Thursday, October 25, 2012

Playroom Transformation: Phase 2

Here we go...moving on to the next and biggest part of the project.  The cabinets.  I have been stewing over this addition for several years...mentally exploring all the different options for getting it done.  Of course, the first requirement was that it had to be affordable, but I also wanted to make sure that it was quality.  I was willing to do some install, but was hoping to not have to do too much manual labor.

I checked out all the options...IKEA, Pottery Barn, Ballard...all beautiful but way too pricey (even IKEA).  Next it was on to Lowe's and Home Depot, but all the white stock cabinets were laminate/melamine.  I really didn't want to go there if I could help it as the quality can be questionable.  Custom products were made to last, but definitely cost-prohibitive.  So, there were affordable options and quality options out there, but no luck reconciling the two without going DIY.

I ended up going with stock cabinets from Lowe's.  They are solid oak, but unfinished.  More work than I really wanted to take on, but the price was right.  I took an inventory of the cabinet sizes that they carried and then went home, measured the space and sketched out the configuration that would work.

Trying to save a buck, I took these home from the store myself, fitting them in the back of my CRV.  It took 3 separate trips to get them all in.  My back has been killing me since.  But, too late to turn back..on to the painting.  I cleared space in the garage and set up shop for what would be a two week process of sanding, priming and painting.

It is recommended that you remove cabinet doors prior to painting, but alas, screws do not always cooperate, so I was forced to leave the doors on for the cabinet below.  Not ideal, but flexibility and trouble-shooting skills are key when DIYing. And a few curse words help ease the frustration as well ;)

Let me interject here and say that I was by no means winging it with all of these tasks.  I had my iPad by my side the entire time, consulting Google, YouTube and various message boards for process, instruction and tips.  This is the room that the internet built. I especially needed assistance when it came time to install the cabinets. They are darn heavy and I had to make sure that they were securely attached to the wall.  This involved lots of measuring, stud-seeking (uses different skills than when I was single - haha) and calculating.  The shot below shows the ledger boards that I installed to help keep the upper cabinets level and supported while the hubster and I screwed the cabinets in.

After the upper units were in, we brought in the lower and set them in place.  It was so gratifying to see everything start to take shape.  A couple of additional comments:  I decided to leave the doors off the upper square openings and put baskets in to add some texture (baskets still to come).  I also had to compromise on the height of the lower cabinets.  Ideally, I would have liked to have them at a standard desk-height.  However, desk-height cabinets seem to only be available by special order, so I was limited to the counter-height cabinets.  They will require bar stools for seating, but I don't think the difference will bother me once everything is completed.

Next is the desk top, which is a whole other animal.  In the interest of budget and design, I am building my own butcher block style counter that spans the entire 10' length from end to end.  Did I say that I was hoping to not have to do too much manual labor myself?  Yeah, scratch that.  I'm physically spent, but am learning lots of new skills in the process!  Stay tuned for installment 3..coming soon!

Confectionately yours!

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