KITCHEN: THE COFFEE BAR

A perfectly serendipitous thing has happened.  Ikea came out with matte black kitchen cabinetry, and it is perfect.

Right now we are bouncing back and forth between finishing the kitchen and the bathroom, completing projects as time allows.  We recently finished up this section of the kitchen!

When we started our kitchen facelift a little while ago (…we won’t say how long ago. My gawd, how long?) there was no black kitchen cabinet option from Ikea.  We happily went with the Brimnes dresser instead, which was the perfect color, size and function for our space.  With a few adjustments we created storage and counter space by the stove (see how we did that here) and built the lower section of our coffee bar area.

The intention was to build custom uppers for this space, to add that extra storage, and display our coffee mugs.  I had the cabinetry designed, but when the Ikea Kungsbacka kitchen was released I GOT REALLY EXCITED, YOU GUYS.

When we built the lower cabinet it was constructed to be as wide as possible, allowing for the door trim, and the uppers would be built to suit.  The width of wall space for the uppers didn’t matter too much because they would be custom fit.  BUT then pre constructed cabinetry became available…  I checked the Ikea website for available size options (width and height), measured my wall width about a million times….and found: THEY WILL FIT.

The design called for an extra open shelf mounted underneath the custom uppers.  This was an accent piece that would showcase cute coffee mugs and sugar dishes, and function as easy access to items we use constantly.  I looked at the original design and it would still work. The shelf could just get added to the Ikea cabinets!  SO EXCITING! And quite honestly, A LOT easier, with a better finish than we could do.  But we did run into one road block…

Once the cabinet frames were put together we began to mount them on the wall.  But they didn’t fit.  We measured the actual frame, measured the wall again, back and forth, back and forth.  What. The. What.  It turned out the wall on the left hand side had a huge bow in it.  The corner measured at the right width, but 6 inches in we lost a half inch of space.  That was too much!  The plan had been to install the cabinets, add our own end gable in the wood finish to cover the white cabinet frames, then add the shelf.  BUT IT DOESN’T FIT. Now what?

We decided the easiest way to remedy the problem was to take the right side cabinet frame apart and manufacture our own right hand side so we had the finish we wanted.  Matt literally replicated the side panel that should have been there, mimicking drill holes for hardware and construction.  We did create this panel a little longer to cover the end of our shelf, but the end gable we intended to add in this spot would have done the same thing, had we the space. The wall to the left had to get a little bit of drywall work done… A.K.A some heavy sanding.  There had been some kind of plaster work done previously that added the extra bump in the wall, so we had to grind that outta there.  Combined, these two adjustments let the cabinet frames install perfectly.  Then we added our custom open shelf.

The shelf was simply constructed with 3/4″ birch veneered plywood, glued and screwed together at the joints.  We were able to use a simple butt joint construction because the joinery is hidden by wall or trim, it made for a fast and easy build.  The edges were taped with birch veneer and the whole thing will be sealed with a clear Varathane.  This will also darken the veneer a little and the tone will more closely coordinate with the counter.

The shelf won’t ever hold much weight.  It will be mostly for display and for about 6 coffee mugs so the construction will hold up very well.  The cabinets do continue straight to the ceiling, and are pretty high for me to reach, but they will store a few large items that don’t get regular use.  Its really going to get the last few items that hang around with no place to be off the counter, which I am really happy about.

We still have a few things to finish up. We will move on to installing some electrical outlets and then tiling the backsplash.  The lower cabinetry will get the dog bowl station completed, and we are toying with adding another drawer above it (not part of the original plan).  But this, THIS is progress!

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