Kitchen Cabinets

We bought our first house in Colorado Springs in 1976. Then you could afford to buy a house when you were 27 years old. It was a turn-of-the-century house, probably built in the early 1900’s. It had good bones. The kitchen had a servant’s stairway that went up to the second floor, which had been closed off and made into a pantry. A door to the basement, a door to the living room, a back door and a door to the room we used as a TV room. All in all, 5 doors. Plus the chimney came up through the kitchen and made this weird corner. Suffice to say, this was not a kitchen that lended itself to a standard commercial cabinet retrofit.

Here is the “before photo” of the problem corner with the chimney passing through.

Laura and I drew a model and made little cut-out paper dolls of the appliances. We set it on the counter and moved the dolls around until we were happy with the design. The only way it would work was if a very specific custom cabinet were to be built to fit into the problem corner. But who could afford that?

What I did was enroll at the local community college in a cabinet-making class at night. My project was to build my own kitchen cabinets. I had access to all the professional woodworking tools: table saws, band saws, joiners, lathes, etc. Plus I had expert advice from the instructor who was an experienced cabinet maker. Of course I choose to make the most difficult kind of cabinet where the drawers and doors are all flush with the face. This requires precise alignment so the drawer faces and doors fit exactly in the openings with an even spacing all around. Also the drawers are all cut from a single piece of birch plywood so the grain all matches and lines up no room for error.

Here I am age 27 working on installing the cabinet. Notice how all the wood grain lines up.

Anyway it turned out great and it was a lot of fun to make. Also note in the wall cabinet above, I did some stained glass-style panes for the glass doors.

Needless to say, I got an ‘A’ in the class!

Did a nice blue tile counter-top, cabinet for the microwave, under counter lighting, and open shelves above the stove.

Loved that kitchen, so much fun to cook in. Wonder what it looks like now???

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