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Recap of Pappajohn Custom Cabinet Meeting

by Chad Ludeman on September 10, 2008 · 8 comments

in Design,kitchen

Custom Green Kitchen Cabinets

Last week I met with Matt Pappajohn of Pappajohn Woodworking who will be making our custom, urban, green kitchen cabinets for the 120K House. Matt use our renderings and floorplans to come up with a concept and design that was also based on some of our previous discussions.

preferred-kitchen side

Pappajohn Ply Desk CloseThe material of choice will be a Maple Apple Core Plywood that has no voids and looks very pretty when the edge is exposed (see detail here). Matt is able to get this type of plywood that is made with no formaldehyde and possibly from FSC Certified wood. This is where we will get the sustainable credit from on the cabinets along with Zero or Low VOC sealants and finishes. We like this plywood so much that we are looking into pricing to use this for all of the ply to be used in the rest of the house including the 2nd story floor, stair treads, built-ins and railings. This should actually give us another half a point on the LEED checklist for using sustainable materials and will get the 120K House very close to being 100% free of any VOC’s whatsoever. Not bad.

Matt will use cheaper labor than he normally would in order to hit our budget of $4K for the kitchen, but he thinks there is a good chance that he may be able to make this in his regular shop in the future for the same price. This will be valuable info for future 100K homes and those looking to upgrade to a Pappajohn kitchen.

Laminates Instead of Tile for Bathroom?

Another interesting thing that came up during our design meeting was laminates. While I don’t like the use of laminates so much in the cabinetry, furniture or countertops, it could have a unique alternate use in the bathroom. If you think about it laminates are pretty durable, waterproof and scratch resistant. Why not use them on the bathroom walls in place of more expensive tile?

There are almost limitless colors, patterns and even textures in today’s modern laminates. They come in sheets of 5′ x 10′ and cost around $40 – $60 per sheet. It would be really cool to wrap the entire bathroom in one type of laminate to give it a seemless look rather than having only the shower and bath areas tiles. It could create a very sleek and modern look for a very low cost. Matt was unsure of the application at first, but upon further contemplation agreed that it could and has been used in bathrooms and showers extensively.

Possible 100K Line of Furniture?

Last but not least Matt and I kicked around the idea of having his shop build some custom furniture in the same fashion as the cabinets for the 100K House. It’s possibly something that could turn into a modern, green and relatively affordable line of furniture that could be sold nationwide. The basic concepts are sustainable sheet materials, flat-packing and each furniture made with a multiple (or fraction) of sheets. For instance, a coffee table could be built out of one sheet of plywood, while a small shelf could be built out of half a sheet and a console would take 2-3 sheets. More on this later as we flesh out the feasibility…

Other posts on the green, urban kitchen:

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Becky September 10, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Thanks for the recap–the possibility of one day being able to upgrade to a Pappajohn kitchen is very exciting!

Please keep us posted on the use of laminates in the bathroom. In addition to being low-cost, it would be a great way to get out of cleaning the tile grout.

2 Mark Schoneveld September 10, 2008 at 9:19 pm

Wow, they look like they do great work! Thanks for the heads up – I may just hire these guys for my kitchen! LOL

3 Steve Lyle September 11, 2008 at 4:20 pm

My limited experience with a laminated vanity around the bathroom sink at my restaurant was not good, water got under the laminate and melted the chip board. Just replaced it with somekind of super duper sealed plywood which I am told will last, sorry don’t have spec.

4 chad September 11, 2008 at 4:30 pm


We did discuss this a bit. We agreed that two things would have to happen.

1. The underlying material would need to be made to withstand moisture (blue board) so that if anything did get through it would not rot (like chip board).
2. The seams would have to be perfect with the correct caulk to prevent moisture penetration.

I wonder if they installed marine grade plywood like the kind that is used on ships? This was one of our ideas for cladding also. I wonder if it would stand up to a shower? You’d need to address the seams in the same fashion now matter what type of sheet product you used I guess…

5 Kevin D September 11, 2008 at 5:22 pm

I’m doing a laminate tub surround today, in fact. Using the retro Formica Boomerangs that I remember from the early 60′s.

I’ll try to email photos to Chad.

6 chad September 11, 2008 at 5:30 pm

Color me excited!

7 Custom Vanity Cabinet March 11, 2009 at 1:07 am

Laminate instead of tiles for the bathroom, a brilliant idea. Very classy:)

8 Jason Tayler May 26, 2010 at 2:12 am

Great post! Custom crafted furniture to fit your specific rooms. You don’t have to settle with mass market produced furniture and cabinetry.

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