Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Lookie lookie, We Got a Nookie!

I don't think I can say it enough:  when we bought this house we knew we were going to have to be creative.  At only 1200 sq ft and little storage, we had some work ahead of us.  Some projects are bigger (like another bathroom) but there are a lot of smaller projects for us to knock out in the mean time. 

One thing that seriously irked me was with as big as our kitchen was, there was only one wall of storage space.

There was plenty of area in the kitchen that could be utilized for storage, specifically a little nook located just inside the kitchen entryway.

Wasted space make me ANGRY.  Grrrrr.

When we looked at the house, the previous owners had a wire rack there with a microwave.  I wanted something a little more permanent and useful.  We discovered there was extra cabinetry in the basement from where the dishwasher was installed.  I had the idea of installing that above a counter top for an office area, or more kitchen storage.  JEGs and I tossed around some ideas, drew up some diagrams and patted ourselves on the back  for coming up with the best idea ever.

While at IKEA one day, we scored a desktop in the 'As Is' section that fit our measurements perfectly for $1.99.  One dollar.  Ninety-nine cents.  This project was on like Donkey Kong.

We get started on the project.  JEGs grabs his stud finder and starts looking for studs so we can attach the desk and hang the cabinetry.  However, our stud finder ain't findin' no studs.  So JEGs decided to take a chunk out of the wall.

And this is what we found:

Not only are there no studs in the wall between the kitchen and the living room, this is also where all the piping to the upstairs bathroom is located.  Awesome.

To add insult to injury, we realized the drywall on the other wall was placed directly over top of the original plaster and lathing walls.  So no studs there either.

Dear Former Owners Who "gutted and renovated the entire house",
  You Suck.  A  Lot.
  Amy and JEGs.  

At this point, there are cuss words flying from JEGs' mouth that would make an Osbourne blush.  

We realized that in order to hang the cabinets our only viable option was to completely tear down the drywall, plaster and lathing, and rebuild the wall (with studs).  With the clock ticking on Operation: Baby Drop, we decided that it was too big of a project to handle at this time. 

But that wasn't going to stop us from putting up a desk.  Oh no no.  This is where JEGs came up with another great idea:  He made his own stud-- and I don't mean the baby (ba dum cheeee).

He had some wood leftover from the shelving he made during the hurricane, and cut a piece with a notch in it for the pipes.

We also had some drywall left over from demoing the baby's closet, so JEGs made a little patch to cover up his "studly" masterpiece.  (ok, ok, I am done with the bad puns).

A little patching and paint (compliments of the previous owners), it was good as new.

Then he got to work on the actual desk.

Like I said, we snagged a desktop for uber cheap, but that's all it was was a desktop.  No desk bottom with it-- that we had to build on our own.  JEGs had sketched out some ideas and measurements before hand (as seen in the picture below) so we headed out to Lowes to get supplies.  We grabbed two 1x3 pine planks and cut them to the size he needed at the store.  When we got home, JEGs got to work on building the frame.  We insured the sides were 90 degrees by using a clamp.

 JEGs set the frame out on the table top to ensure everything was cut correctly and then when we felt confident that we hadn't made a wonky frame, he glued all the joints and used countersunk screws to hold it together.

You might have noticed in the above picture  that the frame is a little short on the lower right hand corner.  No we didn't screw up our measurements, we left space for a leg.  We kept a separate piece of wood to be used as a leg and used hanger bolts to connect the leg to the corner brace.

Because he counter sunk the nails, there were four screw holes exposed (that's what she said).  To cover them, JEGs glued in wood plugs and sanded them down to be flush.

Finally, the desk top was secured to the frame using 90 degree brackets and screws.  Then we were able to screw the frame to the wall using cabinet screws.

Once the desk was installed, we had to tackle what we wanted to do above.  I mentioned that we found extra cabinet doors in the basement, but they were not big enough for the area.  We looked at our options from IKEA, Home  Depot and Lowes, but we just were not loving anything.  Plus, with the lack of studs in the wall, hanging cabinets would be a nightmare.  

The JEGs remembered we had two IKEA LACK shelves from the apartment that used to reside over the buffet.  We brought them downstairs and they fit in the space perfectly!

At first I was hesitant to have open shelving (aka, no place to hide my junk) but I think I love the look of it.  It really keeps the area feeling airy, and it forces me to stay organized.

We are going to stain the wood to match the cabinets in the rest of the kitchen, and I am currently trying to convince JEGs that the shelves would look so much better painted white.  We also need a better chair, because that stool hurts my booty.   But for now, I have a place to pay bills, write thank you notes and check e-mail.  It seriously has become my favorite area in the house.

So what do you think?  Did we make good use of an otherwise wasted space?

Always & Forever,


Lucky Girl said...

Great job! I actually kind of like the dark Ikea shelves. They work nicely with the desk top and even really jive with the black in your appliances!

Kim @ NewlyWoodwards said...

This looks so good! It really looks like it was meant to be there. And what a SCORE on the countertop. So glad you have a stud (hehe) who can get that beautiful storage area built for his baby-mama.

LB's Oldest Brother said...

Me likey, but not painting the shelves white. They look better black because they match the desk top.

Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog said...

You guys are rock-stars! Seriously, one smart solution after the next and it looks super professional in the end. I probably would have just bought the desktop and left it in my garage for several months ;).

Shannon said...

That's a pretty sweet little nook addition you've got there.. And I agree with the other, leave those babies black! It looks good...and like it's supposed to be there.

Although here's my problem. I can't seem to use my laptop anywhere but sitting my ass on the couch. Maybe I'd spend less time on the internet if I had John build me a nook. Hmmm.