DIY kitchen shelves: part I

The kitchen has been one of the biggest challenges of our new place. Again, a lot of this is in original condition and given its details, I’m sure this kitchen was completely practical back in the 1940s. Look at that old school can opener on the right side of the counter (adorable!), the blue tile backsplash and chrome detailing (cute!), the corner built-ins flanking the window (delightful!), and I imagine that a very cozy breakfast nook resided in the opposite corner (aw, shucks.)

But, wait, there are drawbacks. The stove and fridge are obviously not original and don’t work for the space. The stove is oddly too small and the fridge is oddly too large. The linoleum must not have been changed since the 40s either because it has a rough feel that makes me shudder when I walk on it barefoot and think of how endless scrubbing will never make it as clean as I’d like it to be. Still, all of this would be manageable if we had enough storage space. Modern kitchens require more appliances, more gadgets, just more crap in general. At some point down the line, we plan to remodel the kitchen completely, but that will cost beaucoup bucks so in the meantime in the words of Tim Gunn, we have to make it work.



Naturally, that empty corner would be the perfect place for more cabinets and counter space. But until we can remodel, here’s what we did:


It’s a pretty tight fit and we were still left with no place to put our food and snacks. A friend suggested I utilize the empty wall space by installing a pot rack, which I thought was brilliant, but once the package came I realized I couldn’t install it because the studs in this wall are not centered and not the standard spacing apart. Ugh!!! I was ready to tear my hair out at this point and fell into the rabbit hole of internet research for a solution. I discovered these awesome DIY floating shelves, but with no woodworking or carpentry experience this project very quickly became daunting.

So I consulted with my friend Laura who owns her own woodworking studio in downtown LA called Allied Woodshop (they offer work space and classes — check it out!) Laura urged me to go with a pre-fab shelf that could be easily modified instead of starting from scratch because DIY projects can easily spiral out of control. I didn’t need convincing. I found these nice acacia Skogsta shelves from Ikea.  Laura thought that with some easy tinkering we could take two of these shelves and configure them into an L-shape that would hug the corner of my kitchen wall. Today we spent some time cutting the pieces to measure:


(Left to right) Laura showing that miter saw who’s boss. // Me working a saw and hoping I don’t chop off my hand.

Next week we finish some of the detailing and then installation!!!



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