No to Kitchen Cabinets!

3 Materials
10 Days

I always HATED my kitchen cabinets. First, they were 42" high, and I am short. My bottom cabinets were full. But I could reach and use only 2 shelves in the upper cabinets. The other 2 shelves in each wall cabinet were empty. Second, the wall cabinets were narrow, 11 inches deep. My dinner plates would not fit. My plate racks would not fit either. My storage containers and jars would not fit. Why did I need the wall cabinets?

This is what my kitchen used to look. We put a new quartz countertop. But I did not want to invest money into updating old or buying new wall cabinets.

Cabinets gone

So... I removed the wall cabinets. All gone! And you know what? It felt great! My kitchen was full of air and light!

I lived with no cabinets for 2-3 weeks deciding what to do next. And I really liked having no cabinets hanging over my head.

Plywood installed on the wall

I bought several sheets of plywood and attached them to the wall - had to find the studs and make a cut out for an electric outlet.

New range hood

Even though I did not want to have wall cabinets, but I did need a new range hood. I bought the Cosmo one on Amazon - the installation was pretty easy.

Drawings on the plywood

But it would be too boring just to have plywood on the wall. So for several nights I was sitting on my countertop and drawing different scenes using glass paint, enamel paint, and even nail polish.

I also thought the range hood looks like a roof of a house, so I mixed some thin-set mortar and put white ceramic tiles under the range. And I added tile trim around the plywood sheets.

Chinese cabinets

And I found 2 Chinese medicine cabinets on Craigslist. I was going to use them for my tea and spices.

My range hood

See the piece on top of the range hood? My range hood is ductless, but without any chimney the look would be unfinished. the chimney that came with the range hood was made of very good quality metal - I decided to save it for something else.

I was walking in Menards and happened to be in the aisle with furnace and duct supplies: bought a piece aluminum duct that was wider on one end and changed it into a chimney. But when I turned the range hood on, the air flow from the blower blew that piece away.

My beautiful kitchen

I had to go back to Menards and buy a sheet of perforated aluminum, make it into a top cover and attach to the wall.

Side view of my kitchen

Here is the side view of my kitchen. The shelf was a top part of an old hutch, but I added height and turned it into a shelf for my plates and cups.

Closeup view

Now every time I come to my kitchen, to grab a cup of tea or cook a meal, I stand there and look at different scenes. It is so relaxing and pleasant to look at.

My biggest expense was the Cosmo range hood for $260, the Chinese medicine cabinets for $60 and the shelf from the hutch for my plates for $50. Plywood, aluminum duct part, tile leftovers and glass paint/nail polish were under $100 altogether.

Update 1:

I am getting comments about my kitchen being small and cluttered. So I thought I would mention that I was taking the pictures in the process, painting, cooking meals, sanding, washing dishes, tiling, etc. Nothing was staged. To be honest, this project has been completed a while ago, my kitchen is still kind of unorganized - guilty! I am really good changing things and implementing ideas, but I am not the best with organization. But at least when I look up - I see my drawings, not all the pots, and pans, and dishes. This is another reason why my mural is so relaxing for me.

And yes, I understand that my mural is beautiful, but not good for re-sale. After we bought this townhouse, we did a big remodeling project. And every contractor we worked with would say, do this - it is trendy, and that is popular, always think about resale. Resale is important. But when is my time to enjoy my townhouse? Why should I spend money so that another person buys my townhouse and enjoys it, and I live as if I am a tenant? I decided once in a while I will do what I want to do, and when/if it is time to sell, I will think of something. (The old cabinets are stored in the garage, but they are original builder cabinets, not the best quality. I am pretty sure in case somebody buys my townhouse they would want to put new cabinets anyway).

Update 2:

Below are a few closeup shots requested in some comments.

Thank you for checking out my project!:))

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3 of 8 questions
  • Bettina Bettina on Jun 09, 2021

    I love it. As a short woman (4'11") I have designed the kitchen in my historic home to fit me. The upper cabinets are original & extend up to the ceiling (11') & I cannot reach them so I got a library ladder. I lowered the base for my cooktop & pastry area to 28" to make it comfortable for me to work at. I don't care about resale; when & if the house is ever sold, the new owners can change it. I want an area that fits my size & personality, just like you did. Did you paint the beautiful mural? It is fabulous!

  • Judy Harrison Judy Harrison on Jun 21, 2021

    Your wall is fabulous!! I would love that kitchen. Did you spray seal or use any type of sealer to protect wall and tiles from smoke, odours and or oil?

  • Jan Metrando Murphy Jan Metrando Murphy on Jul 15, 2021

    Since your vent is ductless, what happens to the grease that easily piles up...that would be a constant cleaning issue for the dishes and your decorated wall.


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2 of 98 comments
  • Kay Kay on Jun 27, 2021

    Fabulous job, you are super talented, I am about to have my kitchen replaced, I shall have no upper cabinets either, we will install drawers with 3 layers, there will be a tall pantry for extra storage with doors. I will never again have open shelving, far too much work keeping everything clean. Enjoy your kitchen it's beautiful.

  • Charise. Charise. on Jun 29, 2021

    I totally agree with you: I will never consider what "the next buyer wants"; no one considered what I may have wanted, when I purchased this home. My arm is still aching having to scape layer upon layer of wallpaper. I'll never ascribe to the idea of remodeling, based on the presumed whim of the next buyer. Good for you, for doing what make YOU happy, while you're living in home!