Tambour Doors Add Kitchen Utility, Style

Posted by Woodrow Aames ~ January 11, 2010

I love the tambour door that the builder installed in the corner cabinet of my kitchen. I lift the slatted roll-up whenever I'm whipping up a meal on the adjacent stove to reveal my assortment of spices and sauces. If you have to continually open a cabinet door-sometimes with a wet hand or spattered stir spoon-to retrieve a forgotten spice, you'll love the convenience of sliding open the tambour door without dealing with cabinet doors. I've had my share of washing sauce-smeared cabinet doors or open doors whacking me in the head while I'm cooking in an inspired frenzy.

A tambour door is built to scale. One kind fits your garage, another a patio, area and, for our purposes, a kitchen cabinet. They have interlocking slats that ride on a set of rails and roll out of the way by means of a base pull. Most operate on a ball and socket mechanism.

You can buy pre-measured, complete tambour doors and frames or install one from a kit. Before you begin, make sure that a tambour door matches your existing cabinet style. Or, have one custom made from matching woods and veneers.

Tambour Door and Frame Kits Putting aside the satisfaction of piecing a set together and installing it yourself, you can probably save money by purchasing an entire, pre-made model. If you're buying parts, most kits come with doors pre-cut at 24- or 36-inch widths. Solid wood doors are more expensive than veneer. For 24 inch models, prices range from $128 in red oak to $185 in cherry, with other woods including maple, hickory, and alder. Wood veneer tambour doors at 24 inches range from $65 for maple up to $102 for alder. Other woods include cherry, hickory, and red oak.

You pay an additional price, between $15 and $50, for spring and face frame mounting sets. I found an array of wood and frame options at Cabinet Parts.

I found other kits at Rockler, where the manufacturer calls the storage cabinet and tambour door assembly a "Hardwood Appliance Garage." Their tambour door models come shipped in 24-inch straight cabinets and 17-inch corner units. Hardwood units in maple, hickory, and cherry are priced from $140 to $152, including frames and tracks.

Many homeowners these days are remodeling their kitchens into monochrome styles. I found the European design company REHAU offering a glass tambour system in a black finish with an aluminum frame that you can install yourself. The slats are made of safety glass for a bold look.

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