Out of level alcove cupboards, ideas and opinions please

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Doug71

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I have been asked to make some cupboards and shelves to go in these alcoves either side of a fireplace. It will really just be a cupboard front in the bottom with a pair of doors on (no carcass) and a couple of shelves somewhere in the top.

curved alcove.jpg


The cupboards need to be done without altering anything that is existing so all the moulding etc you see are staying exactly as is.

As I see it the top of the cupboard needs to be around the height of the dado rail, I will probably make some moulding to match and run it across the front of the cupboard but that's where it gets tricky. On this alcove the dado rail runs about 10mm out of level from one side to the other, on the other alcove nearly 20mm (over roughly 1m), floors are also out. 🙄

The customer wants the cupboards to look old and original so happy for them to be out of level, part of me thinks it will be okay but I do have my reservations, for example the doors are going to have to be made out of square etc.

I'm happy and more than capable of making them out of level, really all the job involves will be making some dado and skirting to match existing, running this across the front of the alcove to join the other mouldings at each side and making some doors to fit the parallelogram left in the middle.

Anybody made any out of level units (intentionally 🤣) or got any other ideas? It will certainly be a fun project but just a bit worried what the end result might look like!

Thanks, Doug
 
I'd be tempted to make the cabinets a little lower - maybe 20-30mm below the dado rail. That way you can get away with making the tops nearly level-ish and the doors can be nearly square.
Dead level would show up the wonky dado but a slight discrepancy would be pretty easy to get away with this way, and it saves you having to make an identical moulding. Also means the doors can be near enough square.

Horses for courses and all that, but a cabinet top 20mm off level would drive me mad, anything sat on top would be very obviously on the wonk. I'd be much less bothered by the cabinet being out of parallel with the dado rail.

Out of interest are the walls forming the sides of the alcove more or less plumb or are they out too?
 
I would be inclined to explain to the custard the problems you have identified together with the ramifications, put it in writing to them and get their signature agreeing to the works as explained, warts and all.

This might seem a bit OTT but when the job is finished and payment due it's not unknown for custards to suffer a bout of memory loss about what was agreed verbally!
 
I would be inclined to explain to the custard the problems you have identified together with the ramifications, put it in writing to them and get their signature agreeing to the works as explained, warts and all.

This might seem a bit OTT but when the job is finished and payment due it's not unknown for custards to suffer a bout of memory loss about what was agreed verbally!
custard 🤣
 
Speaking from a similar experience, if you make the base door frames slightly higher than the dado rail, so that the top is above it and keep it level this will make the out of level dado less noticeable. Make the frame stiles wide enough so they can be scribed over the skirting and dado.
 
I have been putting off this job but the customer is keen to move forwards with it so I went and did a couple of quick MDF mock ups for them today.

They are still keen for the top of the cupboard to be sat on top of the dado and for the mouldings to join up either side so it looks original.

First one was with top level, door opening square and mouldings lining up (would have to put a wedge shaped fillet on top of dado) :rolleyes:

Out of level 1.jpg


Second one just running everything in line and making the doors out of square. Apart from the fact that the floor has been levelled up at some point this didn't actually look too bad.

Out of level 2.jpg


Until you put the laser level on it 🤣

Out of level 4.jpg


When you stand back it looked okay though.

Out of level 3.jpg


Looks like we are going with the out of level option. The customers opinion is that it will look original if it's out of level as that corner of the house has sunk at some point. Not sure what will happen with the shelves in the top yet as the picture rail is also out of level :dunno:

Am actually looking forwards to making this now as the out of levelness makes it a bit more interesting 🧐
 
Sorry to say, but 2nd option looks better IMO. Maybe your laser was drunk and it's not as bad as it looks? Hope so. That's a lot of wonk to be dealing with if not 🙈

That said, if the floor is parallel to the upper wonk, it may square up the doors and ease the pain. Still a pig to make right though.
 
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