Cottage Kitchen - Before

Building Custom Kitchen Cabinets

My wife and I had a wonderful trip planned on our 15th anniversary.  We were going to head to IKEA and purchase materials (cabinets, countertop, portable island) for our cottage kitchen.  Since the closest IKEA is a few hours away, I called ahead to be sure the items were available. Boy, am I glad that I did.  As it happens, weather and tight inventory management by IKEA, resulted in ZERO stock for the 3 primary items that we were after.

Because of this, I decided that I should build the cabinets from scratch.  After all, I am a handyman with a leaning toward finish carpentry.  I have assembled enough RTA Kitchen Cabinets to have a better understanding about the various construction techniques than most.

The cabinets that we needed weren’t going to be installed in a traditional way. I am going to use wall cabinets as a base cabinet and customize a platform to bring the counter up to the standard 36″ height.  A 30″ wall cabinet combined with a 4″ base and a 1 1/2″ countertop would get us close to our desired height.

Since the IKEA cabinets are out of stock, I decided to build the base cabinets as a traditional base cabinet would be built and simply make the depth at 12″ instead of the traditional 24″ depth of a base cabinet.  To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to making the factory built upper cabinets look proper as base cabinets. Building from scratch gives me the opportunity to play with the toe kick set back depth and my counter overhang so that the shallow cabinet doesn’t look like it wants to tip forward.

The reason we are using the shallow cabinets as the base is due to the fact that our cottage kitchen is only 6 feet across! (see picture)

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Cottage Kitchen - Before
Cottage Kitchen – Before

About 20 years ago, when a member of a handyman book club, I purchased a book that detailed the construction of your own cabinets.  Looks like I will be breaking out the book and finding some time this winter to build the cabinets.

I’ll post the after (or during) pictures when the time comes.

If you are looking to build your own cabinets, you might consider the following book (PS: We get a small commission from if you purchase the book)






One response to “Building Custom Kitchen Cabinets”

  1. I did a custom kitchen remodel in our house a few years ago. I checked all of the local home supply warehouses, but I just couldn’t find the right cabinets to fit what I was doing. I opted for purchasing new router bits and building the cabinets myself. I had a great time and it was a fun learning experience.

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