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In our bedroom is a small closet space that was designed to feature a built-in cabinet, which we planned to add later. In the interim, we placed our old dresser in the space, but it is about a half-inch too deep, preventing the bedroom door, which is on a track, from sliding shut.

So for the past 10 months, we've been unable to use the space, as well as being unable to seal ourselves off for even a few minutes from the madness of two small children.

I finally decided to build the cabinets using a few pieces of walnut plywood that we had saved from our upstairs fireplace. My design divided the space into three equal cabinets. The two outside boxes would be open shelves and the inside box would be slightly recessed to allow for doors that would be flush with the other cabinets. Although I am pretty comfortable working on most projects, the idea of building my own cabinets was a bit daunting.

I decided to use medium-density fiberboard to construct the boxes, which were fairly easy to do. I laid out a template and drilled holes in the boxes on the sides that would be used to hold pins for shelves. We slid the three boxes into place. I cut the walnut plywood and we used it to create a nice countertop for the cabinets. Stacy painted the cabinets white and applied a coat of poly on the plywood.

The last step was building the doors from extra pieces of walnut plywood. However, the pieces were not big enough to cover the entire space, or the grains didn't align so we could construct two doors from one sheet. Stacy came up with the idea to do two doors -- one with horizontal grain on top and one with vertical grain on the bottom.

To finish the cabinet, I drilled holes in each of the doors to serve as handles. The circles had dual purpose -- they carried out the theme of our home's design, while at the same time creating a handle that wouldn't interfere with the sliding door.

After a couple of coats of poly on the doors, we were happy with how the cabinets turned out and that we built them for under $100.

To learn more about Jason Hammond's new house and to see photos and previous blog posts, go to Or e-mail him at