At long last the kitchen is finished!

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Project by DHS posted 11-29-2015 03:45 AM 1124 views 3 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

It has been more than a year since I posted a project. And, this is the reason. It is sometimes surprising how long a project will take. I remodeled this kitchen from floor to ceiling. Photo two shows the original kitchen complete with painted, deteriorating plywood cabinets. Good motivation for a kitchen remodel. When I began the project >3 years ago(!), my late wife and I planned the kitchen together. She liked the simple, clean look of Shaker-style cabinets. I liked that I was able to purchase most of the cherry at a great price following an auction in my home town of Bellingham. Sadly, my wife had been diagnosed with a terminal illness and although I was able to finish and show her some completed doors, the illness took her faster than anyone expected and she never saw the completed project.

During the following year, I worked on this project off-and-on. I would make a few doors, drawer fronts or end panels, which I could easily store in my shop. But I was no longer in a hurry. Then, a little more than a year later, something else unexpected happened. I met Margaret. Magaret was awesome. Margaret really appreciated woodworking. Margaret preferred craftsman-style to Shaker style. (Oh no!) But, we worked that out and six months later we were engaged. I raced to complete the kitchen in time for the wedding. I completed the installation of the base cabinets, range, granite countertop and one set of upper cabinets before the big day. Margaret had a working kitchen. And, during the first year or so of our marriage I managed to complete the rest of the cabinetry, tile, and painting. Whew!

The details: Base cabinets are birch plywood with figured cherry trim, doors, drawer fronts and end panels. (Really cool cherry purchased by by next-door neighbor at an auction who then sold it to me at a great price.) Upper cabinets are also birch plywood with cherry doors. The doors have flat solid-wood panels with rails and styles connected by draw-bored mortise and tenon joints. I cut the panels from 8/4 stock and resawed matching panels for all similarly-sized doors. Doors on the window side have reeded glass panels. The drawer boxes are dovetailed maple. I finished the cherry with hand-rubbed shellac top coated with Waterlox varnish. Photos: Picture 1 is of the completed kitchen. Pic 2 is the old kitchen from the same vantage point. Pic 3 shows the range side. Pic 4 shows the sink side, the drawers, and my dog Kumo. Pic 5 shows the upper cabinets, backsplash tile and a stainless backsplash of two Chinook salmon (Margaret and me) made by a local artist. Pic 6 shows a false window transom above the kitchen sink with stained-glass panels that match the backsplash tile.

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

10 comments so far

View bushmaster's profile


1255 posts in 1705 days

#1 posted 11-29-2015 04:27 AM

Such beautiful cabinets. My heart goes out to you with the loss of your wife threw a tragic illness. There is healing power in wood.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View BurlyBob's profile


3483 posts in 1687 days

#2 posted 11-29-2015 05:55 AM

Dave that looks really great. My condolences for your loss. Also my best wishes for you new life with your new bride.

View MikeSpanky's profile


177 posts in 785 days

#3 posted 11-29-2015 06:50 AM

My condolences on your loss. Even though it took a while, your work on the cabinets looks great. I’ll bet you laid some tile too? I love cherry and wish I could find it here at an affordable price. I’m hoping to build a new set for our kitchen soon and will probably go rustic with some hickory. I hope it doesn’t take three years but who knows. Always seems to take longer than expected, right?

-- There's no crying in woodworking. Just measure and cut again.

View toddbeaulieu's profile


779 posts in 2426 days

#4 posted 11-29-2015 01:36 PM

Dave! Wow! You would never get that kind of product with that attention to detail like the matching w/o hiring someone to do it bespoke. And boy would that cost you!

Love the matching, the flow from drawer to drawer. Love the work around and above the window. Never would have through of that myself. Starting with 8/4 and resawing to get matching panels? Seriously? Never would have thought of that.


View fellednhewn's profile


17 posts in 684 days

#5 posted 11-29-2015 03:09 PM

Very nicely done!

Thank you for the post.

-- A woodsman was once asked, “What would you do if you had just five minutes to chop down a tree?” He answered, “I would spend the first two and a half minutes sharpening my axe.”

View Ken90712's profile


16864 posts in 2611 days

#6 posted 11-29-2015 03:26 PM

Wow that is a big change. Great work, love the color. I have to know more about the back splash on the stove. I hate to ask but that is cool. Not to take away from you woodworking.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View DHS's profile


120 posts in 2646 days

#7 posted 11-29-2015 08:32 PM

Mike – Yes, I laid a lot of tile too. I chipped off several layers of old linoleum, laid the new floor, installed the cabinets, cut the granite countertop, plumbed the sink, wired new outlets, and so on. Most of this stuff was completely new to me, but thank goodness for youtube!

Ken – That chinook salmon backsplash is indeed very cool. A local artist, Graham Shodda, cut the design on a stainless steel sheet using an angle grinder! I’ve never met anyone who can do so much with a grinder. You can check out his other backsplashes at his web site:

-- Dave S., Bellingham, WA

View majuvla's profile


8714 posts in 2289 days

#8 posted 11-30-2015 12:18 PM

You could be proud on this work! Excellent job. It will serve for many years. I like dovetails on drawers.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Ken90712's profile


16864 posts in 2611 days

#9 posted 12-01-2015 09:28 AM

Thx, we will Ck it out. I’m sure Blondie would love something to different for her new china cabinet. Great work.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View dsb's profile


3 posts in 300 days

#10 posted 03-09-2016 11:21 AM


-- dsb

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