Inglewood Craftsman Home

Restoring our 1906 home in Inglewood CA on a budget

DIY Stone Kitchen Cabinet Handles

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The Inglewood Craftsman kitchen is a strange place. It was clearly flipped right before the most recent sale; I even found an old real estate listing with pictures of  the kitchen partway through the flip. As we’ve lived here, we’ve noticed lots of little things that didn’t quite work out- for instance, the lightswitch didn’t quiiiiite fit over the backsplash, so the workers cut the lightswitch to make it fit, rather than just moving the box up in the wall. Most of the doorframes are pieced together with original trim, new trim, and random bits of wood. The floor in the kitchen is old pink stone, the cabinets ready-made brown wood, the countertop dark stone, and the backsplash multicolored tile. All of these incongruous ingredients make for a strange-looking kitchen.

Since the remodel had been completed just before we saw the house, the cabinets actually had no handles yet. Luckily, this gave us an opportunity to try to bring some of the disparate elements together with handle choice. After a long search through far too expensive handles in stores and online, I decided to make the handles instead. They’d be stone to match the countertops as well as rectangular and square to match the backsplash.

I sourced blank handles from an Etsy seller. What I didn’t realize while purchasing them is that they’re not quite flat. Unfortunately, that meant the contact area with the stone pieces was quite small unless we flattened the handles. Jon used a drill press in an unusual way for this- putting the handles themselves into the chuck and bearing them down on a grinding wheel. This both flattened and roughened the surface of the handles, readying them for glue. Unfortunately, every single fancy glue and epoxy we tried failed! Each test handle stretched or broke off quickly with very little use. Some internet research revealed the solution: basic super glue. We removed the stones we wanted from the larger tile backsplash arrangement by just cutting the backing with a razor knife, then peeling off the backing. The extra glue left on provided a rougher surface on the stone. Jon drilled even holes on a scrap board to ensure the handles would sit flat and level while drying, and we left the glue sitting for at least one day for each group we completed.

 

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When installing these on the cabinets, we realized that the drawer handle area had thicker wood than the cabinet doors did, so we had to purchase some longer screws with the same threads. Drilling was a breeze with one of those cabinet handle measuring templates available at the hardware store.

 

All in all, here’s what we spent vs. a professional product. For purchase: $7 each (x30= $210)

Our costs:

-30 blanks: $33

-Extra screws: $2

-Set of tile backsplash: $8

-Superglue: $2

Total: $45

We saved at least $165 on this one (probably more, since we also used square pieces, and we’d have had to find those somewhere else as well). Seems to pull the weird pieces of this room together even a small amount! IMG_1970

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