Custom Built-in Cabinets with Inset Copper Doors

Built in cabinets with floating shelves - Custom woodworking

The design of these Custom Built-in Cabinets was influenced by the client’s specific requirements for their home office and design aesthetics.

For the utility portion of the design, they wanted to hide the printer and paper shredder inside the cabinets. They needed two file cabinet drawers and two other drawers for pencils and general office supplies. The remaining cabinets have adjustable shelves installed to accommodate a variety of other stuff that needed to be stored in the office. To plug the printer and shredder in, I turned the back of the cabinets into sliding doors to allow access to the wall outlets. The printer and shredder are installed on pullout shelves to facilitate ease of operation. All of the doors, drawers, and pull-outs are installed using soft-close hardware.

There was also a return vent for the furnace along the wall that I had to figure out how to incorporate into the design.  I installed a custom toe kick in the cabinet on the left to work around this.  I fabricated a grid to act as a vent cover to go in the toe kick. When I fabricated it, I kept the boards in order from top to bottom so the grain flowed across them. I know it is a small detail that will be mostly hidden from view, but all the small details add up to a design that stands out.

For the aesthetic part of the design, the client wanted something that would stand out as an art statement, not something that could be picked up at any old cabinet shop. They wanted dark woods, as they found the trend of painted white or gray cabinets that everyone else was doing uninteresting. They also wanted to incorporate a live edge slab in the design and some decorative metal to coordinate with some of the other decorative metallic pieces in adjoining rooms.

The custom cabinets in this project span about a 13-foot wall and are made of walnut with copper inserts, to which I added a patina. I added the patina by hand to each piece of copper, ensuring each one would be different in texture and color. To get a patina color that would play well with the walnut and pick up the reds in the wood floor, I took the copper through a 6 step patination process. I think the colors and patterns speak for themselves.

I used walnut slabs for the countertops to satisfy the live edge element. I added some additional decorative elements to the slabs by inlaying Gabon Ebony across the wood’s natural cracks and bark inclusions. The inlays are done entirely by hand using a mallet and chisel. This ensures each bow tie is its own unique size and shape.

The client wanted some decorative shelves above the cabinets to display some antiques and other treasures they have collected through life, one of which is a 1950s-era model train, so the shelf on the right has a tunnel cut through it, allowing the train to pass through.
More on the Custom Train Shelf


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