OK, whew!! Lots of photos to share today to show you how I completed the next step in the kitchen renovation. Well, almost completed…close enough for now. :)
Building in our fridge is something I’ve wanted to do for years and years – I applied beadboard to the the wall next to the fridge a long time ago in a failed attempt to give it a “built in” feel. I also applied it to the side of our old fridge but when we got this one I left it off:
I was trying! :) But now that the whole room is getting a major redo it was finally time to make this happen. I had a plan in place that didn't work out, but more about that in a second.
I started by taking off the beadboard on the wall to the right, removing the baseboards from that wall and then taking off the crown molding on this bank of cabinets:
You can see the difference in the two wall colors here – the one on the left is the old color, called Sisal. The one on the right (at the top) is Analytical Gray. I’m not painting the back wall above the cabinets since it will be covered (hopefully soon!).
I took this photo to show you the difference just that little crown makes – if you have cabinets without it, it’s an easy fix and really makes them look more finished! I was surprised at the difference:
OK, so on to the build. My original plan was to just take the upper cabinet down and bring it forward. I was going to use two side panels and just attach it to those. But I could NOT get the cabinet down! It was crazy. The screws were stripping and barely moving at all, it was nuts.
I was totally bummed out – I considered calling in expert help to get it down, but I knew that would cost money (although the guys we use probably would have done it for next to nothing). More importantly, I would have had to wait till they were available and I was already in this thing. When I finally decide to tackle something it has to happen right. then.
So I sat down and started figuring out a new plan. I decided to keep the current cabinet where it was and build straight out from it. I knew I could reuse the cabinet doors and it would provide even more storage.
I gathered all my trim and wood and got started – the first step was to fill in the spaces next to the cabinets by the fridge so that wood on the side of the built in would be flush against the cabinets and countertops:
I had half an inch to fill at the front of the cabinets and 3/4 inch everywhere else (the trim on the front comes out a little bit). I found trim that worked and secured it to the sides of the upper and lower cabinets. This also was important because it gave me something to screw into when I installed the side of the built in.
I ended up placing one more in the middle on the bottom section when all was said and done. I tend to go overboard with nails and screws and making sure things are sturdy.
I had a piece of high grade wood cut down into two pieces. The right side on the wall wasn’t as deep as the left side because there was no need for it to go under the current cabinets, since it wouldn’t be seen. The piece on the left needed to be a little deeper (as deep as the upper cabinet already hanging) so that it would go under the cabinet and cover that whole side. I hope that makes sense – it should in a minute.
I cut down a notch the size of the upper cabinet with my fancy sawhorse:
Our garage is a complete disaster so this was easier than finding the sawhorses. :)
I attached the right side directly to the wall, making sure to hit the studs. Then the left side was attached to the filler pieces I showed you earlier. You can see here why I cut out the spot for the cabinet – the front part goes as high as the cabinets and the back part is under the cabinet:
This is when I realized it was a good thing I couldn't get that dang cabinet out of the wall – it would have been too wide. If you don’t have a wall next to your fridge that would still be an excellent option and would cost even less. But I used up 1 1/2 inches with the side supports so it wouldn’t have fit.
Next up was building a new cabinet. I was going to build it and then install, but I realized it would be easier just to do it right there (obviously I was pulling the fridge out to do most of this). I added sides directly to the supports and then starting building the box with the top and bottom:
I had these pieces cut down at Lowe’s (they did an awesome job). I am FINALLY going to get a table saw soon, but I still have to have the bigger pieces cut down anyway so I can get them home. :)
Next up was trimming it all out. This part doesn't look great now but I still need to shore things up, fill and then sand. When I’m done you won’t even notice imperfections. I say that to encourage you – it does NOT have to be perfect! Get the job done and fix the little things later! That’s my thought anyway, I am not a perfectionist when it comes to this stuff.
Anyway, since I was using trim in different thicknesses I didn’t do mitered cuts:
The side trim had to be wider so I could attach the cabinet doors there:
Once I got those up I figured out the size of support I needed for the middle of of the cabinet and got that installed. The cabinet doors are a little closer together than they were before – maybe about an inch? That’s the only difference between the old cabinet and the new one!:
Other than looking much better (well, eventually!) and more custom and having more storage. ;)
I kept the back of the new cabinet open on purpose so I could take advantage of the old cabinet storage. I’ll use that for stuff we rarely use. The new cabinet is much deeper and I’m so stoked about the storage possibilities!:
At first I was going to make vertical dividers but now think I’m going to go with shelves that I’ll build and slide in instead. That way I can still access the back if needed. I’ll be able to fit SO much more up there!
The best part is we can actually reach these doors! You’ll see I flipped the doors over and put the knobs on the bottom. Not sure why I installed those at the top anyway. It’s awesome to be able to just open these up and reach inside! Seriously, it just makes more sense.
Someone is already enjoying the new cabinet:
I could have built the sides forward a bit more but didn’t want to interfere with the doors opening. Also, I want this to work for any size fridge and this one is one of the biggest you can buy. When we replace it (unfortunately it may be within a year or two because it has had a ton of issues), I won’t worry about a slightly less deep fridge working.
I still need to caulk inside the cabinet and on the wall next to it, fill holes, sand, add some base…and then eventually it will all get painted out after the new uppers are built:
But I’m pretty dang proud of how it turned out. We’re still walking by and feeling like something is falling off the fridge – it’s hard to get used to having something up there. ;)
I’m glad I figured this out and made it happen! The cost for the wood to make the whole thing was $100 – but if you use cheaper wood it will be half of that easy. I wanted a nicer finish so it paints up well.
I LOVE IT!:
Here’s a before and after:
Eventually I’ll be moving our appliance garage to the side of the fridge as well. It will be a lot easier to install now that this is all trimmed out!
Have you ever tried building out your fridge for a more custom look? I love the look of it but what I love even more is that we can actually access the storage!
I hope my explanation made sense – let me know if you have any questions!
P.S. Check out this project in the finished kitchen!: