Wednesday, April 25, 2012

DIY Kitchen Cubby Bar

I know, I know this post has been a long time coming.

I finished the kitchen bar thing in time for our house warming party. Just barely. I had to go out and buy a hand saw and cut about a quarter of an inch off the end the night before because it was too long. Mike said "measure twice, cut once." Well I measured about 4 times. And I watched the Home Depot guy measure a couple of times too. Apparently all that measuring was just not enough.

So before I show you the awesome pictures, a little back story.

I found this awesome minimalist desk on Pinterest one of the first days after I signed up and I fell in love. It was simple and functional and awesome. And we had just put a bid on our new place, which had a little space for a kitchen table. But we don't have a kitchen table. We do, however, have two bar stools. So I put two and two together and decided that this desk would be perfect in the kitchen. A little counter to put the bar stools under. As a bonus, it would be a test run for the bar that we're thinking of putting in in that space.

I liked the minimalist idea, but I wanted to give it a more kitchen-y feel and less of a desk feel. So I switched it up a bit. I used 1"x10" boards for the bottom and the sides (and the cubby hole sides) and a 2"x12" board for the top.

I had a ton of fun (can you read my sarcasm) sanding them down by hand, and I'm super picky, so I rounded the edges out a bit to give it a more home-y feel (and also as a bit of protection for the Z as she toddles around.).

Then I drilled pilot holes on the top and bottom where the ends were and also for the cubby separators. I put wood glue on both ends of each side and screwed right through it to strengthen the bond. In hindsight, I should have just used wood glue for the separators as I ended up with screws in the middle of the bar that weren't pretty. Just used a little bit of wood filler over them as camo and poof! Almost gone.

I wiped it down with paint thinner to get all the dust off and let it dry. Then I used Minwax pre-stain wood conditioner to get it ready for staining. (I have to say that I would have skipped that step, but we got a "welcome to the neighborhood" coupon from Ace for $10 off, so I thought, what the hell.) After letting it dry, again (you will see a pattern forming here), I stained it with Minwax Wood Finish in Puritan Pine. Insert more drying (the drying was the suckiest part of this project), and I sealed it with 3 coats of Minwax Polycrylic (more drying between coats).

Sidebar comment: Jeeze, you'd think that I'm getting paid by Minwax, but I'm not. I just heard good things about their products when I was researching how to stain and seal the bar.

I hung it on the wall using some cabinet cleats I found at Home Depot (something like this, but a stronger version rated for 200 lbs. Also I used two of them.).  I screwed them into the studs and used wall anchors -- the good kind and ones that are rated for 75 lbs. The whole bar doesn't way 75 lbs, but I'd rather be safe than sorry.

Ok, in that short description I left out the part where it didn't fit when I tried to put it on the wall and I had to take apart one end and saw off some and then reassemble it. That part is like the mistakes that Mom use to make in her cross stitching. :)

So yeah. That was the whole week long process. I wanted to take pictures of the process, but I did it all in our garage space and I kept forgetting to bring the camera down. So you'll just have to imagine. Or use the photos from the original post I used as inspiration. Those are pretty good.

In any case, here's what the kitchen looked like before:

And with our awesome addition:

Oh yeah, we painted the walls as well. After tearing down the wallpaper. Actually -- credit where credit is due -- the Dads attacked the wallpaper, skimmed, and painted the walls. And they did an amazing job. 

And the actual bar:

 I love the cubby holes and can't wait to find bins that will fit in them. And that corner is totally going to become my desk area for all the bills and paperwork that comes in. I've already got an in and out box up there (tutorial coming soon) and I'm going to have letter bins for Mike, Z, and I as well.

So slowly the kitchen is coming together. Can't wait to get all the ideas out of my head and into the real world.

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