Sunday, 10 August 2014

Kitchen Cabinet Project - Zambia

When we first learned of our acceptance with MCC, we were told there would be a house for us in Choma. We didn't know much about it other than that there was a nice covered porch area and five bedrooms. Then I also learned that part of the rental agreement with the landlord was that I would provide cabinets worth one month's rent. There were some cabinets already but they were not all in good condition.

Due to the pantry room having some great shelves, as well as some other portable cabinets and a table MCC provided, we were able to manage fairly well using the space we had. Still, this agreement was always in the back of my mind, and as I designed cabinets for other houses in the area as part of my work at Chodort, I learned about the materials available and figured out the most cost-effective way to build new ones.

However, one month's rent was only enough to build two large boxes, and the countertops are just melamine particle board with an edge tacked on. I was not able to replace the uppers or the sink section (not pictured). But, having finished today (almost 11 months since we moved in), I am quite pleased with the end product. Kate and Michelle have already filled up the drawers and some of the shelves.

Here's what the 'old' kitchen corner looked like:

I built some boxes out of particle board and installed them on crooked floors, against crooked walls!

I ordered the doors, drawer faces, drawer sides, plinths, and veneers from Chodort. To save money I ordered it all unfinished and then put everything together and sanded/sealed it.

The doors etc. are all made from a local hardwood called Mukwa. Normally it has some beautiful white veins, but the carpenters at Chodort prefer to cut that (softer) part out.

Now I can finally focus on some other projects--next up, cigar box guitars!

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