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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

6 replies
  1. Mary Porter
    Mary Porter says:

    Grey or white is the safest color for appealing to most buyers. Plain handles. Nothing crazy for backsplash either. People want to be able to put their own touch to things. Also coordinating things you already have is easier with a neutral color is much better

  2. Sarah
    Sarah says:

    I love your design choices! I’m actually planning to reno my sad kitchen soon and my design board is filled with navy cabinets pictures! I love that it’s bright, but still kind of neutral – navy goes with everything, right? Thinking about doing white uppers even though I’m not a huge fan of the two-tone kitchen, because I am afraid it will seem too cave-like. I’m going to do white subway tile and “Carrera-look” quartzite counters so it’s not all dark. What do you think of two-tone kitchens? I have a love/hate thing going on.


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