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DIY Repurposed Basement Window Cabinet

August 11, 2015 by Scott - Saws on Skates

Hey there friends! Today we’re going to repurpose a vintage basement window into cabinet with a rustic farmhouse feel!

diy basement window cabinet 1

When you build projects with wood people always try to give you stuff… scrap wood, termite eaten wood, rotten wood. Some of it’s good, some of it… not so good. When it comes to the good stuff I never seem to have room to store those materials in my tiny shop.

diy basement window cabinet 3

But when my neighbor Dave replaced my neighbor Tom’s basement windows, Dave asked me if I wanted the old windows and I bellowed YES! I had no idea what I was going to do with them, but these were some cool windows. Aged, worn, chipping paint and just plain cool. I would make room for these. I MUST make room for them, even if I had to store them under my bed!

diy basement window cabinet 2

What was I going to make with them? I didn’t know, but a cabinet came to mind. Of course I googled “basement window cabinet”. After scrolling and scrolling I found one that was for sale on craigslist. It had a chunky, rustic, farmhouse look to it and I loved it. I loved it so much that I designed a rustic looking cabinet that incorporated many of those same design elements. Here’s what I found on craigslist:

Window Cabinet

Here’s my cabinet that incorporates that chunky, thick face frame. It has a rustic, homespun, farmhouse look. What do you think? Did I nail it? What would you make with a basement window?

basement window cabinet finished

Repurposed Basement Window Cabinet Plan

(2) 1x12x8
(1) 1x5x8
(1) 1x4x8
(1) 1x3x6
(2) 1x6x8 Tongue and Groove pine for the back or you could use plywood.
1-1/4″ pocket screws
1-1/4″ finish nails
#8 1-1/4″ wood screws
Wood Glue

Stanley FatMax Tape Measure
Kreg Jig
Table saw
Jig Saw
Hammer or nail gun

Note: This cabinet is based on a window that measures 17″ x 31″. If your window measurements are different, adjust the dimensions of the cabinet to fit your window.

Step 1
Cut the sides. Cut two 1x12s to 38-7/8″. Then create leg detail – be sure to make a left and right. Measure up from the bottom 1-3/4″ and draw a faint line across the bottom of the board. On the faint line, measure in 2-1/4″ from the front and in 3″ from the back. On the bottom of the board measure in 1-3/4″ from the front and 2-1/2 in from the back. Connect the front mark on the faint line to the front mark on the bottom of the board and do the same on the back. Using a jig saw, cut out the area in between the those lines to form the legs.

Along the front edge of each side, drill several pocket holes. These pocket holes will be used later to attach the face frame in Step 5.

basement window cabinet side

Step 2
Make the carcass top, bottom and shelves. Cut four (4) pieces of 1×12 to 22-3/4″ and rip to 10-3/8″ wide. Using a pocket hole jig, drill four pocket holes in the each end of the top, bottom and shelves.

basement window cabinet shelves

Step 3
Assemble the carcass. Rip two pieces of scrap to 1-3/4″ wide. These will be used to help align the bottom. Clamp scrap to bottom of each side, apply glue to the top and bottom, place in position and clamp. The top and bottom are flush with the front and set in 3/4″ from the back. Check for square and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.

basement window cabinet box

Step 4
Make the face frame. Check the dimensions of the carcass and adjust face frame measurements if necessary. Cut two sides from 1×4 to 38-7/8″ long. Cut top from 1×4 and cut to 17-1/4″. Cut bottom from 1×3 and cut to 17-1/4. Drill pocket holes in each end of the top and bottom pieces. Clamp pieces together. Bottom piece is set up 1-3/4″ from the bottom. Check for square, then using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket screws attach top and bottom to sides.

basement window cabinet face frame

Step 5
Attach the face frame. Apply glue to the front edge of the box, clamp face frame to box and attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws (pocket holes were drilled in Step 1).

basement window cabinet clamp face frame

Step 6
Attach shelves. Note: I spaced my shelves based on how the glass was divided on my basement window. You may want to adjust the shelf space based on your window.

Cut two pieces of scrap that measure 11-5/16″ long. Set the scrap on the bottom of the cabinet. Set the first shelf on top of the scrap and level the shelf. Clamp and attach the shelf to the sides using 1-1/4″ pocket screws. Remove the scraps and cut to 10″. Set the scrap on the first shelf. Set the second shelf on top of the scrap and level the shelf. Clamp and attach the second shelf to the sides using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.

basement window cabinet shelf installation

Step 7
Make the top. Cut three pieces of 1×5 to 26-1/4″. Rip one piece to 3-7/8″ wide. Drill pocket holes and attach using glue and 1-1/4″ pocket screws to form the top. Attach to box using 1-1/4″ screws. Top is flush against back and overhangs each side 1″.

basement window cabinet top

Step 8
Install back. Cut tongue and groove pine to 37-1/8″. Center first piece on back and attach using 1-1/4″ finish nails. Work from side to side, installing the tongue and groove boards. The last piece on each side will need to be ripped to width in order to fit.

I applied a wood dye to the inside and on the outside back to give it a vintage aged look. You could also do this to give it an aged look.

basement window cabinet finishing 1 a

The outside of the cabinet was finished with a two color chippy paint look.

basement window cabinet finishing 1

basement window cabinet finishing 2

how to make a basement window cabinet


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4 thoughts on “DIY Repurposed Basement Window Cabinet

  1. Very cute, and easy to follow plans too. Thanks!

  2. Susan says:

    How many more basement windows do you have? You might be able to make a cold frame greenhouse for your garden with them. Hmm, build a wood frame shed. Install left over windows horizontally, wrap remaining walls with canvas and you’ve got a “summer workshop”.
    (Borrowed this idea from the old campgrounds in northern Michigan)
    Mine stores a few cords of wood in the winter, protected from snow and rain.

    • Hi Susan – All of those are really good ideas… I wish I had more windows! There were only a few windows that were solid (not rotted) enough to repurpose. I’ve always wanted a cold frame and the “summer workshop” is great idea. Thank you for the suggestions!

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