This three-door cherry cabinet illustrates a simple piece that was designed and built to satisfy a specific furniture need in the customer's home that was not addresses by production furniture. The homeowners turned to me for a custom piece after they had searched every furniture store in their area. They had been unable to find anything that would satisfy their requirements.
The Cabinet they wanted had to fit in a space four-feet wide. It had to fit beneath the overhanging counter of the peninsula that separated their kitchen from the dining room, and it could not protrude into the dining room more than 13". It also had to have doors to keep the four-legged occupants of the home from snooping. Finally, the style of the cabinet had to reside comfortably with the other furniture in their dining room. (Their other furniture was a Shaker style cherry dining table and corner cabinet as well as several primitive antiques made from old growth eastern white pine.)
These requirements led to the design you see here; a three-door configuration built in two compartments with a vertical divider between them. Each compartment would have an adjustable shelf for added flexibility. Above the enclosed storage area would be an open shelf for items that would be used from time to time but were primarily for display. Finally, the top surface would be low enough to allow for the storage of various flat items on top.
My design for this piece, as with all my my designs, whether simple or complex, began by visualizing the space available by drawing a box 48" wide, 32" tall and 13" deep. Next, I considered alternative placement of spaces within the box based on input from the customer on how the piece would be used. A successful design must accomplish the customer's objectives while at the same time yielding pleasing proportions. Stated very simply, form (with an eye to proportion and desired style) must follow function (defined by how the piece is to be used). Only when size, layout and proportion are established do I begin to refine the design by focusing on construction details.