Hey, wow! I never expected it to be nearly a year in between posts. Shit. How fucked up was that last year? What an absolute major bummer quarantine was. I felt like before covid I was in such a groove with the blog, and then it turned quickly turned into not being able to give any effs about anything and just surviving day-to-day. That sounds dark, but that year was dark! My kids did distance learning from March 2020 to June of 2021. They went back to school 8 weeks ago. I was pretty deeply depressed for most of the winter. It was hard to do most things; as I’m sure you all experienced in your own ways.
Anywho, on the up and up! It’s nearly the end of October. I have been enjoying transitioning my house back to a house and away from being everyone’s everything – school, office, shelter, entertainment, social hub. You should see me; I’ve been cleaning closets, reorganizing, making beds daily. I’m just a veritable whirlwind of order and cleanliness. Jokes aside, I needed to get the house back to being a house before I could even think about coming back to the blog and sharing again.
I did do a few projects here and there over the last 18 months – it just didn’t feel like sharing them was the right thing to do at the time. Now that I’m feeling more settled I thought it might be a good time to begin to catch you all up. I’m going to title this series “The Lost Year” and then share projects I’ve done around home and the cabin – most of them at the cabin.
The first project I’m sharing is what I think is close to the final iteration of the cabin kitchen! To catch you up to speed, the cabin kitchen started out as a very basic kitchen that had been showing some wear and tear. The cabinets are all built from standard lumber with simple plywood doors and drawers. It all starts summer 2017 soon after moving in. My Ma and I removed the upper cabinets that blocked the view from the lake. I updated the floors and painted before snow hit the ground the first winter, that update went a long way. The VCT floor tiles were a great solution for updating the kitchen and I was able to cover the linoleum directly – although these pics were snapped without the floors being washed last April and it shows – sorrizzle. There was no dishwasher and a lack of drawers, so summer 18′ was when I got brave and began disassembling cabinets, reassembling a bank of drawers and snuck in a small but mighty 18″ panel dishwasher. Pre-Covid we upgraded our range and hood because the old stove gave out the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. After living at the cabin for the first 7 months of quarantine we decided that the last thing that needed to be upgraded was the fridge. We wanted a counter depth fridge with a freezer on the bottom.
We ordered a Fisher & Paykel fridge in spring 2020 and waited for it to arrive. Because our old fridge was so small, we knew that a cabinet re-work would be in the cards if we were to get a new refrigerator. Like I mentioned before, I had messed around with building and removing these cabinet boxes made of standard lumber sizes and door fronts made of plywood. I used my BFF, sketchup to work out every detail of how I would attack this project and created a lumber list for ordering ahead of time for curbside pick up. Fast forward to fall 2020 and the refrigerator is soon to be delivered!
I was not joking around about disassembling the cabinets! The cabinet boxes are built with the cabin wall as the back and side wall, so you can’t just remove an entire cabinet box – the cabinets need to be chopped and adjusted while on the wall. I invested in a few more tools for this project. I purchased a dewalt oscillating tool, a circular saw that I fucking love and is not terrifying, a guide for the saw so I can make perfect straight cuts, and a jig to create perfect pocket holes for all of my joints.
Here I am making soup and building a kitchen? I guess that’s what I did. Care for a little saw dust anyone? You can get an idea how I had to build the cabinets for reassembly using the side and the back of the wall as sides for the cabinet boxes.
Also can I make a quick note here. I obviously know that it is not ideal to have your hot stove next to your cold refrigerator, but we don’t have the luxury of other options in this kitchen. This is the way it has to be. I put a 1- 1/2″ solid plywood panel between the range in the fridge – previously they sat side by side! We also do most of our cooking using the left burners and use the right burners for a slow and low griddle top most of the time.
Now onto building the cabinet front. In my slippers of course because nothing matters anymore. You can see that the framing is off the shelf 1×2’s cut to size. The pocket holes created a super tight fit, I’m a carpenter, don’t I talk like one?
Oh! Cool hack that I do not have a single photo of but I’m gonna tell you about it anyways. I bought a bunch of 2″ sheets of rigid foam – like you’d use for insulation and I set them out flat on my dining room table top. It made the perfect work table because it was long and roomy and I felt like the foam was insurance that I wouldn’t ruin anything. I was able to use my circular saw for long cuts and the foam gave protected the table from harm by the saw or otherwise. There was a lot of saw dust in my dining room, but nothing a little shop vac couldn’t fix. Highly recommend.
The framing is done! Anyone care for some frozen pizza? Heggies only, accept no substitutes. The cabinets directly over the stoves dimension became slightly narrower, so I had to make 4 sets of doors for all the cabinet fronts. No pictures of that of course, but I built them using 3/8″ plywood sandwiched together, the second piece of plywood is about an half inch smaller (w & h wise) than the first piece – it creates a lip on the door. For hinges I reused what I had, but eventually I’d like to replace all the hinges ala young house love with some sort of interior hinges, but for now I’m fine with just painting them white and calling it a day.
Not such a bad 4 year transformation. Small but mighty – this kitchen is so functional – we enjoy cooking here so much more than we do at home. It doesn’t need to be big to work well.
Shout outs to our quarantine life saver – bags of freshly roasted coffee were sent to us every month thanks to a subscription from our dear pals at Wake Up Iowa – and we upgraded and got a sick coffee pot that makes the perfect bean brew.
Next up on “the lost year” photos from our guest room makeover project at the cab – stay tuned.
And just a little housekeeping note that I’d like to get out to all the true DCHH heads. I’ve never considered myself an influencer – this blog has always been a project diary for me. Over the last year I’ve done some examining of how I want the blog and my social media accounts to go from here on out. I’ll be doing the majority of my sharing here on the blog – home related, personal and otherwise. I’ll be using my IG mainly for sharing new blog posts – I’ll also send out weekly updates when new blog post occur from my email newsletter so that you don’t miss a beat. I’m looking forward to focusing my time here on this blog that I love!
Welcome back!!! What a beautiful kitchen makeover. Wow! Looking forward to seeing all the lost year projects. Holing up in a cabin was my dream during the past year or so but alas I didn’t get to.
Hey Ange, Thanks for the welcome, happy to be back.
I feeeeeel you on the struggle of the house being everything to everyone all the freaking time. It has been big having kids back in school this year and my husband just got back to work after 18 months. I’ve been working from home the whole time and it has just been impossible to have the house feel like a cozy home in that situation. And it was so much lost time, but we are on the up and up too. The kitchen and new fridge look fab! Glad you are feeling the ability to share again!
So glad to see you back and glad to hear the blog is alive. I love your style and design and voice.
Thanks, Susan! So nice to hear, I appreciate it.
Hey there! Yes, I know we all experienced this year being a struggle in similar and different ways. At least most of us are all able to empathize for one another. Glad to hear you are feeling like you have a handle on things too.
the darkest timeline, haha.
a beautiful kitchen and lovely update. welcome back.
that coffee maker is stunning.
Hey Molly! Yeah, that coffee maker rocks. We love it – and friends and family agree that it somehow magically just makes better coffee.
i was watching someone on YT using a circular saw in the woods building a cabin or something, idk. i thought of your foam work surface set-up on your table and realized how effective it would be. so you definitely planted that in my mind for good if ever, in the future, i need to figure out protective saw table setup
I’m in loveeeeee with you cabin I’ve had so many aspects of it saved to my Pinterest inspo boards!! We’re planning our home build and I’m curious what size your cabin is? I’m horrible at picturing size of a room without a reference and we love the size of your cabin!
Thank you in advance
So glad you are back to blogging. Very happy to see a cabin update and look forward to more! Last year was a complete wash for most of us. Cheers to better days!
I know I am not alone in the lost year concept. Obviously we all experienced together, so glad that things are getting back to normal in the day-to-day. Thanks!
Welcome back! Kitchen is amazing and your cabinetry skillz are mad.
Ha, my cabinetry skillz are something. There’s not a lot of pressure for perfection when you’re standard is 50 year old cabin cabinetry. Thanks for being here!
Welcome back! So happy to see you in my Feedly today. Can’t wait to hear from you more. Sunnier days ahead!
Hey Abbie! Thanks for the warm welcome. Looking forward to getting this blog whipped into shape and sharing more projects with you guys.
SCOOPS! Missed you and prayed you would come back. The kitchen looks fab, so chic! Glad you survived the worst year ever. Be well and do the things that bring you JOY. If it’s this blog, love it and appreciate it. -Amy G
Hey Amy! Thanks for the warm welcome back. I’ve missed being here. This blog does bring me Joy. I’m so happy to be here. It can only get better from here, right?
You are the best!
You bring me so much joy.
And this holiday season, I promised myself – no melt downs. I’m trying to do the mental work now…fingers crossed.
Thanks for the reply.
Welcome back! I had wondered how your gardens were doing a couple times as I tended to mine. Hope that’s not creepy! :)
That’s a beautiful update to the cabin kitchen. The in-progress soup next to the cabinet making is a pretty sweet representation of what the past 1.5 years have been for so many of us—so many roles we had to play to keep on living and get by.
Hey Jocelyne, I wanted to share about my gardens but I just couldn’t – they kept me sane this summer. I might have to do a “lost year” dump of garden pictures from summer 2021 for one of my posts. I love garden posts on the internet too – so not creepy at all.
Just yesterday I was thinking about you and hoped you were doing ok.
I’m glad you’re back! And bonus-glad you’re sticking with the blog and not moving to social media garbage. I can’t wait to see what you’ve been up to.
What’s that timer/clock on your fridge?
Social media has really made humanity look bad this last year. I just can’t do it anymore. It’s just a little wind up timer – I recently dinged the stainless hood so now it covers up my ding. It was a target hearth and hand timer – they don’t sell it anymore but I found something pretty similar here and it comes in lots of cool colors .
So nice to see you show up in my feed. I have always enjoyed your thoughtful designs. Glad you hung in there through the madness that the past 18 months have brought.
Hey there! It feels good to be back – seriously. I feel like I was missing part of me when I wasn’t spending time on the blog.
I have missed your posts and was so happy to see you are back! The kitchen looks great. Always love your posts, your attitude AND your determination to do it for your own reasons, not to be an “influencer.” You are so real, I can feel ya. Can’t wait to see more of the lost year!
Thanks, Danielle. I just like to share, not expectations – right? I appreciate your comment.
What a treat to see you pop up in my ‘daily reads’ folder! Can’t wait to see what else you’ve been up to!
Awesome! Thanks, Meredith :)
So nice to read you again! What a year indeed!
That’s the great blog for more indoor decoration you can visit https://www.heatherhomes.in/tips-to-improve-indoor-air-quality-at-your-home/
As a designer myself, I can say – well done! Very inspirational guide and well written. I’ve been reading your blog for a while, and it gave me inspiration for my own house’s renovation that is about to start in two months.
Greetings from the UK
Welcome back :) Can’t wait to enjoy more of your style! I missed your stuff !