I’m really writing this for myself more than anyone else I guess, but if it helps you to then awesome.
When designing a piece of furniture or a cabinet, the first thing you need to think about is the space it goes in. How large can it be? Or how small does it have to be to not interfere with the flow of the space? I think it helps to figure out the size of the piece first, then determine what style it should be in. My own personal style is a mix of craftsman and shaker, kind of the middle ground between the two styles really, with some modern considerations of course… why make wooden drawer slides when modern drawer slides are quieter and are even designed to allow wood movement?
After we’ve figured out the style then we can start determining the dimensions from the over all piece, how large should the drawers be? how large should the doors be, well when you draw it to scale you can extrapolate all this from your drawing. You can also catch a few of your mistakes and write down what you know you will forget in the design before you do it. You still need to double check your accuracy and so on but a rough idea will help you get started just the same.
The island I’m building has been a tad bit of a divergence from my typical designing style, since the customers mandated the size of the piece, I’ve had to do a good bit of backing up and re-thinking since the width of the top doesn’t allow for some of my typical design formulas. That said, building the undercarrage for this island before I even knew what the cabinet was going to be is a bit different for me, however it’s turning out to be the best approach, though an abnormal one for me. When I started to lay out the undercarrage, a former boss reminded me of greek designs and proportions because I radiused the corners of the butcher block top, I got reminded that a 3/4 overhang for the top was going to make it look less proportional, and be kinda like a “short fat girl” so I stopped and backed up.
The next challenge has had to do with my mortise and tenon joints. While my mind will tell me that I”m going to have a problem when I’m thinking three dimensionally, I don’t always know what that problem is going to be or how many there are. soooo I kept running into some challenges along the way, but hey it’s getting closer to completion, and I still have time to complete the piece before my deadline which is more because of christmas than a customer’s insistance that the piece be done.
-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.