MY DIY EURO KITCHEN: PHASE I

What Is A Euro Kitchen?

A Euro kitchen is, first of all, a cabinet system based on the European or related metric measuring parameters. Whereby American cabinets are made within the parameters of the US customary measurement system and are measured in inches, the metric system dictates the sizing of this type of cabinet shell and doors, as well as the commensurate placement of shelving and hardware.

The second feature is the absence of a face frame. The basic cabinet is four sides and a back with the front edges covered with edge banding to provide a finished look. That banding material is typically either vinyl or wood and manufactured with heat sensitive glue attached. It can be applied with an iron at home, or with a machine that does the whole process automatically  .

The standard hole size is 5 millimeters (mm). It is used for cabinet assembly, shelf clips (supports), drawer slides, and door hinge attachments. Special screws are used to connect everything to these holes. All hole spacing is uniform at 32 mm in vertical measurement. The forward set of holes is usually around 37 mm from front face back to center of each hole.

This is Part 11 in the BUDGETHOUSE RENOVATOR series that involves the search for, location of, and unique auction-style purchase of my home in the country. The series includes dealing with a foreign based auction house and escrow to help facilitate this transaction. Also, I show how I worked with a mortgage company programmed to process the “specialized” FHA 203k Program rehabilitation loans. My loan included funds to buy “and” repair my house. Part 10 is about dealing with Expanding on initial renovation steps with some trials thrown in for good measure. My next article in Part 12 is entitled “My DIY Eurokitchen, Phase II“. It will continue my work on kitchen cabinet building and related steps with some more trials thrown in for laughs.

Getting Started

The very first step in any kitchen remodel program is the drawing, design, layout, call it what you will. I used a computerized drawing program called Corel. There are other more suitable programs, like AutoCad, but this is what I had and what I used.

The space I had to work with was 12′ x 16′. There is a window in the center of the 12′ outside wall. My design started there because I wanted the sink centered under that window. Next was the placement of the dishwasher to the immediate left of the sink base cabinet. On the right side of the sink cabinet I placed a 24″ wide, 3 drawer base cabinet.

I had already ripped out the upper section of the kitchen wall on the left side of the window and reconfigured the electric outlets into an eating bar type setup. That way I made room for peninsula style cabinets to be installed on the kitchen side of that wall. There I designed in a large blind-base cabinet with a trash pull-out cabinet attached at the end.

The 16′ wall to the right of the window got the remainder of the cabinets. Another blind base was designed in with a 30″ space to the right for a slide in range. Next was a small base followed by 2 deep panels that enclosed the refrigerator with a big wall cabinet over the top of the unit tucked in between. Next to the right panel, room was left for a “future” tall pantry cabinet with pull out shelves.

Wall Cabinet Considerations

Euro cabinets made for the U.S. market typically use the inch sizing method for outside dimensions and metrics for everything else. Standard pre-fabricated sizes use 3″ incremental graduations, starting with a minimum size of 6″.

I used this system for building my own cabinets because I am more familiar with that format. When you plan for wall cabinet heights, there are 3 popular dimensions that are used. 30″, 36″, and 42″. I chose the 42″ for my door height, but made the cabinet smaller. I will explain why later. This gave me a much nicer looking layout, and more useable storage space.

All doors would be Shaker doors. This style embraces a  square border, 2″ to 2 ½” wide, surrounding an inset  panel that is flat. It has an expensive look without the accompanying price tag you often see on other types of door styles.

Your Material List

I must emphasize here that good cabinet grade material is expensive and not something you want to order in excess. It pays to take the time to prepare a cut list to best utilize the most efficient use of everything you purchase.

I did this on my computer. You can do it on graph paper if you don’t have a drawing program. I would take 1 sheet of plywood and draw in the best layout of pieces to be cut. Big pieces first, smaller pieces last.

I was fortunate enough to be subcontracting for a woodworking shop building high end cabinetry for expensive homes in South Florida. I ordered materials through their purchasing department and got their best discount.

The materials I used were 3/4″ and 1/2″ maple plywood pre-finished on one side. This saved me an “enormous” amount of labor. My list included enough materials for the cabinet boxes only and nothing for the doors.

I then used the massive wood shop table saw system for cutting all my component pieces. Cutting plywood on a standard table saw can be very unwieldy, even with proper supports. I will show a way I did future cuts without that system.

Wrapping Up Phase I

Once I had all my pieces cut, I carefully stacked all of the flat components in the back of my Chevy Tahoe at the shop. I did not want to move them again until I arrived at the new house up north. I covered everything with a moving blanket so that the pieces would not slide around while driving and get scratched.

So now I had my design in place, materials pre-cut,  loaded for transport, and everything organized for assembly with a numbered list to keep track.

My next blog will be Phase II. It will show how I approached the kitchen remodel activity, once I was at the job site. Till then!


I am requesting that my readers click on the links provided and download a sample read of each book and give a review on Amazon. You will have free access to the first four chapters of each book. My hope is that you will like the story lines enough to obtain either an eBook version or a paperback copy that you can put on your bookshelf as a masterpiece when you are done. FATE STALKS A HERO I: RESURGENCE, FATE STALKS A HERO II:THE FIJI FULCRUM, and THE SAGA OF HERACLES PENOIT. I will be giving excerpts on these works in upcoming blogs to familiarize you the reader with exciting details about the contents of each one. Thank you!

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