Crocus Hill Custom Kitchen

We knew we wanted to make a big impact with this kitchen. This video showcases the final product of our collaborative efforts.

The builder I did this kitchen for is also one of my best friends, and we both started our companies at the same time in 2005. Chris Van Klei and I both have a design forward approach and are really passionate about what we do.  It’s always really fun working together.  At times we tend to go a little overboard, which is why I believe we were able to survive in the down economy and come out on the other end working on projects like this one.

This particular project was a unique opportunity for the both of us to plant our flags.  This house is one of two custom homes in a new 12 lot development in historic St. Paul’s Crocus Hill neighborhood.  We were going to be working along side some big name builders and architects and with that in mind, the design process began.

Design concepts always start out as a sketch. This kitchen was modeled after a similar project I completed a year earlier.  The question was, how do we take this to a whole new level?  That is where Mike Prom came in.  Mike was the mastermind behind the uber complicated hidden drawer mechanism that I built back in  2010.

Mike is a CAD wizard with a background in mechanical engineering.  He has been helping me out a tun with drafting and design work since I got started.  Like Chris, Mike is also one of my best friends.  The best projects that I work on are always a collaboration between multiple creative minds working towards the same end goal.

After Chris and I had the concept for this kitchen polished up, Mike and I started designing the hood using parametric modeling software.

Mike lives in Portland and I live in Minneapolis, so we had to do our meetings together online using  Mike designed/modeled the hood and island legs using a CAD software called Inventor by Autodesk.  I was able to view his screen on my screen, and we were able to communicate though the microphone and speakers built into our computers.  Together we spent several nights collaborating on how we wanted those parts to look and be constructed.

Here are some renderings showing the progression.





After we completed the design work, Mike put me in touch with a contact of his who runs the CNC at a nearby, large scale production wood shop.  We handed off the .dxf files to him and he nested the parts and routed everything out for us.

Leg_DrawingAfter that it was simply a matter of piecing everything together and filming time-lapses of the process.  All the parts were routed out of 3/4″ MDF.  I glued, screwed, bondo’ed and sanded up each section, working from the inside of the assembly outward.






After the bones of the top section were assembled, I laminated the face with 3/8″ bending plywood.  These parts were also cut to the exact size and shape on the router, so all I had to do was line it up and screw it down.


After the glue dried, I puttied all the screw holes and edges with automotive bondo and sanded them flush.  The final step was to veneer over the bending plywood.  For this, I used paper backed veneer and contact adhesive.   I started with the sides, and finished with the face.  The applied molding was nailed on and I was finished.


We designed this hood to be easy to install.  There were two hangers built into the top section of the hood so it could be installed the same way you would install a cabinet.  We also designed the back sides of the legs to have voids so that cleats could be attached to the wall and nailed into through the sides of the legs.



Hidden Drawer Tutorial


I built this dresser for my home back in 2009, and at that time I was very inspired by the veneer work that Tom Schrunk was doing in collaboration with Steinway for their “Art Case” pianos.

I was also inspired by the mechanical woodworking being done by Matthias Wandel of



The hidden drawer is controlled by a bolt on the back side of the upper right drawer box.  Before you can activate the hidden drawer system, you need to unlock the bolt with the correct combination.  


Lets be honest, I didn’t invent the pad lock and I wasn’t the first person to build one out of wood either.  If you’re interested in a detailed explication of  how to build the lock, click here.

What I did with this particular project was expand on the idea.  The combination lock is the first step of a series of actions that opens a hidden drawer located within the toe kick of the cabinet.

Below is an illustration of how this lock can be incorporated into any furniture piece with a stack of drawers by taking advantage of the 1” void between the drawer slides and side of the cabinet.


From (01:08-01:10)  in the video, you can see how after the combination has been entered, the lever that controls the bolt is now able to pass through the lock.  Now with the bolt fully extended, when you push the top drawer back into the cabinet, the hidden drawer pops out.


The top section is made out of a 1/2” thick piece of wood that is 2.75” wide by 8” long.  There is a Blumotion soft close plunger inset into the point of contact where the bolt hits the block of wood.

The block is connected to a 8” KV8400 full extension drawer slide.  On the back side of the wood block there are two additional Blumotion soft close plungers.  These act as a soft backstop; eliminating any clunking or banging.



Both sections are connected with 1/4” nylon rope.  Click here to see a trick for cutting nylon rope without it fraying.



The bottom section is very similar to the top, except that when the hidden drawer is closed, the 8” drawer slide is in the extended position.


There is constant back tension created by a spring that pulls the bottom slide back to the extended position.  From (00:30-00:40) in the video, you’ll notice how the top drawer springs back open after its been pushed in.  When the bolt on the back is retracted, the top drawer box is able to function normally.







We’ve used this Bertazzoni cooker in a few projects, and are honored that Bertazzoni reached out to us to use this chef’s style kitchen as a design inspiration on their website.

Designed by Adam Rosengren and Chris Vanklei, this chef’s kitchen features a 70cm wide commercial grade gas Bertazzoni stove from the Master series, custom-built cabinets, poured concrete countertops, and shelves made from reclaimed barn wood.

Click on the picture below to view this kitchen on Bertazzoni’s website.

Bertazzoni's website screen shot

Click on the picture below to view additional images of this project on Houzz.

Chef's Kitchen