At long last the kitchen is finished!

  • Advertise with us
Project by DHS posted 11-29-2015 03:45 AM 1645 views 3 times favorited 11 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

11 comments so far

View bushmaster's profile


3351 posts in 2487 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


5986 posts in 2469 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


179 posts in 1567 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


820 posts in 3208 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 1466 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


17594 posts in 3393 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


132 posts in 3428 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


13386 posts in 3071 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


17594 posts in 3393 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


26 posts in 1082 days

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


-- dsb

View TheSawDustWhisperer's profile


30 posts in 325 days

#11 posted 02-10-2018 10:57 PM

Great work!
Do you when it’s raining cats and dogs?
You can tell by the poodles.
I wish you much joy in your new life.
Not all of us get that 2nd chance at happiness.

-- Dusty Lungs

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics