Custom Built Cabinets

by Roy Baller
(New York)


A custom built cabinets can make an appliance or fixture more attractive and more useful. More attractive, because the cabinet either covers or camouflages a bulky machine and blends with the room's decor. More useful, because the cabinet provides storage above or below. Kitchen appliances make especially good candidates for this treatment. In fact, some are designed specifically to fit into the standard array of kitchen cabinetry.


A dishwasher matches the height and depth of a row of base cabinets and fits directly underneath a countertop; a cooktop must be fitted into a hole in a countertop.

More custom built cabinet information large appliances, such as refrigerators and wall ovens, must have specialized cabinets around them for a built-in effect. Any modern refrigerator that has bottom mounted coils is easily enclosed in a cabinet that frames the front of the appliance and provides a storage area above. A refrigerator that has back mounted coils needs more clearance for ventilation follow the manufacturer's recommendations for the cabinet dimensions. An oven cabinet provides storage space above and be-low, and supports the oven as well.

Make the top for a refrigerator or oven cabinet level with the adjacent cabinet tops; if space between the adjacent cabinets and the ceiling is covered by a soffit or cornice molding, use the same covering over the appliance cabinet. Because either a refrigerator or oven cabinet may be taller and wider than a standard doorway, plan to assemble them in the kitchen. If you design either of them to reach all the way to the ceiling, make the diagonal measurements of the cabinet sides 1 inch less than the height of the room; whatever the depth of the sides, this limitation will permit you to tilt the cabinet to an up right position without hitting the ceiling. A smaller, easier to build cabinet—for a fixture rather than an appliance is the radiator cover shown on these pages. This cover is little more than a box that fits over the radiator and against the wall,
and has perforated aluminum sheeting tacked to a front frame.

Since any cover cuts a radiator's efficiency, choose a sheeting with a pattern of large holes or openings, to allow as much air flow as possible. In addition, tack solid aluminum sheeting to the underside of the top and, if possible, to the wall behind the radiator it will increase efficiency by reflecting heat. Both kinds of sheeting are available at hardware stores and building supply dealers.

Vary the design of a radiator cabinet to suit your taste and needs: You can, for example, cut an opening in the top for an inset of perforated aluminum sheeting, and hinge a small section of the top for easy access to the radiator valve. The techniques for building cabinets for large appliances are those described earlier in this chapter, slightly modified to accommodate the shape and function of each appliance. Refrigerator and oven cabinets should be stained or painted in place; radiator covers can be finished be-fore they are installed. Thanks for reading this age on custom built cabinets more information and carpentry tips to come.

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