Recessed Kneewall Cabinet - Part 1 of 2

Return to Step by Step Listings

A kneewall is a short wall that meets the slope of the roofline in an upstairs room. By cutting a hole in a kneewall and installing a recessed cabinet, you can turn the wasted space behind it into a useful storage area.

 

Difficulty Level:
Time to Complete:
Estimated Cost:
Continue to Step 1

Overview

A kneewall is a short wall that meets the slope of the roofline in an upstairs room. By cutting a hole in a kneewall and installing a recessed cabinet, you can turn the wasted space behind it into a useful storage area.
Because the body (carcase) of a kneewall cabinet is not visible, it can be built using ordinary plywood and simple butt joints. The face frame and drawer faces, however, should be built with hardwood, and finished carefully.
The project shown here fits in a space that is 30" wide—the standard width of two adjacent stud cavities with a center stud removed. Before beginning work, check the spacing of studs and the location of electrical or plumbing lines behind your kneewall. Your kneewall may have a removable access panel, which makes it easy to check behind the wall.
You can make the cabinet wider or narrower to fit your wall stud spacing, but regardless of size, be sure to leave a few inches of space between the back of the cabinet and the rafters.
From: Complete Guide to Custom Shelves & Built-Ins, 978-1-58923-303-4

What You'll Need

Tools:

Level
Circular saw or jig saw
Flat pry bar
Reciprocating saw
Drill
Tape measure
Bar or pipe clamps
Hammer
Nail set

Materials:

Drywall or deck screws (1", 2", 3")
Finish nails (1 1/2", 2", 3")
Wood glue
Finishing materials
Drawer hardware

Cutting List
Part
No.
Desc.
Size
Material

A

Header and sill
6 linear ft.
2 x 4s

B
2
Pedestals
14" x 15"
2 x 4s

C
2
Sides
19" x 28 1⁄2"
3⁄4" plywood

D
2
Top and bottom
19" x 30"
3⁄4" plywood

E
2
Shelves
19" x 28 1⁄2"
3⁄4" plywood

F
1
Back panel
30" x 30"
1⁄4" plywood

G

Face frame
11 linear ft.
1 x 4 oak

H

Shelf rails
5 linear ft.
1 x 2 oak

I

Drawers

 

Step 1

Kneewall Cabinet Project Details - Tip 1

Pedestals installed behind the kneewall create a sturdy base for the cabinet. Built from 2 x 4s, the pedestals raise the cabinet so it fits above the sill. Raising the cabinet also makes drawers more accessible.


Step 2

Kneewall Cabinet Project Details - Tip 2

Face frame is 1 x 4 hardwood, which will cover the rough edges of the wall opening. The shelf rails are made from 1 x 2 hardwood to maximize the size of the drawer openings.


Step 3

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 1

Locate wall studs in area where cabinet will be installed. Mark the cutout on the wall, using a level as a guide. Bottom of cutout should be at least 3" above baseboard, and sides of cutout should follow edges of wall studs. Height of cutout should be 31/4" taller than overall height of cabinet, to allow space for a header and sill. Caution: Check for wiring, pipes, and ductwork before cutting into any wall.


Step 4

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 2

ut away the center stud at the top and bottom of the opening, using a reciprocating saw. Remove the stud. Remaining portions of cut studs are called “cripple” studs.


Step 5

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 3

Measure and cut a 2 x 4 header and sill to fit snugly between side studs. Position in opening, check for level, and shim if necessary. Attach the header and sill to the cripple studs and side studs, using 3" screws.


Step 6

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 4

Measure the distance from the floor behind the opening to the top of the sill, and build two 2 x 4 pedestals to this height. Join pedestal pieces together with glue and 3" screws.


Step 7

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 5

Set the pedestals on the floor inside the wall opening, even with the sides of the framed opening. Check to make sure pedestals are level, and shim between the pedestals and the floor if necessary. Attach pedestals to the floor, using 3" screws.


Step 8

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 6

Measure width and height of the rough opening between framing members. Cut side panels 2" shorter than the height of rough opening. Cut top and bottom panels 1/2" shorter than the width of rough opening. Cut shelves 1 1/2" shorter than the width of the opening.


Step 9

How to Build a Kneewall Cabinet - Step 7

Attach drawer slide tracks to the center of the bottom panel and the shelves, following manufacturer’s directions.


 
 

Comments

Before you can comment, please Sign Up or Log In

Forgot Password?

x

No Profile Name

x
No profile name has been set for this account.
Please select a profile name
Continue