Tag Archives: ikea cabinets

An Irish-Made Kitchen

So here’s the deal. Yes, the HDF was kitchen cabinet doors. I’ve been told that it is a suitable material for cabinetry. I hope I was told right.


And the rest of the deal. What I said about being burnt out from tedious work and a messy house was true. I was absolutely ready to live my life unencumbered by house projects. The house had gotten a thorough cleaning and I had friends coming for dinner. And the Irishman needed a job and begged me to let him make my cabinet doors. I relented and on my first day of freedom he set up his cutting station on the sidewalk. And as the doors came through the saw he brought them in and dropped them onto my clean countertops. I told him that friends were coming over to cook and started moving them into the basement stairwell. He said, “I need them where I can get to them.”

A bit later on he asked me, “Where are you taking your friends tonight?”

Now let’s back up to how the project was planned, aside from the fact that it wasn’t. I had a few things oddly laid out: wall cabinets stacked 2 high and cut to non-standard sizes, fillers scribed to fit tilted walls, toe kicks scribed to fit sloping floors, a plinth holding the stove level, and a split-height peninsula room divider. The plan was to get a shop to make these, and I was gonna start with Semihandmade, a company that makes custom fronts for IKEA cabinets. The Irishman told me a while ago that he’d make them for me and slash Semihandmade’s price. At the time I think he had access to a shop. This spring, not so much.

And all these conditions came together to create a few of the greatest horrors I’ve endured since buying the Crooked House. First, he used the sidewalk in front of my house, shielded by an awning, as his shop. He had materials stored there under a tarp for the whole project, making my house an official nuisance property. No one reported me though.


And my living room became his lay down area.

Then there were his wildly unrealistic expectations about how fast he could work without a proper shop plus our usual agreement that I’d pay him for his time meant that I had a terrifying series of promises of cheapness and fastness followed by him hitting me up for more money. At one point I cut him off and he threatened to walk. I wondered when to cut my losses and put the stuff in the basement.

The Irishman started working shorter days. My fuse shortened more than his days. I started berating him every time he told me he was taking a break. People at the office heard me. He took offense that I was mad at him. Finally, it was my mom who intervened. She read my bank statement and totaled up the ATM withdrawals that paid him. Only she knows. I don’t want to. But now the Irishman decided that he owes me forever, that he’ll finish the job dutifully, that he’ll take on a litany of other projects, and that there’ll never again be a copper between us. (Read that sentence with a thick brogue.) I don’t know how she manages to slay like this over and over again. (The gun is plastic)


Anyways, one week became… 6 1/2. My plans to enjoy spring fell through. My plans to pay off Phase 1 are delayed a solid 6 months. But I’m a big step closer to a finished kitchen. Was it worth it? No way. Anyways, I’m desperate for a break. Maybe a long one. But the Irishman says he owes me work and I’m not about to miss collecting the debt. We’ll see how I do both. In the meantime, I should have my house back tomorrow – guess what that means I’ll be doing!

Happy woman cleaning

(I won’t be holding my balance on one foot in heels.)


Planning the kitchen, Part Infinity

Not quite. I tallied up what’s in the archives and found that this is the 14th post about the kitchen and the 7th that’s more about planning it than building it. I figured that since the IKEA cabinet scare forced the issue this week, I may as well finish the job (of planning it). But first, a before photo. They called this an eat in kitchen in the listing. There was just a fridge, no other work space, on the other side. So there was room for a dinette set if opening the oven door and standing in front of it wasn’t a priority.


And the soon to be after: the base cabinets are going to remain more or less identical to the way they were in that original 3D drawing I made. Except that now the room is just a little bit narrower, so I won’t have the bits of wall on either side of the patio door. Sad, but not devastating.

kitchen rendering

But the wall cabinets you see up there aren’t accurate at all. I don’t think the chimney hood looks right with cabinets so close to it and my kitchen is too small to sacrifice the upper cabinets. So I decided that I should just put up an unsexy over-the-range microwave. After all, the primary purpose of my kitchen is to give me space and equipment to make food. Secondary to that is space to store things that this food will be cooked, served, and eaten in. And it’s only third, a pretty distant third, that sexiness comes into play.

Also, I have enough height for 48 inches of wall cabinets. I figured that this would mean 18 inch cabinets stacked on top of 30 inch cabinets. But where I have appliances, there’s not enough height to stack them. So in the  end, the stove/fridge wall is going to look like this.

Elevation Stove Side

I like the way staked cabinets look, but wasn’t sure about how it would look to have some stacked and some not. But then, having 18 inch tall cabinets stacked over 12 inch cabinets above the fridge and stove would just be dumb.

On the other side of the room, I considered open shelving, but again decided on regular closed cabinets with doors that will hide my chipped, stained, and scratched everyday dishes and the reused plastic food containers I’ll have instead of Tupperware. The width isn’t decided yet. I’m putting up the trim around the window and then I’ll cut the cabinets to whatever custom size looks good around it. Function may win most parts of my kitchen, but woodwork trumps all. And these Craftsman casings (I’m copying the originals) need room to breathe.


So there we have it. I think I want stacked doors rather than running them 4 feet tall. I can wait on that choice, but if I decided now that I want