Murphy Bed Install

He had just bought a high-end townhouse overlooking the Hudson River. He wanted to have a foldaway bed (Murphy Bed) in the guest room.
A niche existed in the wall already so I had to determine whether a Queen sized Murphy bed would fit.

space for Murphy bed

I did a simple drawing showing how I wanted the bed’s bottom to be paneled and included storage cabinets above as we had the room for it.

Murphy bed panel rendering

I usually build a piece an inch less wide than the spot it is to go …to compensate for inaccuracies in the walls, floors, ceilings. I did some research of various hardware kits available. I only wanted the metal parts that allow it to swivel up & down and the mechanism to lock it into it’s closed position …with everything else about the bed, custom made by us.


As small as I could make this foldaway bed to hold a queen sized mattress, we ended up with only an eighth of an inch on each side. Too close for comfort.

Here is a 17 sec video of my son demonstrating how it works right after we installed. You’ll notice that the locking mechanism utilizes two small plaques that when lifted upward, not only unlock the bed from it’s vertical position but also act as support legs when it arrives at it’s horizontal position. So that the plaques looked like they were there for a reason, we mounted a clothes hook on each.

Leslie Gustafson & Co. (interior design) worked with us for this and a number of other projects we accomplished for him before he moved in. I’ll be posting three other blogs of projects for this same client. Stay tuned….

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, inc.


A Hand Made Kitchen

My eldest son now does carpentry & construction with a good outfit but he learned his woodworking skills as a cabinetmaker in our shop. They got a job redoing a kitchen six months back & he used our shop to make the cabinetry.

Here is his layout being rendered… (the only part I did)….

drawing #1

drawing #2

He knows how to both build well and achieve great detail. Here are three pics of the island being assembled…



stepout 45 degree corner

They wanted the counter in a dark color & he suggested using walnut rather than trying to stain maple very dark. This addition was pricey but looked ‘killer’ when installed.
These pics show the 2” solid walnut planks & how he treated the outside edge…

aligning walnut boards

large nose & cove

counter top assembled

These finished shots are a tad soft in focus but you can see how handsome it turned out.

master behind island

master best angle

russell hudson / hudson cabinetmaking, inc.


Designing a Mission Style Fireplace Mantle

They had a mantle made by the carpenters who trimmed out their place a number of years back. It was essentially three boards with molding applied to the face & a shelf. Like many facades, it lacked substance and girth.

They wanted a mantle that was substantial but had clean, bold lines, no fine detail or filigree. I rendered a corner of the proposed piece that I felt had those qualities. It ended up as ‘Mission Style’, in  appearance.


Here is a shot of one of the columns being assembled…


We wanted to appreciate that it was made from wood but to stain it very dark… so I was able to use poplar & maple ply.

arts n crafts mantle

As I write this post, we have just finished doing two rooms in wainscot & a wine storage wall unit for them, all in the same style. Seems they liked the way it turned out.

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.


An Even Trade

I asked my friend how much he’d want to stain our deck and he said he had a better idea….

He has a small apartment and needed a computer center that also had some shelving for books, etc.

He already had a glass table top he wanted to make use of and there was a little used corner he thought would be a perfect place for it. As luck would have it, this corner’s back wall had a protruding 10″ deep ledge. and was at an acceptable height for our ‘desk’

This meant, in order for us to support the glass top, I only had to build a single lower cab to support the left side and simply attach a cleat on the right hand return wall to support THAT side of the top.

As the glass was only 42″ wide along it’s front edge, I had to build this cabinet somewhat narrow to allow a comfortable width for the sitting area.

So we made it only 12″ wide and I included a small drawer at the top. For fun, I made a hidden pocket on the backside of that drawer.

Then we made the shelving section, to sit above the counter, against the back wall.

He took a bar stool he already had and painted all three pieces to match.

I’ll build him a small swing out arm on the right hand wall to mount his monitor on so it can be swiveled out of the way when not in use.

I don’t think these photos will adorn the pages of ‘Fine Home Building’ magazine but… he’s a happy guy… & my deck is protected from the elements for another couple of years. Like a lot of ‘trades’ (no cash involved), this was a win-win.


Natural Edge Walnut Dining Table

When she was young, her father made a small coffee table from a natural edged plank of wood he’d found.. She asked me whether I could make a dining table that was also ‘natural’, to seat six. Her dining room was small and had enough room for something 32 by 72 aprox. She was a friend I’d met on social media… and I told her I’d look for a flitch (single slice, natural slab, cut from the tree) of that size.

She lives 2 hrs drive from my shop so I suggested I send her emails with photos attached to show her what I got, what it will look like and how I’d cut it down to it’s final shape. She wanted it fairly dark in color but I always try to find a wood that is close to the finished color rather than using a stain, as it can obscure the grain to some extent.

I found her a flitch from a walnut tree that HAS to be over a hundred years old. Then I sanded & wet an area to indicate what it will look like.

She agreed with my suggestions and so we established the shape of the top. I had removed the bark (both ‘inner’ & ‘outer’) and the blond, cambium layer… and then rounded the four corners. The sapwood & heartwood are what’s left.

I used solid walnut for the legs ( 4″ X 4″).  I positioned the legs wide enough to make sure the table would be stable ( the top is only 30″ wide).

I sanded it using finer & finer grit sand paper until very smooth. Every woodworker knows what happens when you start applying your first coat. This surface was no exception.

I made my legs & skirts with chamfered edges (45 degree angled cuts). A single coat to seal the table top’s bottom side and then five coats to all visible surfaces.

I used table bracket hardware (so that the legs were removable for transport).

I didn’t ave the heart to reduce the table tops thickness (2″) so it ended up weighing about 175 lbs. This table will be around long after we who are reading this are gone.

I have a very happy client. Happy clients are the best salespeople you can find (or make).


Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc. / 6.13



Easy-to-make, Screened in Porch

We have an alcove on the outside of our home. It sits on one side of the house tucked in, underneath the second story above and has a slate floor. If it had enough windows, you might considerate it a sunroom. We also have a fireplace in the living room and a wood burning stove in the kitchen… so it ended up being the perfect place to store 2 to 3 cords of wood (so I wouldn’t have to march out in the snow to get a couple of logs twice-a-day). … but it became little used during the summer. My wife said she’d love to have a screened in porch but I didn’t want to give up the perfect firewood storage area. So… I pondered how I might build a screened wall, 7 ft. high and almost 26ft long, that could be stored out of the way in the winter but put into position during the summer. Three – 8&1/2 ft sections would be made of 2X6’s (flat sides on the face) so that they were sturdy, fairly flat for storage & substantial in weight but not so heavy that they couldn’t be moved a few feet each spring & fall. This first picture shows the cordwood stacked for the upcoming winter. The rectangle you see between the two windows are the three wall sections stacked together. They occupy less that a foot of space (depth) from the alcove’s back wall.


doorway on right hand side wall (out of sight) lets me get wood within two steps of the house

Now that winter is over, this next shot shows the final wall screen being put into place. Each has two screws placed into the header above and each weighs more that enough to stay put along the floor even during the strongest of winds, people leaning on them, etc. The materials were very inexpensive and they were relatively easy to construct with very long stainless steel screws. Placing an additional rail at chair rail height made them all the more rigid and looked fairly handsome, I thought. They are almost ten years old now and as solid as the day I made them.

This last shot shows you our screened in porch with wall sconces that I installed at either end on ‘the room’ and how we’ve dressed it up for the warmer weather. Reading, writing, eating, napping, card games… we love this little room…. now year-round.

Russell Hudson / HCM 5/28/13


Pedestrian Bridge

They lived in Ardsley, NY… which is a fairly well-to-do town less than an hour north of Manhattan.

Although this property, as it faced the road, was only 75 feet wide, it ran back almost 250 feet deep giving the owners quite a bit of land behind the house. The problem was that a little over half way back, a creek cut the property in two. The little ravine was 15 ft wide but fully 8 feet deep so getting to the rear section (behind the creek) was near impossible.

They needed a bridge… a pedestrian bridge which would allow easy access to the back section for lawn mowing, parties, throwing the ball around, etc.

I’m a cabinetmaker and during those rare times when I’m asked to make something whose structural integrity must carry the weight of people (decks, stairs, etc), I always make it much stronger & more substantial than I think it requires because a) I like the look and b) it will pass any safety test that way…

The following two renderings represented my vision for the bridge. I wanted an arbor over the walkway to which they would introduce vines. As the costs began to escalate, the client established a ceiling to the budget and I had to simplified the bridge (no arbor).

The following photos portray how we netted out. (For reference, my youngest son, Brian is almost 6’4″ tall.)



Two years later, the client confided in me that the project turned out so well, he wishes he’d payed the extra cost & included the arbor above.
Damn…. I would have loved to have built that original design…..

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.



A High-End Mudroom

We have done work for them before. Their home is large and very well appointed. When you first enter the house from their garage, you pass through this small room before taking the stairs up to the main floor. The New England states have their share of rainy and snowy days so they wanted this to be a mudroom. It would have cabinetry to keep their hats & coats, gloves & boots AND they wanted this space to be every bit as rich looking as the rest of their home. They care about their place, have very good taste and I’d always found them a pleasure to work for.

As our previous projects had turned out well, they asked me to design everything from scratch. I elected to create wainscot to wrap the walls & climb the stairs… and to have it blend well with the built-ins.

Here is my sketch recommendations for the wainscot. It shows two panel configurations, an elevation profile and the detail of the ‘cap’.


Here’s a shot of the wainscot where a vent needed to be incorporated



This is the rendering for a closet to hang coats with baskets to store gloves, etc. and a seat to put on/remove shoes with a lift top for storage beneath. I wanted to use a ornate cast-iron bracket to act as a corbel for the cantilevered top section. Also notice how the lower section works with the wainscot.



And here it is after painting (although without the mirror & other wall hangings)



They decided that we’d need more shoe storage so we added this a third of the way into the project. Here is that sketch…



This is how the paneling looked climbing the stairs



Here is a wide angle shot to give you a better sense of the overall look / clicking on this shot will bring it to full size…



I’ve built larger projects and quite a few incorporating more detail but this is a favorite of mine. I really like how these built-ins work with the wall panels …as much as anything else I’ve had the pleasure of making.

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.


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