Wherein I Built Some Motherf*cking Cabinets

The only appropriate way to follow that title is this: Hell. Yes. 

The last weeks of 2018 were nothing short of a gift. An incredible time when I had the time, the energy, and all the materials to spend all my evenings out in the shop, building all of the things…


Which basically amounts to a million cabinets.


Okay, not a million. But enough to drastically change the storage situation in my house, which feels like nothing short of a million-cabinet miracle. This house has been a disaster for the better part of a decade.

After the window seat and the back of the breakfast counter, I started on the laundry room (and only because my mom decided to start cleaning it out “just in case I wanted to do some work in there”… because moms know, you guys.)

Technically this is an old pic, but it looked basically like this:


In just two evenings and one Saturday, I built two pantry-style closets for this room, which required no shortage of wine and floor space…


Nothing like assembling cabs on an uneven garage floor, right?

Still. It worked.


Let me tell you, after The Great Cabinet Painting Month of 2016 I never thought I would have to dodge through an obstacle course of half-painted shelves to get through my kitchen ever again, but WELCOME TO 2019 GUYS.


In all fairness, this only lasted a day. And then, this…


Listen, it’s not finished, okay? (And honestly, when in the history of this fifteen– fifteen?!?!– year website have you ever seen me legit finish a project? Never? Okay. Well let’s not go crazy and get our hopes up now.)

There will be uppers on top of these, shelves between them on the bottom for the laundry baskets, and a bar between them at the top for hangers. Plus, paint. But mostly its not finished because that very pink floor tile is on the brink of being evicted once and for all. (I know, I know, I’ve said that before. I really do mean it this time thought.) So no crown molding or final finishes because everything is going to have to be moved out of this room at some point this year. But I wanted the cabs to be functional in the meantime. And they are.

On one side I gained a functional cleaning storage closet (which holds the rarely-used vacuum, never-used steam mop, and other assorted cleaning supplies that I like to buy on those rare occasions that I want to feel like a grown up) and on the other side an even more functional pantry for canned goods, egg cartons, and other  kitchen items that aren’t used on a daily basis (I’m looking at you, eleven cans of black beans, because WHY.)

Also, since I was on a role with the “let’s build cabinets to hide all my shit” theme, we really need to talk about the mudroom, which most recently looked like this…


The mudroom has been a constant source of “what the shit is going on in here?” because, seriously, what the shit has been going on in here… for the last seven years?




I just can’t with this room. I mean, I can… for like 2 weeks. And then a project happens (or I build a gym in my house) and then all of the shit just ends up in the mudroom again.

So I finally gave up and built a bigass cabinet. Because in my world right now, you can solve any problem at all by building a cabinet. (Need more storage? Cabinet. Insomnia? Cabinet. Procrastinating a workout? Cabinet. Cat died? Build a million fucking cabinets.)


For real. This thing is so big I had to assemble it in the room because even with my mom’s help we didn’t think we’d be able to carry it assembled from the garage.


Hello, beautiful.

For days after we cleaned this room out my mom would walk into the house and say, “I just can’t believe this.” Because you could walk through it without tripping. You know where you’ve set the bar in your life when that’s what impresses your mother.

Also, two things:

1.) I also built upper cabs for all of these, so they’re floor-to-ceiling storage.


2.) There will be doors on all of these beasts eventually. Probably because I’m going to buy them from somewhere since I do not have the patience for door-building right now.


Hey, here’s another thing I did.

Remember back when I built this cabinet? (When it was almost a retro-curved-wraparound-shelf-thing?) Yeah.


Well, here’s what it looked like a few days ago…


And here’s what it looks like now.


Also, while I was at it, I painted every-damn-thing, including the new breakfast bar area…


And the window seat.


You guys, this window seat is weirdly (but officially) my favorite spot in the house. It doesn’t have a cushion on it yet so my ass hurts all the time, but I still sit there every morning, some evenings when I’m still working on my computer, and basically any time I just need a break in the house. I have no idea why this space that I’ve decidedly ignored for the last seven years is now my favorite, but I’m just going to roll with it.

While I’m sitting here typing this from my window-seat, let’s just take a minute and reflect on this kitchen seven-ish years ago


And today…


I mean.

It’s not finished. But if you look at it in the right light, and squint your eyes a little bit, it almost feels like a real house and not a construction zone (for the moment.) Seven years, you guys. And a solid three with this room under construction.

So, yeah, I built some motherfucking cabinets. And I feel great about it. Sometimes I feel like if I’m not telling a good “before and after” story (you know, one with all those pretty before and after shots we’re so used to seeing these days) that I don’t have a story to tell at all. But you know what? This is my life. My amazing, messy, beautiful, perpetually unfinished life. And, lets be honest, for girl who spends a lot of time by herself in a garage with a bottle of wine and a bunch of old power tools? I have a lot more fun than I probably should.

And if you’re here reading this, cheering a little inside for pictures of a kitchen that actually looks like a kitchen again (uh, with plywood floors), it’s because you’ve been in this with me for the long-haul. Getting invested in projects and stories that may take years (or decades? please god, not decades) to come to a satisfying conclusion.

Seriously? Thanks for that. And for all the support when things get tough, or when I just can’t quite figure out how to tell the stories that need to be told.

2019 is shaping up to be a pretty epic year.

P.S. Oh, sorry, did you think I was done building cabinets? Because I also totally started on the built-ins over at the Lake House…


I’m not done being the crazy-cabinet lady (who can create makeshift sawhorses out of patio chairs) yet, you guys.

55 Responses

  1. I love following along, no matter how long it takes! None of my custom built cabinets have managed to obtain doors yet either. I didn’t know that your cat died though – I’m so sorry to hear that 🙁

  2. Something to do with your 11 cans of black beans.

    Black Bean Salad

    -2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
    -1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
    -3 green onions, white bulb and 3 inches green, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds
    -2 ripe plum tomatoes, diced
    -6 T extra virgin olive oil
    -3 T fresh lemon juice
    -5 T chopped cilantro
    -1 t coarsely ground black pepper
    -3/4 t salt

    Combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss gently. Let the salad rest, loosely covered, at room temperature for at least 1 hour before serving

    Yield: 6 servings

    PS: I often add chopped avocado to the mix as well.

    1. I make what my husband calls naked burrito bowls (some restaurant makes something like that and we totally ripped off the name): black beans, chopped cooked chicken (or beef or pork), chopped onions, shredded cheese – heat ’til everything is hot (I usually put the cheese on after the other stuff is pretty warm). Then slather your favorite salsa on top – I go for salsa verde, hubby does red. I eat it just like that, but it’s also good over rice and with tortillas. Super fast dinner (or lunch, or breakfast, or midnight snack – we eat a lot of beans 🙂 )

    2. Well, I absolutely love this and am totally making it for my mom and grandma since they’re both coming over to help me paint all these cabs this weekend!

  3. I didn’t even notice the plywood floor because the cabinets are gorgeous. Great job! Happy 2019!

  4. I LOVE your kitchen cabinets — you have inspired me to try and build a door for our medicine cabinet.

    One question I do have is: where did you get those beautiful stools for the breakfast bar? I love the seats on them!!!

    Always enjoy your posts; I’ve been with you since day one 🙂

  5. Hi Kit – the cabinets look great, but the thing I read that struck me most — did you loose your wonderful black kitty? So sorry, it’s so hard to loose your linfelong pals.

    I am sure your home feels empty without her. I moved off my little farm into town last year, then one of my donkeys I had to leave behind died in April. It’s been months and months and I still cry every time I think of her.

    Just want to say how sorry I am. Take care. Kathy

    1. I did, and thank you. (Wrote just a little bit about it in my last post about building the window seat.) It’s been a hard couple of months without my sidekick, but I’m trying to channel my sad into productive things when I can.

  6. Kristen I love seeing your progress on your farm. You are a talented girl. It all looks amazing no matter how long it takes you.

  7. Oh Kit! The mudroom looks great! Now you’re making me want to clean up my “staging room”. I’ve been wanting to do built-in bookcases in my living room around the main window with a bench seat between, but I just can’t figure out how close to the window I should stop them. So if anyone knows, please tell me.
    I realize I only have a few months until my grandchild is born so i need to finish up projects.

  8. Looks wonderful!

    I think you should plan on a open house once you are a 80% finished with the house and invite your faithful readers (I’ve been here since you were fixing up a old garage to live in) to come see. Then we can help finish the last 20%! Haha

    In all seriousness I enjoy your authentic story telling…we can find perfect before and afters anywhere. There are very few places to see and read about real life. It’s much appreciated.

    1. Haha. I LOVE this idea. I have so many ways I would love to share the farm with other people, I just have to figure out the best way (and time!) to do it. (Like, there should be an AirBNB experience I can create where I pay *you guys* to come help me finish shit! lol)

  9. Hell Yeah!

    Thanks for sharing. This really motivates me to persist with my projects.

    Your kitchen is beautiful!

  10. Such greatness! I love the window seat! I love all the cabinets. I feel like I can only handle one major house disruption at a time. Right now I am staring at our front room trying to get up the courage (?), energy (?) totally redo it from floor to ceiling. You are inspiring me to just do it… 🙂

    1. Listen, it will be a pain in the ass, and it will get very worse before it gets very better… but it will also be fun and really worth it when it’s done! Do it!

  11. I want to pull a Sarah Fogle and come build doors with you. Im pretty good at that.

    1. I need more Sarahs in my life! (she’s at least 80% of the reason I have a working bathroom upstairs right now.)

  12. Looks so amazing! I still want to meet up and talk about the times we kinda sorta bought houses on whims…and then what happened.

    1. YES. We are totally doing this and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long (how did I miss the Yurt party, uh, years ago? for real??) I’m going to get in touch and would love to make a plan to meet up and swap stories!

  13. I have to admit it’s been awhile since I saw your blog, but I’m glad I saw this. You rocked it, girl!

  14. Nope, you’ll definitely not win the price of “best before and after photos”, but despite of that (or maybe BECAUSE of that), your blog posts are the ones I look the most forward to. And your blog is the only one from seven years ago that’s still in my feed.

    You tell honest and relatable stories that don’t make me feel bad about lack of proces and structure in my own life. Thank you for that.

    And I’m SO looking forward to seeing what you are going to do with the lake house 🙂

  15. I love following your ride. Getting motivated to rehab my rental once the tenant leaves in a week. Lots of flooring to do. Looks great. So sorry about the kitty, time to go get rescues.

  16. I LOVE THEM ALL! I’m so glad I found your blog years ago. I spend my days renovating mobile homes and other fun shit, and I just love watching your projects unfold. You are hysterical and awesome. And yes, I have a “bit” of a crush. Take it as a compliment. You have set the bar (at least in some areas) for my future wife ..and myself, tbh. So, keep being awesome! 🙂 I love your blog!

  17. This looks so good! I absolutely love it. Plus, the cabinets totally steal the show so much I didn’t even notice the floors. Can’t wait to see more!

  18. Those cabinets are awesome! I especially love the one at the end of your breakfast bar with the microwave in it. Love all the storage in the mud room too.
    Did you update your big chalkboard for 2019? I always enjoy seeing it each year!

  19. I see evidence of lots of focus. Looking forward to seeing what doors you’ll choose. Do the sides in all those ginormous cabinets have dadoes (what does Spellcheck know?) to hold the shelves?

    I wish I had a tablesaw.

    1. Happens every once in a while! I just used shelf pins for the shelves so they could be adjustable, but I’m re-thinking that in the mudroom cabinet and will likely use some 1×2 as a brace under the shelves. (Yay for tablesaws, but I built all of these with a circular saw and miter saw only, for the most part. 🙂

      1. What’s the trick to getting proper placement of the shelf pin holes so the shelves can sit flat on ALL 4 pins? They must have to be drilled before assembly??? What about retro drilling these holes into an existing cabinet? (Don’t give in to these kind of thoughts???)

        1. Ah, you know, I didn’t think too hard about it, I just measured the same distance from the top of the cab to the spots I wanted the pins and drilled the holes. They all fit! (Except one I drilled an inch too low… there’s always one.)

  20. This. Is. Awesome. I’ve realized this year how much I need to just let the chaos occur as I circle around and around all the stuff I’m working on. So many layers of projects, orders of operations, moving parts. It takes time and thought and TIMING. And eventually it gets done.

  21. I love your writing style! All the laughs. 🙂 This really cheered me up on a very gloomy morning. I wish I lived in Michigan and was your friend just so I could organize your storage. #dreams Happy to see that kitchen cabinet put to bed. Love it all!

    1. I know you’ve got your hands full with those adorable boys, but you still get a lot of projects done at your place. Russet Street Reno is forever in my blog feed! (Also, I feel like they’re about big enough to start using power tools, no? lol)

  22. I’ve been watching your progress throughout the 7yrs of projects. I think you should be congratulated, your kitchen looks grand! Can’t wait to see the rest of it when it’s all finally done.

  23. I like your writing style! All This really cheered me up on a very gloomy morning. I wish I lived in Michigan and was your friend just so I could organize your storage.

  24. That window seat! I fell inlove the first time I saw it. You did a great job! I feel inspired
    by your work Kit! I hope I can apply it to our newly renovated home.

  25. Wow. Thank you for this post. Its really amazing. It helps me a lot to think what appropriate things I need to do to have good kitchen cabinet. and I also get some idea from other Commercial Joinery. With the right materials and space. I think this is really good combination.

  26. Gotta be the most wicked pissa blog post I have have ever found intentionally or accidentally. You write in a fabulous fashion…kept my attention all the way. Take that now, revel in the accolades….now do evict that guy lining color pink floor….

    Best of all the blessings, you dame,you !

  27. The wife and I are in the process of decided to sand down old wooden cabinets or tear them out and purchase new ones. To tear out the old ones is going to be a major project so we are leaning toward sandblasting old ones and staining.

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