Two years ago, I sat in the kitchen and stared at the cabinets while muttering to myself, "Why do the damn things NOT reach the ceiling? What is the point of the big gap between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling? What is the point? Why?? WHY???" When Ron and I moved into this house in 2006, we assumed we would be here until, oh ... say, 2011, and then we would move on to greener (ie, larger square footage) pastures.
But then 2008 happened, and we quickly realized, "Ohhh, we're moving nowhere fast." To be honest, this wasn't really a big disappointment. I love, LOVE this little house and our neighborhood. But because it's little (at least "little" compared to my childhood home and my friends' childhood homes), I'm constantly challenging myself to make the best use of shelf, closet, and storage space.
That's why it really killed me that the cabinets didn't go to the ceiling. I didn't expect Ron to do anything about this--I wasn't really committed to spending a ton of money on cabinets. But then Ron said, "I'll build the cabinets."
"I can build the cabinets."
"With wood and tools. What else would I use?""But you've never BUILT cabinets. Isn't that like me saying, 'Oh don't worry: I'll just sew you a wedding dress'?"
"Don't worry: I'll figure it out."
Two years later, here it is. And THIS time, I remembered a Before Picture--HA! These are from March 2008, the weekend of my bridal shower. We had spent a whole day putting away the new kitchen items we had received. It was completely overwhelming, but so much fun. We set the camera up on a tripod on the kitchen table and took a picture of our efforts.
Minus the spices and condiments, most of the things in the cabinets were not there previous to this particular weekend. Eighteen months later, as I sat cursing the short upper cabinets, I was really concerned about hypothetical sippy cups: "Holy crap: If we have a baby in this house, where are we gonna put the damn sippy cups? Because I'm not parting with my china and Ron will not part with his pots and pans. Those cabinets need to go up to the ceiling."
Aesthetically speaking, I have two favorite things about this. One is the glass cabinet:
I like the idea of being able to see the pretty things that you use everyday. (Anyone who's seen my bedroom knows that the walls are dripping with costume jewelry.) What's the point of hiding nice things behind doors? I don't think it shows up too well here, but Ron picked out speckled glass for the doors because "I know you like stuff that seems ... umm, vintage? Is that the word?"
I also like that I have open shelves next to the sink:
Believe it or not, the kitchen is brighter because a cabinet no longer comes right up to this edge of the window. The light reaches further toward the stove now. Plus, as it gets dramatically colder out, I can put my plants on the shelves rather than directly in front of a freezing cold window. I'm hoping that makes a little bit of a difference with my botanical survival rate this winter.
What still needs finishing is the bottom cabinets. The only thing that will be replaced on the bottom is the doors. The actual structure of the cabinets will stay intact. The goal is to have those finished by Christmas. The top cabinets have glass knobs now, and the new bottom doors will have glass knobs to match. (btw, I bought my knobs at Home Goods--so much cheaper than Anthro. I found mine near the register at HG. I was surprised by the variety that they had. Pier 1 is reasonable too.)
What's funny is that I feel shorter than ever when I stand at the counter. I'm 5'2"--I'm totally accustomed to feeling absurdly short. (If you look carefully at these pictures, you can tell that I had to shoot them looking up. Sometimes that really bothers me, as if my height can be helped or something.) Now I feel like everything REALLY towers around me. I'm used to feeling that way when I'm out in the real world, but usually not in my own house.
I guess maybe I should've taken pictures of the insides too? We had to swap the location of some everyday things, so now I still reach for cereal on the left of the microwave when it's now on the right, and I reach for spices on the right side of the microwave when they're now on the left.
Anyway, my hat's off to Ron. He taught himself how to do this stuff. TAUGHT HIMSELF. Meanwhile, I've had my mom teach me how to do a weaver's knot a million times and finally had to take a video of her doing it to remember how. Ron watches three episodes of "New Yankee Workshop" and figures out how to build freakin cabinets. AND, during this whole project, he only mangled his finger on the tablesaw ONCE. Overall, that's amazing. Suddenly, my crocheted baby blankets seem extremely unimpressive ; )
Thanks Ron! I love you! If you ever want me to crochet something for you, I owe you one.