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Panels, Trim + Fillers: The Important Stuff (+ a Vlog!)

This post is in partnership with Lowe’s.

Kraftmaid cabinetry in Dove + Natural | slide-in range | panel ready refrigerator

It would be so easy to leap from A) the installation of our cabinets to B) tiling, styling and calling the kitchen and mudroom done! But it really isn’t that simple, and there’s one huge step in every kitchen we’ve designed that takes (a lot of) time and patience. Scott calls this step: the remaining 5% that takes 95% of the time. It couldn’t be more true, and I’m talking about the panels, trim and fillers that take your cabinets from ‘installed’ to ‘complete’!

We’ve been working with Lowe’s on the renovation of Tree House’s kitchen and mudroom, and over the last handful of months, we’ve come so far from Design Day. I’d hate to jinx ourselves, but maybe we’re in the home stretch? We spend at least 2-3 weekends a month in Michigan, knocking out our to-do lists and inching closer to that finish line. (Countertop fitting, you’re up next!) When I last left off with our progress, I shared the install of the cabinets themselves, but any kitchen renovation (and in our case, the mudroom, too) brings with it a lot of small details. These rooms cannot be considered complete without every last finish panel in place, every filler and toe kick secured. It’s this minutia that can take the longest, and we’re breaking down how we tackle these tiny but hugely impactful details, vlog-style, for you!

Panels

We had five side panels to install, one on each side of our refrigerator and our washer and dryer, and a standalone panel to the left of our dishwasher. We also installed three decorative panels, with one being behind our mudroom bench, the other above it, and the last being the peninsula. The side panels came to us with a 1″+ lip attached to the front (this is clearly visible in the video at 2:12), which gives a thicker – and nicer, we think – appearance. In our case, the side panels in each scenario attach directly to the wall, and when paired with the other panel (in the instances with the fridge and washer/dryer), they act as supports for the cabinet sandwiched between them. Panels are a great option to hide the side of appliances, and any gap leftover at the top can easily be concealed with crown.

Trim

When we talk about trim, we’re referring to the crown that helps to conceal gaps along the ceiling, but we also consider trim to be anything that helps to conceal anything unsightly; toe kicks, cove molding and stops do the trick! Any time I panicked that ‘we’ll have an ugly gap there!’, Scott was quick to remind me that there’s always, always a solution with trim. (He’s right.) In our vlog above, we share exactly what we chose from Lowe’s, and how we hide even the smallest gaps leftover with spackle, caulk and a cup of water. Below, you’ll be hard pressed to find where we added a pine stop to the panel above the mudroom bench!

Fillers

A cabinet install could never be complete without the help of fillers! Very rarely, if ever, will cabinets line up to the exact width of the wall they’re on. This is where fillers come in. In the mudroom photo below, there’s a 3″ filler from floor to ceiling to the left of the pantry. Essentially, it’s a length of board that fills in the space where a cabinet doesn’t meet the wall or each other. Often times, we may need to add a piece of 2″ x 4″ behind the filler so that it has something to adhere to, but no two scenarios are alike. A line of caulk and a swipe of cabinet paint will create a seamless look!

Being mindful of these details and taking the time to execute them properly are what elevates a good room to something really special. We hope that by sharing every step of our experience with you, a complete kitchen renovation feels a little less intimidating. (You can do it!) Is there anything I missed? We’re always happy to continue the discussion in the comments!

PS: To stay up to date with our vlogs, it would make our day if you subscribed to our YouTube channel!

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  • Molly6.1.18 - 10:52 AM

    I loved that video- so helpful! Really helped drive home how the small finishing touches are the ones that have such a big impact, taking the room from assembled, to truly finished. It looks great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.1.18 - 12:07 PM

      Thank you! These details are everrrrything.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley6.1.18 - 3:13 PM

    LOVE your vids! It looks so inviting already! That wood panel on the back of the bench was so genius!ReplyCancel

  • Vanessa6.3.18 - 7:07 PM

    What a lot of work you! And the cold weather, it’s so funny because here, also in Michigan, we just wrapped up our first really hot week and I have to say, thank goodness it’s back in the 70’s.ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.4.18 - 8:42 AM

      Agreed! When it gets in the 80s, we’re like, what’s this hot air? Hahaha. It’s been staying nice and cool for the most part in both Chicago and SW Michigan.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley - The Gold Hive6.4.18 - 12:01 PM

    The space is coming together so so so perfectly! On a different note, which brand/fit are the jeans you have on?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.4.18 - 12:58 PM

      Thank you! And the jeans are Madewell! I like their skinny high rise (or at least a 9″ rise), and I always cut off the bottoms for a frayed look (and because I’m a shorty)!ReplyCancel

      • Ashley - The Gold Hive6.4.18 - 1:06 PM

        Oh I like those ones! I’m on a jeans hunt and have been trying out a bunch of brands! I’m eyeing those Madewells, and I got some Levi’s I like, and I’m headed to Everlane later today to upgrade from the Old Navy jeans rut I’ve been in. I’m not a shorty, but like my pants cropped, because I’m all about showin’ the ankles. It’s the most risqué I get with my attire.ReplyCancel

        • Kim6.4.18 - 1:14 PM

          Ooh, keep me posted on the Everlane denim. I keep adding their styles to my cart, but can’t quite make it to checkout. (My fave boyfriend jeans are Levi’s, but everything else is Madewell!)ReplyCancel

  • Maia6.5.18 - 7:19 AM

    Hi, thanks for sharing all these details! I’ve been putting off caulking our baseboards for 7 years so this is great inspiration! On the caulking step, do you caulk the top of the baseboards in white and the bottom in brown to blend with the floor? Thx!ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.5.18 - 8:27 AM

      White latex caulk on the top, and if you have big gaps on the bottom, you would use quarter round to conceal that, but you wouldn’t caulk along the floor line. :)ReplyCancel

      • Maia6.13.18 - 8:21 AM

        Good to know! Thank you!ReplyCancel

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