The Nugget: Building Cabinets (again!)

Dudes!  We are overhauling a 1972 Bell Travel Trailer!  Follow the entire series from the beginning here!

The Nugget- DIY Vintage Trailer Cabinets vintagerevivals

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.)

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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.

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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.)

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Then there was the ceremonial ritual of putty, sanding, more putty, more sanding and paint.

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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.)

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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!?! …

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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). 

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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!

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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.

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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.



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DIY Brass Bridge Faucet

Dudes!  We are overhauling a 1972 Bell Travel Trailer!  Follow the entire series from the beginning here!

When we bought our little vintage trailer, we were lucky enough to have not one, but two glorious faucets.   The original faucet was a hand pump that had stopped working and had been connected to a small electrical pump that pumped the water from the small water tank that lives under the sink.  The other faucet was connected to a copper pipe that ran to the outside water hook up.  I am pretty sure that changing out the faucets was the first thing I touched on when we were talking about fixing up the Nugs. 


My original thought was to just have one faucet (the sink is SO teensy) that connected to the water tank and not have one for the outside water hook up.  There was just no way that I was going to put 2 faucets back in. 

In the middle of the night I woke up to (what is most likely) a very obvious solution, that I just didn’t see. A faucet with 2 handles can utilize BOTH water pipes.  But instead of being hot + cold, it would be outside + inside.  So the hunt for a great faucet began.  I had one requirement. Brass.

Have you ever shopped for a small brass faucet that isn’t hundreds and hundreds of dollars?  It kind of doesn’t exist.  After looking for a few days, I narrowed down my search to a bridge faucet which unfortunately increased the price.  Whyyyyyyy?!!

There was no way that I was going to spend more on this faucet than I spend buying the entire trailer.  That just doesn’t seem like the smartest move.

So I did what I do in every situation where I want something that just doesn’t seem to exist.  I went to Home Depot.

There I found a few things,  a laundry faucet that had a brass neck, and John, the master plumber that worked there.  I explained to him that I wanted to build a faucet and he was AMAZING and spent the next little bit coming up with solutions for the problem. 

How To Build A Brass Bridge Faucet vintagerevivals


So here is the ingredient list.

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(1) Laundry Faucet
(1) Soldering Kit
(1) Roll of Thread Seal Tape aka Teflon Tape


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(2)  1/2” 90 degree elbows
(2) 1/2” stop valve
(2) Washer Caps
(2) 1/2” brass pipe hex nipple
(2) 1/2”x1-1/2” brass pipe nipple
(2) handles
(2) 1/2” T’s
Not Pictured (1) 1/2” copper male adaptor

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(2) 1/2”x3” Chrome Brass Pipe Nipple **Have the employee at Home Depot thread these pieces as pictured above, that way, whatever the thickness of your countertop, you will be able to tighten the faucet down.

Assembly is really simple.

Start by replacing the handles on your Stop Valves.  I used a little bit of 5 minute epoxy to make sure they stayed on really well.

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Each of the nipples need to be wrapped with teflon tape before attaching them to their components.

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The Hex nipple will attach to the bottom of the elbow.

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Then the Stop Valve attaches to the other end of the Hex Nipple.

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The brass nipple goes into the other side of the elbow.

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Then the T is attached to that.

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Lastly, the 3” pipe nipple that you had threaded attaches to the bottom of your Stop Valve.

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Repeat for the other side.

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Your copper male adaptor will attach to the top side of the T, and the brass faucet arm should fit fairly snuggly on that!

Next is soldering.  Now. I know how you soldering virgins are feeling.  I too was a soldering virgin.  But it is not hard to do at all.  And the best part is that you can start over as many times as you need to (you guys know how much I love that.)

Before you solder, start by scrubbing the inside and outsides of the pieces that you are joining together.

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Brush on the flux (this is the magic ingredient that sucks the solder into the pipe)

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Heat your pipe up so that it is nice and hot (all of the instructions for soldering are on the package of the kit, and I am sure there are hundreds of awesome videos that explain this much better than I do.) 

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Then it’s time for the actual solder.  I don’t have a picture of this because molten metal, but it was really cool to see it disappear into the joint.

Obviously you will want to let it cool off before you get all manhandly.

Before you install, put the washer caps over the holes in your countertop.  Because plumbing is different for every situation, take pictures of the underside of your sink, and head to your local HD.  The plumbing expert will be able to help you get exactly what you need to connect your pipes. 

The picture below is of what ours looks like.  PVC nuts that tighten the faucet to the sink, and adaptors that screw onto the nipples and have a place to push into the new pipe.  Home Depot has every kind and size of connector that you will need.

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I cant wait to report back on how it works once we get the battery hooked up, the tank filled and the whole thing going!!  But until then, lets just look at how pretty it is, shall we?

And if you are wondering if this would be good in a house, I am going to give you a resounding…I don’t know yet.  The stop valves (where the handles are attached) are a type of gate valve, which basically means that it is a moving gate that blocks the water (or lets it in). Its not going to be as simple as lifting a single handle, but I think it would be gorgeous AND amazing.  I will keep you posted!

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How to build a brass faucet


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