’re so happy you all spoke up (loud and clear!) about leaving out new soffits – they really weren’t necessary, and we don’t wish for them in the slightest! Thank you, thank you.


Above, you can see that we plopped down our old countertop until the new one is installed (same sink and faucet for now, too), and this also shows how much more counter space we’ll have! The cabinets on this side were extended by an additional 2′, which will accommodate a dishwasher on the bottom and provides us with more storage up above.

But how about the mistake that cost us? Whether it was miscommunication on our end (which is highly possible) or just one of those things that we assumed was a given (never, ever assume!), our fridge surround fell short, leaving 6″ exposed on the side:


The good news is that the surround can be extended, and with it, the cabinets above and to the right of the fridge will also bump out for a more sleek and cohesive finish. The bad news, besides delaying the install in its entirety, is that the additional materials and man hours cost us. More than we would have thought. While we could have dwelled on this (and I did for a good hour or so, but wine helped!), we decided that this visual change was important to us. What’s the point of hiring a custom maker if it wasn’t going to be, well, custom? We’ll pay for it, but it’ll get corrected – and it’ll be worth it.

But on to the fun stuff! Since we were having (mostly) new cabinets built from scratch (with the exception of the uppers on the wet wall, which were refaced), we added a few bells and whistles that’ll help with workflow – plus, it’s just so exciting. A pull out spice rack! Pull out trash and recycling! At one point, it was mentioned that a spice rack isn’t ideal next to the oven due to heat, which had us re-researching – you guys are always so great with your input and ideas! – but perhaps this is true with older ovens? With the oven set to bake, the sides stay completely cool to the touch, and almost every example we saw showed the spices next to the oven – and so, we ran with it. To be honest, we don’t exactly have the most exotic spices in the world, so we’re content and happy.


And look! Pull out trays on the lowers! And a tall pantry next to the fridge! This slim pantry will extend completely once the cabinets are all in line with the fridge, which will allow us to easily access everything. The pull out trays were added after all your input for bottom drawers; for us, this was a price-compromise, since deep lower drawers are significantly more expensive than a tray.


One little trick that has us crazy excited is the tip out tray beneath our sink. Once the quartzite counters are installed, we didn’t want to display our scouring pads scrub brushes out in the open, and since this is typically a useless space, we added this tray. You can get them as doubles or singles, but preferring the single, we ordered ours from the Rev-A-Shelf website (which is pricier than Amazon, unfortunately).


Our cabinet maker is wrapping up the final touches this week, which includes leveling the doors and drawers, finishing the trim and, most importantly, addressing the refrigerator surround. The fabricator has already measured our counters, our new sink and faucet have arrived, and we finalized all the hardware and lighting for the room! Hopefully the counters will get installed within the next week, and then we can tile! We recently found out that our transom and sidelights – which should have been installed by now – are on back order, which, I don’t know, is definitely a bummer. Even still, I sort of feel like every sentence in this entire post should end with an !! (yes, even the mistake that cost us), but I’m doing my best to spare you. With every up and down (and there have been our fair share of downs – aka pretty passionate, um, disagreements), we always find ourselves going back to excitement in the end. (!!)

PS… We love you! Let’s celebrate Valentine’s Day (er, week?) with 14% off anything in The Print Shop with code PRINTSHOP14. XO.

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  • Laura @ Rather Square2.10.15 - 8:55 AM

    Looking so good! We’ve got one of those tip-out drawers in front of our sink too – when the former owners renovated the kitchen in our house about 20 years ago (and had custom cabinets made), they must have specified one of those. It was kind of a fun discovery when we moved in.ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.10.15 - 9:28 AM

      Awesome! It’s normally such a funny little waste of space. Love that we’ll be able to hide some of the uglier sink supplies now!ReplyCancel

  • krystal2.10.15 - 9:48 AM

    It looks awesome. I love the picture of the dog too… mine also sits at the garbage to make sure nothing goes in that can go to her.


    • Kim2.10.15 - 9:54 AM

      This is so true. Just scraping the tiniest crumb into the trash breaks Jack’s heart. Which then breaks mine. I’m a sucker.ReplyCancel

  • Helen2.10.15 - 10:38 AM

    That’s a bummer about the fridge depth issue. I’m curious – would it have been cheaper to craigslist your existing fridge and maybe get a counter depth fridge?

    The cabinets look great – and you will never regret the rollout shelves and storage!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.10.15 - 10:48 AM

      It was cheaper to fix the surround, for sure. Plus, we love our fridge so much! We got it not that long ago, and our friends with a counter depth fridge are always saying the lack of internal space is pretty drastic. We did consider that for half a second, but in the end, we think it’s worth it to fix the issue.

      And thank you!ReplyCancel

      • Helen2.10.15 - 11:20 AM

        Counter-depth fridges are also really expensive so if the cabinets can be changed for less that totally makes sense to me. I’m so excited to see your counters!ReplyCancel

  • Brittany2.10.15 - 10:50 AM

    What a difference, all right! Your original kitchen is the kind the makes me nervous in homes, with all the appliances just floating around untethered. Your new space is so functional! All the magical hidden whozits and whatsits are amazing. Secret storage is the newest must-have on my list for my ever-distant (but still so real and near in my mind) kitchen reno. Can’t wait to see it with the counter tops!!ReplyCancel

  • Liz2.10.15 - 12:16 PM

    It looks SOOOO good! Sorry the fridge surround fix was costly, but my goodness what a gorgeous kitchen yours is shaping up to be! I LOVE my pull out trash and recycle drawer, it is so nice to not have it out in the open. I think you guys will be pleased with that addition.ReplyCancel

  • Rebecca2.10.15 - 1:34 PM

    My spices are right next to the oven (I think they have been for about 2 years now), haven’t had a problem if that gives any peace of mind ;)ReplyCancel

  • Kari2.10.15 - 2:57 PM

    I’m so glad you’re getting the fridge situation figured out! We were just gifted a brand new fridge and we are over-the-top blessed and excited. The only drawback is that it’s much deeper than our previous 30 year old fridge and it extends beyond the doorknob into our laundry room (with which it shares a wall). Functionally, it’s not a problem, but my heart sinks every time I go into the laundry room now.
    Seeing you fix your situation satisfies a lot of my desire to fix ours. I’m living vicariously through your solution!ReplyCancel

  • Clever Girl Reviews2.10.15 - 3:25 PM

    I love counter depth refrigerators and made it a point to get one when I had my house built in 2005! I’ll probably get something similar in my next home as well!ReplyCancel

    • Kim2.11.15 - 9:34 AM

      People seem to have strong opinions on counter depth refrigerators! Glad it’s working out :)ReplyCancel

  • Trude2.11.15 - 9:29 AM

    Hooray for things that make navigating the kitchen so much easier! Loving that tip-out under the sink, genius.ReplyCancel

  • Jordan2.11.15 - 10:16 AM

    Great job! All of the extra space you put in the lowers is amazing.ReplyCancel

  • qlkowa2.17.15 - 3:45 PM

    This vintage cupboard looks great with this simple furtniture!ReplyCancel

  • Premium Lifestyles2.20.15 - 4:15 AM

    I love the rustic simplicity here. I’m taking kitchen inspirations right now for our kitchen redo. You have touched the most basic concept of renovating, but you have presented your points very well.ReplyCancel

  • Monica3.9.15 - 6:45 PM

    Love it!Could you tell were did you get these upper 3″ simple trims and lower(close to floor)? I must be blind cause I could not find something like that in Home Depot and I really need these…ReplyCancel

    • Kim3.9.15 - 10:48 PM

      Those were provided with our cabinets, but they look to be as simple as 1x4s cut down to size!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren Barlow10.5.16 - 10:09 PM

    Hi Kim and Scott,
    Your blog is great! Thank you for sharing the ups and downs of all your projects. Your posts are informative and inspiring.

    We are renovating our kitchen soon and would love to know who manufactured your kitchen cabinets. (We are local; live just north of the city.)

    Thanks so much! LaurenReplyCancel

  • Ana Maria10.27.16 - 9:47 AM

    We are also installing cabinets in distant grey! Sorry if it is mentioned elsewhere but what is your wall colour? And did you match your trim to your cabinets?ReplyCancel

  • Alli4.13.17 - 6:23 PM

    Hi, are you able to share the cabinet maker? We’re in Chicago and looking for a cabinet maker! You can just email me, too if you prefer not to share here!ReplyCancel

    • carolyn8.9.17 - 12:42 PM


      I actually have this saaame question—do you mind revealing your magic?

      thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Krisztina7.16.20 - 1:06 AM

    Just came across this post. I’m also getting mine in distant gray and I love the look of your kitchen; Including the blue door. Would you happen to know the name of the color? Thank you ❤️ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

Join us as we renovate and nurture vintage homes across Chicago + SW Michigan!

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