Built-In Shelves Over Kitchen Doorway Pt3

Hey, hey, hey!  Here we are with part 3  of the DIY over-the-doorway kitchen built-ins  This part was mainly about finish carpentry, priming, and painting.  I left off having built the shelf frames on top of the installed cabinets.

What I needed to do next was finish the edges of the plywood.  Typically I would just add a thin piece of trim to cover the plys, but I figured it could get tricky on the curved part of the built-ins. So instead I bought a small tub of spackle and went over the sanded edges with a small putty knife.  I could have used edge banding as well, but for some reason, I figured this would be an easy and *sort of* foolproof way to get a smooth edge.  (And it did work well, but if you choose to do something like this, remember it all needs to be sanded, which can be messy).

You can also see in the photo above that I added some cut pieces of  2×4 to fit under the cabinets to serve as supports, they’re screwed in from the inside of the cabinets (in hindsight, I should have just built a 2×4 base underneath like I did in our pantry as it would have given more surface space to screw the toe kicks into).  I also added filler strips and end panels to the sides of the cabinets,  and caulked all seams while I waited for the spackling to dry.

Next up I sketched out small corbels to create a decorative style toe kick and cut them out using my jig saw and sanded them smooth with my palm sander. I have to be honest, getting these right gave me a run for my money . . .

I attached a 1×2 to the underside of the cabinet and then nailed the corbel feet to the 1×2.

Next, I added some simple lattice trim to the sides of the cabinet. Then it was time to prime and paint.  I only primed the cabinets, not the shelves, I used a paintbrush to do so, and lightly sanded them before painting to ensure a smooth finish. I used Behr Kitchen, Bath, and Trim Stain Blocking Primer and Sealer.

For the cabinets, I used Behr Ginger Sugar, the same color as my trim.  I wanted to go a bit darker, but ultimately decided to make it easier on myself, and I’m glad I made that decision.

Next, it was time to add the shelves.  I ripped down some wood to create 1×1  square dowels and nailed them to the inside of my built-in: 1 on the back and 2 on the sides.  I used a torpedo level to ensure they were level and spaced them roughly 12″ apart.

I ripped down some oak hobby boards (leftover from my glass cabinet project) for the faces of the shelves and applied wood glue and nailed them to the front of the shelves with my nail gun.

When I woke up the next morning I decided to paint the braces of the shelves as well, so they didn’t stand out.

It was at this point that I decided that the feet had to go, they just didn’t look how I imagined.  I’m not a perfectionist by any stretch of the imagination, but for some reason, they just screamed DIY to me.

But first, I needed to add trim to the “Counters” which are also just plywood.  I added this beveled edge trim to give the counter a decorative touch. I filled the nail holes with wood filler and sanded them out.



Gah!!!! I just love you all, I get so many encouraging and motivating messages on Instagram, y’all are my cheerleaders for real, and  I so appreciate it!

ahmadebycarli over door shelves built-in

Lastly, I placed the streamlined baseboards under the cabinets and painted them to match the rest of the built-in.  THese were nailed directly to the 1×2 that I previously attached to the underside of the cabinet.

Let’s check out where we started here:

over door built-in shelf over door shelves

Still to do:

I just have to stain the shelves and add a little trim to the baseboard.  I would have loved to add a header on the top shelf, so it looks completely built in, however, I’d have to tie it into the cabinet crown molding and I didn’t want to mess with that.  I’m going to live with it for a bit longer and see if it bugs me too much.  I’m so close to the finish line friends!!!

Check out Part 1 of this project HERE

Check out Part 2 of this project HERE

Spread the love


  1. Cheryl
    January 17, 2023 / 1:02 pm

    Amazing work – looks like the built-in was always there!

    You’ve probably already had these thoughts but just in case you didn’t:

    I can’t tell if there is a tiny sliver of wall between the top of the door trim and the top shelf. If so, your future self will thank you if it is painted to match the trim and new built-in. Shadows will always make it look like it isn’t painted the same color but there’s no reason to make yourself crazy leaving it the wall color.

    I’d also consider some sort of narrow, simple crown-moulding-like trim along the front of that top shelf – maybe half as wide (or a bit less) as the crown moulding along the top of kitchen cabinets. As with the curved side panels it would be a subtle nod to the kitchen cabinetry. And it’s below the level of the cabinet crown so you wouldn’t have any fancy cuts – just run it straight across the front.

    • madebycarli
      January 17, 2023 / 8:25 pm

      Hi Cheryl, Thank you for your kind words and for taking your time to share your input. I was mulling I we painting the too and I think I’m going to go ahead and do that tomorrow. I agree that the top of the built in looks a little blah, and could use a trim piece or perhaps a gallery rail, as some on IG have suggested. I’m going to think about it and see what I come up with🥰.

  2. Cheryl
    January 23, 2023 / 3:24 am

    Your gallery rail looks great – finishes off the top in a fun and unexpected way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin with Carli

Follow on Pinterest