Building Built-Ins – A Complete Guide

If you’re thinking about adding some organization to your space, one great way to do that is with a built-in.  There are countless options with these projects and that makes them perfect for just about any space.  There’s no one-size-fits-all.  If you take the time to get the design right in the beginning, they are pretty easy to build, too.

Linn, from Darbin Orvar, has done a complete series on building a built-in and I’ve got the whole thing for you here.  Everything from design to installation.  Building drawers to making a counter top.  She covered it all.

There is a ridiculous amount of information in this series, so you may want to bookmark this page so that you can come back to it as you progress through your project.

Well, enough with the intro…

Design Phase

In this first video she shows you how to look at your space and plan the type of built-in that will work there.  Do you want all shelves?  Or would you prefer some drawers and a counter top?

This step is key.  With the proper preparation and planning the rest of the project goes WAY smoother.  So take your time on this one.

Cabinet Construction

The second video is all about building cabinets & shelves.  The construction is simple but well thought out – I particularly like the way she designed the upper section.

Linn uses her Kreg Jig for the joinery because it’s probably the simplest and quickest way to do the job.  Of course, there are other methods so choose what works best for you.

Creating a Counter Top

This is the only video in the series where Linn strays from simplicity.  In order to create a unique look for her project, she creates a counter top from a rough sawn piece of maple.  There is a significant amount of labor involved and I’m sure that the finished product is beautiful.

However, the temptation would be strong to purchase a prefabbed top, or at least choose a simpler construction method.  Again, it all depends on the end result that you’re shooting for.


In a previous video, Linn built a fantastic box-joint jig for her table saw sled.  Both are top-notch projects that you should definitely consider building.  Anyway, she uses her jig to make the drawers for this project.  Obviously, there are countless ways to make a drawer – you could use your Kreg Jig and get very satisfactory results.

Finishing and Installing

This is it, folks.  Let’s finish this thing!

Linn gives several great finishing tips in this one.  She also gets the drawer fronts put on and then installs the whole unit.  After adding some molding, it’s all done.

This unit really fits with Linn’s style – simple and elegant.  What is yours going to look like?

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