Builtin Furniture

or even 38 in. Although it may sound tall, a 38-in.-high countertop feels great for many kitchen tasks.

The upper cabinets in most old kitchens were built right up to the ceiling, not stopped a foot short as is often the case today. This applies as well to rooms with 10-ft. ceilings as to those with ceilings at 8 ft., and it's a great way to maximize storage space. So what if you can't reach up there without a ladder? Tall upper cabinets are wonderful for storing rarely used items such as punch bowls and holiday-ware that might otherwise be consigned to the basement. Particularly in a small kitchen, the extra cubic feet of usable space gained by going to the ceiling can make the difference between a room that works and one that has inadequate cabinet storage.

Study details in face frames, doors, and drawers

One of the most effective ways to get an authentic period look is by attending to the proportions of the original cabinets. Vintage cabinets display enormous variety in such details, and if you rely on a standardized dimension for your rail and stile widths, your cabinets simply will not look authentic. When adding to existing cabinetiy, I pay close attention to the widths of frame stock in the original work. Note whether the bottom rail is wider than the top, and subtle details such as bevels on the inside edges of door frames.

Sometimes, when space is tight, it is impractical to use face-frame or door stock as wide as the original. In such cases, you may wish to scale down these members proportionately so that you can at least come close to the authentic feel of the original work.

Note also whether the doors are inset or half-overlay. If the latter, note whether the door's outer edge is square, rounded, or shaped in some way. On many Shaker cabinets, for example, this edge is rounded. Does the face frame have a bead, or is there cock-beading around the outside frame of the door? Is the inside edge of the door frame square, or shaped into a quarter-round (as in some 1930s kitchens)? Are the door panels flat or raised? Pay attention to the same kinds of detail on drawer faces.

For several decades it has been conventional to recess fully and conspicuously the area at the base of kitchen cabinets to provide toe space. However, no matter how strictly you ^^rrr-r apply eveiy other guideline, using fully recessed kicks will betray the period look. If you want your cabinets to look authentic to a period predating the middle of the 20th century, stay away from fully recessed kicks.

There are three main styles of kick spaces in older cabinetiy. Flush kicks are simply an extension of the cabinet's face frame down to the floor. Although flush kicks take getting used to, they fl MH

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Graduated drawer fronts. To mimic the Shaker style, Hiller designed the drawer fronts so they get narrower near the top. Note that the top two faces are really one drawer, built to a more useful size for a modern kitchen.

Upper storage spaces, open and closed. The cabinet above the stove was made deeper than the cabinets on either side to accommodate a range hood. Hiller added a plate rack for storing large dinner plates.

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