Five Hours Later… Salvaged Kitchen Cabinets

7:30am. The scene was set. There we were bouncing down the interstate in a U-Haul truck that we picked up 30 minutes prior.

Our mission: To travel to Greensboro, NC to the homestead, salvage anything we could before the homes are demolished.

Our time limit: ‘Til Dark

Mo's Old House


We arrive at our destination. The clock starts now.

We enter Mo’s old house and my eyes fixate on the solid wood kitchen cabinets that still grace the walls. The memories start to flood my mind. Mo was a woman of petite stature. If she could hear me say that… she would say, “Mercy, girl, I’m just short.” I remember her hollerin’ down the hall… “Kermit R!” That was my great great uncles name. Well, his first name and middle initial. She wasn’t mad. That’s what she always called him. And when she called him, she needed something. Often times, it was to reach something high atop one of the shelves in these cabinets.

Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets

They stretched from mid-wall aaaaalllll the way to the ceiling. They seemed grand when I was a child and somehow, even as an adult seem HUGE!! She always kept what she needed on the bottom shelves. And when I tell you she could whip up a cake like nobody’s business… I mean knock-your-mama’s-socks-off good!! And although someone had already removed her stove and washer and dryer (yes, they were all in the kitchen!) some of her kitchen tools were still in the cabinets. I just love ’em! But I’ll save that stash for another post!

Salvaged Cabinets from an Old House


After removing everything from the cabinets, and examining the structure, we have established our plan of attack for removing them.

Salvaged Kitchen Cabinets

We start with the trim. Mo’s house was built in 1954. They bought it brand new and lived in it 50 years! Can you believe that?! 50 YEARS! This is important to know… so you understand that removing these cabinets was like removing the sword in the stone! Chip. Chip. Chip.

Removing Old Built-in Kitchen Cabinets


The trim is gone. See it there at the top? I mean, see the lack of it there at the top? Yeah, gone! 1 ½ hours down. 2 ½ hours to go!

Removing Built-in Kitchen Cabinets

Next objective: To pry the nails from the walls that are holding the cabinets in place. Yes, nails! And yes, oh-about-20 in EACH cabinet!! Have you ever tried to pry lose a nail that A.) Has been in a wall 60 years. B.) Has no leeway to slip a crowbar beneath it. C.) Is so tightly nailed in that you can’t budge the object to which is is attached. Fast forward…. 2 hours!

Salvaged Architecture from Old House


One side of the cabinets is down. There was no-way, no-how for me to photograph that process. But I can tell you it was full of grunts and growls. Shake this. Jiggle this. Remove that piece of trim. Hold this up. While I pull this side. Do you have it? Here it comes… get ready… BOOM!!

Off the wall and onto the counter! No matter how well, we had it! It seriously weighed at least 300 pounds and plummeted right for the counter! No harm. No foul. But, it took us another 20 minutes, at least, to just get it out of the house and to the truck. One of my short-winded, gasps for air, and pit-stop allowed for this photo opp. I promise it’s not as fun as he makes it look!

Wood Kitchen Cabinets


One down. One to go. It took us another hour to tackle the other side. The hard part was over at this point.

And at 2pm…

We snapped this selfie! Or should I say groupie? Me, the hubs, and Mo’s kitchen cabinets in the U-Haul and ready for a new home. I can’t wait to fix these dolls up! Our plan is to install them in our garage. So. Who wants to come over and help us hang these girls!? All 600 pounds of ’em! I dare say, we ripped that sword right out of the stone!

You can call us King Arthur and hmmm… Guinevere!

We DID it!!!

But no seriously, can I put my thumb down. Despite the smile on my face, it is exerting way to much energy. I’m beat! And if you thought our day ended here, oh no-no-no. This was only the beginning. Next stop, MawMaw’s old house to salvage old windows and doors. Making the most of our time on the homestead… creating beauty from Rusted Roots.


Until next time, let us remember..

Beauty Stems from Rusted Roots

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  1. Pam Allen says:

    Ohhhh, Honey you and I are cut from the same piece of rusted cloth. I really look forward to reading your blog. Love ya, Grampam

    • Oh thank you, sweet Grampam!! Love that name, by the way!! We worked on installing these cabinets in our garage last week!! Now to get them painted… and loaded up with workshop supplies!! Mo would be so happy to see them being used. I just know it!! Thank you for stopping by!! I look forward to chatting with you again!

  2. Thank u so much for this play by play. I’m about 2 do the same thing. i have asked folks up here how 2 do it. They all look at me like i’m crazy! (just tear them out and get new ones) I like the quality of these and the memories that go with them! So again thanks for the how 2.

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