Making your cabinets look custom

I really love the look of Staggered cabinets and double stack cabinets, just not the price tag.  We drew out lots of rough drafts and looked through countless kitchen magazines and decided to achieve the look on our own. Using plywood, crown molding, and trim, we were able to add height to the cabinets making them look custom. 


Kitchen After


Kitchen Before

Remove existing trim and molding on top of the cabinets. Build a box using pine plywood in a smooth finish.

Anchor the box to the top of you’re existing cabinets.  You can do this by nailing in 2×4 pieces of wood into the top of the cabinet and then nailing the plywood to the  2×4.

Apply new crown molding and nail to the top of your boxes.  For our crown molding, we went with a double-stacked baseboard on the bottom and crown on the top of the baseboard.

Click Here for a video tutorial on how we installed double-stacked crown molding

Nail small wood trim to hide the seams between the old cabinet and the new addition.


 Caulk away, hiding all imperfections.

Now the fun stuff!






This project came with lots of trial and error. You definitely need to be on the tolerant side if you are taking this on yourself. When something did not look right we took it down and started over. This is your time to get creative.


This is a big project but definitely worth it.

Don't buy new, save thousands of dollars and paint those dated oak cabinets!


If you missed other parts of the kitchen transformation you can find them here:

The Budget

Cooktop  $2,000  Wolf

Dishwasher  $200  LG Electronics

Microwave  $100  GE Profile

Oven  $1,000  Kitchen Aid

Refrigerator  $800  LG Electronics

Hood  $300 Wolf

Hardware $115 Home Depot

Faucet  $75   Home Depot

Sink $125   Home Depot

Backsplash $800  Durango Cream tumbled travertine

Countertop $ 2,000  Baltic Brown Granite

Flooring $960  walnut travertine versi pattern

Crown Molding and Trim  $400  Purchased at Timberline Molding

Light Fixtures  $215  Home Expo (out of business)

Paint and Labor $1,500

Total Cost $10, 590.00

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  1. Hi, I am in the process of redoing my kitchen DIY and LOVE your idea of adding height to the kitchen cabinets. Can you also share how you add the bun feet under the cabinets to give it a more custom look? THANKS!

  2. I stumbled upon your blog and am absolutely loving your projects!!! I am trying to tackle a similar project to make my builder cabinets look custom (admitting it may be a little overly ambitious) and wanted to ask — how did you anchor the plywood box to the top of the cabinets? Thanks!

  3. I love your kitchen! I have oak cabinets in my kitchen and can’t wait to paint them white and glaze them. I have a couple of questions…I love the design detail above the range top and hood. Did you take out the cabinet and replace with the pine box? Did you cover the exhaust vent work in the process? Do you have access to it if you need to replace or if you have any ventilation problems in the future? Also, where did you get the design piece? Last question, I have heard that the wood grain shows through when painting oak cabinets white. Your cabinets look smooth and white (no wood grain showing through). How did you get that finish? Was it with the oil based primer or what?

    Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful kitchen! I’m totalling inspired!!

  4. Love your cabinets!! I’m about to attempt to do the same thing to my boring builder grade cabinets. Can you give more information on how you created the piece above the range and hood? I would love to do this over my microwave but am unsure of what happens if I cover the outlet and the microwave ever needs to be removed/replaced. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated!

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  10. Hi there! I’m toying with adding height and to a couple cabinets in my laundry room. What did you use to anchor your boxes to the top of your existing cabinets? Thanks!

    1. Hi Laura-
      Thanks for your e-mail, we added 2×4 and nailed them into the top of the cabinets. From there, we nailed the plywood box to the 2×4. Hope that makes sense, let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks!

  11. Hello! I found your blog and am so excited!! I will be a new regular. My husband and I are just about to start on our cabinets this morning and we can’t seem to find your video tutorial on the raised cabinets and how to apply the crown molding. Could you help me out?

    Also I a little confused on how you attached the box to the top of the cabinets. 🙂

    Thank you so much! 🙂

  12. Wow, fabulous work! How did you add the feet to the cabinets and island? I love how the feet gives it an expensive custom furniture vibe. Thank you for sharing!

  13. love this idea! Planning on doing this to my kitchen! Can you tell me what paint colour/name you used and counter top?! Email or reply would be appreciated .. Amazing kitchen!

  14. Your molding is just what I’m looking for – for the top of my cabinets – I clicked on your video link but it doesn’t seem to work – could you post a link to your video tutorial for the molding? It’s gorgeous and EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for – your kitchen is awesome!

    1. Thank you Stacey, let me see if I can find another link for you and I will send it direct to your e-mail.

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