Someone please explain to me why builders leave these empty, good-for-nothing niches on either side of a fireplace like that?! We had the same niches in our last house and had to pay someone to build some cabinets for them, and here we are at the new house faced with the same dilemma. So, I attempted to be proactive (and also tried to save a little money) and I asked my brother Jeb if he'd be willing to build me some built-ins for these niches. He is an amazing carpenter and has tackled many projects like these, so he graciously agreed to take on the project.
So during the madness that was my spring and at the height of the stressful season of commuting between Houston and Katy, my brother asked me for the measurements so that he could get started on the niches. Sure, no problem, right? Except, I was mad in the head and measured wrong. I was off by about an inch, which doesn't seem like much until you try to fit too-large of a cabinet into too-small of a space.
My brother spent countless hours building these cabinets for me only to discover in the end that they wouldn't easily fit into the niches. When we discovered the measurement error, I was SICK. I had many sleepless nights feeling guilty and trying to figure out a solution. I felt SO BAD. But Jeb, ever the patient brother, reassured me that he would make it work. His plan was to drive down to Katy for a weekend and demolish the drywall on either side of the fireplace, slide the cabinets in, and then trim them out to match. As grateful as I was that he was willing to do that, it was SO hard to agree to demolish walls in our house that we had just bought and then remodeled.
|Before the cabinets were installed. (Jeff had the fireplace tile removed so that he could replace it himself later.)|
To make the long story short, Jeb and his family traveled over 6 hours to Katy on Memorial Day weekend so that Jeb and Jeff could work to get the cabinets in place. They worked about 10 hours on Saturday and they ran into a few snags, but they were successful in the end. Those cabinets are wedged in there so tight, you'd have to knock the house down to get them out, ha!
|Jeff enjoyed playing with the power tools when he demo-ed the drywall.|
|Is it going to fit??|
|The left side finally went in, after removing both sides of drywall and then repairing with paneling.|
|A grainy shot of the cabinets after they were installed with trim.|
It was such a relief when Jeb and Jeff were able to get the cabinets installed and trimmed with molding. They worked SO hard, and I thanked them both profusely for saving me from my dumb measurement mistake.
One good thing that came out of the cabinet debacle was that we had a great weekend of fun with the cousins. While Jeb and Jeff worked their butts off, Alli and all the cousins had a great time hanging out and spending time together. We visited a local arcade complete with an indoor roller coaster, we watched the movie Epic, and we even made a visit to Julie's house to swim and jump on the trampoline. All while the guys were working.
|At the arcade, the kids were so excited about the roller coaster.|
|Happy faces before the ride.|
|And during the ride...it was SO fast! Kaitlynn turned green, ha!|
|The cousins playing and ready for a swim.|
|After all the work was done on Saturday, Jeff took the kids to swim on Sunday.|
|Before they left Katy, we stopped at our favorite frozen yogurt hangout, U-Swirl.|
Back to the cabinets... After Jeb and Jeff finished installing them, the only thing left to do was get them painted. Seemed simple enough. Except, when I came home to find this:
|The entire living room was taped off to repair the drywall and paint the cabinets.|
I couldn't believe the mess in our living room from this project. Sanding and painting left dust everywhere! And worse than that, when the plastic was removed and the workers gone, I discovered that they had really done a poor job in repairing the drywall and moldings. So then guess what?
They had to come back and do it all over again! Argh.
After weeks/months of planning, building, installing, repairing, painting, and fixing, the cabinets are now done! They are such an improvement from the empty niches!
|The right niche.|
|Close-up of the left niche. You'd never know that they had to bust out the drywall on both sides!|
|The finished project, except for the fireplace surround and cabinet hardware. Those are next!|
I never imagined what a project that would turn out to be. When I was explaining to my new neighbor about my brother's trip down here and all the work that had to be done because of my measurement error, my sweet neighbor summed it all up by saying, "Your brother must really love you." Yep, I believe that's right! I'm a lucky girl to have such a loving, patient, and talented brother. Thanks Jeb, and I sure love you back!!