Among the dumbest things I've ever said to my wife (and there are
many), without question the dumbest was "No sweat, honey, I'll make
the cabinets for the new house and we'll save a bundle." As a result
of this, I have 20+ cabinet carcases gathering dust in the basement,
awaiting facing. What is keeping facing from happening is a decision
on door overlay. When I made the bathroom vanities, I used .5"
overlay pretty much without thinking. Since then, I've been tempted
to do 1.25" overlay (the cabs are 1.5" face-frame). How do people
decide these things? Is it a purely aesthetic decision? When I mock
up the narrow reveal left by the wider overlay, it gives a nice clean
look, but it's also the look of frameless cabinets, making the face-
frame seem a bit pointless. Also, the hinges for the wider overlay
gap a short 1/4" in back, compared to a short 1/8" for .5" overlay
hinges. Is that just part of the deal, or an installation error?
When we built our house, Maggy and I talked about building the kitchen
cabinets. Says I, "Sure I can build those things. Just remember that I
am old, lazy, and slow. You should be able to cook within a couple
She nodded up and down in complete agreement. Arm in arm we danced down
to the Orange Borg and found some more than serviceable cabinets in
maple. Installed (by Maggy and me) within a week of delivery. Had
another outfit come in and install a quartz counter top. Sweet.
How's ya likin' that quartz there, jo4hn?
As the bulk of the 'quality' in a kitchen lies in its installation,
the path you chose was a good one and becoming more and more popular.
I often recommend that if the home-owners show some initiative.
A well installed bunch of crappy cabinets is, in some ways, better
than some high quality cabinets twisted out of shape at different
Us countertop guys see a lot of that.
But to physically build the whole mess of cabinets and finishing them
is an undertaking that I seldom suggest as a smart way to go.
Besides, The Orange Borg has RTA cabinets that are nothing to sneeze
Thanks to all for the input, and to jo4hn for a good laugh. A brief
trip through Google Images for "shaker cabinets" turned up a lot of
inset doors and a lot of very narrow reveals on overlay doors--nary a .
5" overlay to be found. That said, it seemed wise under the
circumstances to leave the decision to my wife, who liked the cleaner
look of the narrow reveal. Whatever happens now, it's her fault,
The cabinets I bought at the blue Borg have the full overlay and the
only problem is if the cabinet butts up against a wall, fridge, stove,
etc. on the hinge side you will probably need to space it out with a
filler strip so the doors will open. Check it out by mocking up the
hinges on a frame and see if the front face of the door is past the
outside edge of the frame when the hinge is open.
Oh yeah! That counter top is the greatest thing since Brittney
Grimfackle. Seems impervious to everything: heat, water, stains,...
When it gets scuzzy, just give it a lick and a promise. If it gets too
gross, napalm does the trick. We would do it again.
On our last house (remodel of a home that went "back to the bank") we
(I) put in about 80 square feet of "Blue Pearl" tile, which looked and
wore great for the 4 years we were there. I agree with the pro
countertop installer, it's extremely important to have a good (flat and
consistent) base in first. Too many of the contractors where I live
make life a living hell for the countertop installers. You wouldn't
believe some of the horrors I've seen unless you're installing
countertops for a living...
Well, I also fell for the old "I can do it" mode for our new house.
First and foremost, there's just no way I could afford to have the
custom cabinets we need for the design we have. An odd sized island
(like roughly 6 x 7 feet) with prep sink and gas cooktop, a wall of 19
feet of nominally 1 foot deep cabinets/shelves/nooks that could go
anywhere from 10 to 15 feet tall, and very few "standard" cabinet sizes
for the rest of the kitchen make it a real nightmare if you had to pay a
cabinetmaker to set up and build unless you won the lottery (which I
As far as the overlay, as others have indicated, it's a personal
preference. Face frame cabinets allow you to change your mind at
(nearly) the last minute, but you do need to make sure your
corners(walls) are accomodated with filler strips if you go for a nearly
full overlay... (Don't forget the areas near the fridge and/or freezer.
I don't know how many kitchens I've seen where the door adjacent to
the fridge or corner just doesn't open fully because nobody thought
about it. The biggest issue seemes to be your novice borg or local
builder supply "kitchen designer" that just doesn't get it. After more
than one argument with these kind of guys, I swore off having anyone do
it other than myself or a fully qualified high-end professional (if I
win the lottery). The borg and home center guys often just don't have
the full picture or any real design experience and rely instead on "the
software". On the remodel kitchen, one of these guys put a cabinet
perpendicular to a refrigerator that wouldn't have allowed the cabinet
door open more than about 80 degrees, and he couldn't see why that might
be a problem (no matter the fridge was in the wrong place to begin
with). Needless to say, after a couple of these, I did the design
myself, though used standard available (high quality) cabinets to get
what would fit.
Building your own can be a good exercise, and as long as you have
sufficent time and a swmbo that is relatively understanding, it can be a
reasonable way to get what you really want. Of course, you are going to
pay for it, but you will likely get better cabinets out if it in the
end.... Around here, despite the fact we live in a high humidity area
(Hawaii), there are still a LOT of contractors putting in low end, cheap
particle board cabinets. Sure, some of them look OK for awhile, but the
first time you spill something in one (like under the sink) it all goes
to H***. Not even counting the long term problems as the cheap stuff
swells from the humidity... As a (maybe far too picky) individual, I
want full ply cabinet cases, drawers that are built right with proper
joints, separate front panels and put on full extension glides that
won't be destroyed if I overload a drawer or (heaven forbid!) actually
lean on one when it's extended, and doors that don't have the center
panels glued in place so they can handle the humidity changes we get
here without splitting at the joints.
My plan on the new house will be to build the cabinet cases, put them in
place and give the SWMBO the last chance to decide the color, style and
type of doors she wants (come full panel, some clear glass, some
frosted, and so on). As I get closer to the actual build of the cases,
I'll get a new "read" of the choices, and some may be face frame, others
may not, depending on the prevailing winds... (I didn't survive to make
our recent 29th anniversary without learning something, after all)
Not that I answered your initial question about the reveal, but I'm
willing to bet most of our "regular" cabinets that support the counters
and island end up with one reveal, and the 1' deep wall gets another
treatment, just because she wants it that way... Only time will tell....
Either way, my biggest suggestion is to ask the SWMBO what she wants, by
making a couple of doors, mounting them temporarily and asking what whe
prefers. That way, no matter what she wants, when you do it, you won't
hear about it for the next 30 years that she "really wanted" the other
kind (no matter what kind you chose...).....
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