February 18, 2015

Cabin Fireplace Part 2- Built Ins

Initially, when we planned the cabin fireplace project the idea was to flank our new fire with ready made shelving. We considered bookshelves from Ikea for their affordability- something like this design from The Letter Cottage which used Ikea Billy Bookcases.

After checking them out in person though, we chose to go with real wood instead of particle board, so that they would feel more apart of the home, like they had been here all along.  ("If you're going to do it, do it right," my father always says.)  

Then we looked into pre-made cabinets from big box hardware stores, something like this: 

But I didn't like the styles that I had to choose from in the pre-made cabinets, and even these featured a lot of particle board.  At the end of the day I just couldn't justify the high cost for something that I knew I could make myself with a higher quality wood at a lower price.  We knew we'd have some customization to do with these pieces anyway to make them fit perfectly floor-to-ceiling, so why not just make the whole thing?  (Famous last words.)

Since this was my first attempt at designing a piece of furniture all by myself without the help of any plans, I spent an evening after the kiddos went to bed teaching myself how to use Google SketchUp.  (This tutorial from Ana White makes learning how to use the program easy.) Once I got the hang of it, it was actually a snap to use and it made designing furniture much easier as I could use the dimensions tool to quickly see what the size of my pieces needed to be.  Once I had a custom design I felt good about, we had Grandma come over on a Saturday afternoon to watch the boys while the Hubs and I built the cabinets together.  We had a lot to do in a short time, so we didn't stop to take photos along the way, but the plans can lead the way.

We started by building a box for the base cabinet.

Then placed a 1x4 in the back for support and mounting.

Then used 1x4s to create a face frame, and attached it to our box.

Next we tacked on a back panel made of 1/4 plywood.

And then placed a shelf in the inside.  I used this amazing tool from Rockler to create adjustable shelf pegs.

Once the base cabinet was built, we worked on the open shelving above it.  We built these all as separate pieces so that they can transport up to the cabin more easily.

We decided to use a paneled piece of wood for the back of the open shelves to give them more depth and texture.  At the end of day one we had two of these:


The next day I got to the more tricky and precise business of the cabinet doors.  I made this way harder than it had to be, as I really wanted to do an inset door instead of an overlap door, so the piece had a high quality, craftsman style.  It took awhile to get the math down to the 16th, and every cut had to be exact.  Why do I do this to myself?

 Luckily I had a little helper out in the garage with me for moral support.


He must have been good luck, because somehow, magically, on the first try I got this:
Those cabinet doors are just roughly sitting in there until this piece is painted so I can attach the hinges, but when they are installed there should be a perfect 1/8" gap on all sides of each cabinet door.  Cue uncontrollable, Carlton-esk party dance.

In a weekend we took this plan:

 And made two of these:

I can't wait to get them Up North and in place!  But first to fill and sand, and then fill and sand some more.  And then prime and paint and paint again... we're just getting started. 

Pst- Want to follow along on the big cabin fireplace wall project from the beginning?  Or jump straight to the end?  Here you go:

Removing the Window
Part 1- Framing The Fireplace
Part 2- Building the Built-Ins
Part 3- Finishing the Built-Ins
Part 4- Installing the Built-Ins & Building Barn Wood TV Wall
Part 5- Triming Out the Built-Ins (to make them look "built in.")
Part 6- Creating a Stacked Stone Fireplace Surround 
Part 7- Building the Fireplace Mantel 
The Big Cabin Fireplace Wall Reveal 


  1. That looks incredible, well done!!! Sooooo much better than flat pack.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hey, amazing planning. I think it will give your room a classy look and makes more eyes catching. One of my friends has used the fireplace from architecturalstoneelements.com. It is giving a unique look to his room. And now I am decided to have it for my room.

  4. 2 days ago, I told about about Jim's WoodProfit course.

    ==> Over 16,000 Woodworking Plans

    I've spoken on the phone with Jim Morgan and I'm just
    blown away by his simple and effective strategy to
    make money using his basic woodworking skills.

    He started his woodworking business with NO capital,
    a few shop tools, and a lot of nerve, in a small
    10x20 foot space and grew it into a 1,400 space in
    the first few months while still remaining as a
    one-person business!

    See his story at: ==> All the woodworking tools you will need

    Now if you want earn some pocket money during this
    recession and run an easy to start and fun business,
    then you'll LOVE this guide.

    It contains all the information you need to start making
    money from the very first job...

    Check it out now as the offer ends in 2 days: ==> Diagrams which are detailed with a full set of dimensions


    I've been told by Jim that there's only *8* slots left
    for the free bonus and one-on-one coaching.

    Once he fill up these last 8 spots, I can assure you
    it will not be repeated.

    So I urge you to get the bonus and be among the 8 people: ==>Step -by-step instructions how to start your project

    Your Name

    P.S. P.S: My favorite section of the guide
    is where Jim gives you 10 of his TOP-
    SELLING wood crafts. This is really the
    "golden-goose" for woodworking businesses.

    Click here to visit his site now: ==> The necessary materials for that particular project