I finally have some hallway cabinet progress to share with you!
I wanted these cabinets configured so that there would be a wide, open cabinet section (open, meaning that the 48-inch-wide section would remain open rather than being sectioned off as two separate 24-inch-wide cabinet sections, but it will have doors on it) on the bottom where I plan to place my cat’s litter box, out of my dog’s reach, with a hole in the side of the cabinet where she can enter and exit. In the middle, I wanted a shallow drawer where we could keep pet things like dog leashes, claw clippers, brushes, etc., on one side, and then on the other side we could keep items like flashlights, batteries, emergency candles, etc. And then the top section would be another cabinet section with doors and adjustable shelves for linens and general storage.
I’ll share the step-by-step, but first let me share the final picture from last night just so you can get a visual of where all of this is heading…
I basically built three open-faced boxes (one box for each section), stacked the boxes in the configuration I wanted, and added trim. Here’s how it looked once I got the trim installed last night.
You’ll notice on the side of my cabinet, you can clearly see three separate boxes. I didn’t bother covering the side because this actually works with the design I’ve chosen for this cabinet. I came across this and loved the linen cabinet on the right. Specifically, I love how there’s decorative trim that separates the drawer section from the upper and lower cabinet sections.
So I plan to use that same general idea on my hallway cabinets by adding decorative trim to set off the drawer section from the upper and lower cabinet sections. My trim will cover those areas where the boxes meet.
However, if I weren’t planning on that design and didn’t want the sections showing (which you obviously wouldn’t want), I would have built the boxes, stacked the boxes, and then added one continuous piece of either 1/8″ plywood or 1/4″ plywood to the side from floor to ceiling. Home Depot carries 1/8″ oak plywood specifically for this purpose in their unfinished cabinet section.
So now I’ll back up to the beginning and show you how I constructed the whole thing.
I built the whole thing out of 3/4″ plywood, and had Home Depot cut most of the pieces for me just to make it easy. And then I started constructing the bottom box section and worked my way up.
I started assembling the bottom box (i.e., the lower cabinet section) by placing the back piece flat on my work surface, which happened to be the ramp in the sunroom. 😀 And then I placed the top piece with its edge on the work surface and nailed it to the top edge of the back piece. I assembled this using wood glue and 1.5″ 16-gauge nails. The box with the handle was just acting as my second pair of hands to hold the piece in place since I was working alone.
Next I attached the side piece, which I glued and nailed into the edge of the back piece and top piece.
And then I repeated that on the other side.
NOTE: Don’t be distracted by the fact that the back piece is so much shorter than the side pieces. The guy at Home Depot cut it wrong, and I didn’t notice until I was home. Thankfully it was the piece for the bottom section, so the mistake didn’t matter since it would be covered up, which you’ll see next. Had this mistake been made on the drawer section or the upper cabinet section, it wouldn’t have worked at all.
With the back, top, and sides assembled, I sat the box upright and put it into place in the hallway.
Next I made a very basic frame (as in, no mitering, just square cuts) out of 2″ x 6″ lumber, assembled with 2.5″ 16-gauge nails and wood glue, to fit in the bottom of this section. Once in place, I nailed it to the sides and back of the cabinet box using 2″ nails.
And then I covered that with a piece of plywood, and nailed it into place.
That gave me the right height for my baseboards to wrap around the cabinet, as well as some additional height for the partial overlay doors to lie against the face frame. If that’s clear as mud, it’ll all make more sense later. I promise.
Next I worked on the box for the middle drawer section. I built it the same way, placing the back piece on my work surface, and attaching the top piece with glue and nails.
Then attaching the side pieces.
But on this section, I also added the bottom piece. So this really is just a simple open-faced box.
And then I stacked that on top of the lower cabinet section.
I built the upper section exactly like the center drawer section, but before assembling the box, I used my Kreg shelf pin jig (this is the one I have) to drill holes for the adjustable shelves.
So this is what my side pieces looked like before assembling the box.
But the assembly was exactly like the drawer section. And with the top cabinet box assembled, I stacked it on top of the other sections (with some help from my brother, of course).
And there’s a peek at the whole litter box setup. I used a top entry litter box (this is the one I have) so that it has the high sides to keep the litter inside, but I removed the top and then cut an “entrance” in the end with my jigsaw. And between the side entrance hole in the cabinet (which isn’t there yet) and the litter box, I’ve used a Gorilla Grip cat litter mat (which you can find here) so that hopefully she won’t track any cat litter out of the cabinet and onto the hallway floor.
Anyway, back to cabinet building.
After all of the boxes were stacked, I made sure that the front edges were all flush with each other, and then I nailed them together and also used 2-inch screws to attach the sections to the side and back walls. All of the walls in the original part of my house have solid wood shiplap behind the drywall, so I never have to search for a stud to screw things into. But if you’re not so fortunate as to have solid wood shiplap-lined walls (seriously the best thing ever!), you’ll need to find studs before screwing the cabinet to the wall.
NOTE: If I weren’t using the decorative trim above and below the drawer section, which will cover the areas where the boxes meet on the sides, then it is at this point (i.e., before the face trim is added) that I would add the 1/8″ or 1/4″ plywood to cover the whole side.
With the boxes assembled, stacked, and secured to each other and the wall, I was ready for trim. I started by attaching 1″ x 2″ pre-primed lumber to the sides using wood glue and 16-gauge nails.
Next I cut and attached a 1″ x 6″ to the bottom.
You’ll notice there’s a 3/4″ space between that piece and the floor, but it won’t matter since that will be covered by baseboard trim.
I also added a 1″ x 6″ piece to the top. And of course, gaps between the top of the cabinet and the ceiling will be covered by crown moulding.
And finally, I added 1″ x 4″ pieces between the box sections.
I used 1″ x 4″ lumber here because I needed the extra height to accommodate the decorative trim that I’m going to add above and below the drawer section, while still leaving enough face frame for my partial overlay doors to rest against. If I weren’t using the decorative trim, I probably would have ripped some lumber down to 2″ wide to use there.
So that’s the progress so far! It’s a good start, but this has been the easy part.