Cabin Kitchen Update: Part One – With Video!

Installing the kitchen at the cabin went pretty much exactly how I thought it was going to go: everything took longer than I expected and there were a bunch of little hiccups that made us change some plans. So let’s talk about it!

After unloading the moving truck and getting everything inside (including the Big Chill fridge which was … heavy), I wanted to get right to work on getting the kitchen installed. I had a friend up there for about 24 hours and I wanted his help with the things I wasn’t sure about handling myself. I knew that the most important thing would be installing the mounting rail for the IKEA cabinets, since once that was up, the rest of the process was just fine tuning. But I had some fears about the rail.

The house is cinder block on the lower portion, and logs on the top. I was pretty positive that the rail was going to have to mount into the cinder block, which would be difficult but possible. Upon measuring, though, we realized that the rail would actually mount just above the cinder block, into the very bottom of the log part of the cabin. Mounting a rail that needs to be 100% level on round logs is a challenge.

Luckily, the previous owners had installed some 2x4s into the logs in order to mount their backsplash. This provided a great starting point for us to mount the rail into. The IKEA rail needs to be screwed into something every 12 inches, so we made sure that we had enough 2x4s installed to hit that point each time. Generally, we could use the 2x4s from the previous owner, but in a couple of cases we needed to add some wood to give us a good foundation.

Once the rail was mounted, my buddy had to leave and I started hanging cabinets. That part is pretty easy and self explanatory (and boring), so there’s not much worth talking about. However, once Kerry and I started getting everything in, we ran into another problem that was going to require some creative thinking. There was a power outlet that was sitting right at counter height. It was the outlet that we were planning on plugging the fridge into. My first instinct was to just move the outlet, but when I opened it up I realized it was a junction box that was coming in from the outside and a TON of electrical was running through it.

I had a few ideas, like just moving it (not really in my skillset) or just covering it up (not up to code and a generally bad idea), but the easiest solution seemed to be to just alter the layout of the kitchen a little bit. Instead of doing — from left to right — sink, dishwasher, cabinet, fridge — we changed it to sink, dishwasher, fridge, cabinet. This meant that the fridge would move in front of the outlet so we didn’t have to worry about the counter hitting it.

However, since the dishwasher ideally shouldn’t lean up against the fridge, I decided to build a wall that the dishwasher would be up against. I assembled that with 2x4s, and we’ll trim it out with the same Semihandmade panels we’re using in the rest of the kitchen. We will also fill the wall (which is the width of a 2×4) with insulation, since it’s not the greatest thing to have a dishwasher next to a fridge. One is trying to keep things hot, the other is trying to keep things cold, so having them next to each other means they’re always competing. If you’re forced into that situation, it’s best to insulate if you can.

That also means we’re going to have an extra cabinet on the OTHER side of the fridge. In order to make this look a little more intentional, we’re going to buy another cabinet to make it a 2 piece set. This actually works out well, since we have the space over here. We’re going to put the trash in the new cabinet, and we’ll put our coffee maker on the counter top over here. This means that if you want to just throw something out, or make a quick cup of coffee, you won’t have to really walk fully into the kitchen. Those quick-access things will be the closest to the living areas of the house.

Here is the original layout:

And here is the new:

This has the rotated cabinet on the left end. It also has the cabinets on the left of the sink (which is under the window) switched. This was because of a gas line coming into the wall at an odd spot that required us to switch those two.

Once the layout was decided, it was just getting in everything that we could and them moving on to the counters, which I’ll talk about later. We need to buy a few more things now, due to the changes — new cabinet, new Semihandmade doors — and once those are all purchased we’ll be making another trip up to make more progress.

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