Having a small budget for a renovation isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When you’re limited by your budget you have no choice but to get creative and explore alternative routes. If budget hadn’t been an issue we’d have probably picked an off-the-shelf kitchen. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this, it would never have pushed us to develop new skills and create something bespoke.
While most kids were watching Byker Grove and Saved By The Bell; Lewie was watching a show called The New Yankee Worktop. In case you haven’t watched it (and I’m presuming that’s probably the case) it consists of a bloke called Norm doing wood-working projects in his workshop. As a result of this show Lewie wanted to give building the kitchen a go. He spent a while watching some of Norm’s old tutorials on YouTube and felt pretty confident about it. With the low cost of the materials to make one cabinet we figured it was worth the gamble; if it worked out if would save us an absolute fortune.
This is what we did…..
I found a shaker-style kitchen that I liked and Lewie drew a quick sketch with pen and paper.
The cabinet carcasses were made from MDF sheet material. The first took around four hours to make as Lewie had to get the exact measurements right and other details such as the depth of the groove to route out the dado joints. Once the technique was perfected he was able to make a carcass from scratch in roughly 45 minutes including the cuts, routing, gluing and screwing it together.
Lewie then moved on to building the framework for the front of the carcass. The first step was to cut the oak to size, he then used a really simple method called a pocket screw joint to fix the sections of the frame to the carcass. To make the doors Lewie used slightly thicker oak which was cut to size to fit in the frame in the shaker style. It was put together using a tenon joint glued with an MDF panel in the middle. It took around twenty minutes per frame and from start to finish an hour per door.
Before the doors were fitted and painted we moved on to building the polished concrete worktops.
The cabinet doors were then primed, painted and fitted. The scaffold board shelves and blinds were added last and the cooker and hob were put in.
Lewie recently showed the kitchen to a skilled carpenter who was understandably sceptical that someone could do this after watching a few YouTube videos….After a tonne of questions about materials, technique and timescales his response was; “If you can do this with just a router table in your garden, I want to see what you can do in my workshop”. He then very generously offered the use of his workshop for our next kitchen project so watch this space….