Making Cabinets Taller {Builder Cabinets Go Custom With Molding}

The biggest change in my recent kitchen makeover was the cabinetry.  We had basic builder grade birch cabinets that were in great condition.  There really wasn't anything wrong with them, they just weren't the tall custom cabinets I was longing for.  Since new custom cabinets were not in the budget, I improvised by giving my builder grade cabinets a custom look with paint, moldings and trim. 

 Kinda like the effect of Snookies hair bump, adding height to the top made my short cabinets look taller. I think I may have just knick-named this project "The Snookie Treatment".

This small detail made a huge difference in the feel of my kitchen and it really didn't cost that much.
*Fist pumps*





Kevin and Layla Palmer at The Lettered Cottage tackled this project (among other fabulous semi-custom kitchen projects) DIY style.  Click here, to see their Do It Yourself version.  

At the time, I was not up for a DIY project so I hired licensed and insured carpenter, Mike Moore {Moore Custom Woodworking} to complete the task.  Mike came in a knocked this project out with a nail gun in about 5 minutes.  Maybe a little longer but pretty close.  He carefully removed the factory cabinet molding and replaced it with 1x4 boards and thick decorative moldings. 

He did a fabulous job.  He made some great suggestions on the types of molding we used.  It was his idea to place the small molding upside down.  It created a "reflection" of the larger crown on the top. Using moldings this chunky may have looked top heavy, otherwise.  
The upside down trick kept it balanced.
Genius, Mike.

I'll give you a glance at how it looks from behind if you promise not to notice the dust...  

One of the most frequent design questions I'm asked is "How can I decorate over my cabinets without it looking cluttered?".  The Snookie Treatment is a great solution.

I may not have ended up with more cabinet space or the varying cabinet heights that I originally wanted, but in the end, I'm happy with my new kitchen.  
I was able to fake a custom look with my "real-person's" budget.  

Thanks again,  Moore Custom Woodworking, for the beautiful craftsmanship and The Lettered Cottage for the inspiration.  Just for the record, I love Snookie.  Her hair bump and her baby bump were adorable and I miss them both.  

For the full kitchen reveal, please click here. 
For details on the cabinet painting (including paint colors), please click here.


  1. Looks fabulous. I am always amazed and thrilled how a little trim and molding make everything better.

  2. Love how you compare the extended cabinet to Snooki's hair bump!!! Hilarious!!!!!!

    The extension made a huge difference in the overall look of the cabinets as well as the kitchen!

    Also like the black interior doors, well done!

  3. Love the molding! They really make the kitchen!

  4. I love it!! What a gorgeous transformation. Wish I could do this in my home, but I have walls above my cabinets. Maybe something could be figured out though : ) Enjoy!

  5. I love your new kitchen. I love white cabinets contrasted with the black counter tops. I am inspired.

  6. I love your kitchen, but then again I painted my kitchen cabinets white and put in black granite, too. It's such a great classic look.

  7. I love what you did! We did a similar upgrade to our cabinets in our kitchen remodel. Check it out...

    We added the board and molding at the top and beadboard on the sides. I like the way you used the thin molding where the boards met. Another nice touch we added was the molding on the bottom of the cabinets.

    I love the beautiful simplicity of your kitchen! Thanks for shairng! I love all of your posts and look forward to reading them.

    ~ Darlene

  8. Wonderful transformation without bustin' the bank. I love this look, thanks for sharing.

  9. Make over is gorgeous!!

    What did you do with the massive rolling pin? I have drooled over since I first saw it!!!!! Is it for sale?


    Thanks, Andrea

  10. Beautiful moulding and nice balance with the cabinets. We're going through a big dilemna trying to make cabinet touch the 9' ceiling and really love the moulding look. If I may ask, how high is your moulding above the cabinet doors? And how tall are the cabinet doors themselves?

  11. I wanting to find the green rug!! Thanks.

  12. May I ask where the green rig is from? Thanks

  13. That's an awesome transformation. We need to do this with our cabinets. We have a vaulted ceiling, and the cabinets are just dwarfed. May I ask you for a ballpark of how much it was? Our kitchen is a similar size to yours. I'm not sure I want to tackle this as a DIY either.

  14. Thanks for this post, this is exactly what I wanted my husband to do but had trouble describing it to him.. great job!!


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