Dudes! We are overhauling a 1972 Bell Travel Trailer! Follow the entire series from the beginning here!
Dun dun dun dun dun dun duuuuuuuun! I feel like these cabinets have been the biggest saga of my whole life. So many failed attempts, so much frustration, but we finally came up with something that I LOVE. Taking a step back for a bit gave me a chance to see with a clear mind what I loved and didn’t love about what was going on. I came to this conclusion, I loved the handles. I loved the white. I loved the exposed hinges. I didn’t love all of the other things.
So armed with the knowledge of love, the situation then became, finding a way to make the teeny handles a bigger part of the design. So that they didn’t look like an undersized afterthought like they did before.
Undersized afterthought just isn’t a good look. Not for outfit choices, and not for cabinets.
That is a fun visual.
My first few new ideas were to put something behind the knobs to make them seem bigger. Guess what? I was hating all of those things, and I couldn’t put my thumb on the reason. Then I had a come to Jesus with myself (and I wish I could have had it with the company that made the trailer.)
Literally every single door was a different size (even the ones that were supposed to be the same!) It was just adding unnecessary activity to the already small space. (Also, just to clarify because there were some questions on the old cabinet post, we hadn’t installed the tension locks on the doors so they weren’t shut completely tight, that is why they look so wonkfest.)
The solution was apparent. We had to make new doors.
Son of a #$(*.
Insert wailing and gnashing of teeth. Followed by standing up, brushing off my paint covered sweats, drying my eyes and telling myself to shut up and get back to work.
This is what square one looks like.
Before we could build, we needed to make some important adjustments so that we could remake doors that had the same measurements. The center board needed to be wider so that the doors on the left could be made smaller and not have a giant gap. We glued/nailed a new piece of wood in and widened the entire thing, instead of taking out the existing piece and moving it over (it was supporting the front of the countertop and honestly, who wants to find out what happens when that comes out? NOT ME.)
Then there was the ceremonial ritual of putty, sanding, more putty, more sanding and paint.
The doors themselves are made out of MDF because I wanted them completely texture free. We cut them down to size on the table saw and glory, they were SO much better.
So now that we were starting with an evenly spaced blank canvas, we can go back to the door design.
At this point I had given up on the idea of putting something behind the knob, I just wanted it to be part of the door.
I got this idea of using 1/2 round moulding to follow the outline of the door + knob and it just would not leave. I wasn’t 100% sure of it, and Court thought it was a horrible idea (his suggestion was to leave them plain and get new pulls) but I had to try it. Home Depot doesn’t sell 1/2 Round in store, but they do sell it online and I was super shocked at how inexpensive it was! So I ordered it and mocked one up. (Don’t mind the fridge door. It has a mind of it’s own.)
I didn’t hate it. Court didn’t love it. But I thought that it had some serious potential. So I decided to just go with it, and if we had to flip the doors around and use the other side for cabinet door build out #193094 then so be it. (Jumping a little ahead of myself but notice the piece that the top doors are resting on, we used this to evenly space every gap. It is a lot easier to fill a few nail holes after the doors are installed than to get a divorce because YOU MOVED AGAIN!?! …
Because this design was full of freaky angles, a protractor was an absolute necessity. I started by figuring out the angles that I needed by measuring the diamond shaped back plate. Once I knew what angle I needed, I then divided it in 1/2 (because 2 pieces meet to make up the angle). Then (this is super important) remember that on a miter saw 90 degrees is 0, so you have to subtract the angle that you need from 90, and then set your blade there. For example, the center angle that goes around the pull is 125 degrees. Divide that by 2 and you get 62.5. 90-62.5 is 27.5, so you set your blade at 27.5.
I used a guide to mark 1 1/2” all the way around the door. Then I traced the diamond shaped back plate and marked 1 1/2” on the inside of that for our notch. This made it so that I could measure and line up each of the pieces of trim.
After they were glued on, we puttied, sanded, primed, and painted them. A screw driver worked best for getting the putty out of the hard to reach corners.
And while this was one of the most technical projects that I have done (it had to be PERFECT or else it would stand out like a sore thumb) I have to say that I am pretty proud of how great they turned out.
The one hiccup that I had was, when I designed the idea, I was using the lower cabinets as my template. I loved that there was a short piece on the outside before it notched in, and that was how I was anticipating all of the doors looking. When I started working on the cabinets that were shorter I found out that to keep the angles (and the 1 1/2” cushion around everything) that those small pieces just couldn’t exist. (It has to do with how teeny they would have to be and the fact that we were using 1/2 round).
One other small update was taking the tarnish off of the brass pulls. I am a huge fan of mixing metals but mixing this finish with the brighter brass on the lawyer shelves, just made them look like such an addition. And not in a good way. I used Brasso and an old washcloth to remove the tarnish and it worked like magic!
All in all I am THRILLED with how everything is coming together over there. The new backsplash looks awesome, and the cabinets are full of the vintage-y charm that I was going for from the get go.
And Court? He loves them. In fact every time we talk about them he says and I quote “Those are the most legit thing you have ever made”. Which makes me happy and gives me a complex all at the same time.