Built in Cabinets

Project by Outnmbrd posted 03-13-2015 11:02 PM 11852 views 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When we found the new house, it had just been “flipped”. Almost everything was done. The one obvious item left, was in the living room, around the fireplace. The house is 50 years old. Why no one had added custom built in cabinets during that time, I won’t ever understand.

So, before we ever moved a thing into the house, my marching orders were to get a set of book cases built and installed, ASAP. As I looked the situation over, it was obvious that the walls were not plumb, square or parallel to anything, let alone each other. The fireplace sits one inch closer to the back wall on one side than the other. The two openings are about 4 inches different in width. Fun times are heading my way!!!

The wife wanted cabinet doors, and the first shelf needed to be large enough for her favorite statue. Turned out this aligns with the mantel (wow something aligns!). I designed the shelf spacing to have a larger space at the top for more of her tall decorations. The paneling is original (painted) to the house, and fit her design style, so no backs for the cases.

The book cases were made with pre-primed, cabinet grade, plywood from my local big box. We decided on fixed shelving, so I cut dado grooves in the sides with my router and a quick jig. We painted everything before it was assembled, so we didn’t have to worry about the walls.

I assembled the cases and slid them into their openings. Then I used door shims to rock them back to the walls, closing any gaps between the shelves and the walls. Once in place I trimmed them out. I knew we wanted crown molding at the top, so I made the header 3” wide as a backer. This was followed by filling the holes with painters caulk and touching up the paint. I also repainted the fireplace mantle and brick surround. (and yes, she immediately started filling them)

Because a lot of my tools are still in boxes, I kept this design simple and made the doors with tongue and groove on the table saw. The panels are just 1/4” plywood, captured in the frame grooves. I made the doors 1” larger than the case opening so, that when centered, there will be a 1/2” overlap. The doors were mounted using simple brushed nickel cabinet hinges.

When it came time to install crown molding, I realized just how out of square and level everything was. Rather than fight with cutting the molding to match, I chose to use corner blocks. This turned a painful project, into a 35 minute one. I like the extra detail it adds to the fireplace.

So here they are, completed, and decorated. What do you think?

-- It's never done...

4 comments so far

View chief101's profile


21 posts in 3734 days

posted 03-14-2015 12:55 AM

Great job looks fantastic.

-- Dale J. Struhar Sr.

View MarcioWilges's profile


28 posts in 2116 days

posted 03-23-2015 02:57 AM

Ah, the joys of moving house! When you get to tinker around the rooms of your new home and make it exactly the way you want it to be. Looks like you guys did a great job in putting your own touch on the fire place! Well done!

-- Marcio Wilges @ http://www.platinumremovals.com.au/

View EdwardThirlwall's profile


8 posts in 2603 days

posted 03-20-2019 02:21 PM

Great job! It will look amazing with Christmas colors.

-- Edward Thirlwall: http://supercheapselfstorage.com.au/facilities/sydney/

View ganuthakur's profile


3 posts in 525 days

posted 03-21-2019 06:34 AM

want to spend quality times. Looks Fantastic. It remembers me classic royal times. want to build the same cabinet.
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