Posts Tagged With: cabinetry

Kitchen Cabinets and Renovation


New Wall Cabinets Above the Fridge.

One of the reasons for the dearth of recent posts here is the amount of time I have spent renovating the kitchen. The project started with a new fridge —  that was slightly too tall to fit under the old wall cabinets. Those cabinets came out, the refrigerator went in, and I built a couple of new cabinets to go above it. The new cabinets looked significantly better than the old ones, and more wall cabinets followed until all the upper cabinetry had been changed out. Rather than staples, chipboard, cardboard, etc., the new cabinets are all quarter-sawn white oak faces with plywood carcasses and shelves. The casework is dadoed into the oak fronts then fastened with glue and screws. Hardware includes European hinges and solid cast brass knobs and handles in an Arts and Crafts style.


Base Cabinets with new Counter and Sink

The bottom cabinets had to be done all at once, since there would need to be a new counter and sink installed at the same time. Additionally, there was a corner cabinet which was very difficult to access — does everybody have one of these? You practically had to open the door and crawl back in there to find anything. More on that below.

Working out of a garage workshop, there is not all that much room to build large items– especially multiple large items like base cabinets. So, the project took more time as pieces got stacked in corners, moved around to make room, re-stacked, etc. And, coming up with a solution which allowed easier access to the corner cabinet took quite a bit of design time and numerous prototypes.










And, after getting the basic base cabinets built and installed, I decided to remove a small closet and replace it with even more cabinets and a bit of added counter space. This has a slide-out trash can that is very convenient, and space to store dog food, etc.

Next, there was the idea for an Arts and Crafts inspired oak and stained glass light fixture. Which would look great mounted to a tin ceiling, which had to be painted multiple coats of multiple colors of paint to get just the right look . . . .


Light Fixture and Tin Ceiling

There is still painting to be done. And a couple of pantry doors to be replaced with Shoji-style sliding screens. And the bay windows to be replaced. And a new floor.


All in good time.



Back to the corner cabinet. I used several heavy duty drawer slides, a couple of casters, Baltic birch plywood, and some Elfa baskets from The Container Store to build a corner cabinet slide out solution. Here is a quick video of how it works.

In addition to picking up some usable space in the corner, I was also able to gain additional storage around some of the areas where the kitchen walls run at 45 degrees. The original design had large wedges of inaccessible space there, which we can now utilize.

Now its time to take a little break from the kitchen and build a few other little things.



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New Project: Kitchen Cabinets

I had been thinking that kitchen cabinets would be a good project to tackle when I retire in a few years. The cabinets in our kitchen are the original ones, and are terrible, as in (cheap) particle board and staples. The fronts were finished poorly, they used cheap hardware, and there is a significant amount of unused space that could have been  claimed by constructing custom cabinets.

The refrigerator was also original, and nearly 30 years old, so we decided to replace it when the local Sears store was closing. None of the models that would fit in our original opening were very well made. Drawers did not slide easily, lighting was poor, and it was easy to see that these refrigerators were built to be inexpensive. So, we decided to to upgrade a bit to a model that had much better hardware, LED lighting, and well-designed interior spaces. Only problem, it was about 2 inches too tall for the existing space.

First cabinets in place

First cabinets in place

Prior to taking delivery, I removed the cabinets above the refrigerator, and used this as a good excuse to begin building new ones. We immediately gained a significant amount of storage space by making the new cabinets taller, and by taking advantage of some previously wasted space where the walls meet at a 45 degree angle.

The new cabinets are made with quarter sawn oak face frames and doors on birch plywood cases. The face frames are dadoed and rabbeted to accept the cases, and pocket screws are used in blind locations to hold it together. I am using a simple Shaker rail and style bit set for the doors, which operate with Euro-style hinges. The knobs and handles are from Lee Valley’s cast bronze Arts and Crafts style suite.

So far, there are two cabinets hanging above and beside the refrigerator, with some matching shelves above the sink. Two more top cabinets are in the works, and will be done in due time. (Of course, if I were retired now, this work would go much faster!!)

Cabinet in Construction

Cabinet in Construction

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Cabinet Details

I have had a little time to work on the cabinet that will go in a corner of our kitchen, despite the bitter cold weather here. The problem is that glues don’t set properly when the temperature is this low, and it has been a challenge getting the temperature up — even with a propane heater and sunny days. The weather should be getting warmer over the next few days, but I will be back at work for the next week.

Anyway, back to the cabinet. I have beveled the drawer fronts, a detail I took from the Dentist’s Desk I am using as an inspiration for this piece. The drawers are in and have been rough-fit into their openings. I dovetailed the drawers, making a very strong joint, and a decorative one, as well.

And, I have accomplished what I wanted with the bottom portion. We need a place to put newspapers, etc for recycling, and I wanted a way to pull out a large “drawer” which would contain a recycling bin. I designed this to look like two doors, but when opened, it slides out like a drawer.

Finally, I have made some progress on the top section with the roll top. The part that will be seen inside of the top section has been connected to the ends with mortise and tenon joinery.

Here are a couple of photos:

Beveled fronts, and the pull out bottom section.

Beveled fronts, and the pull out bottom section.

The cabinet comes together.

The cabinet comes together.

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