Getting rid of the ice maker and replacing it with a new cabinet: Step 1 (after initial payment) of the kitchen process

It’s been a long time since we decided to pull the trigger on updating our kitchen.  Much and not much at all has happened since then.  Much in terms of spending money and having lengthy email conversations with a home depot “designer”, but not much in terms of oh, anything actually getting done.

So, step 1 was to get an initial measurement, pick out a countertop, and lock in a price, which we did.  We chose from among many marblish looking quartz options, going with white arabesque, bullnose, 4cm, in the end.  That was the end of January/beginning of February.

Then we were told to purchase all of our appliances.  We did that too.  We got a metal sink with a fancy faucet and a new garbage disposal.  We went with a gas stovetop.  They’ve been sitting in our dining room in slightly open boxes since mid-February.

Then we had several months of back and forth with a really annoying emails with a home designer who would not listen to us and didn’t believe what the initial templaters had told us that we would be able to keep our fancy glass cabinet or that we wanted to replace the ice maker with shelves and not drawers.  He was either trying to upsell us or he was just incapable of communication (a white dude with an American accent, in case you’re wondering).  But we needed to get rid of the ice maker and replace it with a cabinet before we could set up measurement (templating) for the countertop and appliances to be put in.  (Why don’t we want an ice maker?  Mainly because it takes more electricity than the rest of our appliances combined.  But also because we’re not huge on entertaining like the former owners of our house were.)

See the ancient electricity sucking ice-maker?

Once we realized that Home Depot couldn’t handle custom cabinets, we called the place that originally put in our cabinets back in the 1990s (the previous owners kept good notes), but they of course no longer carried that model.  But they recommended a local custom guy who could copy the design and get us a cabinet any size we wanted.  This process took several weeks of back and forth communication as the cabinet store had to check on things and was only open 10-4 on weekdays.  Once we got the contact info of the cabinet guy, it moved much faster.  Though first DH pulled out the ice maker and realized we’d need to plug off the water tube to it and he didn’t want to do it himself.  The plumber came over right away and charged their regular fee plus a few dollars for parts and (this is important) TOOK AWAY THE ICE MAKER (yay!!!!!!!!!!).


Look! Shelves are possible!

The custom cabinet guy came and put in the new cabinet and moved around the door on the cabinet that hides the garbage pully-out thing that we never use because I think cabinets full of garbage get disgusting too easily and are hard to clean.  And I came home and saw this and freaked out.

That blue piece of painters tape is DH figuring out measurements to see if it's possible to replace the garbage can cabinet with a standard-size cabinet-- it wasn't.

This is the uncanny valley of cabinets. Just looking at it makes me feel creepy (and no, it isn’t the lack of paint).

See, all the other double cabinets in the kitchen (and there are several of them) face each other like these are facing each other, but they are the Same Size.  I had a small meltdown texting one of my friends while I waited for DH to come home.  Turns out DH and I had a miscommunication– he had asked me if I wanted this cabinet to be a standard size or if I wanted it to match the size of the smaller cabinet and I had not realized that was what he was asking.  After a lengthy problem-solving session (in which we strongly considered paying the cabinet guy to come out again to redo the entire thing) I realized that we could make this problem go away if it was more different.  Because the problem with the uncanny valley is when things are just a little off.  If they’re a lot off then you can mentally tell yourself it’s meant to be that way.

That turned out to be an easy fix.  We put the other cabinet back the way it was before and filled in the new hole and painted over it.

This doesn’t bother me at all! The doors are different sizes, they’re not facing each other like all the other doors, and they have different sized spaces around the edges. No more uncanny valley!


Then we contacted the home designer to set up templating, and it wasn’t completely clear but it seemed like he’d agreed.  The last straw with was him getting DH’s (common) first name slightly wrong, getting it confused with a similar name.  “He doesn’t have any attention to detail!  And it has been MONTHS!” I complained to DH.  That and we’d asked him to set up templating on Friday and it was Wednesday and we hadn’t heard a peep from him (possibly he set-up templating for someone with a similar but different first name?).  So we asked his supervisor if we could switch.  And we got switched right away and the new designer looked through our stuff and said it looked like we just needed to set up templating.  And we updated her on our custom cabinet and asked about the glass cabinet and she agreed with us that the countertop templaters would let us know if we needed to replace it.  So then she set up templating and after she did that she contacted us to let us know when the guy would be coming (he came and the actual replacement should happen 3-4 weeks after we finished paying– which we’ve been having trouble doing since we have to talk to a specific person at our local Home Depot to pay and her schedule doesn’t match ours… he said we could keep the glass cabinet no problem, just as the pre-prder measurement people had told us, but if there was a problem we could replace it after the countertops were put in).

Our next step with the cabinets will be to get new knobs (either expensive indigo painted ceramic to play with the line around the backsplash or less expensive burnished metal to look classy), but first we’re going to get the countertops so we can buy some sample knobs and how things look.  (DH is leaning towards the indigo because it’s more exciting and I am leaning towards the metal because we are not exciting people.)  I think I will also replace the green gingham shelf liner with something in a matching indigo even if we end up with silver knobs, but I haven’t seen one that I love yet (plenty of great contact paper designs, but I want liners that don’t have a sticky back).  We’ve got time.

How much did the custom cabinet cost?  $275 for the cabinet.  $4 for replacing the round on the bottom and the nails to put it in.  The paint was leftover from when we had our kitchen painted three years ago so I’m not counting it.  Getting rid of the ice maker and fixing up the plumbing was $88.25 ($85 fee for coming out and $3 for a cap– they took the ice maker for free).  So… something under $375 for the entire process.  And worth it!  I am so glad that ice maker is gone even if we never put anything in the cabinet.

What do you think?  Am I the only person that second to last picture bothers?

23 Responses to “Getting rid of the ice maker and replacing it with a new cabinet: Step 1 (after initial payment) of the kitchen process”

  1. CG Says:

    I love the idea of an uncanny valley of cabinets…and that you figured out a good solution! The people who lived in our house before us very slightly angled the bottom bank of cabinets on the wall that includes our stove. I assume they did it to give you a little more space to walk between that area and the island but it’s certainly an unusual thing to do. It doesn’t bother me, but our realtor told us that one of the reasons the house didn’t sell initially was that some buyers walked into the kitchen and were so horrified by that angle that they couldn’t imagine living with it!

  2. Leigh Says:

    Why did they not put a white cabinet in??? That is so weird and would drive me crazy.

  3. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life Says:

    It doesn’t bother me for the same reasons but it also takes a really long time for those sorts of things to sink in. It took a year for that weird splotch on the wall to register in my vision and now I can’t unsee it.

  4. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    It doesn’t bother me at all (#2) but you should get the fancy indigo knobs!

  5. Miser Mom Says:

    I’ve never heard of templating before. I can kind of guess what that means because of the word itself, . . . but I think my kitchen upgrade was easier because we didn’t have to do any templating at all! I like your turning the cabinets solution to the asymmetry. Although maybe I would have turned them the other way, so the cabinet doors swing back toward the rest of the cabinet, rather than into the open kitchen. Is that just me?

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      They have to know where to cut, I think. We need holes for the sink and stove and stuff.

      If the skinny cabinet opens the other way it opens into the under-sink cabinet door which is kind of at an angle (the under-sink cabinet doors are the same size and face each other). So turning it the bad way was only for aesthetic reasons and could only be done because we never use the garbage cabinet. I dunno, currently both cabinets are empty.

  6. rose Says:

    Fascinating. Whole thing reminded me of ALLLLL the choices and having to decide from small samples and in odd lighting. I got all tense just considering it for you …. which is really silly and made me laugh at me. It was Not My Decision ~ thank heavens. Inspired solution to the varied cabinet door sizing thing! Perfect answer. Hope to see pictures when it is all done!

  7. yetanotherpfblog Says:

    Based on angle of picture it is hard to tell. If I saw it in real life, it would probably bother me a little, but my kitchen is still literally missing patches of millwork from when we tore down a wall so who am I to judge. If it we’re my home I would probably just live with it or order a same-sized cabinet if it really bothered me, but probably sit on that decision for a long enough time that by the time I got around to it I would probably do a whole kitchen reno and the question would be moot.

  8. the Viking Diva Says:

    +1 for the indigo knobs!

  9. SP Says:

    In the photo, the cabinet and corner kind of blend together to make it look almost the same size. Looking closer, yeah, I think it would bug me in person. It would definitely drive my husband nuts.

    I can’t believe anyone has space for an entire cabinet just for ice! Your solution is much more useful. My kitchen has a lot of drawers – even huge ones for pots/pans/etc., and I find that really useful compared to shelves.

    The previous owners redid our kitchen, and while i don’t love some aspects, at least i didn’t have to make all the decisions.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      They had a lot of parties! Our entire kitchen is set up for entertaining but not for cooking.

      We have a ton of drawers in the rest of the kitchen but we some that are still completely empty, including super big ones. All the shelves are full though. I’m not sure why I like stationary shelves better for our pots and pans and things. Maybe it’s from a history of pulling drawers out too far or getting things stuck behind them. Stationary shelves never trip me up.

  10. Michael N Nitabach Says:

    We wanted to get a fancier gas cooktop with superlow temp for simmering, but best we could figure out, we’d have to basically redo the entire kitchen to make any of the available ones fit, so we gave up. How old do you think that ice maker was? Looks at least 30 years old to me?

  11. First Gen American Says:

    Those things used to bother me til I realized most people never notice those small details. I was obsessed with trying to get symmetry in my last kitchen (having the same size cabinet to the left and right of my window) but then I would have ended up having a bunch of extra narrow useless cabinets instead of bigger practical ones so I opted for the bigger cabinets.

    If you really hated it you could just put a spacer at the end and make the doors match size but then your new cabinet would be several inches narrower and is it worth losing cabinet width for that? probably not.

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