Built-In Linen Closet Cabinet…Woodworking Storyboard

by projectbuddy


For me, it was important to do a dry run of the linen closet’s built-in cabinet before securing everything permanently. I knew basically how I wanted the cabinet to look with a bead-board back to match other bead-board that I had used in the bathroom and elsewhere.

I also knew that I wanted to use a face frame with the same tapered leg style used for the kitchen cabinets. My hope is that visual similarities will make for a unified design throughout the house, even though my work is being done almost a century after the house was constructed.

Knowing these things and drawing them are wonderful, but it has been my experience that masses and spaces sometimes work differently in real life than as they are designed on paper. Everything can look great in a scale drawing, but feel awkwardly uncomfortable when actually built and used.

Are the proportions pleasing? What about the number of shelves? How many towels will actually fit on a shelf? What is at eye-level? Is everything easily accessible? How does it look from different angles and viewpoints? These are just some of the questions that a dry run can answer.

This photograph also shows one of the most essential home renovation tools that you can make yourself. This one simple tool will save you more time than you can imagine. Not only that, if used properly, it can make most old house idiosyncrasies disappear. That tool is a storyboard.

When you change rulers or repeat measurements, you risk having your measurements slightly off. This is then compounded each time a new measurement is added to a previous one. A storyboard prevents repeating the same measurements again and again. You just position the storyboard and transfer the pre-measured marks.

This storyboard helped me to compensate for a floor that had settled over time. By marking level horizontal lines on the wall for the top back and top sides of the built-in cabinet and then measuring down with the storyboard (rather than up from the floor), the shelves remained level.


These photographs were taken November 2013. There is still plenty of work still to be done. The second photograph shows a close up of one of the shelves. The blue painter’s tape marks the position of the shelf supports. You’ll see that there is a gap between the bottom edge of the shelf and the top edge of the blue tape. This is caused by settling of the house which gives a slight slope to the floor. The shelf is level even though the floor is not quite level.