Lowe's Home Improvement

Kitchen Command Center

If the kitchen is indeed, the heart of the home, the Command Center is the solution-savvy brain. A handsome storage shelf organizer comes out of the closet to star in the kitchen as a sturdy Command Center bookcase. Add-on doors and canvas baskets control and hide clutter, and an attached desk serves as the perfect spot for supervising homework or computer time.

1. Cut and assemble parts

Open the parts/hardware packages included with the John Louis Home Tower System. Verify that all hardware is included. (Questions? Contact the John Louis Home Customer Service at 800-480-6985.) Set aside the side panels (A), top panel (B), and bottom panel (C) for assembly later.

Mount a plywood-cutting blade into your table saw. Using the Materials List (PDF) and Cutting Diagram (PDF), cut the shelves (D), doors (F), shelf back (H), desk side (K), desktop (N), and desk back panel (Q) from 3/4-inch birch plywood. (Note that the length of the shelves (D) is identical to the length of the purchased bottom panel (C). Use the bottom panel to set your table saw's rip fence to ensure that the length of your shelves matches the length of the bottom panel.)

Switch to a combination blade in your table saw. Referring to the Materials list and double-checking lengths against the plywood parts you already made, cut the 3/4-inch pine parts (E, G, I, J, l, M, O, P, R, S, and T) from the 8-foot 1x6 select pine. (We ripped the pine at the table saw and crosscut the pieces with a compound miter saw.) Label the pieces with chalk and set them aside.

With a table saw or miter saw, miter one end of the desktop front trim (O) and desktop side trim (P) where shown in the Project Diagram Back View drawing.

Using Titebond II woodworker's glue and 4d (1-1/2-inch) finish nails, assemble the shelves (D) shelf trim (E), and catch holders (G). Glue and nail the shelf horizontal cleat (I) and shelf vertical cleats (J) to the shelf back (H). Refer to the Project Diagram Back View drawing to see parts H, I and J. Angle the 4d nails to prevent the nail point from protruding through the plywood.

Glue and nail the desk side trim (L) to the desk side (K). The trim should be flush with the outside (best) plywood surface. Glue and nail the desktop front trim (O) and desktop side trim (P) to the desktop (N). Set the finish nails with a nail set.

After the glue squeeze-out skims over (a shiny surface as glue dries slightly), remove the excess glue with a damp and clean shop rag or disposable towel. This step will reduce your sanding efforts and avoid tattletale glue smears that jump out during finishing steps.

2. Sand and finish the parts

Fill the nail holes with stainable wood filler. Finish-sand the all the parts with 80-grit and then 120-grit sandpaper. To check for glue smears and scratches, dampen a clean rag with mineral spirits and wipe all the parts. Resand glue smears, globs, and surface scars before applying finish.

Practice staining technique using a brush and soft cotton on a piece of scrap wood to get a feel for the application. Apply first coat of stain, dry overnight, then apply final coat of stain over entire surface or wherever needed. Let dry and apply two coats of Polycrylic clear finish.

3. Assemble the shelves and shelf back

right angle clamp jig

Assemble the John Louis Home Tower System. Refer to Step 4 of the John Louis instructions packaged with the system. With a carpenter's square or clamp jigs, check that the Tower remains square (corners maintain 90 degrees) during this step.

Good to Know: If you don't already own assembly clamps similar in purpose to the right-angle clamp jig shown, take a few minutes to make at least two or more pairs from 3/4-inch plywood scrap. They will make your joinery more accurate and quicker to assemble.

Before adding the shelves, cut two scrap 1x4s to 16-inches long to support the shelves during assembly, as shown in the Shelf Clamping Option Drawing. You'll need four clamps (two for each side) to temporarily hold the 1x4s.

Using the Shelf Clamping Option Drawing (above) and a pencil, mark the top shelf location on the inside of each side panel (A). Clamp the scrap 1x4s to the side panel. Note that you'll need to set the scrap 3/4- to 1-inch from the front of the side panel; this allows level installation of the shelf without interfering with the shelf trim (E).

shelf side viewDrive #8x2-1/2-inch trim screws through the side panel (A) and into the ends of the top shelf (D) where shown in the Back View Drawing (above). Make sure you've selected one of the two shelves with a catch holder.

Working from the top of the tower to the bottom, add the three additional shelves. In the two openings to which you'll add doors in the next step, verify the 12-inch openings before attaching the shelf. The first and third shelves you install should have a catch holder (G). Using a #8 countersink/counterbore bit and #8x1-1/4-inch flathead wood screws, attach the assembled shelf back where shown in the Back View Drawing (above).

Good to know: The countersink/counterbore bit will reduce splitting of the grain, which will make a less-sturdy project and detract from the appearance. Before drilling your first hole, test the countersink depth in scrap material.

4. Add the doors

storage doors

Using the screws packaged with the hinge sets, install the doors (F) and hinges. To provide smooth opening of each door, tape four dimes (two beneath each door) during installation. This provides about 1/16-inch clearance between the shelf and the door.

Mark the positions for the door handles and drill holes for the hardware, as specified with the packaging instructions. Finally, add the magnetic catches to the catch holders (G) and doors with the supplied screws.

Attach the Tip Tray pencil and utensil holders on the inside of the door.

5. Assemble the desk

Using #8x1-1/4-inch flathead wood screws, assemble the back panel (Q) to the desk side (K). We used a #8 countersink/counterbore bit to countersink the screws. Then assemble the desktop (N) to the back panel and desk side.

Position the desk assembly against the side panel (A). Mark the position of the desk-mounting cleat (T). Slide the desk away from the side panel and attach the desk-mounting cleat to the side panel, using #8x1-1/4-inch trim screws. Finally, attach the desk assembly to the desk-mounting cleat with #8x1-1/4-inch trim screws.

If desired, use wood putty to fill the holes created by the trim screws.

6. Install the tower

secure to the wall

To secure the Command Center tower to the wall, find a piece of scrap wood that is the same thickness as your baseboard. Using a pencil, mark the corresponding height of top panel (B) on wall. Locate studs for screw placement and attach scrap wood to wall at marked height. Use two screws to secure tower to scrap wood on wall.

Tools, products, materials, techniques, building codes and local regulations change; therefore, Lowe's assumes no liability for omissions, errors or the outcome of any project. The reader must always exercise reasonable caution, follow current codes and regulations that may apply, and is urged to consult with a licensed professional if in doubt about any procedures. Please read our terms of use.

Project Details

Tools You'll Use

  • Table saw with plywood and combination blades
  • Compound miter saw or miter saw
  • Random orbit sander with abrasive disks
  • Carpenter's square or clamp jigs
  • #8 countersink/counterbore bit
  • Drill/driver with bits
  • Bar clamps
  • Tape measure
  • Combination square
  • Chalk
  • Pencil
  • Paintbrushes
  • Mineral spirits

Lowe's List

  • Lowe's List:John Louis Home Tower System, 16""-deep tower wood kit in honey maple (#55401)
  • 1 1"x6" x 8' select pine (#1158)
  • Cabinet-grade ¾" x4'x8' birch plywood (#12271)
  • Titebond II glue (#41218)
  • 4d (1 -1/2") finish nails (#88562)
  • #8x2 -1/2" trim screws (#123797)
  • 8x1 -1/4" flathead wood
  • 4 2" x1" narrow hinges (#311940)
  • 4 Magnetic catches (#233959)
  • 4 Door handles (#229216)
  • 2 Tip-out Tray for pencils and utensils (#52924)
  • 2 Canvas bins (#102545)
  • Stainable wood filler (#8374)
  • Minwax waterbase wood stain, clear tint base (#164686) with 2 ounces of white pigment manual dispense added.
  • Minwax Polycrylic clear finish (#45888)
  • Minwax wood putty, natural pine 909 (#36488).