Learn the simplest and most accurate way to build drawer boxes with this easy tutorial.

Drawer Box Build

Welcome back, this is Kristen from In Her Garage Woodworking here with another build plan for you.  When I first began my DIY woodworking journey over 5 years ago I was most intimidated by building drawers. I avoided them because I thought there were too many measurements and too much room for error. But, with a simple plan and a lot of practice, I now make drawers consistently and accurately.  These are the exact plans I use to this day to make drawer boxes for all of my commissioned furniture pieces because when you’re able to make something quickly and easily that is solid and looks great, why would you ever change it?

Materials

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Tools

Instructions:

Your drawer can be any depth you wish, but before building the drawers, rip your 3/4″ material to the drawer height you desire (if you are using plywood or if your 3/4″ material is wider than your finished drawer.

Step #1: Cut drawer box sides

Using your miter or circular saw, cut two identical 3/4” boards to the same length of the drawer slides you’ll be using.

Step #2: Cut drawer box front and back

Cut two pieces of the 3/4 inch material for the front and back of the drawer box.  If you’re using ¾” material to build the drawer box then the length of the front and back can be calculated as follows (see equation and picture below):

Width of drawer box – 1½” = width of front and back drawer box boards

Drawer Box Diagram

Step #3: Add groove for drawer bottom (optional)

Taking all four 3/4″ boards to the table saw cut a groove 1/4” from the bottom of all sides that is 1/4” deep. Run the 3/4 board through one time, then adjust the fence (or your saw) to cut another groove next to the first. (A standard saw blade is 1/8” wide so you will need to make two passes in each board to achieve a 1/4″ groove for the 1/4″ drawer bottom material.

Dry-fit the plywood to check for fit.

 

Step #4: Create pocket-holes

Using your Kreg jig make 2 pocket-holes at either end of the front and back boards on the opposite side as the plywood bottom groove if you chose to do this step. Be sure to avoid the groove.

Step #5: Assembly

If you DID NOT cut a groove to accept the plywood bottom, then you can assemble the drawer box using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws.

Then, you will cut your bottom 1/4″ panel to the length and width of the drawer box and simply glue and nail it to the bottom of the drawer box

If you DID create a groove for the bottom panel assemble the front and both sides using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws.

Next, cut the ¼” plywood to fit into the bottom of the drawer box groove dry fitting the back panel to check for fit.

Once you have the correct size for the plywood bottom then slide it into the groove and attached the back piece of the drawer box using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws.  There is no need to apply glue into the panel groove.  The plywood bottom will “float” in place.

No need to worry about filling the pocket-holes because you will be applying a drawer face directly over them.

Be sure to check for square by measuring both diagonals of the drawer box.  If one measurement is longer simply squeeze the longer diagonal until both are the same.

Allow drawer box to dry.

That is the basic drawer box build that I use and it is strong and easy to put together. I hope this tutorial gives you the confidence to tackle that project you’ve been putting off.  Next, I will teach you my favorite method for installing drawers and how I troubleshoot drawer boxes that just aren’t quite the right fit!

Finishing Tips:

If you are making your drawer boxes out of plywood then check out Brittany’s Edge Banding Tutorial and learn how to cover that unsightly plywood edge.

Wondering how, or if, you should apply a protective finish to the drawer box? If I am working with solid wood for the drawer sides then I will give the material a quick finish sanding and that’s it. But, for plywood, I typically do one of two things, depending upon what I have on hand at that time.

  • Option 1: Apply 1 or 2 coats of sanding sealer to raise the grain of plywood and sand smooth. Sanding sealer is clear, easy to apply, and dries quickly. If I have the time and patience I may also apply a quick spray of clear, semi-gloss, water-based topcoat to give it a little shine but it isn’t necessary.
  • Option 2: Apply 2 to 3 coats of spray shellac to seal the plywood.  Spray shellac dries quickly and won’t leave any chemical smell behind. But be aware that it will give the plywood a slight amber tone which typically isn’t big deal.  Remember to lightly sand between coats.

Hi! I’m Kristen, from In Her Garage, and I am a self-taught woodworker and DIY fanatic from Minnesota where I live with my husband and our two daughters. Between being a wife, mom and, registered nurse, I try to make as much time for DIY as possible. My love for building came after our family built our current home in 2015. After we moved in, we needed furniture and instead of spending massive amounts of money to order the pieces we wanted I decided that I would build them myself. I started with a buffet table plan from the fabulous Ana-white and quickly set out to remodel my entire home office.

Since then I have started a side business building furniture for the people in my community. I love hearing my clients talk about the pieces they wish they had whether it be a rustic buffet table, a one drawer side table, or a toy box, and then making it a reality for them. While starting my small business it made perfect sense that I would document my building journey so I simultaneously launched the In Her Garage blog and I love sharing my plans, tips, and tricks.

Making something beautiful with your own two hands through a little preparation and determination is an amazing feeling and I hope to bring inspiration and know-how to those looking to tackle a big or small project.

I am so glad that you found me here and please feel free to connect with me on PinterestInstagram, and Facebook to see what I am working on right now. And check out the brand new In Her Garage Etsy shop for other plans or to have a furniture item made especially for you!

Join me today as I share this Millie’s Remodel Update where I’m installing the kitchen cabinets (mostly by myself!)

Millie’s Remodel: Installing the Kitchen Cabinets

Hey all you Millie’s Remodel fans! Today we’ll be hanging out in the kitchen to install the kitchen cabinets. If you’ve never installed cabinets, it’s not too difficult, but installing them level is important before you can have the countertops installed.

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Welcome back to a new Millie’s Remodel update. Today we’re finally giving the kitchen function by installing the cabinets.

As a reminder this is what the kitchen looked like when I bought the house.

After removing the old cabinets I discovered more water leaks than I’ve ever seen in a house. If there was a water line, it had a leak! There was lots of mold forcing me to complete some HAZMAT demolition while taking extreme precautions. It’s been quite a process building the kitchen back.

black mold on drywall

Interior Design Help:

As I was trying to wrap my head around a kitchen design plan, I discovered a local designer on Instagram and reached out to her. Elizabeth Burns, a local interior designer helped me come up with a floor plan for the kitchen. Now I can’t wait to get started making those plans a reality.

kitchen layout of Millie's Remodel project

I ordered all the cabinets from Cabinets-to-Go. Although I previously used a shaker style cabinet from Cabinets-to-Go for Saving Etta, I decided to use a modern-looking cabinet for Millie and selected the Charleston Driftwood cabinets.

When the cabinets arrived for pick up, I loaded my truck and drove them straight to the Millie’s Remodel house. That’s where I discovered several of the boxes were super heavy and labeled with a warning label that it was a two-person lift. Being that I was working alone most of the time, I attempted to unload all the boxes by myself. You can see how that went and how the installation process when in this video:

Something Different for the Range Hood Cabinet:

When it came time to choose a range hood cabinet, I decided to use a simple white cabinet with a glass front instead of the Charleston Driftwood. I wanted the cabinet to float on the wall and not look dark. The only snafu was the sides of the cabinet are white, where I thought they would match the glass frame (stainless steel.) To solve the issue, I installed self-adhesive stainless steel vinyl on the side. It looks much better now and once the open shelves and backsplash are installed you probably won’t even notice it.

The range hood was a mid-range Broan NuTone stainless steel under cabinet hood. It wasn’t super fancy but looks sleek and modern. This is a similar range hood to the one I bought.

Once the range hood was hung, I connected the ductwork and hid it behind some extra shelving material that came with the white cabinet.

Affordable Cabinet Pulls:

I opted for modern gold pulls on the cabinet drawers and the cabinets. Luckily, I purchased them for a steal on Amazon. When they arrived, they felt lightweight, but once mounted onto the doors you can’t tell that they feel less than solid.

I ended up putting a small microwave into the pantry cabinet (shown above). Personally I don’t like seeing the microwave on display in a kitchen and this hides it away nicely until the renters want to use it.

After a busy week, the kitchen cabinets are finally installed and ready for the countertop templating process.

Next week I’ll take you with me to shop for countertops. It’s going to be fun!

Have you been enjoying the Millie’s Remodel updates? Have you missed any of them?

Millie’s Remodel: First Day Tour

Millie’s Remodel: Mini Demo Update

Millie’s Remodel: HAZMAT Demolition

Millie’s Remodel: Why I’m Canceling my Termite Contract

Millie’s Remodel: Framing, Plumbing, & Electrical Oh My!

Millie’s Remodel: HVAC Update (How to Extend Your System’s Life Span)

Millie’s Remodel: Main Bathroom Design

Millie’s Remodel: Powder Room & Laundry Room Design

Millie’s Remodel: Kitchen Design Plans

Millie’s Remodel: Help Me Decide! Mid-Century Lighting Options

Millie’s Remodel: Tips and Tricks to Self Level a Floor

Millie’s Remodel: How to Waterproof Floors in Any Room

Millie’s Remodel: Drywall Update and Critters

Millie’s Remodel: Laying the Cement Tiles in the Bathrooms

Millie’s Remodel: Help Me Choose Exterior Paint Colors

Millie’s Remodel: Exterior Paint Color Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Front Exterior Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Lighting and Fan Reveal

Millie’s Remodel: Moving the Shed

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

The kitchen at Millie’s Remodel has been opened up by removing a wall and the moldy drywall and subfloor have been replaced. Now it’s time for me to start thinking about the kitchen design elements for this very important space.

Millie’s Remodel: Kitchen Design

Do you remember what the kitchen looked like when I first started working on Millie’s Remodel? The room was closed off and had two doorways from the house plus a back door.

The wall behind the refrigerator needed to come down in my opinion. This would allow for a much more open concept.

After tearing down that corner wall, it was amazing how much more light flooded into the kitchen area. Plus, it made the kitchen feel more spacious.

view into kitchen showing half wall for bar top

You may recall I worked with a local designer to create a fresh vision of the kitchen layout.

kitchen layout of Millie's Remodel project

Pencil sketch of Millie's Remodel Kitchen

 

I still have some issues to contend with (like a very sloped kitchen sub-floor). But first I need to create a design plan for the kitchen. A design board will allow me to order cabinets, lighting, and other fixtures. I am leaning toward a mid-century modern vibe in this house, especially since it was built in 1957. Simple fixtures and graphic lines will maintain a minimalist modern look.

Sources:

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

Floating Shelves (DIY) | Misha Hex Tiles | Rocklyn Pendant LightsGold Kitchen Faucet | Via Lactea Granite | Schlage Black Modern Door LeverCharleston Driftwood Cabinets | Gold Cabinet Pulls

I’m excited to start putting this Humpty Dumpty of a kitchen back together soon and see the finishes installed. I think they’ll look beautiful together. What do you think?

P.s. Schlage, and Kichler are sponsors of the Millie’s Remodel project. I am so grateful for their support of this project.

A special thank you to the Millie’s Remodel Sponsors:

The Millie’s Remodel project sponsors have donated materials for the Millie’s Remodel project. As you know I am very particular about the brands I work with and recommend. As a general contractor, I choose the products used on my projects wisely to make sure they last a lifetime. Therefore, I have no reservations putting my name behind each and every one of these sponsors.

millies remodel sponsors logos

Saving Etta: Kitchen RevealSaving Etta: The Long Awaited Kitchen Reveal

Thank you all so much for your patience with me as I put together the final Saving Etta updates. I have more to come, but for now I know you’re anxious to see the Saving Etta kitchen reveal. Get settled down with a nice cup of coffee or hot chocolate because there are many photos coming your way!

Before I show you this beautiful modern farmhouse kitchen, I want to thank the Saving Etta sponsors who made it all possible!

Plygem, Broan-Nutone, Impressions Hardwood Collection, Leviton, Ask for Purple Drywall, Wood It’s Real, STIHL, Schlage, Duluth Trading Company, Magnolia Home Paint, KILZ, Jeffrey Court Tile,  The Builder Depot, Wilkinson Supply Co., Designer Drains, Liberty Hardware, and Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

My Big Fat Crazy Push to Finish

Remember when I told you I was on a tight deadline? In early October, I had an inkling that I needed to get the house finished and listed for sale within 6 weeks. My husband thought I was crazy (and in hindsight I probably was).  Market strategists had been predicting a downturn in the fourth quarter of 2018 and I could tell things were starting to get inflated near downtown Raleigh. Surrounding homes were selling for more and more since I bought Etta in May of 2017. I felt a strong need to get the house on the market before things slowed down for the holidays. This meant a final push and a self imposed crazy work schedule for me.

My day started at 5am to shower, eat, and get my sons out the door. We’d leave the house at 6:45 to drive my eldest to school. After dropping him off I’d head downtown. By 7:30am I’d arrive at the house and get straight to work planning out the tasks for the day. My subcontractors usually showed up at 8:30 or 9 am. They took a break for lunch but then got back to work until about five o’clock. By then, it was solidly dark and my subs headed home to their families. I usually worked until about 8 or 9 pm and grabbed dinner at one of several fast food restaurants on my way home.

Once home I had just enough time to answer emails and throw some tools and materials in the truck for the next day. The good part about my crazy schedule was I usually fell asleep easily after a long day’s work. The bad part was I packed on about ten pounds eating mostly fast food (even though I rarely sat still all day).

Lest you think I was working inside a cozy climate controlled house, I wasn’t. It was early November and the cold weather had set in. I bundled up and warmed myself in front of the space heater from time to time. I even bought a little used Keurig single serve maker to be able to drink warm coffee and tea. We didn’t get the gas meter hooked up and approval to run the heat until the day before the open house (almost a month after tiling the backsplash.)

Was it all worth it? Absolutely! The house turned out amazing and I was pleased with the final results. And just a little reminder of what the kitchen looked like when I bought the house (you can see more progress shots in this kitchen update post):

Saving Etta - The Story of Saving a House Built in 1900 | Pretty Handy Girl

Saving Etta - The Story of Saving a House Built in 1900 | Pretty Handy Girl

Ready to see the kitchen? Without further adieu…

The Saving Etta Kitchen Reveal

This is just one angle of the kitchen. You can read how I installed the cabinets with some help from my husband and a good friend here.

gray shaker cabinets with subway tile backsplash and stainless steel hood from Broan

I love the sleek stainless steel range hood I chose. It’s the Broan RM533004 30″ Chimney Hood. And you can see how it was installed and why I had to act as supervisor.

Plygem mira window with facet pendant light and subway tile

This kitchen sink, faucet, pendant light, and the window brought me joy, partly because they all lined up perfectly! Anyone who does kitchen renovations knows it can be hard to center all these elements with each other during the rough in stage without the cabinets or countertops in.

As I mentioned the other day, the pendant light was a swap I made after the first light wouldn’t cooperate. I took down the first pendant light and replaced it with this modern geometric pendant and pendant light kit from Lowe’s. I really like the open cage, no glass shade to clean!

Plygem Mira black framed casement window over bronze faucet subway tile open shelving

The window is a Plygem Mira casement window. It has a folding hand crank for opening to let in fresh air, but the handle tucks neatly out of the way when not in use. All the Plygem Mira windows in the house operate smoothly and look gorgeous! Especially with the simulated divided light grilles. You can read more about the windows and how they are installed in a new construction house.

Plygem Mira black framed casement window over bronze faucet subway tile open shelving

Just outside the window is one of the reclaimed doors I saved from a series of 1890-1920 houses that were slated for demolition. Behind the door is a little shed off the side porch.  It’s nice being able to gaze on that gorgeous wood door while at the sink. Plus, the homeowners can see anyone pulling in the driveway from here.

PHG using Mirabelle kitchen sink sprayer

You may have noticed that beautiful faucet! It’s a: Mirabelle Calverton Pull Down Faucet in oil rubbed bronze. The finish on this faucet is beautiful and unlike anything I’ve seen before. Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery stocks the Mirabelle line of kitchen and bath products (and provided the faucet and sink for the Saving Etta kitchen). If you’ve never been to a Ferguson showroom, you have to go! Especially if you are getting ready to remodel your kitchen, bathroom, or build a new house.

Mirabelle Faucet by Single Basin Sink

The sink is a Mirabelle Totten Single Bowl Granite Composite Sink (also available from Ferguson Bath, Kitchen, & Lighting Gallery). The granite composite is definitely a material I wasn’t familiar with. It has a very slight texture but looks like a cast iron farmhouse sink. Luckily it’s not as hard or as heavy as cast iron. Which makes it easier to install and more forgiving if you drop a glass or dish in the sink.

Plygem Mira black framed casement window over bronze faucet and gray cabinets

When I was finishing up the house, I was going to forgo staging and save some money. But, after seeing how pretty this kitchen was and how empty everything felt, I opted to hire a local stager. I discovered Minted Spaces on Instagram and immediately fell in love with Aryn’s design style. I knew her staging would appeal to a wide variety of buyers. In the end, they did a phenomenal job staging the Saving Etta house.

reclaimed lumber open shelving modern farmhouse style with glasses

These open shelves aren’t just your random reclaimed lumber. Nay, they were made from the original mantel shelf! When I decided to salvage and re-use the 1900 mantle from one of the front rooms, I didn’t think about trying to purchase gas logs to fit inside the old mantel. Unfortunately once the fireplace was installed, I realized I needed to widen the legs to make it work.

reclaimed lumber open shelving modern farmhouse style with glasses

Luckily I work with a local salvage company who found some longer lumber to match the old mantel shelf. After we rebuilt the new fireplace mantel surround, I wasn’t sure what to do with the old shelf until I realized I could cut it in half and use it for the open shelving. At first I was going to round the cut ends, but decided to leave it because it helps tell the story of it’s origin. (You can see the re-built mantel in the background below.)

All together, I’m so happy with this area of the kitchen. It has the perfect blend of modern and aged rustic elements.

Open modern farmhouse shelves on subway backsplash

The Pantry

For some reason, I came up with the idea to paint the interior of the pantry black. It might have stemmed from my desire to do something different in there. Originally I thought about wallpaper, but I knew patterns are a personal preference, and one pattern may be loved by one person and hated by another.

When I saw photos of Blackboard from the new Magnolia Home paint line, I envisioned how the food labels and packaging would look in front of a dark background. The colors would stand out for certain! Although Magnolia Home partnered with me as the paint sponsor for the Saving Etta house, my last minute decision on the pantry color lead me to my local Ace Hardware to purchase a gallon of blackboard.

Pantry with Reclaimed door and microwave. Black walls

That’s how I found myself painting this little pantry Blackboard by Magnolia Home Paint. One concern I had was how durable the paint would be in the pantry. After cleaning off dirty finger prints and dings on the rest of the walls, I knew this paint could withstand a fair amount of scrubbing. But, I didn’t expect it to perform like this!

You may recognize that wood door as a twin of outside shed door. It was salvaged from the same house being demolished. For some reason this door has a much more unique wood grain on the panels than the shed door. At first I thought about covering up the grain, but the more I saw it the more I fell in love with the uniqueness of the lines.

Pantry with Reclaimed door and microwave. Black walls

We can’t forget the beautiful glass door knob. Did you think it was an antique knob salvaged from an old house? What would you say if I told you it’s brand new and you can buy these knobs for your house! Schlage was also a sponsor of the Saving Etta house and they provided me with those beautiful Schlage Hobson Glass Knobs with Century Trim.

Gray shaker style kitchen cabinets and stainless steel dishwasher

The huge island in the kitchen was a must for this space. (And because I wish we had the room in our kitchen for a big island!) The side closest to the refrigerator has two cabinets with five drawers total.

Liberty Classic Square and Lombard pull on gray shaker cabinet

The cabinets have beautiful iron knobs and pulls. The Liberty Hardware Classic Square Cabinet Knob in Soft Iron are supposed to be installed as squares, but I turned them on an angle to reflect the diamond theme from Etta’s exterior. The Liberty Hardware Lombard Cabinet Pulls have the same soft iron color and a square end to match the knobs. I love how soft and sleek the pulls feel in your hand.

island cabinets on seating side

The other side of the islands has two more cabinets with shelves inside for extra storage. This side also has a one foot overhang for extra seating. I bought these cute Liberty Brand Acrylic Faceted Knob with oil-rubbed bronze and copper for a change from the rest of the cabinet hardware.

Leviton gray usb charging outlet in gray island

You might recall I installed this USB charging outlet in the side of the island. I love that Leviton has colors to match almost any wall or cabinet color you can dream of. You’ll notice the same outlet in white below.

White subway backsplash open reclaimed wood shelving

The countertops are Carrara Venatino Quartz from Cosmos. I love the look and how similar it looks to marble without the softness of real stone.

liberty lombard kitchen cabinet pulls and carrara quartz countertops

The larger scale Jeffrey Court 4 x 12 Subway Tile backsplash really makes this space in my opinion. They are classic but also modern. The white tiles provide a nice contrast against the gray cabinets.

Subway tile backsplash, gray shaker cabinets, stainless steel range hood from Broan

The light fixture over the island is from Houzz. I’m not going to link to it, because frankly I’m not very pleased with the quality and it was a pain to install (remember I had to go hunt for the parts.)

Beautiful modern farmhouse reclaimed open shelves subway tiles and carrara quartz countertops

The Impressions Hardwood Collection Elegance Series wood floors throughout the house are beautiful! They are the real deal, solid white oak floors with wire brushing to give them an aged look. You can find out more about the wood floors in my post about why I couldn’t save the original flooring.

I am proud of how the kitchen turned out. I poured a lot of thought and effort into the design and tried to envision how the kitchen would function for future homeowners.

Modern Farmhouse Kitchen in a 1900 historic house

I hope the kitchen reveal was worth the wait. What did you think? Do you like the fixtures I chose or if not what would you do differently?

Kitchen Sources:

A huge shout out to all the brands who sponsored the Saving Etta project and helped me turn this ugly duckling…

Saving Etta - One Woman's Journey to Save a House Built in 1900 | Pretty Handy Girl

…into a beautiful swan again.

saving etta beautiful restored 1900 house near downtown Raleigh

I hope you will consider using some of the sponsoring brands when you are ready to take on a new kitchen, bath, or renovation project in your home.

Which were your favorite elements in this beautiful kitchen?

Disclosure: I received materials and/or compensation from the sponsors of the Saving Etta project. These were the kitchen sponsors: Plygem, Broan-Nutone, Impressions Hardwood Collection, Leviton, Schlage, Magnolia Home Paint, KILZ, Jeffrey Court Tile, Liberty Hardware, and Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery. I was not told what to write. All opinions and words are my own. As always, I will notify you if you are reading as sponsored post or if I was compensated. Rest assured I am very particular about the brands I work with. Only brands I use in my own home or that I’ve had a positive experience with will be showcased on this blog.

Saving Etta: Kitchen Update & Installing the Range Hood

This kitchen was a big deal for me. It was one of those projects I knew would make or break this house. It was also the first time I’ve taken the reins on kitchen design and installed cabinets. As the project was in the home stretch, I spent many hours and late nights working on the kitchen. Today I’m thrilled to give you another update on the kitchen and show you the installation of the range hood (complete with all the mishaps involved). Speaking of mishaps, I have some tips to help you avoid a potentially dangerous and costly mistake when selecting a range hood.

Before we begin, I’d like to say thank you to all my wonderful sponsors on the Saving Etta project. I could not have saved Etta without their help. When you are looking for products that last and perform well, you can rest assured that I hand-selected these sponsors to represent the Saving Etta project.

Saving Etta sponsors

Where It Started:

If you’ve been along for the entire Saving Etta journey, you may remember the kitchen in the house when I bought it. Then again, you might be like me and need a little memory refresher once in a while. Here’s the kitchen before:

kitchen with cabinets

Saving Etta - The Story of Saving a House Built in 1900 | Pretty Handy Girl

There were only a few base cabinets and five upper cabinets. Lucky thing because it made demolition of the kitchen easier. The first week after purchasing the property, I hauled all the cabinets to the dumpster and started peeling away the layers in the kitchen. It was a lot of work, but so much fun seeing through the decades and discovering old bead board beneath.

The water heater was walled into a little closet in the corner of the kitchen. It was a blast taking a sledge hammer to the wall. Who needs therapy when you can release pent up frustration through demolition?

Unfortunately it wasn’t enjoyable getting the water heater out. My plumber had a tough time removing the water heater from the house!

You might remember asbestos tiles were discovered on the floor and they had to be removed. What was left was a maze of floor joists and pipes where the floor used to be.

I originally hoped to save this room from demolition because it was part of the 1900 structure, but after assessing the lack of crawlspace and a severed structural beam with my architect, we decided it had to be removed.

The picture below is shortly after demolition. The doorway on the right is where the original kitchen entrance was. But, it had been walled off a long time ago to provide space for the refrigerator.

The new kitchen was moved to the other side of the house, as shown in the plans below:

Saving Etta First Floor Blueprints - Kitchen Location

Obviously, after demo, a lot of progress happened to get us to the new kitchen installation. If you want to read the previous updates, here’s what you missed:

Now that you’re up to speed, this is where we left off (right after installing the kitchen cabinets.)

(I’ve included affiliate links for your convenience. I earn a small percentage from a purchase using these links. There is no additional cost to you. You can read more about affiliate links here.)

To protect the wood floors, we laid Surface Shield Builder Boards on the floor. They worked perfectly to protect the floor from spills, dropped tools, and lots of tracked in mud and dirt. It’s amazing how much dirt got tracked into the house. But, when the ground is scraped clean of any landscaping, things are bound to get messy. I eventually purchased two dirt trapper rubber mats and put them by each entrance. This helped limit much of the dirt from coming inside.

Selecting the Range Hood:

Choosing a range hood for the kitchen proved to be difficult because I liked so many of the Broan options. (Broan is one of the Saving Etta sponsors and provided the range hood for this project.)

The first hood I fell for was the Broan RM519004 Stainless Steel range hood. It’s sleek and modern, with a beautiful curved shape.

BROAN RM519004 Stainless Steel range hood

The style definitely appealed to me because it was different, but the width of the hood is 36″. I was concerned it might look too big in a small kitchen. Ultimately, I think the hood would have worked, but I had already moved on. (I will keep this range hood in mind for future kitchen renovations, because I still think it looks kind of sexy.)

Next I stumbled upon the the B5630SS Broan range hood. It had some curves, but more of a box shape. And the glass hood added some elegance.

Bo

Ultimately I decided against this range hood because I worried the glass would show dust or grease between cleanings. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t choose this range hood, because I would have been hit with an unexpected expense. Right before installing the new range hood, my mechanical contractor asked how many CFMs the range hood pulled. “CF-what?,” I said.

What is CFM and Do You Need Make Up Air for Your Range Hood?

CFM is short for cubic feet per minute and it describes the amount of air flow an exhaust fan can pull. Believe it or not, this is one of the most important specifications (besides dimensions) you need to know when considering a range hood. One would think the higher the CFM the better, because it sucks up more cooking odors and steam, right? Not necessarily. Typically 200-300 CFM is adequate for a range hood in a residential kitchen. If you have a commercial stove, or the range hood is mounted further away from the stove top, you may need something stronger. If you need a range hood with a stronger fan (over 400 CFM), you’re required to install a make up air device with an automatic damper. This will add to your expense and requires a licensed HVAC contractor to install it.

For reference, this is the code for exhaust hoods in residential construction:

International Residential Code: M1503.4: “Exhaust hood systems capable of exhausting in excess of 400 cfm shall be provided with makeup air at a rate approximately equal to the exhaust air rate. Such makeup air systems shall be equipped with a means of closure and shall be automatically controlled to start and operate simultaneously with the exhaust system.”

What happens if I don’t add make up air for my range hood?

Stronger exhaust fans can depressurize a house. Resulting in doors slamming shut, air pulled from any cracks or openings in the building envelope, or noise. Some unsuspecting homeowners have turned on their exhaust fan to find it pulls ashes from their chimney. If you don’t have make up air it could create a dangerous back draft situation in the home. This is why it’s important to know what the CFM is for the range hood you want to install. (This article does a good job of explaining the issues with stronger range hoods.)

Luckily the range hood I chose for the Saving Etta kitchen was under the 400 CFM limit. This is the beauty I ordered, a sleek Broan modern stainless steel hood with a square chimney.

BROAN RM533004 Range Hood

No glass to clean and the width is 30″. Plus, the CFM is 370, sufficiently low enough to not need make up air, but strong enough to exhaust cooking steam and odors. This made me happy, especially after all the make up air vents we had to install in the laundry room.)

Installing the Range Hood:

As with many installs at the house, I had to pick and choose which ones to assign to my subcontractors. The range hood was already slated to be installed by my mechanical contractors, so I let them take over installation. I was busy working on another project, but when I came into the kitchen I knew I had to step in and “help.” As before, things were not going smoothly. The first indication that the install may get screwed up was when I found the instructions folded up in the bottom of the product box. I pulled them out and quickly scanned the directions. The second clue was when I found a bracket in the box as well. The guys were trying to figure out how to attach the chimney to the wall (had I not arrived when I did, I’m sure they would have finagled some unattractive solution.) Without an invitation, I took over the role of supervisor and pointed out how the chimney needed to attach to the wall via the bracket in the box. I’m not sure if the guys were relieved or annoyed, but they put up with my directions (thank goodness!)

About Working with Contractors:

Before we go on, I want to point out the fact that these were the so called “professionals”. But, obviously they didn’t know how to install this particular range hood. I chalk this up to lack of experience with this model, not necessarily lack of experience as a mechanical contractor. BUT, they should have been reading the instructions. I want to leave you with this important message:

When you hire a professional, make sure you read the instructions for how the project should be completed. Do your homework and research online so you understand the steps in the project. Speak up if you see something amiss. Just because someone is a professional doesn’t mean they won’t make mistakes.

At the end of the day, the contractors go home. If something is installed incorrectly you’ll be the one who has to live with it. And, unless you are working with stellar contractors, it might be difficult to get them back to your house. (Then again, stellar contractors are oftentimes extremely busy. You’ll need to wait to get back on their schedule.)

We worked together to hang the range hood chimney. The guys had already hooked up the ductwork and painted mastic over the seams (also required by code). The fan motor was plugged into the outlet above the duct.

The hanging bracket was attached to the wall, and then the upper chimney was slid into place over the bracket. Securing the chimney to the bracket was a little tricky because the hole on the chimney has to line up with holes on the bracket. Plus, it was difficult maneuvering a drill against the ceiling. Ultimately, the chimney and range hood were installed. The power was turned on to the hood and…NOTHING! We scratched our heads until I climbed back onto a step ladder and peeked into the chimney. See the problem?

Doh! Somewhere along the way we unplugged the fan and forgot to plug it back in. Luckily we all had a collective laugh about it and then slid the chimney back down to plug it in, then re-attached the chimney to the bracket. My words of wisdom: “Always make sure it’s plugged in!” LOL.

We left the protective film on the range hood, and I’m glad I did because it was easier to clean and protect while tiling. Stay tuned for more updates and the kitchen reveal soon! Next up is tiling the backsplash.

kitchen cabinets installed

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Broan. I was compensated for my time and efforts to promote the Broan products. However, all ideas and opinions are my own. I will always let you know when you are reading a sponsored post. You should also note that I’m very particular about the brands I work with.