Building a Kitchen Storage Cabinet

Building a Kitchen Storage Cabinet

When I designed my kitchen, I made sure that I had lots of storage with good flow. I designed my layout so that it was efficient for me. I wanted friends and family to relax while I prepared the meal. I have a walk in pantry that stores mostly pots and pans,  and some serving and storage pieces. Around the corner in the laundry room is a 13 foot long wall of floor to ceiling cabinets that serves as pantry, cookbook storage as well as for items that I may use only occasionally. The main kitchen area was not functioning quite as well as I would have liked. When ever I needed something in the walk in pantry, I would have to remove items stacked on top of one another, and often I would avoid even getting the item because it was a hassle.Even after I decluttered and donated items, it was still not working as good as I would have liked. It needed some tweaking.

I had some space on the wall adjoining the walk in pantry where I could build a cabinet that I would use only for often used serving pieces, and items I cook with everyday that would allow easier access, and would keep clutter off the island and counters. I looked online for a cabinets that might fit the bill, but none really did, so I sat down and designed one that met my needs exactly, and I mean exactly. I measured every serving or cooking piece and designed it within the parameters of the space I had and the pieces I wanted to use more and allowed for quick access. KBJ was all in on helping me build it.

The door to the left leads to the coffee bar. The white door is the walk in pantry, which is not quite 3ft x 5 ft.

When you come around the corner from the coffee bar, I wanted to make sure that the depth did not block either flow or view into tv area, while making sure that I got the depth needed for what I wished to store. I also needed to make sure that the distance between the cabinet and the island was efficient.

I had drawn out the finished dimensions. I made the decision that I wanted it to blend in with that wall, not stand out. Therefore it would be a white cabinet. Reason? You can see the white trim of the doors to the left and the right, and it just would look better if it was cohesive, especially when the pocket door on the right is closed. Also, because another project that I will share in another post, is on the same wall, but in the TV area, and it was white also. My kitchen cabinets are all cherry. Notice that I primed and painted the plywood prior to assembly. Sooo much easier, even though I would have to do a final coat when fully assembled. I also did the shelves and trim pieces.

When building your carcass or box, it is crucial that it be square. If it is not, your shelves will not fit, it will not sit flat on the floor, and doing the finish trim work is a nightmare. And just try hanging doors on a cabinet out of square. So always take the time when building your “box”. We put ours together using clamps and the Kreg jig and pocket screws. We used 1 inch birch plywood for this project. We predrilled all the holes ahead of time after figuring our where all the shelves would be going.

By drilling the holes for the top and bottom piece on the outside, no holes would be visible when looking inside the cabinet.

You can see in the photo that the holes are all drilled for the shelf pins. That was the first thing we did before assembling the carcass. We used a jig template for it, and it was not only quick, but accurate. No tilted shelves! After we screwed in the middle fixed shelf, we wanted to stand it up to see how it looked so far, so we could make any changes if necessary. The fixed shelf also helps keep the carcass square. The decision as to where the fixed shelf goes was dependent on the size of the doors we would add later. That decision was made by looking at the pantry door and deciding that the doors would be as close to the same height as each panel on the pantry door for symmetry and the integrated look I was after. So after making that decision we put it back on the floor to mount the feet.

When placing the feet, we allowed for the front facing, not yet attached to the box. Since the finished cabinet would be 15 inches, including the door depth, it would look odd to have the feet too far under the finished cabinet. I also wanted rear feet, so it had to look balanced. These feet were the perfect height and more appropriate and delicate than a square or bun foot. I found these on line at Home Depot.

With the trim piece on, you can see that the foot is now set back right where I want it.

KBJ cut the shelf boards and the screen molding for the front. The molding covers the raw edge of the plywood. It is rounded top and bottom and gives a nice finished edge. I attach the molding with wood glue and brads, then caulk and sand all over before priming.

Even though the sides of the shelves are not visible, I still sand and paint them. By sanding really well where the molding and shelf meet at the top, when you paint there is no visible seam.


Before we put on the face frame, we put the boards in place to make sure they all fit. I numbered them as I removed them. You may notice that the box rests on the baseboard so that the cabinet will be right against the wall instead of forward of the baseboard. The entire cabinet will be screwed into studs with lag screws.

KBJ has marked the 3 outlet openings and is using a scroll saw to cut them out. The top 2 were an electrical box for the answering machine and the phone, and the bottom one was just an outlet. Although I no longer have a land line, I did not want to just cover them up and forget about it. That’s the lazy way.

Because the back is also 1 inch plywood , the outlet boxes would be too far back for the cover plate to go back on. We bought these box extenders which allows you to move the box forward meeting code and attach the cover plates.

Here we are checking to make sure the holes match the outlet boxes. The third one is below the fixed shelf.

In one of those weird late fall days, it was warm enough to go outside and sand. Yeah! However, it was not warm enough to prime and paint.

Next step was to cut pieces of 1×2’s for thecae frame, except for the top, which was a 1×4. The cross piece will fit perfectly to the fixed shelf with no lip.

The reason for the overhang at the top will become obvious in photo below.

Because we wanted side pieces to butt up to the front. This way we can mount crown molding to the top, and these pieces will give it more dimension and visual weight since it is a tall piece. Before attaching the face frame we also placed all the shelves. Much easier.

We decided on maple frames with MDF inserts. MDF is more stable than solid wood, and felt, especially because the top door was so tall, it was the way to go. We measured and ordered two doors for the cabinet rather than making them ourselves because we wanted the doors to match the style and profile of the doors throughout the house. Therefore, the top door is arched and the bottom straight. We ordered from Cabinet Door Mart.

They painted up beautifully. I use both a Purdy brush and a foam roller. We had them pre-drill for European hinges and because of the height of the top one, we did 3 hinges.

The fun part…using it. As I began putting items away, the light coming through the window in front of the sink was just lovely. Made me even happier.


Here is how it looks set up. It is so nice to have platters, Corning and pyrex right at hand. I put in shelf liners that stick to the shelves, but allow the cook and dinner ware to slid right out. Notice at the top how the crown molding.

KBJ drilling for the knobs, which I bought years ago for another project and never used them.

Here it is all finished. It is 21 inches wide and 15 inches deep. There is 4 feet between the front of the cabinet and the island, so plenty of room to pass by. Here the paint color looks whiter than the door, but it is actually the same. The light at certain times of day makes it look whiter than it is.

These knobs add a little bit of whimsy. What I especially like about them is that they extend out a bit more than most knobs and it is easy to grab and open without the door getting nicked up when you go to grab it. easy to clean around as well.

When you paint furniture that will get hard use like this one will, I strongly recommend that you take the time to do a thorough paint job. That means it will take time. After several coats with light sanding in between, it is most important that you let the paint job cure. I let the cabinet, shelves, trim and the doors cure for a week before I loaded it up. It makes a big difference. I can’t give you a cost to build for this project because other than the doors, we used wood and trim left over from other projects. In any case, it was less than to purchase, and it is custom for my needs.

I have been using this cabinet since Thanksgiving, and it has really made a difference. I so enjoy cooking, and efficiency is important to me, especially with bum knees.

Well, yesterday it was 70 degrees. The weather is messing with my head. Freezing, snow then 70! My poor gardens have taken such a hit over the last few years, and this is another challenging one for sure. Cooler the next few days, but still above average. I never know what season the next day is going to bring! Thanks for stopping by. laters, charisse















  1. Awesome!

  2. You and KBJ never cease to amaze me!! The cabinet is perfectly done. I can’t imagine BW and I trying to do that together and staying married! Loved the little door pulls too, made me smile. S

    • Thanks Susan. I got those pulls for a nursery project but ended up not using them for that, and they make me smile as well. I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this cabinet. Funny how one thing can really change things around for the good.

  3. Beautiful job! I just Love Everything you do..Joy

  4. This is beautiful!

    The details and step by step is great 🙂

    Love and miss you guys!

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