Is There a Boy in that Hole?!

We usually have a funny time working on projects at my dad and Wendy's because for some reason our measuring always goes to shit. This project however, pretty much went according to plan. Which is pretty much fucking awesome.

After planning out the cabinet, building it and priming it, we packed it into the car on Sunday morning

And we got all these tools in there too (plus a compressor)

We hightailed it up to my parent's house a little nervous all along the way that a cabinet might go tumbling out of the truck bed. But we made it safely :)

When we got there first on the to do list was figuring out what kind of lighting they wanted to go with at the top. We bought a few different kinds so they could decide which style and brightness they liked the best (my dad is a stickler for good lighting)

They went with two small 3" lights that could either be used as floods or spotlights.

With the lighting decided on it was time to wire. We used an existing switch right next to where the cabinet would be which was really convenient

My dad of course had to inspect things

An added convenience was that because the cabinet would be going all the way up to the ceiling we didn't have to be super exact with the holes we cut in the ceiling for the lights because they'd be covered anyway

With the holes in the ceiling cut, next came mapping out exactly where in the cabinet the lights would go. And once we were sure, Chris cut them out

With the lighting squared away, it was time to get the cabinet pushed into the nook. When we built it Chris left the counter a little bit big (what we guessed was about 1/16) so that we'd have a bit of wiggle room getting the cabinet in there in case our measurements were off. We'd rather be safe than sorry and build something a bit too big and then have to shave some down - which is what we intended on having to do. What we didn't anticipate however was that the trim on the archway into the foyer would prevent us from getting the cabinet in the nook at all

We thought cutting the counter down a bit might help (don't worry, this part would be covered by the top cabinet)

Alas, we were still thwarted and decided the trim around the arch had to be taken off

After a bit of a shimmy here and there we discovered a tiny bit had to be shaved off on both sides (which is what we planned for). So the cabinet came outside and the belt sander got to work

Then it slid right into place. After we knew it fit we took it back out so we could attach the top portion to it. If we attached them when they were already in the nook you'd see the hardware that fixed them together. This way, we could put them together without anyone seeing how they were joined

(don't worry, there was more than just this one strip)

And once they were combined into one super duper cabinet, we pushed it into the nook (which was a little nerve wracking). But once it was in place, we could marvel at how beautiful it was :)

Then, it was time to hook the lights up (and thank goodness for a convenient A/C vent)

And when Wendy saw my dad standing next to the ladder, that's when she yelled out "Is there a boy in that hole?!" because, let's be honest, my dad and Chris do have an affinity for crawling into walls

But Chris was merely on top of the ladder :)

With the lights in (after additional sawing done in the hole)...

..it was time for finishing touches: attaching all the trim!

The fluting

The cove and crown

Chris cut away some of the baseboard so we could get the bottom fluting in place

The baseboard that we ripped off from the back wall got cut down to size...

...and installed on the front

Then Chris caulked the edges and joints, we installed the shelves and after a long day we called the project done! (sorry the lighting is so bad :( we finished late and the ceiling light in the room wasn't hooked up because some wiring had to be switched around)

I think it looks so great!!! I'm really happy with my design and beyond proud of Chris for doing such an AMAZING job building it. My dad and Wendy are so pleased and ecstatic with how it looks and it really takes that lame nook and makes it look awesome!

The glass shelves on the top portion look great (thick enough to hold heavy objects)

And the wood shelves on the bottom portion really ground it

And all together it looks awesome and like it was meant to be there!

I love it. Job well done :)


Fingers Crossed we Built the Cabinet Right!

Our first foray into cabinet building has gone really well. I'm super proud of Chris for the awesome job he did building such an great cabinet (and pat on my back for the design :) hehe, you know me and that graph paper are best buds). The real test will come on the install date. But for the time being let us basque in the glory of a finely built cabinet :)

After all of our planning it was time to get building. First up, the bottom portion.

We made a cut list based on my drawings and cut everything down to size. We planned to use a combination of MDF, cabinet grade plywood and poplar. In the end, everything would be color matched to their baseboards and painted. After we cut everything down we got to work.

We took the pieces of MDF we cut for the sides of the cabinet and used an awesome jig Chris got for drilling out our adjustable shelving holes

The jig made things super easy and after about 15 minutes we were done with both pieces

With the adjustable shelving holes drilled, we started assembling

We attached the bottom fixed shelf to the structure using wood glue and clamps (we didn't want any nails visible)

For the top "counter" we attached it using pin nails towards the back where the top cabinet will cover it, then Chris used the kreg jig to attach the counter towards the front on the sides so no joining method would be visible on the top

With the counter attached we nailed in some poplar for the counter trim to attach to (it's thicker than the counter)

With the base mostly complete, Chris started assembling the adjustable shelves. The main part of the shelf would be plywood, and the attached face frame would be poplar. Again, Chris used a kreg jig so that no joining of the two pieces would be visible

Once the first shelf was made we put it inside to make sure the sizing was correct (and you can see that the counter trim was attached as well)

I think it looks pretty damn good!

(and remember there will be fluted trim on the sides)

We made 3 adjustable shelves. I think the space is really only big enough for two without it looking too crowded, but you'd always rather have too many shelves than not enough.

Once the bottom cabinet was finished, it was time to work on the upper one. First, we cut out the arch for the top. We weren't really super sure how to get a good, symmetrical curve, but Chris came up with a good idea to use some scrap masonite

The first tracing was a bit off

But after we finally got it right (I think it took us 3 tries) we got the jigsaw and Chris cut it out

Then we sanded it all down to smooth things out

Afterwards we had some concerns about how all the trim (the arch, the fluting, the crown) were going to match up with each other at the top

Things weren't really lining up in a way that we were satisfied with, so we pondered some ideas. We came up with adding a piece of coved trim between the crown and arch to remedy the height differential

Then it was time to build again. We used the adjustable shelf jig again and started assembling (very handsome Chris)

Unfortunately at this point I started more patio digging, so I didn't get any more upper cabinet progress pics until Chris was done

How sharp does that look?

With both cabinets built and the trim all cut down and sanded we set about getting things primed. Chris taped off the edges of the cabinet so that once we attached the trim the adhesion would be a bit stronger

Then it was paint paint paint paint paint paint. Everything - the upper and lower cabinets, all the trim, and all the bottom shelves (the top shelves will be glass) - got 2 coats of primer with a sanding between coats

With everything primed...

...a few days later we sanded it all down again

My parents went with Kelly Moore paint (they've used it everywhere else in the house). Chris was excited to try a new product of their's called 1930 water-oil hybrid

It has the great durability and hardness from an oil-based, but the simplicity and easy clean up of a water-based, so using the sprayer to paint it on wouldn't involve clean up with mineral spirits (which would have sucked the big one)

We sprayed everything with 2 coats of paint and it only used maybe 2/3rds of a gallon which is awesome because that cabinet is a behemoth (about 4 ft. wide and 7 ft. tall) and that paint is expensive (it clocked in at just over $50 with tax for 1 gallon, yikes).

And once paint and clean up was done, we were ready for install!