Try This: Projects for the Kitchen

A guide to simple, affordable do-it-yourself projects for the kitchen.

| September/October 2003

Use less, get more...Changing the cabinets has a dramatic effect on the look of a kitchen. But new cabinets are expensive and often made of questionable materials—glues and preservatives and plastics that can impact the environment and your health. They’re resource-intensive, too—forests of hardwoods fall each year to keep up with the American appetite for the new and different.

Fitting new doors to existing cabinets is an old idea with new relevance. Frame-style doors use relatively little wood and give you the opportunity to recycle materials creatively to put your own stylish stamp on your kitchen. Here are four different materials that easily insert into new or existing door frames for a custom kitchen on your own terms.

Old wavy glass

Recycled glass, once used in a bank for privacy, gives new life to these simple wood-frame cabinet doors. Old glass comes in lots of styles—remember wire grid safety glass or that frosty, bumpy glass on the principal’s door at school? Check in the phone book under “Building Materials—Used” or try architectural salvage yards to begin your search for the perfect glass. Have the glass cut to size at a glass shop. The panels are best fitted in the frames using silicone caulk.

Wire screen

For a clean-lined kitchen, the combination of plain light wood and metal has a contemporary feel. Wire screen, often used in manufacturing, comes in a variety of materials, grid styles, and sizes. Most hardware stores carry a surprising array, or try a metal wire manufacturer (check the yellow pages under “wire cloth” or “wire products”).

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