Beach House Kitchen – Installing Cabinets

I installed the upper cabinets first. It’s easier to hold them in place without the lower ones in the way. I’m going to do a small crown molding at the top, so I left 1″ of space.

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This house was built in 1938. Very little of it is level or square. In my experience, the easiest way to get a bank of cabinets to line up well is to run a separate toe-kick.

The lower cabinet boxes are 31″ tall. If I add a 1.5″ thick counter and a 3.5″ toe-kick, I get 36″- so I can just use a 2×4 along the floor as my base. I’ll cover this with a painted wood strip once the floor is grouted.

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The 2×4 sits on top of the wood and tile flooring, 21″ from the wall. I screwed it down through the hardwood floor and also in the joints between the tile. I had to shim it just a little on one end to get it level.

On the left side, I clamped and screwed the face frames of the cabinets together, leveled them front to back, and screwed them to the wall. I made sure the right cabinet was level with the ones on the left, and the opening was exactly 24″ at the top and bottom – I added a small shim on the far left to achieve this.

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The sink side of the kitchen went in without any issue. The bar side was a difference story.

From the wall out to the edge of the base, the floor drops 3/4″, and across it drops 1/2″. I ripped the 2×4 on the right down to 3 1/4″, then shimmed it. This made the center 2×4 work at the nominal 3 1/2″, and the little one one on the right had to come up 1/4″ more.

In summary, I had to do a bunch of fiddling to get the base right. But I think this is a lot easier than struggling with the whole cabinet.

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I installed a heating duct under the cabinet. The old duct ran under the floor in the basement below the joists. I want to finish that space out later on, so I had to come up with another plan. It’s temping to just run the duct to the wall and let the air flow out under the base. It will heat up everything in the cabinet, which can cause problems.

Here is the bar cabinet in place with the granite installed.

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Once the base was done, it was just a matter of setting the cabinet on it, making sure it was straight, and securing it with a few screws.

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I wish I had taken a few pictures of us carrying it in on the little dolly I made and lifting it into place (260 lbs). It all went well with five of us – me, DW, two sons and our daughter. I used silicone caulk to fix it in place.

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