On the plus side, Aaron estimates he spent only $4,000 to $5,000 in cabinetry materials for the kitchen—birch plywood for the boxes and drawers and solid maple for the fronts. On the minus side: "I had no idea how much sanding there would be. My arm and hand went numb some days," he says. His image of the ideal kitchen—"a classic white kitchen with dark countertops, a subway-tile backsplash, and a slate floor"—was taking shape through sweat, grit, and sawdust.
Shown: Base cabinets in the mudroom hold tilt-out recycling bins. Handcrafted and installed by the homeowner, the drawers and random-pattern slate floor continue from the adjacent kitchen.