Retaining the Charm of a Classic 1940s-era Kitchen

The standard casework style in 1940s and 50s era Eugene homes was the 3/8″ lip overlaying face frames, built in place by a finish carpenter, usually employing painted 3/4″ plywood for slab doors and drawer fronts.  Nothing fancy, a nice look, and easy enough to build with a table saw and router.

After six or so decades, however, the galley kitchen of some Friendly Neighborhood clients was needing an update to its look and function.  The drawers, assembled with nails and no glue, were falling apart.  The doors were sagging.  The (approximately) fourth coat of brushed-on paint was giving way.

Refaced 3/8" lip overlay kitchen cabinet

So we replaced the doors, drawers, and hardware, swapping the slab-style doors with a nicer frame and panel detail and adding hidden euro hinges and undermount soft-close drawer guides.  Sagebrush Painting brushed the face frames and sprayed the fronts for a clean, consistent, updated look.  Beyond that, we replaced a missing upper door and added a full cabinet above the fridge.  With new fronts and hardware, it’s got all the functionality of a modern kitchen yet retains it’s original charm, all at a fraction of the cost of a full kitchen remodel.

/8" lip overlay kitchen cabinet

/8" lip overlay kitchen cabinet


Before, after 65-odd years of loving use:

Late 1940s 3/8" lip overlay kitchen


On a technical note, the Salice B series hinge is the only euro option I could find to achieve the 3/8″ overlay style.  Even with these, there’s no face frame mount option (unless you spend a bundle at Rockler), which, on old cabinets like these, requires flushing out the insides of the cabinets with the insides of the face frame.  Another note: for this application, boring cup inset is 14mm, a fact Salice keeps like a secret.  And bear in mind that, with this inset, you need at least 2 1/2″ wide stiles for frame and panel fronts.

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