Stop! Kitchen. Drawers. *thunk*

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

That's me, passing out.  *ka-thunk*

We have kitchen drawers now.  I know, right?!  I kid you not.  Kitchen.  Drawers.  Hole-eeeee cow people.  Drawers!!

wall mounted custom kitchen drawer unit with counter
Omg.  Omg.  *thunk*
After three and a half years of drawer-less misery, bam, done.  Done!  Mind blown.  Blown!

Right, so speedy recap, yes, I've been whining incessantly for three and a half years that our brilliant flipper is not a kitchen designer, left out every trace of sanity and drawers.  Then me ungratefully sniveling about the cart (which I'm selling on Craigslist -- in Chicago?  Need a kitchen cart?).

Went off the rails a hair then still whined for eons about how I needed to come up with a solution.  Drew idea after idea after idea on the computer.

Clearance came on the final design from elusive-approval-giver Mike, the super kind carpenters constructed and here we are today, beaming ear to ear.

drawer unit in construction
Hey, wanna go for a car ride?  To your new home?!  Let's go!
When it was up and done Mike said, "Wow."  ....."Wow." ......."Wow babe, nice job."  Yay, all the thumbs up!  He even texted me the next day asking for a picture which means he's proudly showing it off.  Win!  Heh, blush.

SoooOOooo obviously I didn't build this.  Wimp.  Yep.  'Dat's me.  But!  I did toil over its design.  I did do all the finishing.  Mike and I installed it.

Way big thanks to the carpenters, Sam and Chris to be exact, for additionally making it stupid easy to install.  Seriously huge thanks.  Sam suggested the french cleat route, I swooned too much, it became awkward, he looked at me like I had three heads.

French cleat on back of wall mount drawer unit
Right, so they did everything build for me, even cut down the butcher block countertop from Menards.

Wait, right, hold up.....Design choice explanation.

See, the cart (wow, Amazon has the darn exact same one* but for much less than I paid.  Harrumph, grrr.  Oh, wood top, ah ha.) was merely 18" deep.  Mike and I felt like it took up more than a decent share of coveted space in our poorly laid out dysfunctional kitchen.

Regular base cabinets are 24" deep (why I didn't just go buy some), countertops are 25".  Roundabout, therefore I designed the new drawer unit to be 17" deep, the counter at 18" to harmonize with our engrained traffic pattern.  Hence, bzzzz, table saw to butcher block.

So ok!

A couple trips loading the Rockstar Rabbit from work to home (yes, I designed so it'd all fit in my wee powerhouse car too), all the pieces and parts were ready to go.  Waiting on me.

Remember Heather?  The woman who also shared a tool rant, yes.  We've been e-chatting and she generously hooked me up with PureColor, environmentally friendly water based finishing products, who were looking to have bloggery type folks check out their goodies.  Wow, nice, right?!

See, originally I planned to paint the drawer cabinet black but she caught me in the nick of time; turns out they have a black stain, Ink Blot.  Bingo!

Ever so kindly, because I was color waffling, go figure, they sent a pint each of Ink Blot, Marine Gray, and Adega along with a quart of their semi-gloss sealer and two sample packs, Lemon and Red Special.

Flattered and agog at my box of staining goodies, that's for sure.  Thrilled at the Lemon I was as yellow is my fave.  How they knew, I dunno, but I'm tickled and pondering a future yellow project.

So, right, as such, I got to try them out.  Originally I typed up the whole testing and finishing process here but it made this post painfully long so I'll spill the beans on the next one.  Wah wah, I know, sorry.  Hey, we get to talk about drawers more, win win!

If you are too eager to wait for me, you can order the stains up here.*

In the end, long stain story-to-come short, I went with one coat of Ink Blot stain thinned with water 50%, one coat (so far) of Varathane Heavy Use* sealer in satin.  Only one seal coat as I wanted to see the unit up, in, on, and together before I fully color committed.

Not color committed, you chime, huh?

Design choice explanation...Because this drawer unit is thoroughly opposite in design aesthetic from our existing cabinets, I opted to not attempt matching the blacks.  I figured the new would stand out awkwardly in its efforts as it never will match, thereby, therefore embrace the difference.

Mike asked me about eight times, are you gonna match the blacks, are you gonna match, looks like you need a second coat, do a second coat.  Are you gonna stain the edges....Heh.  I tried to explain why not, got the "you're such a designer" eyeroll in return.  That's ok, I still love him.  And I amuse him, heh.

Why did I opt not to use the semi-gloss the nice PureColor folks sent?  The existing cabinets, the Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations* kit sealer is satin, I wanted the same sheen.  Rest assured, I will test the semi-gloss.

Not the same color but the same sheen?  Huh?  Becky, you're weird, you choice explanation.  If the new cabinet were any glossier, it'd pull focus thereby further accentuating its design aesthetic difference and make the all the cabinets all mad at each other.

Slightly different color/shade/value/hue whatev's lends eye movement; different sheen, flashy blinky lights "look at me!!"

Two days after finishing the finishing, Mike had an extra day off.  "Hey babe, wanna help?"  Wanna and choice were not applicable so I quickly revised, "Hey babe, when can we install?"  "Now babe, let's do it now."

First a little math (ugh!!!), using AutoCAD as a crutch.  Hey, do whatcha gotta do, man.

AutoCad elevation drawing of kitchen wall
Go AutoCAD!*  Go AutoCAD!
Marked the wall where the wall cleat needed to land, its lowest 45 degree edge on the line...

measuring for cleat half for wall
Line me up here, says cleat.
...then marked the wall where the cabinet unit then the cleat needed to line up to for the counter to be centered.

mapping out where to hang drawer unit on wall
X marks the spot.
Trust me, I measured two hundred and fifty bazillion times.

Used my fussy stud finder* and after some cracks from wiseguy on the couch about finding a stud, it was time.  Time for butterflies in my stomach.

Using some of those vicious 2 1/2" WallDog screws* leftover from the rescue of the tv console,

long WallDog screws
my stud holding the wall french cleat along with Famous Level, on it went, zip zip.  Well, ok, more like growl zip.
Lookie at that sweet befreckled hand of his.  (He was not pleased that I snapped this. Plus he lost his wedding ring the night before.  Sigh.)

wall portion of French cleat attached

Next I added a piece of 1x on the bottom back side of the cabinet as future further-anchoring-to-the-wall-shim-support because, as you can see below, the cabinet back was inset 3/4".

adding a shim to the back and Finn the assistant
My 1x shim and second assistant.
We then toted the cabinet over and easily plopped it right onto the cleat.  Bam, bingo, just like that, walk away, hand clap it's up!  Breathless butt wiggle.  We looked at each other wide-eyed.

drawer unit hanging on wall without drawers
It's on!  It's on!!!!  Did you see it's on?!  It's on!!
Using more of those WallDogs, I tacked the back into the studs through that 1x.

screwing cabinet box to wall
Zip.  Growl.
Last heavy lifting step, the counter.  Hauled that puppy in from the garage, set it down, I sunk in two screws from below, good to go!  Yes, I was majorly butt wiggling at this point.

Next the drawers.  I ordered up these full extension drawer slides* by the way and they're awesome.  They pop out easily by lifting one side tab, pushing down the other side tab then pull (wish I had known as I bought some moving straps* to move the unit, bum arm ya know, it's heavy.  Straps were useless, woulda helped to pull the drawers out, doh).

Someone at the company hand wrote two thank you notes for my purchase.  Two!  Seriously.

how to remove drawers from slides
Squish one side up, one side down and easy out.  
Lastly, mineral oil to seal the counter.  Now, don't be fooled by all those way expensive tiny butcher block oil bottles.*  Get regular inexpensive food grade mineral oil.*  Exact same thing.  How do you know if it's food grade?  It's uh, the uh laxative kind.  Ahem, cough.  Hey, it is what it is.

finishing butcher block counter with mineral oil
The uh, food safe mineral oil. 

Step back and omg.  Omg.  OMG it's done and we have drawers!!!  Holy sh*t-eating grin!  I text the carpenters, I email my mom!  I dance!  Jaw → floor then *thuunk*!

What happened to the remaining seven inches of countertop?, you ask.  That will become a shelf above this unit.  All of our spices will hang off it.  Oh, psshh, you'll see.....

Hey, I noticed you've got a cabinet part too in that photo above, is that going in?  I'm not sure yet.

deciding on whether to use cabinet for garbage can
I designed the door cabinet to house a trash can.  Our current can doesn't fit (doh) and opening door panel then trash lid is a hassle.  Plus I'd have to trim the baseboard to fit the cabinet in.  And cut out the back of the cabinet, drill a hole in the butcher block to reach the outlet.

Mainly I'm concerned about it's girth swallowing up all the air in the room too, so we'll see.  I have my stain mix at the ready in case.

finished kitchen drawers on wall
Aaaafter.  Siiiiiiiiggggghhhhh.  Got new LED's that are quite warm, hence the weird pictures.
Needless to say, I unpacked that darn cart faster than lightning, filled up all the drawers.  Put said cart right up on Craigslist.  Heh.

silverware tray won't fit in drawer
Then this happened.  hahaha, oh my.  Turned it to the side and it's alllll good.  Ha!  SMH.
Yay!!  Yay!  Drawers!  Some kitchen-pantry-drawer reorganization and such will be occurring but my goodness, I am woozy over these drawers.

another view of finished wall mount kitchen drawer unit
Hallelujah.  We have freakin' drawers.  Wow.  Oh hey, dog slobber splash blocker looks great with them too!
And amazingly, despite the new eight foot long counter and larger cabinet box, the kitchen feels roomier.  Surely because it's up off the floor (design trick).  And black.

view of kitchen
Hey hey!  Kitchen today.
What's the real lesson here Becky?, you're circling.  Real lesson here my friends is that if you've got an issue in your home, there is a fix.  Seek, DIY, and you shall find your liberation.

Drawers!!  *thunk*

I will say I should have gotten soft close drawer slides as I came downstairs this morning and three drawers were left partially open, ahem Mike.  Heh, poor guy!

And I will say too, I shot all those existing cabinets the stink eye for still being so unattractive.  Imagined them in the alley, replaced by other better looking cousins.  Cough.  Excuse me!

But drawers!  I'mma gonna go pet them now.

So yay, I'm back!  Now onto the first floor bathroom!  Whoooo doggie!  Hang on peeps, here we gooooo!

(Hop to the kitchen drawer update wrap up here!)

*The kitchen cart, PureColor stains, Varathane poly, Kitchen Transformations kit, stud finders, WallDog screws, drawer slides, moving straps, butcher block oil, and mineral oil, whew, are Amazon affiliate links.  The AutoCAD link is an AutoDesk affiliate link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. Such fun reading about your process, Becky! Love the new cabinet with DRAWERS!

    1. Such fun reading your super nice comment! Thank you very much!

  2. I like the design of the new cabinet...I suppose you already can picture the entire kitchen with the same cabinets...but then you would probably design it with drawers.

    1. Thanks! Yes, I can indeed picture the whole kitchen matching these drawers.....if only, heh! And yes, you are correct, I would have designed the kitchen to have drawers for sure. It's just cruel otherwise, right?

  3. Great job! I wish I had your diy skills!I'm so jealous ��

    1. Thank you! Hey, if I can do it, you can too. Go get 'em!


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