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The bottom, pullout cabinets were already there. The top, pullout cabinets were not. This was not a good project for first-time DIYers, but we got through it!

Back to reality – we had finished the mantle above the range. Of course I *could* have stopped there. But really, I couldn’t.

I had seen the pullout spice rack cabinets and thought they would look oh-so-lovely on either side of our range. Problem was, NO cabinets fit the dimensions we were left with…GRRRR. I told my husband though, that I didn’t think it would be a problem because I was *pretty* sure I saw a segment on HGTV (or some home improvement/DIY show) where they made their own and it *looked super easy*. Plus, it was essential to my  design and would mirror the pullout cabinets underneath! Poor guy…he had no idea how frustrated he was about to become.

I called the company that did my kitchen, but they didn’t have a cabinet narrow enough to fit into the space. No problem. I’m handy now! So, we headed out to Home Depot, to find some cabinets that fit and I would just paint them the right color and make them work, but they didn’t have them either. I was willing to settle for just cabinet fronts at this point, but you guessed it, they didn’t have anything that would work.  So … we were starting from scratch. Still slightly optimistic, I told my husband all will be OK because I’ve seen it before and all we needed we the right thingamabobs to pull them out, some wood and molding.

For the cabinet faces, we cut a piece of wood to size, then outline with small molding that I had selected. We also needed a small raised panel in the middle, which was achieved by:

  1. Taking a flat, 2” piece of molding
  2. Cutting 2 “V” shapes out of the top s into either end, with the top of the “V” the width of the molding
  3. Cutting 2 “V”s into the width of the molding
  4. Nailing (or liquid nail) down the flat piece of molding
  5. Inserting the 2 “V” shapes into the ends and attach

Voila! A cabinet face! To turn this into a rack that could hold spices, I figured out the height that I wanted each tier. For each tier, I needed a shelf with a piece of wood the width of my cabinet face and 2 small walls nailed to the side so that the spices stayed on the shelf. First we made the shelves with the sides, then cut out a corresponding back piece that was the same size as the front cabinet face. The shelves were attached to this and the front cabinet face from behind to minimize nail holes.

The most important part of the pullout spice rack was the “pullout part” and that’s where it all fell apart for us. Making pullout drawers aren’t really that easy when you’re dealing with drywall, drywall corners and wood in the walls. These 3 things, so completely foreign to us, got the better of us to the point that even with holes in the wall, we were just going to forget the project. I’ve never heard more cursing in my life – from both of us – and I didn’t know I knew so many words!

We finally were so frustrated that we needed to take a break and we walked away from the project.

We lived with our kitchen with massive holes in our walls for over a month. Both of us knew not to even bring it up. It was that torturous of an experience! We had gone through multiple pullout rails, every imaginable fix, only to fail.

But after 4 weeks, something was in us to try again. My husband might have done some research on his own – heck, for all I know that’s how he spent the whole month – but when we came back to the project, I have no idea what was different, what we did different, but it just worked. Was it the prettiest inside? No, some concessions had to be made in the way of a stud in the wall being shaved down a little so the drawer wouldn’t catch, but on the other side, we got it right 🙂 But out of my anguish came understanding and knowledge, which I hope will save someone else the sheer agony we went through!

My advice? IF you want a pullout cabinet, exhaust all resources first to get one pre-made. It doesn’t matter if the finish isn’t right – sanding and matching the stain/paint can correct that.

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