Kitchens Residential Design

Avoid a DIY Debacle, Part 1

Don’t Let This Happen to You

The upper cabinets in the image are clearly pre-remodel, but let’s imagine something. It’s that scenario you promised yourself wouldn’t happen: the brand new cabinets have been installed. They’re painted, they’re beautiful…and they’re not deep enough for the plates that have been in your family for generations. These are the same plates that inspired the design behind the entire do-it-yourself kitchen remodel. The culmination of smashed fingers, TV dinners for months, and these now undersized cabinets. You realize it’s not the cabinet makers fault: he built them to your measurements. Think that’s unrealistic? These situations are more common than you know.

At Ida York Design Group, it is not unusual to be contacted by a potential client who is in this kind of pickle. Trying to rectify a costly mistake is a lot harder than avoiding the problem up front. In this series we’ll bring some brief insights to help expose some of the more common mistakes that end up costing the gung-ho DIYer big time. If it seems like we are pushing people to hire a professional, that’s because we are. Honestly, we want you to hire a professional design firm (like us!) whenever you are thinking of a remodel or addition to your home. Starting with a designer will save you from costly mistakes in the end, and you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your project is being handled by an experienced professional who values you, your time, and your budget from start to finish.

Why a Professional Designer is Worth the Fee

Let’s get back to the cabinet issue. Cabinets require exacting measurements of both the space they will be installed into as well as the physical dimensions of the cabinets themselves (yes, that includes the interior dimensions). While many cabinet makers will perform their own measurements, not all will. Being able to verify dimensions before something is made can make all the difference. Many “standards” exist in the flatware industry and those are not always compatible with “standard” cabinets. While most cabinets are made to depths of 12″ to 18″, the door on a cabinet can be inset and reduce the usable space by a full inch. Your 12″ dinner plates (very common size) certainly won’t fit in an 11″ cabinet.

That is just one dimension to worry about out of possibly hundreds. Depending on how many cabinets and how big your kitchen is, the old adage measure twice cut once, can become a daunting amount of tape measure work. Then add an update to that adage: measure 3 or 4 times, then verify those numbers again. You can hopefully see where an inexperienced eye or slight dip in accuracy can have the DIYer paying for the job twice before it is done correctly.

We want you to avoid the DIY debacle; to prevent the stress from even entering your mind. Hire a professional design firm like Ida York Design Goup, Inc. to help you with your next kitchen update or remodel so that your project is completed to the way you envisioned it!

Ready to start? You can send an email to or call us at 503.688.9499. We look forward to hearing from you!

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