Tall doors and drawer fronts

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Forum topic by HarveyDunn posted 06-12-2016 02:10 PM 715 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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328 posts in 1811 days

06-12-2016 02:10 PM

I want to build two closets in what is currently an open plan loft. One will be clothes depth (i.e. 24”) and the other has to be quite shallow (16” or less).

I love the look shown in this photo, and would like to try to replicate it on both of my new closets.

My idea is to have doors and drawer fronts made with a very shallow sunken panel, painti them white, and then paste wallpaper into the shallow recess. Each would be roughly 24” wide. Total height of the whole assembly (from the toe kick to the top molding) 80”. 10 of each (10 doors, 10 drawer fronts).

I might have this completely wrong, but I was thinking that since I’m going to paint them, they could simply be made from good quality plywood, with that shallow recess created with a router. The outer edges could be finished with edge banding. I’m not sure what would work to “finish”/smooth the little inner edge.

Any ideas about how to achieve this look? FYI I had a quick look at Lowes and Home Depot but couldn’t find any ready-made cabinets that were tall and had a single door. Above ~5’ high they always have two doors (i.e. a tall and a short), I guess because they need that cross pieces to make the cabinet rigid.

14 replies so far

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5007 posts in 4040 days

#1 posted 06-12-2016 02:20 PM

Frame and panel would be my method. You’d spend a lifetime doing all that routing and have a crappy surface when you were done.
That is gonna be a very tall door, and without a center rail, you’ll worry about racking.


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328 posts in 1811 days

#2 posted 06-12-2016 02:29 PM

I should have said, I was thinking I’d find someone with a CNC machine and have them do the routing.

View a1Jim's profile


117165 posts in 3657 days

#3 posted 06-12-2016 03:39 PM

I don’t think plywood is a good choice for a door that size,poplar will hold up better and take paint well. i believe they make an expanded or stamped metal with that pattern ,that would be far less work.

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View mako1's profile


20 posts in 874 days

#4 posted 06-12-2016 04:39 PM

I guessing the doors in the photo have aluminum frames.I don’t know how you could make a door that large with that small of a frame that would be stable and I’ve doing this for over 40 years.

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1811 days

#5 posted 06-12-2016 04:50 PM

Thanks mako1. Can one buy custom aluminum frame doors?

View JoeinGa's profile


7739 posts in 2087 days

#6 posted 06-12-2016 04:54 PM

I’m curious what purpose drawers down at floor level would be used for, that you couldn’t just put that “stuff” on the floor of the cabinet?

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View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1811 days

#7 posted 06-12-2016 04:55 PM

No purpose at all as far as I can tell – but they look nice!!!!

View jbay's profile


2485 posts in 979 days

#8 posted 06-12-2016 05:11 PM

I would go with the a 1” poplar frame and a 1/2” mdf center panel.
An alternative for a cheaper and easy way would be to use 3/4 mdf and attach a 1/4 mdf frame around the outside to create your recessed panel.

View Logan Windram's profile

Logan Windram

346 posts in 2542 days

#9 posted 06-12-2016 05:37 PM

Those look like solid plywood panel with that design printed on them. Could that be a decorative veneer product that is heat pressed on, or contact cemented?

Those are not frame and panel, the rails are way to thin for the mortise to be sufficient for racking.

My bet is plywood core with vinyl attached design.

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1811 days

#10 posted 06-12-2016 05:44 PM

That’s an idea, Logan. I suppose then I could even go with hollowcore bifold doors? I’m a graphic designer & can think of a few ways to get the decorative vinyl for the faces of each door.

View jbay's profile


2485 posts in 979 days

#11 posted 06-12-2016 05:45 PM

Actually now that you say that,
it looks to me to be more of a shaker style door with an applied panel to the front.
Looks like a reveal between the panel and frame. JMO of course

View JBrow's profile


1366 posts in 1000 days

#12 posted 06-13-2016 01:06 AM


Not a question you asked, but a consideration that bears on the choice of material and method for building the doors is the style and number of hinges. The photo suggests concealed Euro style hinges. These hinges require material thick enough to conceal the cup that is 7/16” deep. Additionally, even a narrow door that is ¾” thick but 80” tall can become heavy; therefore, more than a pair of hinges may be required. For example the Blum Compact Euro style hinges brochure recommends 4 hinges for a door over 80” tall. Whatever the choice among the materials and methods for building the doors, keeping the hinges that will be used in mind can save some headaches later on.

View HarveyDunn's profile


328 posts in 1811 days

#13 posted 06-13-2016 02:05 AM

thanks JBrow, that is very helpful.

View dhazelton's profile


2786 posts in 2376 days

#14 posted 06-13-2016 11:33 AM

I would buy flat panel doors and apply the frame. A plywood door is heavy and will never stay truly flat.

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