Hallway Progress

I’m finally nearing the end of the building process on the hallway cabinets, which means that I should soon be getting to the fun stuff.

Over the last two days, I finished building the cabinet doors (using this easy no-special-tools-needed process I shared here), built the drawer, made the drawer front (just like the cabinet doors) and got the cabinet all trimmed out with crown moulding, decorative moulding around the drawer, and baseboards. I also got the cat entrance cut and installed on the side of the bottom cabinet since that’s where Peeve’s litter box is going.

It looks a bit busy right now since it’s two different colors, but here’s how it looks so far…

hallway cabinet progress with doors and drawer front installed - 1

Of course, the crown moulding and baseboards will continue around the room. And I’ve ordered a new ceiling light, which will be here tomorrow, so my dark hallway (and dark photos) should start looking much brighter very soon.

But anyway, for now you’ll just have to imagine the cabinet all one solid color (which won’t be white, by the way) rather than this two-tone business that’s going on right now. Since I used cabinet grade plywood, I’m just going to polyurethane all of the interior surfaces of the cabinets and drawer, and then I’ll paint the drawer front, cabinet doors, and the outside of the actual cabinet.

hallway cabinet progress with doors and drawer front installed - 2

For the drawer, I used 16″ full-extension ball bearing drawer slides (these are the ones I bought).

hallway cabinet progress with doors and drawer front installed - 3 - drawer with full extension drawer slides

I didn’t take pictures of the building process for the drawer, but it’s basically just an open-top box, built the exact same way I built the boxes that make up the separate sections of the cabinet (you can see that process here). Once the box was built, I attached the drawer front (made exactly like the cabinet doors), and attached the drawer slides to the sides. Very simple!

And here’s the entrance on the side where Peeve will be able to access her litter box inside the cabinet…

hallway cabinet progress with doors and drawer front installed - 4 - cat shaped entrance in side of bottom cabinet

And here’s the view from the inside of the cabinet…

hallway cabinet progress with doors and drawer front installed - 5 - cat shaped entrance on side of cabinet - inside view

That is a Kitty Pass cat door that I bought on Amazon (here’s the link for it). It was a little pricey, in my opinion, but I liked it much more than one of those plastic swinging doors. I also liked the touch of whimsy that it added, and I much preferred this design over others that I found that had cutesy cat heads with bows and such. This one was whimsical without being cutesy.

It comes in three pieces — the front circle with the ears, the back circle with the tail, and a PVC connector. It’s actually made to go in a 2″ x 4″ stud wall, so the PVC piece is quite large, but I had no problem cutting it down to size using my table saw so that it fit the 3/4″ plywood perfectly. It attaches to the cabinet (or wall) with 3M sticky tape pieces that are already attached to the front and back pieces. I haven’t attached mine permanently yet. I’m waiting until the inside of the cabinet has been sealed, and then I’ll attach it.

So it’s getting there! I just have a few more finishing details (wood filling, sanding, priming) and then I can get some color on this cabinet.



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  1. I love these cabinets. That is some seriously fabulous quality (yes, I said fabulous.) I love how she made it so the dog can’t get to the cat litter.

      1. I try to comment on posts but I do not always have a comment. She works so very hard and deserves the suppport we all give her.

  2. Ha!! I love the cat door for Peeve’s litter box!

    But I won’t show this to our cats as they might get jealous and start an insurrection. 😉

    The cabinets of course are looking great!


  3. Looks great! You’re so talented! Love the kitty door idea, but make sure you line the inside walls with something that won’t absorb kitty waste and can be cleaned easily. I had a friend that put their kitty box inside a cabinet in their mud room. The kitty made the biggest mess on the walls inside the cabinet. Apparently, kitty wasn’t aiming at the box very accurately. They had to replace the whole cabinet b/c the walls were destroyed–and smelled. Kitty box was moved to the garage to an open area.

    1. That’s exactly why I use the litter box with the high sides (it’s like a storage container with 18″ high sides) so accidents like that are virtually impossible. I learned the hard way also. 🙂 It’s easy for them to miss the target with a regular litter box that has 4″ or 5″ high sides. But when they’re 18″ high, I don’t think she could aim over the side if she tried. 😀

      1. I love your kitty entrance and exit. Is there an entrance to the litter box so she can get in, like the type that are enclosed?
        PS We live in the Metroplex so I feel like we’re neighbors.

    2. Absolutely. My cats often miss. It’s not their fault, it just happens. I think I would line Peeve’s “clubhouse” with plastic self stick drawer liner.

  4. LOVE IT! The “Cat Whimsy” is perfect: whimsy is Good, Cutesy is Not. I am so enjoying your posts. We bought a house with Lots of Deferred Maintenance~so my Dearly Beloved is quite busy. Which leaves me to dream how to make the house reflect Me. Your ‘Can Do’ attitude and approach is making me believe that I CAN work with power tools. I put an electric stapler and Kreg Jig for shelf holes on my shopping list!

  5. You’ve really come a long way and the Peeve Palace is so cute. I’d want to be sure though, that there won’t be any harmful fumes from the polyurethane that would cause an issue with your sweet kitty. Well done.

  6. Love the kitty opening! I too worry about the confined space holding odors, but only because I once had a cat who missed the box on a regular basis. But he was a hefty Coon cat, weighing in at 23 lbs.! Had to use a tote box bottom for him because litter boxes were too small! LOL!

  7. Kristi,
    If I remember correctly, when you did the cabinet doors you said you prime, sand, prime again, the paint. Do you find the extra prime coat make sure a bid difference in the final look?? By the way, great job!!

    1. I generally only prime once. The reason I primed the cabinet doors before adding the trim was just for ease of application. It’s a lot easier to roll on primer than it is to wait until after the trim is added and then have to brush everything. So I primed the plywood first with a roller, and then sanded the plywood smooth. Then I added trim. Now I just need to fill the nail holes and corners, sand the nail holes and corners smooth, prime the trim, and sand the trim.
      Under most circumstances (i.e., when I’m just painting ready-made cabinet doors and not making them from scratch), I would give the door a quick sanding, do one coat of primer, sand the primer smooth, and the I’d be ready for paint. One coat of primer is almost always all that’s needed.
      The only time more than one coat of primer might be needed is of the wood has really deep grain (like oak) that I’m wanting to fill. I generally use grain filler for that, but you can also use two or more layers of primer, with quite a bit of sanding between coats, in order to fill wood grain.

  8. That’s really cute. Oddly, the Amazon listing shows a cat face on both sides. I like the version you have.

    Just discovered your blog recently, and in addition to have a lovely sense of color (your paintings are wonderful!) and composition, you are such a great source for serious DIY. Thank you!

    1. I noticed that! And in the Q&A section of the listing, someone even asked, and several people said that it’s two heads, but mine came with a head and a tail. I’m not sure if it was a fluke, or if they’ve changed the design and haven’t updated the listing. Either way, I’m glad I got a head and tail! 🙂

      1. I have a different model. It’s an arch (open on the bottom) that goes on a door. It has both the head and the tail. I will be installed on the door to the basement but I haven’t decided if I want to have the ears or the tail on the side that faces the hallway. They are both so cute!

        Your cabinet is fantastic!

  9. Very nice! One burning question, though. Is the thermostat moving somewhere else or can the cabinet open with it there? Somehow I thought the uppers would be open shelves.

    1. I thought I might have to move it, but as it turns out, the door opens enough with it there. I still might move it over towards the doorway a bit more, but I’ll wait until I get the doorway trimmed out to see how far I can move it. But it’ll stay in the same general area.

  10. Kristi, you’ve done it again, this is yet another amazing building project that you’ve tackled. The cabinet looks really awesome and I can’t wait to see what color you paint it. Love the kitty pass through entry for Peeve, it’s absolutely adorable!

  11. I love the cat entrance – it immediately put a big smile on my face! And another detail that I’M impressed with is the angles on the upper trim – I assume that is where the trim for the room is going to be attached? I noticed particularly bcause when we bought our house we had (and stil have 🙁 ) some trim that is cut at a rectangular angle and it’s not looking too good… But apart from that the trim is fine so we never thought of changing it, even though it bugs me nw and then. Anyhow, as always, I love your attention to detail! And of course the entire cabinet is already looking very impressive and will be perfect once it’s painted 🙂

  12. I don’t have an inside cat and am curious.

    Even though the little box has high sides to keep all the stuff in, will there be any kind of odor being in an enclosed space? Or any odor that gets absorbed into the wood?

    I have been to homes with inside cats/litter boxes and the odor is very noticeable to me.

    1. The only time litter boxes stink is (1) if they’re not scooped regularly (once a day for one small to medium cat, more for large or multiple cats; and you just scoop out the clumps and add a fresh scoop of cat litter to replace what you just removed), (2) the litter isn’t changed regularly (i.e., not just scooping, but dumping the whole thing and replacing with all fresh cat litter — needed about once a month for a small to medium cat if you’ve been scooping/replacing daily), and (3) you use cheap cat litter or (the absolute worst) something like shredded paper that does absolutely nothing to cover odors.
      Cats instinctively bury their stuff to hide the smell from predators (even house cats, who have no predators 😀 ) so as long as you provide them with fresh, clean, good-smelling cat litter to bury their stuff in, and you scoop it once a day, you’ll never, ever smell it. The cat litter I use actually has Febreeze in it and smells like Febreeze. 🙂

      1. Thank you for the reply. Apparently I have been to homes that have missed that diligence in keeping the kitty litter box clean. Eeeyuck!!

  13. Have you ever put in a cat door so your kitty can go out to a garage or fenced back yard? If so, is it relatively easy, and useful? You have inspired me to do so many things around my house, and they are getting done–SLOWLY!

    1. I never put one into the garage because we put rat poison in the garage and I was afraid she would get into it. And she’s strictly an indoor cat, so she doesn’t go in the back yard. She was raised with a declawed cat (who died two years ago) who couldn’t go outside since declawed cats can’t protect themselves. So we just always kept Peeve inside, too. Now she’s 14 years old, and I’m afraid if we let her go outside now, she might run away. But my sister has one for her two indoor/outdoor cats, and I’m pretty sure she installed it herself. She’s a pretty accomplished DIYer, though, so I have no idea about the level of difficulty.

      1. We worry about varmints coming in at will through regular cat doors, so I love that they make a collar tag/door combo that ‘unlocks’ the cat door when the cat approaches. Our cat is an indoor cat, too, because we have dogs, as well, and if our cats go outside, well……….as far as dogs are concerned, cats poop candy!

  14. Hey Kristi, I know this is off topic, but do you follow The Lilypad blog? She posted her pantry and I thought of you. You might want to check it out! Pretty sweet! How adorable is your kitty hole? So ingenious!

  15. For the love of animals, so very creative. The cabinets you make will always be “Amazingly Beautiful” Stay well Kristi.

  16. Love the kitty feature, adore WHIMSY.
    Great, quality work.
    You and your followers seem to love pets….. here’s a tip I learned from a breeder about litter to preserve cat health.
    I was distressed because a pal lost their cat to an intestinal blockage from clay litter, you know how cats clean themselves so meticulously. Well the breeder recommended using:
    o Dumor poultry crumble
    Yep roasted corn chicken food. There is a litter called World’s Best Cat Litter, also dried corn but way more expensive.
    I get it at Tractor Supply Store, 40 lb bag for $13.
    My cats have loved it. It has a natural odor control property, clumps nearly as well as clay, no chemical additives like fresheners to compromise anyone’s health.
    Then when it is done, I can dump most of it to feed birds like pheasants. I happen to live in the country. Win win. Just a thought for any of you to consider. Meow!

  17. Very pretty! And I love the cat door, even if I am more of a dog person 🙂 Maybe I missed a post, but weren’t you going to do a coat nook/tree in the hallway? Is that going in elsewhere, or was it replaced with the cabinets?

    1. Before we even considered converting the garage to my studio, the front door was (and still is) the main entry not only for guests, but also for me. So I planned on putting a bench and coat hooks in the hallway to create a kind of mudroom area. The hallway is actually where the original coat closet was located.
      But now that we did the garage conversion, I plan to use the back area (previously the storage room at the back of the garage) for a small mudroom. The carport will go behind the studio, and the French doors at the back of the studio will become the main entrance for us as well as really regular visitors (like family members), so that mudroom will serve us and regular visitors. I’ll put a couple of hooks in the entryway for those visitors who enter through the front door and need a place to hang a coat or scarf (for those two weeks a year when we central Texans need coats and scarves 😀 ).

      1. Now I remember The Master Plan! That’s a great idea, plus the added storage in the hallway will be extremely useful! If your 1950s house is anything like my 1950s house, the 2′ wide closets don’t hold much! 🙂