Our Cabinets Are Like Chumbawumba…

They get knocked down.

Well, they weren’t actually knocked down as much as they were “carefully removed” (since we plan to reuse various things like the doors for the new peninsula cabinets and then donate the rest). The room was feeling pretty wood-riddled when we moved in last December…

… so we were excited to un-wood-riddle-it for good.

As we mentioned here and here, we’ll be adding a wall of counter-to-ceiling penny tile…

… along with a bit of open shelving (on either side of the range hood that we’ll be building in).

Oh and to avoid having the open shelves/dust & grease chat again, just check out this post for a bunch of “research” that we did before landing on that decision. It won’t all be open shelving or anything (just a few feet on either side of the vent hood that we’ll be hanging above the stove) so we’ll also still have other upper cabs around (like the one above the pantry, fridge, and dishwasher), which is why we didn’t think we’d be flummoxed by the change in upper cabinet quantity (ten points for the use of flummoxed?).

But we couldn’t be sure, so the biggest test of storage capacity was when we emptied all of those upper cabinets before removing them to see where things would land. We only plan to keep our frequently used/washed everyday dishes on the open shelves (so they won’t have time to acquire dust) along with a few other things that are always stored out in the open (like a vase or two, some art, lidded jars full of sugar and flour, some cookbooks, and a potted plant or two) but everything else will be stored in cabinets. So we went into this relocation phase a bit nervous about being able to store all of the offset items somewhere else in the kitchen.

How’d we fare? Surprisingly well! It took us at least thirty minutes of brainstorming where it was most helpful to store things like phone books, light bulbs, cookie cutters, and all of the other random items that were in those half-full shelves, but we got ‘er done.

Although we probably could have shoved them into other cabinets all willy nilly in about five minutes, it made more sense to talk things out so as not to have to rearrange things fifty times throughout this process. And once we decided where we wanted to stash everything once and for all, we were thrilled to find ourselves with room to spare. The entire corner cabinet of the peninsula (which still needs a lazy susan and a door) is 100% empty, even though everything has been put away.

We also have our everyday dishes in the other corner cabinet (near the stove) so once they’re out on the open shelves that space will be freed up as well. We also have a completely empty upper cabinet next our pantry (that will get cut down to the right size and rehung with a microwave under it). So it’s safe to say that the added peninsula has more than made up for the few uppers that we’re trading in for open shelves). Whew.

Taking them down was as simple as unscrewing a bunch of super long screws that held them into the wall, the ceiling, and each other (while the other person stood under them to support them so they wouldn’t come crashing down).

We didn’t expect removing them to make such a visual difference, but the room immediately felt a lot more open (not sure if the photos will do that justice since it might be a you-have-to-be-here-thing).

Well, at first it just felt crazy (here’s how it was looking immediately after we finished):

But after we cleaned things up (aka: put the extra cabs in the sunroom and pushed the stove back into place), it immediately felt a lot lighter.

You know, if you squint past the nasty unpainted ceiling and the insane fire-engine-red paint that we revealed (can you imagine that paired with all that wood cabinets and dark paneling?).

So yeah, this is one of those things-have-to-get-worse-to-get-better stages that leaves the room looking strip-searched, but we love that change is in the air. Even ugly-for-now-but-soon-to-be-reassembled change. The kitchen just breathes a lot more without that hulking too-low-and-not-at-all-to-code black microwave that used to hover dangerously close to the stove…

…and a wall full of tile and shelves with a giant actually-works-well range hood is going to be such an upgrade.

Still to come down? The backsplash, the googly-eyed cabinet hardware, the cabinet doors (for priming and painting), and of course we’re waiting on our counters and then we’ll add backsplash tile, install our stainless dishwasher and microwave (which we’ll be building in), redo the lighting, and redo the floor with the mocha cork that we got on clearance. So yeah… lots to do. But we’re taking it one day at a time.

And so far living without a microwave hasn’t killed us (although soup is a favorite, so we’ve been heating it on the stove – which I must admit feels very quaint). We definitely miss the sink, but thanks to having the dishwasher hooked up we’re surprisingly ok with our in-shambles kitchen. So that’s the update. What did you guys do this weekend? Any cabinet rearranging or removing? Any karaoke? Come on, someone had to be singing Chumbawumba while our cabinets were coming down.

Psst- This post’s title was an ode to some of our early-blogging kitchen posts from four years ago entitled “Our Cabinets Are Like Mariah Carey” and “Our Cabinets Are Like Brangelina” – ah, full circle blogging.


  1. says

    Eee, I still am so stoked to watch your kitchen come together. When we redid ours (well, my parents redid theirs, really) back in Texas, it was *definitely* a get-worse-before-better kind of situation. But their kitchen looks amazing now — and I’m certain yours will, too! :D

    The corner cabinet is going to be a Lazy Susan? omg I love those. Like, love those too much.

    • Stacey says

      Hah, you can have our lazy susan! I hate ours, and would much rather have a shelf. Oh well, to each his own. :)

    • Firesparx says

      You either love or hate Lazy Susans! I think it all depends on what you put on them. My parents put their tupperware on it and I HATE it, everytime you spin it stuff flies off and gets caught behind it. Heavier stuff, like cans or appliances would work much better. Personally I went the shelf route in our kitchen because I didn’t like the thought of all those wasted corners!

  2. Stephanie says

    Tubthumping has been our customary slam dancing song at wedding receptions since it came out! No one has been knocked down yet! Weird? Yes, but it is a tradition now!

  3. says

    When we moved into our house 8 months ago, we moved from a house that had a built in microwave – so we didn’t have one. We kept saying we would get one eventually, but so far it hasn’t really bothered us! We just have to get creative at times with re-heating leftovers. :)

    • says

      I was thinking the same thing. If they are in the phone book, they’ll be online since most of the phone books also have an online version now days. :-)

    • says

      I know, I’m weird! I just like looking at the ads (sometimes the big ones tip me off that they’ll charge more and the little ones with sweet words like “family owned” draw me in. I’m a visual girl. Haha.


    • Lindsay says

      The thing I wondered was not so much why you still have one, but where you ended up moving it? Somewhere else in the kitchen, or to the office or somewhere else?

    • says

      Yup, I put it into the cabinetry in the office since I make all my calls in there and do all of our contractor research and stuff in there on the computer. Here’s hoping I remember it’s in there the next time I go searching for it!


    • Meredith says

      The phone book threw me too! The only time in the last 10 years I have used a phone book was when we had our computer situation dismantled because we were going to an all wireless router for the whole house – about 5 years ago. my husband needed to know where the nearest Best Buy was because he needed a little part. I said “I don’t know – google it.!” That wasn’t possible. LOL! So I had to dust off a phone book in the deepest reaches of my laundry room. Too funny!

    • says

      I went thru a big de-cluttering fit and wanted to put our phone book in the recycling bin, but my husband insisted on keeping it. Now I’m glad we did. When I stopped to think about it, depending on my computer for *everything* doesn’t sit well with me. If my computer goes down, what am I going to do? Also, sometimes I don’t want to Google and have 1,000 results … a few local results and speaking with real people are just fine. Heard that one city was “outlawing” phone books. That’s a sad thing!

  4. says

    I’ve never been a fan of upper cabinets (I think they tend to look too heavy and I’m short so I always have trouble reaching things) so this is a definite improvement for me! Love it.

  5. Nini says

    Things are looking good! I can totally see the potential! The wider doorway, almost there peninsula, shiny new appliances; your kitchen is quickly becoming my new favourite room. The living room still holds that title… for now ;)

    I love, love, love the penny round tile. Couldn’t get the husband on board for our bathroom so I’m completely envious of you for getting to use it. I was wondering, will the tile be able to hold to the wood or will you have to make adjustments? Won’t it be too heavy? Sorry if I sound silly – we’ve always hired someone to do our tiling. We’re not brave enough!

  6. Lindsey d. says

    So jealous of how easy it is to take your cabinets down! I’m pretty sure removing the only two uppers I have is going to require a sledgehammer, so I’m waiting. Since a full kitchen reno is a long way off for me (replacing siding, adding insulation and updating wiring are first priorities), I’m hesitant to tear down something that is going to need more than paint and pretty new shelves to fix… Ah, well, the joy of old houses.

  7. says

    Wow! It’s all coming apart to come back together.

    I would die a slow and painful death waiting to do all of the other things you have planned because of 1 or 2 other things that need to be done 1st. I don’t know how you’re doing it!

  8. Rebecca says

    Removing the shelves looks awesome, but can I just say:

    BEST SONG EVER!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for making my day, or even week!!!!!!!! Too many exclamation points?

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