Bedroom built-in armoires

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Project by lightweightladylefty posted 02-16-2011 05:12 AM 7315 views 7 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This has been more than a 15-year project: the first 15 years were used trying to convince my husband to let me do it. It has taken the last 9 months for me to actually build it. I wanted to take a diversion and attempt to carve a shoe with Jordan’s help, but my husband encouraged me (threatened me – LOL) to continue with the closet.

The bedroom is somewhat smaller than a walk-in closet in today’s mega-homes (thus the problem getting all three cabinets top-to-bottom in the photo). There was no closet in the bedroom, only a 48” Sauder wardrobe. To install these cabinets necessitated the relocation of the door, which meant relocating an electrical switch; thus, the 15-year “convincement” period.

The cabinets were made in three 35-inch-wide vertical units without the top enclosure. The cabinets sit beneath ductwork so the top enclosure was added after we moved them into place. I designed the center cabinet to set behind the face frames of the side cabinets.

Because all the oak was dead wood milled off our property, the cost of these units was quite reasonable. It is not select-and-better quality of oak but the Lord provided amply. Since we paid for a sawyer to bring in his bandsaw mill, I used about $50 of oak for the cabinets.

I spent an additional $313.43 to complete the cabinets:
 $101.01 – ¾” birch plywood for the sides of the cabinets and ¼” lauan plywood for the drawer bottoms. (The cabinet backs, tops, and bottoms were recycled paneling.)
 $75.95 – Finishing supplies (stain and varnish).
 $136.47 – Hardware. We had all of the handles from a previous kitchen and only had to purchase 8 additional hinges (at $.25 each). Drawer slides were the largest portion of hardware expense.

The drawers are oak (some ash mixed in), machine dove-tailed, with full-extension drawer slides. I still want to make dividers for some of the drawers.

I also have two long mirrors to frame and install in the right hand cabinet.

I would be very interested to know what any one of you professionals would charge for something similar. How much did I save by building them myself? I need to know how much money I can justify spending on new equipment! ;-)

Thanks for taking a look, and for your comments and critiques.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

37 comments so far

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 4208 days

#1 posted 02-16-2011 05:22 AM

I’m showing this beautiful work to my wife so she can get busy. And you fish too! NICE work.

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3887 days

#2 posted 02-16-2011 05:26 AM

Looks nice. I see you did a little changeup for the center doors top rail but it works. You will enjoy that piece for many years.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20802 posts in 4754 days

#3 posted 02-16-2011 06:42 AM

Looks like a very good job on them from here!!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3771 days

#4 posted 02-16-2011 08:33 AM

Beautiful job, very nice. You’re going to like those for years to come. Now how about a picture with the doors open, or have you filled it up already?

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View MayflowerDescendant's profile


414 posts in 3865 days

#5 posted 02-16-2011 09:04 AM

WOW! What an ambitous project. GREAT work. Very, very impressed. Love the design, stain, and finish. Fantastic addition to your bedroom. Bravo!

Re. Price – I agree with Bentlyj above. Somewhere in the $5,000 to $7,500 range (installed / with mouldings like you have done) would not be out of the question.

Now, tell hubby you are going shopping – some major tool purchases are in order!

Thanks for sharing and enjoy (the built-ins and new tools).

-- Glen - Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

View tdv's profile


1203 posts in 4149 days

#6 posted 02-16-2011 11:11 AM

That’s an amazing job The Oak is beautiful. You did it proud

-- God created wood that we may create. Trevor East Yorkshire UK

View Ken90712's profile


17996 posts in 4267 days

#7 posted 02-16-2011 11:37 AM

What a great job you should be proud!!!! Looks perfect!

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View MyChipCarving's profile


658 posts in 4203 days

#8 posted 02-16-2011 03:02 PM

Congratulations, L/W!
What a great feeling of satisfaction.
Now you’ll have time for my soon to be announced chip carving class in LJ. It won’t even be a diversion so no worry of threats from hubby :-)
Keep up the good work!

-- Marty,, 866-444-6996

View Bertha's profile


13615 posts in 3772 days

#9 posted 02-16-2011 03:06 PM

Awesome job. I was guessing $8K.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Donna Menke's profile

Donna Menke

617 posts in 5345 days

#10 posted 02-16-2011 04:16 PM

Super job- and what a lot of confidence to even think that you could do that job. Excellent.
Thanks to your mention of the shoe carving blog I just spent part of my morning checking it out. Now that is the way to do a carving tutorial blog. Makes me want to carve a shoe too.

-- "So much wood. . .so little time!"

View RexMcKinnon's profile


2593 posts in 4274 days

#11 posted 02-16-2011 04:22 PM

Beautiful cabinet work. Something like this would look great in my bedroom but if I tried this it would be like committing to a whole new bedroom set. That would be a long project, for me anyway.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3645 posts in 4791 days

#12 posted 02-16-2011 07:02 PM

Thanks, everyone, for all your encouragement. And thanks for the feedback on what they might cost.

It looks like I’ll be spending the next few months shopping! ;-) I knew I had saved a considerable amount of money by making them myself, but didn’t realize how much. The truth is, I would still be living with the Sauter wardrobe if I had to pay for someone to make them for me.

Marty, I should be able to justify the cost of chip carving tools now so be sure to give advice on what to select when you start the teaching blog. (I’m not sure about the diversion, though, since my to-do list is miles long and, as you can see, I’m awfully slow! Perhaps I can justify it by incorporating chip carving into a furniture project once I learn.)

Darrell, I do have the cabinets already filled. (It took me f-o-r-e-v-e-r to get the top enclosures done with the crown moldings and I had to have some place to put the clothes.) Once I frame and install the mirrors, I’ll take a picture of the inside, and maybe show how I divide the drawers, too. It’s nothing too impressive; just a rod at the top to hang clothing. (And there are no beautiful evening gowns hung inside.) :<(

But today I want to sew new draperies for the room so I won’t be in the shop.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View depictureboy's profile


420 posts in 4721 days

#13 posted 02-16-2011 07:51 PM

very sweet. I am working on something similar for my bedroom. It has taken almost a year for me to complete as well working weekends and some evenings…on the home stretch now, just wish we would get some warmer weather to help with the finishing..

-- If you can't build it, code it. If you can't code it, build it. But always ALWAYS take a picture.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3645 posts in 4791 days

#14 posted 02-16-2011 08:12 PM

Depictureboy, I got my inspiration to make these from the cabinets in my sister’s master bedroom. (She has twice as many, but her bedroom is four times the size, too.) It seems like it must be getting more popular since there have been several similar ones on here lately: Bentlyj, syeret, RSmike, to name a few.

We’re looking forward to seeing yours, too.


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Jeffrey Alexander's profile

Jeffrey Alexander

114 posts in 3771 days

#15 posted 02-16-2011 08:37 PM

Absolutely Gorgeous! You have the talent, spend the bucks to get the equipment you want!
Keeps you busy during the long winters in Wis.

-- "--Build Beauty to leave to those who appreciated it , not to ungrateful kids..."

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