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Urban Kitchen Meeting at Pappajohn Woodworking

by Chad Ludeman on April 29, 2008 · 10 comments

in Design,kitchen

This weekend I met with Mr. Matt Pappajohn of Pappajohn Woodworking to further discuss our “Urban Kitchen” design and possible materials. Matt has seen our renderings and has agreed that we can create a similar kitchen out of sustainable materials and green finishes that will fit in our budget for both homes. This makes me very happy and officially adds Pappajohn Woodworking to our team (they can now be found in the left column with the rest of the team members).

We talked about the various methods of constructing a cabinet that would be the most cost effective. Building cabinets with posts for legs like the Hansen Kitchens that I like so much is not as cost effective as traditional boxes with legs. Matt had some nice pieces of reclaimed wood from pickle barrels, old growth structural beams and flooring, but in the end we decided to go a more traditional route that could be easily replicated for others interested in a similar kitchen from Pappajohn.

I snapped a few pics of the desk that Matt and his brother Ian had built for their office made of Apple Plywood that became the inspiration for the basic design of our cabinets.
Pappajohn Ply Desk 2
Pappajohn Ply Desk 1
I’ve always liked this style of cabinetry with the plywood edge of the frame exposed. We started talking about a contrasting material for the door and drawer fronts. Matt has a couple of ideas which he is going to explore and we both really like the Neopolitan Plywood offered by Plyboo shown below. This could really look nice against the grain of the plywood.

We should be able to keep the entire kitchen off of the ground with some sturdy legs to get the furniture feel I’ve been craving. There are a lot of attractive legs commonly used for kitchens, but I think I may be leaning toward something a bit more industrial that you might find in a Grainger catalog to fit with our urban and functional theme.

Some other notes include adding a vertical support in the middle of the island to break up the six foot span and offer the support that will be needed. We may also install sliding shelves in the top half of the island and leave the bottom shelved fixed. The three large shelved shown along the wall in the rendering will also become drawers that will be 42″ wide. The top drawer will be shallow, allowing for silverware, while the other two drawers will be as deep as possible for maximum storage.

This is a big step for the kitchen design as I never thought we could afford a custom cabinet. I think the direction we are heading also will be very flexible for other customers. Pappajohn could offer quite a variety of different sustainable and reclaimed products that could substitute for the more affordable options we will lean towards. This could result in a nice line of semi-custom, modern & green cabinets…

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Recap of Pappajohn Custom Cabinet Meeting |
September 10, 2008 at 7:55 pm

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rob April 29, 2008 at 8:11 pm

Any more thoughts on using a green sheet product like wheat board? The exposed plywood is beautiful!

2 chad April 29, 2008 at 8:16 pm

We have considered but are trying to stay away from using too many different types of material. Since we have a plywood theme going, we’d like to stick to it.

Wheat board or similar could be an option for the fronts I guess, but I’m not as keen on the look as the plyboo or other similar materials.

Lastly, we need to consider how the material will work for cabinets in terms of strength, straightness and resistance to moisture. I’m not saying that wheat board isn’t good for cabinets, I just don’t know 100% that it is…

3 Rob April 30, 2008 at 4:16 pm


With plywood being the theme, I say stick with it. Makes a lot of sense. I personally really like the asthetic as well. As for durability I would bet plywood is better there too.

Will you be using FSC plywood then? Does that exist?

And if we are talking kitchens and durability what kind of countertops do you envision? A natural product? Man made stone? Concrete? Solid surface? Laminate? I vote for man made stone or concrete. :)

4 chad April 30, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I agree that the plywood looks pretty good on its own and it’s certainly a possibility.

There is FSC certified ply out there but we need to find one good for cabinet making. The Apple ply has no voids in it and produces a very clean edge. Ideally we would like to find something that has the quality of Apply ply, uses FSC certified wood and no formaldehyde in the resins. We would then also use No or Low VOC sealants and finishes in the construction of the cabinets.

Lastly, we are thinking of paperstone right now for the countertops, but it depends on the final color and look that we end up wanting…

5 lavardera May 1, 2008 at 1:43 am

I also like the plywood edge look for cabinets, so I’m going to throw out a plug for Kerf on the west coast who builds cabinets with this detail.

6 chad May 1, 2008 at 8:36 pm

I’m a big fan of Kerf as well, Greg. I really like their flatpack line of affordable, custom cabinets. Just wish they were a bit closer and offered sustainable options.

7 Rob May 2, 2008 at 1:37 pm


For the FSC product you are looking for try

They specialize in “urban” logging and salvaging trees but they also have access to FSC products. The are a green company in general. If you can, try and talk with Stubby, very knowldegable man.

8 chad May 2, 2008 at 1:50 pm

Thanks Rob. I have actually been talking to Stubby but haven’t touched base in a while. He offered to build an entire kitchen of our specs using 100% sustainable materials. Good people…

9 Ben September 8, 2009 at 6:55 pm

Appleply is available FSC certified. I think thats what Kerf uses At least it looks the same

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