Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Oh my goodness, I just realized I never shared the Saving Etta kitchen mood board with you! Well, I guess it’s a bit late for this, but here you go:

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Inspiration Sources:

Kitchen Design Image from Regan Baker Design’s Lake District Revival

Stainless Steel Hood by Broan

4″ x 12″ Subway Tiles by Jeffrey Court for Home Depot

Morley 4 Light Island Light Fixture

Not shown, were open shelving I planned to install on the full tile wall to the left of the window. What I was really digging is the painted island in navy. About a week after I created this mood board, I was stopped in my tracks by this photo from my friends Katelyn & Uriah, at The Inspiring Investment.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

I immediately messaged Katelyn to ask if the cabinets they used on their LaRancharita flip was navy or was I just dreaming? She replied “YES!” (If you aren’t following The Inspiring Investment on Instagram, you need to. Katelyn and Uriah are local flippers who I love to watch!) By now I was smitten and determined to use a similar color in Etta’s kitchen. As you may know, I’m certainly no stranger to using color in a kitchen. You may recall that my own kitchen cabinets are a pretty minty blue.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

The Decision Process:

I began hunting for stock navy cabinets to purchase but was coming up blank. If you’re wondering why I didn’t purchase custom cabinets, here’s why:

  • For my own kitchen, I didn’t mind paying the extra fee for a custom color. For a flip, I have a tighter budget.
  • Going with a custom color might not appeal to as many potential buyers. (Remember my front door color dilemma?)
  • Ordering custom painted cabinets can add weeks to the timeline.
  • Hunting down a manufacturer that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for custom colors is time consuming.

Ultimately, time and budget played a huge role in ditching the idea of using navy cabinets (insert sad emoji face.) This was my mood when I found myself at Cabinets To Go (not sponsored). By this time I was ready to order cabinets and be done with it. But, first I needed to make sure the cabinet quality was up to my standards.

I pulled out all the drawers and inspected them. Dovetail construction on all drawers: check. Then I tested the drawers and doors. They all had soft close slides and hinges: check. But, the final inspection these cabinets had to pass could be a deal breaker. Having been through a major unplanned kitchen renovation. because cabinets were ruined by water, has changed the way I choose cabinets forever. I looked at the inside of the Cabinets To Go cabinets and was pleased to see plywood boxes: check.

Next it was time to choose the cabinet style. I was resigned to the fact that I couldn’t get navy cabinets (although I did ask.) As a distant second choice, I decided to look for a neutral gray cabinet as a safe choice. These were the first cabinets I looked at, but ultimately I didn’t like all the molding profiles and dark wax look. I needed something a little more updated for a younger buyer.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

On the opposite end of the style scale were these glossy modern cabinets. They are sleek and sexy, but I was craving a modern farmhouse style for Etta (I don’t think she’d want to flaunt her sex appeal at her age.)

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Finally, I settled on a simple shaker style cabinet. The “platinum grey” color was exactly what I was looking for to appeal to a variety of home buyers.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

After meeting my high standards, I braced for the total price. Luckily I was eligible for a contractor discount and paid about $3,000 for all the cabinets. I put down my deposit and was told I could pick up the flat-packed and un-assembled cabinets in about two weeks. I could have paid an additional $1500 for assembly and installation, but I figured this was a good place to save some money.

Assembling Cabinets:

After the wood floors were installed, I was anxious to pick up the cabinets. My good friend Holly, a fellow renovator and local realtor, offered to help me with assembly. Little did I know how incredibly grateful I would be for her offer. As we unpacked the cabinets from the boxes, she looked at the instruction sheet briefly and said, “Perfect! These are just like the ones we assembled for our rental house.” With her experience in assembling cabinets, I let her take charge. Before long we had assembled the majority of the cabinets.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Honest Opinion of Cabinets to Go Cabinets:

One of the last cabinets to assemble was the corner lazy Susan cabinet. If you purchase this cabinet from Cabinets to Go, throw away the instruction sheet because it is useless! Watch this video to see how to assemble it.

I want to take a minute to let you know my honest opinion of the Cabinets To Go quality. For the price, I was pleased with them. But, for my own home, I would definitely want something with stronger construction. The flat packed cabinets have a finicky turning lock nut (think IKEA furniture construction) that hold the panels together. It took some finagling to get some of them to line up correctly. But, ultimately they seem to assemble tight together. Only time will tell if they hold up to regular use.

Hanging Wall Cabinets:

About a week after cabinet assembly, I was finally able to get a helper to assist me while hanging cabinets. My husband, aka Pretty Handsome Guy, offered to take the day off work to help me get the cabinets installed. You may remember his skill set from this popular tutorial on fixing common gift wrap problems. I still get a good laugh from his first guest post on the blog. Although he’s not handy, he does a great job holding things and handing things to me. I am truly grateful for his help.

We started by securing level ledger boards to the wall to rest the wall cabinets onto. Then we started with the corner wall cabinet.  You’d never want to work your way into the corner because walls are harder to move than cabinets. Know what I mean?

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Next, we installed the two cabinets flanking the corner cabinet. Each cabinet was secured with multiple screws into the studs and then secured to the cabinet next to it.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Luckily, we only had three upper cabinets to hang. This certainly made our first cabinet installation job a snap. After the wall cabinets were secured, we removed the ledger board. The holes in the wall would be easy to patch, but I knew I’d be tiling over them.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Next we assembled the fridge cabinet and secured the side walls to the cabinet on the floor before lifting it upright and securing it to the wall. If you decide to try this method of attaching the cabinet walls, make sure your ceiling is tall enough to accommodate the cabinet at a diagonal when you lift the cabinet upright. We had no issues because Etta’s ceilings are nine feet tall.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Hanging the wall and fridge cabinets took most of our time that first day. The next day I worked solo installing the base cabinets and assembling the island. There was a fair amount of leveling and shimming to get them all level. Unfortunately one cabinet had to be trimmed on the base where the floor had a hump in it. I mistakenly thought the new construction portion of the house would be perfectly flat and level—I was wrong.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

The last step in the cabinet install was to build a base for the two wall cabinets designated for the back side of the island. Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that step. You’ll forgive me right?

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

The island cabinets were eventually secured to one another and secured in place with shoe moulding around the base. Tomorrow I’ll show you a little something special I added to the island. If you have USB devices (and who doesn’t these days), you’re going to love it!

What do you think of the gray color? Is it a safer choice, or should I have looked longer for navy cabinets? Stay tuned for more Saving Etta updates!

Saving Etta: Kitchen Cabinet Decision and Install

Installing Cabinet Handles the Easy Way | Pretty Handy Girl

After installing my fair share of cabinet knobs and handles over the years, I’ve made my own templates out of cardboard or scrap wood. But, after trying this new gadget, I can honestly say this is how you too can Install Cabinet Handles the Easy Way.

I was given the Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig (affiliate link) to test last year, but I never opened it until now. I’m so glad I finally tried this puppy out. Just so you know, Kreg may have given me the jig, but I was not paid to write about it. I’m sharing this with you because I really liked this tool.

When you use this jig, not only will you install cabinet knobs and pulls easily, but each handle will be perfectly lined up with the others guaranteed!

2 Ways to Fix a Knob Screw that's Too Long | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have knobless cabinets in your home, now is the time to update them immediately. Grab a few things and meet me back here in a minute.


(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Assembling the Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig:

Remove the pieces from the packaging.

Add the non-slip pads to the edge guide. (Locate the indented circles and place pads here.)

Feed the hex head bolts into the edge guide and insert into slots on the jig.

Thread the knobs onto the front side of the Kreg Cabinet Hardware Jig.

Insert the drill guides into the slots on either side of the center hole window as shown below. Line up the drill guides with your handle posts. If you only have one post knobs to install, insert it in the center hole.

Flip the jig over and secure the drill guides with the provided nuts.

Now you’re ready to Install Cabinet Hardware the Easy Way.


Line up the drill guides with your handle posts making sure the numbers match on both sides. (Or insert the drill guide in the center hole for single post knobs.)

Hold your handle up to the location you wish to install it. Secure a strip of painter’s tape to the cabinet door in the same location.

Mark the center of the handle on painter’s tape on your cabinet drawer (or door.)

Line up your jig over the center line.

Set the edge guide to the desired depth from the top of the drawer. Clamp the jig in place. Feed a 3/16″ drill bit into your drill and drill through the two drill guides.

If your pulls are thicker than 3/16″, measure the depth of the pull posts and transfer that measurement onto a larger bit. Mark that depth with a painter’s tape “flag”.

Drill to the painter’s tape flag for an exact depth.

This jig works the same for cabinet doors with a single knob. The difference being you will line up the edge guide on the side of the cabinet door and only one hole is drilled.

After your hole is drilled, remove the painter’s tape from your cabinet. You should have a nice clean hole with no splinters.

Secure your knob or pull to the door and admire your handy work.

If you run into a situation where the screw is too long, I have two ways to deal with that long screw.

Disclosure: This is a product review. I was given a complimentary Kreg Hardware Jig to try. I was not paid to mention Kreg or told what to say. I will always let you know if you are reading a sponsored post or product review.


Matt & Jacque are here today to show you an amazing feat. They will show you how to build custom built in bookcases. You may remember this DIY Performing duo as former contributors. I know you’ve missed them and I’m sure you’re excited to see Matt & Jacque back again!


Matt & Jacque are the powerful DIYers at The DIY Village. They tackle all types of home improvement projects while raising their daughter Josslyn. These are some busy renovators.Rockstar DIY Series

I believe that’s the whine of two drills that I hear! Let’s give it up for Matt & Jacque.



I’m a firm believer that one can never have enough storage within their home! Especially, when you’re talking about a craft room! When we purchased our current house, my husband and I agreed would convert one of the bedrooms into a room where I could let my craft “freak” flag fly. Looking back on that decision, I still wonder what he was thinking, but nonetheless, fast forward three years. I have accumulated quite the inventory of supplies and came to the conclusion that the only storage solution would be the addition of matching built-in bookcases.

First off, let’s take a quick look at the basic structure that will make up the bookcase. (I won’t be including any dimensions, as you’ll need to work within the spatial constraints of your own home) The basic frame of the bookcase can be built using 1×12’s, along with a small platform that is made from 1×3. I have a large double window in this room so the best place to install the bookcases is on either side of the window, flanking the window.


One of the easiest ways to assemble your bookcase frames is by using pocketholes.


Using a pocket hole jig will make easy work of your assembly. With all of your lumber cut to length, you’ll need to drill pocketholes at the top and bottom of each side. Read more

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

What do you do with an old cabinet door? Besides keep it with your wood scraps for ten years like I did (not recommended.) You can create pre-framed art! Today I have an easy Upcycled Cabinet Door Chalkboard Art project for you. If you have an old cabinet door, some paint, and a stencil, you can have yourself a unique and personalized art piece for your wall! Easy art!


Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Cabinet door
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Foam brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Antiquing wax
  • Wax brush
  • Clean rag
  • Craft paint or chalky paint
  • Stencil brush
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Pencil
  • Stencil or cut vinyl

Optional: Stain and foam brush


Paint the inside panel of your cabinet door with chalkboard paint. After the paint has dried, lightly sand any imperfections. Apply a second coat, brushing the paint in the opposite direction as the first coat.

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

If you have an unstained cabinet door, you may want to stain it for an aged look.

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Apply painter’s tape to the inside face of the cabinet door.

Upcycled Cabinet Door Quote Art | Pretty Handy Girl

Paint the frame portion of the cabinet door. Allow to dry and apply a second coat of paint. Read more

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

Have you ever shopped the “As Is” section at IKEA? There are some deals to be found there! Like this IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet. The cabinet had a small bent piece at the bottom and was therefore marked down to $60 from $100! Score! I easily bent the metal back in place with pliers once I got home. Then I decided to use it as a wall-mounted mirror locker for my son’s stuffed animals. Hang out for a few minutes and I’ll show you how to safely mount this cabinet AND move an outlet into the cabinet.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

Handy Boy #2 had a narrow spot between his closet and reading nook that I knew would be perfect for this cabinet. The idea was to give him some storage for his ever multiplying stuffed animals. (They are seriously like rabbits! It never ends. I might need to look into a forced sterilization program.) Knowing my son and his antics (have I told you how he can climb his way around the room without setting foot on the floor. It’s amazing, albeit scary to watch. I’ll have to video him sometime.) I knew that I needed to secure this locker to the wall. But, there was an outlet in my way. And this is the outlet that gives power to the copper wall sconce in his reading nook. Therefore, I had to have access to the outlet. Plus, when he gets older he could charge his electronics in the locker.

Wall-mounted IKEA LILLÅNGEN Mirrored Cabinet turned Stuffed Animal Storage | Pretty Handy Girl

(I should note that I neglected to buy the optional base for this cabinet. Instead, I built a quick one using 2×4’s and 1×4’s.) 


  • Drill
  • Quilting pin
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Outlet extender
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Toothpaste
  • Screwdriver


First I located the stud in the center of the wall. Locating studs is easy by using a quilting pin. Read more

Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

Remember my son’s dresser that I gave a pop of color? As promised I’m back today to show you how I made the spigot handle drawer knobs. I purchased my vintage spigot handles from Etsy seller, Anything Goes Here. She has some other vintage handles available, so snatch them up quick. The only other materials you need can easily be picked up from the hardware store.


Spigot Faucet Drawer Knobs Tutorial | Pretty Handy Girl

  • Spigot faucet handles
  • #8 – 32 Machine screw nuts
  • #8 – 32 x 2″ Threaded machine screws
  • Washers
  • Needle-nosed pliers
  • Phillips head screwdriver

Optional: Clear sealer spray to protect knobs


Making these adorable vintage spigot knobs is an easy project. Line up your parts per handle. You’ll need 1 machine screw, 4 washers, and 3 nuts per handle. Start by threading one washer onto the machine screw. Thread the spigot handle onto the screw. Read more

How I Re-Built My Own Kitchen (after a leak) | Pretty Handy Girl

2013 Could be called the year of the kitchen renovation in our house. Or the year that nearly killed me. Or the luckiest year of our lives. I’m still debating the title. What I do know is that, I decided to take on my biggest DIY project to date. I re-built my own kitchen from bare studs and subfloor.

It started one morning as I was confronted with a foul odor. It’s only describable as that odor that usually lives in the high school gym locker room. I thought my 9 year old son’s feet were starting to stink. Unfortunately a stinky pair of shoes wasn’t the culprit, it turned out to be a very minor leak that turned into a very big kitchen renovation. We persevered through 45 days without a washer and dryer and many months without a kitchen. But, it was like being a contestant in Survivor. I lasted the year of construction; the set backs and sore muscles; and in the end I was rewarded with a brand new kitchen!

Today, I walk into our beautiful kitchen and I know it was all worth it! It was worth all the sweat equity, the daily Advil doses, and the tree falling on the house. If you want to reminisce with me as I recap my kitchen renovation of 2013, here’s your ticket to all the tutorials and posts: Read more

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

One of my favorite places to thrift shop is the Habitat ReStore. I mean, where else can you find cool $2 cabinet doors?

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl

This fine cast off door is just screaming to be upcycled into a beautiful tray. Especially when the same thrifting adventure yielded VERY COOL door hardware! Simply combine the two and you have yourself a unique serving tray to give as a gift (or keep for yourself.)

Make a Tray from a Cabinet Door | Pretty Handy Girl


  • Cabinet door
  • Door handle or cabinet handle
  • Wood putty
  • Putty knife
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Drill
  • Drill bits
  • Screwdriver bit
  • Rubber bumpers

Optional: Rub n’ Buff Gold Leaf

The steps are super simple. Read more


Have you heard the term sandbox when talking about software development? It’s the term used for the testing area where the engineers can “play” with their ideas before they go live to the public. Well, this little kitchen desk and hutch (kitchen command center) was my sandbox before I ordered our kitchen cabinets. It was my place to play with colors and style before making the very big step of ordering all the kitchen cabinets. When I had finished with the desk and hutch I was so thoroughly smitten with the colors that I had no problem ordering most of my kitchen cabinets in the same Sherwin Williams Copen Blue color!

Last week I showed you how I raised and transformed the Habitat ReStore desk into a counter-height desk. At the same time I bought the desk, I found a sheet of finish grade plywood that was an old folding table top. At $25 for the sheet, I brought it home and used it to create a wall-mounted hutch. After mounting it on the wall, I worked with my electrician to wire a lamp in the hutch. (Exterior wall mounted light from Lowe’s.) The result is a charming cottage style desk and hutch where I keep our lives organized!


Are you ready to build your own wall-mounted hutch? Grab your tape measure and saw and let’s get busy! Read more

built in bay window seat with storage tutorialBuilding a Window Seat with Storage in a Bay Window

You know when you dream about the finished product on something that you’ve been planning for a long time? And then you finish and your dream becomes a reality? And you think to yourself, am I still dreaming? All those sentiments and more have been going through my head since I finished the building this built-in window seat with storage in our bay window. This window seat is divine! In fact, I’ve begun calling it the Queen’s seat in the hopes that it will deter any male folks from claiming it in our household.

window seat in bay window

Several of you have asked for the tutorial to build the window seat. I have that for you, but I want to mention that this is a slightly more advanced project. Halfway into writing this tutorial, I realized there was no way I could show you each and every cut, step, and trick without this being the world’s longest blog post/tutorial. If you have some basic carpentry skills (you know how to hammer, nail, use some power tools and you know how to attach a 2×4″ securely to a wall), you should be able to handle this. With that being said, I do want to offer any help if you should have any questions during the process of building this bench, please feel free to email me and I will do my best to help you.

I also want to mention that I did have to move the HVAC vent forward so it came out the front of the window seat. Here’s the tutorial to move a floor vent. I do want to caution you against building over a vent. We have a bookcase that was built over the register and the wood inside grew mold because there wasn’t enough force to blow the air and moisture out the front of the bookcase. Just a warning, don’t take the easy way out.

Basics for Building a Built-in Window Seat in a Bay Window: Read more