Tuesday, December 4, 2012

WTKA: Cabinet Doors and Knobs

WTKA = What To Know About, obviously.

This morning as I was looking around the world wide web, I spotted the following pin:

centsationalgirl.com via Maria on Pinterest

What caught my interest here is not the fine paint job, but what Maria said about the satin pulls not being in the right place. She said "I like this hardware but not where it's installed. It should line up with the top of the rail, not be in the corner."

It appears interior designers suffer from the terminology gap like us doctors. I wasn't sure what a cabinet door 'rail' is. So, of course, I did my research.

From quickdrawers.com

Now that I can see the anatomic structures, if you will, I have a better idea of where the handles are supposed to go. Here is my tweaking of the above image, which shows green lines that divide the "stile" into vertical halves. This line meets at a right angle to the bottom of the rail. It looks like the top of the knob, shown in white, should be placed in this sweet-spot.

Doing it right.

The key to this is to remember that the edges of the knob do not necessarily line up with where the holes are drilled. The worst thing one could do is drill without lining everything up first. You don't want your beautiful wood cabinets looking like Swiss cheese! And since consistency is key, methinks an $8 investment in a drilling template is worth it.

I do have a cabinet project in my future, and if I had proceeded without this knowledge and drilled holes in the 'wrong' place, it would not have been the end of the world. The funny thing now is that with this information I'm determined to 'get it right' the first and only chance I'll get.


  1. wait, says who? Who says (other than Maria) that the knob should align with the bottom of the top rail?

  2. I'm glad you asked. I think this is one of those things along the lines of "no white after Labor Day." After looking around at cabinets online, I could see that in fact this is the standard placement. Call me a nerd, but I experimented to see where my hand naturally went to grab for a knob today and, lo, it was at the "sweet spot."

    I do wonder if there is any structural benefit to this design rule.

    As you can see, a lot of what I'm doing these days is heavy research to minimize any rookie mistakes before I do something costly in our renovations. That being said, as I mentioned above, an error here wouldn't be catastrophic. Unless you're OCD, and then maybe it'll keep you up at night. ;)