For those of you who follow along on instagram, this post wont be news to you, but if you're new around here, or just haven't been sucked into instagram (good for you!), we've been planning a built-in unit basically since we moved into the house a year ago, and it's finally complete!
You can read the in-depth details about my plan in this post, but I'll give you the summary here. I'm always a little unsure what to call this room when talking about it online. We've nicknamed it "The West Wing" because it's long and narrow, and runs along—you guessed it—the west side of our house. But, that can get a little confusing here. Lately I've been wanting to call it "the parlor", but I don't know, does that sound snooty?
Layout and Function
Anyhow, the room is just off the kitchen, as you can see in the floor plan below. It's gone through several evolutions already in the one short year we've been here, but we always knew we wanted to do something special on that back wall.
Our kitchen is a good size, but it's by no means giant, and because there are entry points on every wall, there isn't a massive amount of cabinets or counter space. Our goal was to create sort of an extension to our kitchen, adding both storage and counter space within the built-in unit. We pictured this being where we stored our coffee pot, and also where our coffee mugs, alcohol, and bar/cocktail do-dads would live.
Below you can see how we had the room setup before we got started. The back wall always seemed so sad compared to the other walls with their beautiful windows and gorgeous views looking out onto our yard. I wanted that wall space to feel special, because truly, this is the best room in the house, and I wanted it to compliment and enhance the rest of the room. One thing I knew I'd incorporate from the get go would be an oversized mirror panel as the backsplash.
Built-in Design Plan
Below you can see my final mock-up of the cabinetry. I originally pictured the back panel being some type of gorgeous antiqued mirror, but I felt the the antique look would be more of a design statement, vs what I really wanted was for that mirror to reflect the windows opposite it, and to bring in as much light as possible. Instead, I ended up going with a regular mirror with a subtle beveled edge.
Preparing the Space
There were several things we had to do to prepare for the cabinetry installation. First up, I wanted to wire for a light fixture, and I also needed at least two outlets for my coffee pot and grinder. Lucky for me, my dad is a retired electrician, and my mom is a good side-kick (although we all know, she's really the boss!), and I'm so lucky that they're always down to help their daughter out with projects like this.
Here we are marking out the location of the new lights witch and outlet, and below you'll see how the space looked after we finished wiring for the center picture light:
We timed the electrical installation so that the cabinetry would be installed just a couple days later. Taylor and his team from Katt Design and Carpentry did an excellent job carefully maneuvering the massive custom cabinets through the tiny doorways of our home, and expertly installed every detail. While they were here, I also had them replace the trim around the doorway of the West Wing to match the larger original trim throughout our main floor. Eventually I'll have them update our window trim too, but if you zoom in on the windows, you can see what the previous trim looked like.
The next step was to order the mirror backsplash, but in the meantime, I popped a large round mirror in empty space, and my parents came back over to help us install the hardware. The cabinets were installed just before Thanksgiving, so it would be a few months until we could wrap up the project.
Just before Christmas, I decided I wanted the space to have a more finished look while we waited for the mirror, so I used the excess cabinet paint to fill in the back wall, styled out the shelves, and added a different mirror behind the coffee pot. I actually really loved this look, and might have considered leaving it this way except that the unit really sucked up a lot of light on that end of the room, so I still felt a mirror would be the right direction to go.
Installing the Library Light
Now, the light installation was a bit of a conundrum because the backplate of the fixture fit just perfectly between the two pieces of trim at the top. The issue was that the screw holes to secure the fixture to the back plate were on the top and bottom of the back plate, meaning that once the fixture was up there, there was no way to access the screw holes.
My dad and I came up with the idea to drill holes in the front of the back plate that would align directly with the anchor wholes in the back plate, so instead of attaching the back plate first and then securing the fixture to it, we completely assembled the fixture off the wall, and then secured the assembled fixture using the newly drilled holes. You can see what I'm talking about in the next photo:
I'd say we make a cute installation crew: