Creating a Custom Cabinet and Adding it to the Library

Reference Number: KB-00446
Last Modified: January 19, 2018

The information in this article applies to:

Chief Architect Premier or Chief Architect Interiors


I want to create a custom kitchen cabinet island, or other type of cabinet, and add it to the Library Browser. How can I accomplish this task?

interior view of custom china hutch buffet cabinet and cabinet desk with spiral legs


Cabinets can be edited and combined to create a wide variety of custom cabinetry or furniture including vanities, china hutches, buffets, sideboards, entertainment centers, desks, wine cabinets, bookcases, book shelves, chest of drawers, dressers, nightstands, end tables, workbenches, chifforobes, wardrobes, curio, or hoosier cabinets and much more.

These custom configurations can then can then be saved in the Library Browser for use in other plans.

There are several ways to achieve this goal - the approach that you choose will depend on the complexity of the symbol that you want to create.  In this article, you will learn how to:

  • Customize a single cabinet, and add it to the library.
  • Block a group of cabinets together, and add the Architectural Block to the library.
  • Convert multiple cabinets into a single symbol, and add the symbol to the library.

To edit a single cabinet and add it to the Library Browser

  1. In your plan, select View> Library Browser , then right click the User Catalog and navigate to New> Folder and name this folder "Cabinets".

  2. Next, from the menu, select Build> Cabinet> Base Cabinet   and click in the plan view in order to place it.

  3. Use the Select Objects  tool to select the newly placed cabinet, and click on the Open Object  edit tool to display the Base Cabinet Specification dialog.

  4. Make any necessary modifications to your base cabinet in this dialog.


    For the purposes of this example, do the following:  

    • On the General panel, edit the base cabinet's Width value to be 72", set the Backsplash Height and Thickness to 0", and increase the Toe Kick Height to 24".

    • On the Front/Sides/Back panel, delete the doors placed by default, and create three Drawers side-by-side.

      In Chief Architect X6 and earlier, select the Triple Face option.

    • On the Door/Drawer panel, set the Drawer Handle to one from the Library Browser called "Dual Tone Pull H."

    • On the Accessories panel under the Feet section, use the Library button to browse to Manufacturer Libraries> Adams Wood Products> Island Legs> A0913-35-35 and applied these as the cabinet legs.

      Additional catalogs like Adams Wood Products can be downloaded from the 3D Library

      In Chief Architect X3 - X5, this setting change was made on the Front tab.

    • Finally, select the Materials panel and set a Cherry (red) material to the various components of the cabinet, and clicke OK to apply the changes.

  5. Now that you have finished modifying your single cabinet, you are ready to add it to the Library Browser.

    With the cabinet still selected, click on the Add to Library   edit tool.

  6. Once the object is added to the Library Browser, right click on it in the Library, and select Rename to give the newly created object a short, descriptive name.

    For the purposes of this example, name the cabinet "3 Drawer Desk".

  7. Once the cabinet has been renamed, click and drag it to place it in the Cabinets folder that was created in your User Catalog.

  8. You can now use your customized cabinet in future plans.

Now that you know how to modify a single cabinet and add it to the Library Browser, you are ready to see how to block a group of cabinets together, and add them to the Library Browser as a unit.


To create an architectural block and add it to the Library Browser


  1. In the plan, place and edit your cabinets to create the type of configuration that you want, whether it is for an entire kitchen, a cabinet island, an entertainment center, hutch, etc.

  2. Once you have your cabinet configuration set up the way you want it, in your 2D floor plan view, use the Select Objects  tool to drag a marquee around the cabinets.


    If a tool other than Select Objects is active, you can only select objects of that type using the marquee select.

    For example, if the Base Cabinet tool is active, you can only group select base cabinets, any other objects in the area will not be selected when you drag a marquee around them.

  3. Once you have all of your cabinets selected, click on the Make Architectural Block   button on the edit toolbar.

    Now all of the cabinets will be grouped together, and can be selected and moved as an entire group, rather than individually.

  4. Once you have created your architectural block out of cabinets, click on the Add to Library   edit tool.

    Note:  If you tried just group selecting the cabinets, and adding them to the Library Browser using the Add to Library edit tool, without first making an Architectural Block, each cabinet would be added to the User Catalog individually, rather than as a grouped set of objects.

  5. Now your group of cabinets has been added to the Library Browser, in the User Catalog category, with the name of "Untitled"

    • Right click on the name in the Library Browser and select Rename.

    • For the purposes of this example, name the group of cabinets to "Cherry Red Hutch".

One advantage to blocking a group of cabinets together and adding them to the Library Browser is that when you place one of these architectural blocks from the Library Browser, you can then explode it in the plan and make modifications to its individual objects.

If you want to ensure that all of these objects always stay grouped together, however, without allowing for them to be broken apart at a later time, you can to create a symbol out of them.

Let's take a look at the last example of the hutch.


To convert a group of objects into a single symbol

  1. Place the object into a new blank plan without any other objects.

  2. From the menu, select 3D> Create Perspective View> Perspective Full Overview .

  3. With a 3D view of the cabinets forming the hutch active, from the menu select Tools> Symbol> Convert to Symbol  .

    You can create your own symbols in Chief Architect using a combination of architectural and CAD-based objects, and a wide variety of unique objects can be created using the Primitive Tools.

    For more information on creating custom 3D symbols, see the article on modeling custom 3D objects located in the Related Articles Section below.

  4. In the Convert to Symbol dialog, you can select a category for the symbol, such as Furnishings (Interiors), and also check the box beside Add to Library

  5. Check Show Advanced Options and click OK to be able to enter in more detailed information on your symbol in the Symbol Specification dialog.

    • Some of the options you have include displaying the symbol's size in its label, whether it sits on the floor or inserts into a cabinet front or countertop, its 2D CAD symbol, as well as many other options. 

    • For more information on the items on the various tabs in this dialog, click on the Help button located at the bottom of the dialog box to launch the software's context sensitive Help.

    • For the purposes of the example, set the Symbol Name to "Cherry Red Hutch Symbol", set the Include Size to Width x Depth x Height, and click OK.

  6. After you click OK, notice that your mouse cursor has changed to be able to place the newly created symbol, and that the Symbol Name you entered of Cherry Red Hutch Symbol is shown in the Library Browser under the User Catalog category.

  7. Since the symbol is already appropriately named, you will just move the "Cherry Red Hutch Symbol" to our User Libraries folder for Cabinets.

  8. Next, return to floor plan view and place the symbol that was just created into the plan.

  9. Use the Select Objects  tool to select the symbol, and click on the Open Object  edit tool to open the Furniture Specification dialog. 

    • Notice that you still have a great deal of control over the size, materials, and layer that this object is located on and can adjust these, but you will no longer have the ability to explode it into individual cabinet components.