We spent the better part of last week and through the weekend at Tree House with the goal of installing every last kitchen and mudroom cabinet … and we did it! But just barely – ha! Our cabinets were delivered on a Wednesday morning, and we spent the rest of the day going over the inventory and unboxing a handful of the more obvious pieces (Ooh, this is part of the island! And here’s the mudroom bench!). Scott’s parents came into help Wednesday evening (for which we are eternally grateful), and by Thursday morning, we had hit the ground running. Although we had every intention of leaving Tree House by Sunday morning, we were still wrapping up photos and video(!) well through the dinner hour, and we made it back to Chicago just in time to tuck Lucy into her crib.
We’ve partnered with our friends at Lowe’s for the entire kitchen and mudroom renovation, and when we last got into the meat of the plans, we had just sat down with a Lowe’s Design Specialist. For several hours, we went over every last cabinet option, paint finish and countertop. After solidifying the design (you can see how that whole process went down right here), we received a call a couple of weeks later to set up the delivery.
The only day that the cabinets could be delivered to Tree House was on a Wednesday, so we chose the first possible time slot, which was last week! We decided that we should take advantage of the mid-week delivery and push through with installation in the following days. When the truck arrived, we asked them to leave all the boxes on our deck – we’re thanking our lucky stars that it was a (cold) sunny few days! – which would allow us to keep the house (somewhat) clean and organized during the install.
Installing the Cabinets
You might remember that we landed on the Kraftmaid cabinetry line in ‘Cayden.’ The Cayden style is a full overlay, meaning that the cabinet doors cover most of the frame – a look that we personally prefer. We chose two colors: Dove White and Natural, with both in a Suede finish. The Suede finish has a sheen somewhere between eggshell and satin, softer than the standard semi-gloss. They’re still super wipeable, and we love the look of the lower sheen!
We started by focusing on the peninsula, maybe because we thought it would be the easiest? (It was.) When installing cabinets, there are a lot of things to keep in mind, such as the placement of door and window trim! For example, in order to make sure that the drawers in our peninsula would open all the way, the entire structure would need to be at least 1″ off of the wall. Otherwise, the drawers would bump into the trim on the door that leads into the mudroom, see?:
To remedy this, we used 2x4s as a spacer, and the exposed edges will eventually get a filler in the same finish as the drawers. (Although to be fair, it blends in pretty nicely as is!) Because the peninsula couldn’t be secured to the wall, we took careful measurements with a dry fit, and then Scott secured 2x4s to the floors. The components of the peninsula fit snugly over the 2x4s, and the cabinets could be attached to the 2x4s from the outside, through the base.
Along the way, and this is true for every cabinet, we relied on our level. We leveled from the front, from the side, from front to back; we leveled, leveled, leveled! Shims were our best friend to keep everything perfectly aligned.
When it came to the L-shape of cabinetry around the kitchen, we used our favorite 360 laser level (it comes in handy for installing beadboard, too!) to find the high point of the perimeter. This did not replace our handheld level, but it helped us to notice where the floor was higher in some areas versus others. Before taking the laser level off the tripod, we also made marks along the walls as a guide.
The perimeter cabinets were attached to the walls with drywall screws, and then we moved onto the uppers – or should I say, upper? There is only one upper cabinet in the kitchen, above the refrigerator. It will be balanced by a range hood to the left, but the real reason for this guy is to conceal an exposed duct from our HVAC system! Instead of a 24″ deep cabinet that’s typical above a fridge, we chose a 12″ deep cabinet so that the duct could tuck neatly behind it. No one will ever know!
The mudroom has a bench in the middle-ish, and it’s flanked by a tall pantry to the left and a stacked washer/dryer to the right. Above the pantry, bench and washer/dryer is a row of deep cabinets for lesser used storage. This was, hands down, the trickiest part of the install! We started on the right and worked left, only because any remaining gap to the left of the pantry would receive a filler. Although we estimated that filler to be 3″ wide, we wouldn’t know for sure until all the cabinets were installed. (Spoiler: The filler turned out to be exactly 3″!)
The cabinets are in, hooray! Up next? Measuring for counters, tiling, and open-shelf-building. All of the door and window trim needs to be caulked and painted, which is so much easier to type than to do!
The pantry is filled with pull out drawers, but the only item missing from our entire cabinet order was the hinges for the pantry door. We’d call that a huge success for two whole rooms of cabinets! Once those hinges come in, we can get that door on. In addition, we’re still waiting on hardware before we can install the panel-ready dishwasher and refrigerator.
We’re taking a much needed weekend off from Tree House, and instead, we’re working on our 2018 goals – family time all the way. Happy Friday!