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Built-Ins Second Part - The Base Cabinets

This is where we left off last time. After removing the baseboards > A simple base made out of 2 x 6's was added to support the cabinets. 

This is a cheap solution, and well, I like that it's solid! I used pocket holes to screw it into the floor, leveling it.

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Kreg Rip-Cut  |  Ryobi Circular Saw

For building the boxes, I used lower-grade plywood. They will be covered on the outside; no need to invest in better materials.

I usually ask the guys at the Home Depot to rip the big sheets in two pieces for easy transport. I make all the smaller cuts at home. 

For those minor cuts, I got this new tool, the Kreg Rip-Cut, which made this job easier. 
No need to measure every single piece when they are the same size! It was a bit difficult to make precise cuts for the longboards or when the saw blade was far away from the guide. But, overall, I really liked it.
This task went very fast.
How to build base cabinets for built ins
Suitable Angle Clamp  |  Spax Screws  |  Ryobi Drill 

I first used pocket holes on the lower piece to assemble the four boxes. Somehow I find it easier to maneuver and hold those pieces while screwing them together with the Kreg system.

For attaching the top cleats, I used a new tool:  A right-angle clamp. - Life-changing. I LOVE it!
I used Spax screws, which I also love because there is no need to do predrills. Went in like butter! :)
Ryobi jig saw outlet cut out for base cabinets
My Ryobi Jig Saw is my go-to for those outlet cutouts.
oak floors and white mirror in dining room where built ins are being constructed
The boxes were secured together with screws driven to the front and back. Then, they were secured to the wall and to the base.

My next step was to build the face frames, but I somehow have no pics. The first face frame went on smoothly - cuts- pocket holes - glue - screws. But I had trouble putting together the second frame. :/ While screwing the pieces together, the wood kept splitting each time I drove a screw. GRRRR!

I had to cut a new piece of wood, open the holes and drive new screws. It happened like three times! So, I stopped working and resumed work the following day.
built ins countertop made out of two pieces of plywood
Ha, it pays to take a good break. Both frames were done, and I began building the countertops.
I used two pieces of plywood that I glued and added like a hundred screws to ensure they'll stay together for life! :D
working in the garage building base cabinets.

countertop for built ins
Ryobi Cordless Brad Nailer  |  Gorilla Glue

The rough edges of the plywood were covered with 1 x 2 material secured with lots of glue and brad nails.

I made the mistake of cutting the plywood too short. To solve this problem, I added another 1 x 2 piece on the other long side.
oak floors and light grey walls in dining room
And here is how they were looking Sunday evening...
building built ins in dining room
...That's when I began brainstorming decorative toe-kick ideas on paper. My husband said the right side looked good. For me, it had to come down with a wider board and lower the design.

But hey, we'll leave that for the next post.

Check the following links for complete details about this entire project:

For more Home DIY ideas, check these out:

boy room closet transformation with gray built ins for lots of storage

White kitchen makeover with blue duck egg blue island

Christmas table centerpiece on white and red with pinecones and white china

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  1. I LOVE your blog! It gives me hope that I too can build beautiful things in my home that do not scream DIY. Your work looks so professional and your instructions are easy to follow. As a matter of fact, I turned my coat closet into what I call our "drop zone" and I followed many of your techniques! Thank you!!!

    1. Ann, thanks so much for your sweet words! I'm so glad you've been able to put some of those "techniques" to good use in your coat closet. One of my main goals when sharing my work is precisely that, to inspire people to go and do it! I don't call myself a builder, I'm more like a decorator that somehow has to build stuff to keep costs down. All this stuff is doable, of course lots of practice and the right tools will improve your results.

  2. You are my inspiration! I love all that you've done to your home. I've been following you for a few years now (love your blog) and I'm planning on putting built-in's in empty wide hall and will follow your tutorial as an example. I can do this!

  3. This is going to be an amazing transformation! Love it!

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