How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space

How could this happen? Who did this? The cabinet in my kitchen with the tiniest opening—a mere 7.5 inches wide—was the cabinet that had the largest amount of storage space inside of it. I’d like to speak with the person who designed my kitchen.

This post is the second in a series on how I’m improving my small, non-functional kitchen on a budget. Since I can’t afford a complete kitchen overhaul, I’m keeping the majority of my lower cabinets, but the runt of the litter recently underwent a little surgery, and that’s what this post is about. More specifically, I’m sharing how I made access easier to the large, dead-space corner cabinet in my kitchen.

Here’s what I started with. The cabinets are actually sturdy and in good shape so I’m keeping as many as is practical. They’re just not functional and not all that attractive. The 80’s are alive and well in my cabinets.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

You can see how much space is inside this cabinet, but the opening is so tiny that it’s difficult to fit anything in it. I had a mountain of stuff piled in there.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I wanted to cut out part of the board to the left of the opening to make it bigger, but I knew it would be impossible to make a nice cut with a jig saw–especially in oak. And my original plan was to then install a stationary shelf to put a basket on, and leave the cabinet open.

So I consulted my super-smart carpenter brother, Mike about my dilemma. He suggested removing that board entirely, cutting it down to a smaller size, and then replacing it with the factory cut edge showing.

You can see here that it’s a separate piece.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s what the piece looked like from the inside of the cabinet.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

He told me in order to remove the board, I’d have to hit it like a carpenter, not a painter (I just happen to be a painter). He said I’d have to hit it hard. Real hard. So I prepared myself for battle.

First I carefully removed the stile with a jig saw.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I took a 2 x 4, put it against the cabinet and took a mighty swing. The hammer bounced off that board like a soccer ball, and I laughed so hard I nearly passed out. I tried again and again…and again. Honestly, my brother had way too much faith in me on this one.

So I carefully took my jig saw, and cut as far as I could along the top and bottom of the board. I couldn’t cut through the entire length of the board because my stove was in the way of the saw. After cutting as far as I could, I decided enough was enough, and gave that board a Ninja kick that I’m confident would have impressed Jackie Chan.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Finally!

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I cut out the remaining dowel rods that held the piece in place, and sanded them smooth.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided to replace the board from hell with the smallest board that I could, but being sure to leave enough clearance around the oven door for pull-out shelves. I changed my mind about the stationary shelf. A woman’s prerogative.

So I used a 1 x 3 in the space.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This was my first opportunity to use my new Kregg Jig K5 for drilling the pocket holes in the 1 x 3. Now if I decide to change the cabinet again someday, all I have to do is unscrew the piece instead of risking a fractured foot.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the piece installed. I planned to paint my cabinets white, so I didn’t have to worry about wood types matching. I’ll be filling the grain on the oak before I paint so they’ll look the same after painting.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a side view looking through the stove handle showing proper clearance for the pull outs.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I whipped up this simple shelf for the inside of the cabinet. It’ll be tucked in to the left of the opening, and will sit beside the pull-out shelves.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Fast forwarding here, I built a simple box for the first pull out drawer. I used the hardware from the original drawer and scrap wood I had on hand.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I tried the first one out before making the second one. It was a good thing, as the first one didn’t fit the opening and I had to disassemble it and make it smaller. Ugh. Here’s drawer number two. There was a pull out drawer in this cabinet originally, so I was also able to use the hardware from that one too. I just had to build a new  drawer the right size for the opening.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since the hardware for the pullouts wasn’t white, I had to spray paint it so it would blend in better. The photo is of the drawer upside down.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I had this dentil molding leftover from an old project, and had just enough to use as decorative face plates for the pull outs.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

For your amusement, here’s an ugly picture of the cabinets after I filled the grain prior to painting.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now it’s starting to look like something!

Here’s the much more functional cabinet. It’s not any bigger than it was before, but with the added shelf unit inside, the larger opening and the pull out drawers, it just makes life easier.

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here are some before and after photos.

How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

In case you missed the original peninsula re-do which was the start of this makeover, here are before and afters of that too. (See peninsula tutorial here.)

 photo IMG_6775.jpg How to Improve Access to Dead Kitchen Cabinet Space/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I’ve got many steps left on this makeover—making a wooden counter top and cutting down another one until I can afford new ones, building open shelving, replacing the current 30″upper cabinets with taller 42″ ones, adding trim and hardware, having a few doors drilled for hidden hinges and more. Baby steps.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Journeyman Painter and Certified Home Stager /Redesigner. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

DIY Pantry Spice Rack

I would like to dedicate this post to my mother, who passed away April 17th, 2016. This one’s for you, Mom. ♥

Once upon a time, I created a super-organized pantry. Then I moved. (Sigh.) But new beginnings bring new opportunities, so here’s my new and improved pantry. After much searching for different ways to organize spices and such,  I tweaked some Pinterest ideas, and here’s what I ended up with.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Let me first say that I had some reservations about this project, not because of the building of the racks, but because of the uncertainty of mounting them on a hollow-core door. If you have the same hesitation, don’t sweat it because mounting the units was easy, and they feel very safe and secure.

This project requires only basic carpentry skills. And if you’re reading this tutorial, you will also benefit from my mistakes, as I’ll also be sharing with you what not to do. You’re welcome.

My projects are usually pretty inexpensive because I use leftovers from previous projects, treasures from garage sales, and special finds from curb shopping. (I pull a ridiculous amount of wood off of curbs.) That being said, this project is no exception and cost me less than $25. A wire-coated rack would cost two to three times that much, and wouldn’t be specific to your needs like one you can make yourself.

First, I gathered up all of my spices and other items that I wanted to store in the racks, so I would know how to space the shelves and how much wood I was going to need.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I found it helpful to draw a simple sketch, although I did change some of the shelf spacing as I got further into this project. (Incidentally, the second set of numbers on my rough sketch don’t add up to the total shelf dimensions, as they were measurements of the spaces not including the wood. My math isn’t that bad.)

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since I was doing this project without help, and because of my irrational fear of mounting something on a hollow core door, I decided to break this down into two more manageable units rather than one big one. That turned out to be a very good thing.

Since spices are small and lightweight, I used thin pieces of wood to build the top section. I used Pine Mull Casing scraps that I had leftover from another project.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I have no clue what mull casing’s intended purpose is, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t created for DIY spice racks. It resembles lattice, but is thicker. I strongly suggest not attempting to use lattice for this project because nails need to be driven into the skinny side of the wood, and lattice is too thin.  The mull casing measured 3/8″ thick, and just shy of 2″ wide—just like it said on the sticker in the last photo. Imagine that.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL
  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Most of the spice racks I saw on Pinterest used wooden dowels to hold the spices in place, which is nice because a small dowel won’t cover up too much of a spice container’s label. However, I chose not to use dowels for four reasons. I would have had to use a wider, bulkier piece of wood to construct the frame if I went with dowels, since a dowel eats up shelf depth; because they are a son-of-a-gun to paint; because I didn’t want the stress of trying to drill the mounting holes perfectly even on the side boards and because I had something else on hand that I could use for free.

And my free dowel substitute was…(da, da-da, daaaaa), wood from a clothes-drying rack. Yes siree, ladies and gentlemen. Recycling at its finest. I disassembled the pieces, and spackled over the center holes to make them disappear. The end holes were cut off when I cut the pieces down to fit the units. I know what you’re thinking. But for the record, I’ve used these before on a similar project, and once they’re painted up, they look great. I also liked these because the edges were routed. If you don’t happen to have a broken clothes drying rack lying around, screen molding or another small piece of trim would be another option.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL I used the recycled wood pieces for the bars that hold in the taller spices, and to make a ledge to hold my smaller spices on the shelves without covering their labels.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I bought bead board paneling for the back of the shelves. Not only did it keep the shelving unit square and more secure, but it was what I screwed into to attach it to the door. Plus it looks sweet! Home Depot sells 32″ x 48″ sheets of bead board for $10, and they cut it to size for me. I laid everything out to get an idea of spacing.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The bead board on my top unit was 18″ wide x 32″ tall, and the bead board for the bottom unit was 18″ wide by 30″ tall. My pantry door measured about 24″ x 7′, which left roughly three inches of space on each side to allow the door to open and shut freely. Very important.

I suggest priming and painting the wood pieces before you cut them. You can paint it in half the time with a lot less mess. I didn’t paint first because I was on a roll and didn’t want to stop, but this is one of those important do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do suggestions.

I cut all my pieces making sure that all of the shelves were exactly the same length, and making sure that the two side pieces were exactly the same length. If the boards are not of equal length, you will not be a happy camper when you assemble them.

For the small spice containers, the space between shelves (not including the shelf itself–air space only) was about 3 3/4″, and for the taller spice containers, the space was 6″. That spacing allowed just enough “headroom” to be able to lift the taller containers up and over the bar that kept them from falling out.

Next I pre-drilled all my nail holes. Simply put, I stink with a hammer. And since there wasn’t much room for error on this thin wood, I needed the nails to go in very straight. Also, the nails were tiny and would bend easily if I didn’t have pre-drilled holes. Bending nails while hammering them is my specialty.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I pre-drilled two holes per shelf on the pieces of wood that formed the sides of the unit, and partially inserted my nails. I knew that assembling this was going to be a balancing act, and I didn’t want to be scrounging for nails while trying to hold the boards, with a hammer clenched between my teeth.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I glued the end of every board I nailed. And yes, I did get this unopened glue for $1 at a garage sale (note sticker). If you are buying wood glue for this project, make sure to get paintable glue.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I nailed and nailed…

A smaller upholstery hammer worked best for the small nails.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I laid my rack on the bead board to make sure it was square.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I loosely tacked the bead board to the shelf to keep it square while the glue dried, although that probably wasn’t necessary since it was pretty square on its own. ( Can you say OCD?) I tacked it loosely so that after the glue set up, I could remove the bead board, and paint it more easily.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, I repeated the same process for the bottom unit, only I used 1 x 4 pine instead of mull casing in order to accommodate larger items.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next I primed, and then painted using a latex semi-gloss paint from Sherwin Williams in the color “Pure White”. You must prime raw wood before painting it if you want your paint to adhere.

The bead board was already white when I bought it, but I painted it so that when I had paint touch-ups after I mounted it (fingerprints, glue, hammer marks), the whites all matched. And you will have paint touch ups, trust me. I made sure I painted the edges of my bead board since they’ll be visible.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After the paint dried, I assembled all the wood pieces. I used nails and glue to attach the bead board backing. I also drove a nail through the back of the bead board and into the center of each shelf to prevent the shelves from sagging or warping over time.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then came the scary installation part. This was especially nerve-racking for me because I had just installed new interior doors. And if that weren’t enough, they were special ordered from Lowe’s, so if I messed up the door, it was going to be awhile before I could get a new door to try again. Pressure. Here are the hollow-door anchors I used. A package of four was under $2 at Home Depot.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Basically, how these work is you hold your item to be hung, up on the door. You drill through your item and into the door where you want your screws to be. Remove the item, install the anchor into the hole you drilled in the door and then put the item back up and screw it on. Boom. Done. But not so fast.

I drilled holes for the mounting screws through the bead board backing where I felt the screws would be hidden behind the spices. I did this without holding the shelf up to the door since I knew it would be difficult for me to hold up the shelf and drill at the same time. Not a great idea.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account where the recessed panels on the door were. So when I held the drilled shelf up to the door, re-drilled through the existing holes in the bead board and into the door, the holes ended up in a recessed panel. I will admit a swear word left my lips on that one. So I ended up drilling two more holes in my bead board and my brand new door. (Personal thank you to whoever invented spackle.) Here’s a picture of where you don’t want your holes to end up.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided to use three anchors for each shelf unit, but four–one in each corner–would have been better.

Since my door had a handle rather than a knob, I had to be sure to place the bottom unit low enough so that it didn’t interfere with the handle’s operation.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I was still leery of this whole hollow door issue, so I decided it best to install the lower shelf first. A screw-up down low wouldn’t be as noticeable.

I stacked pieces of wood on the floor under the shelf, so I wouldn’t have to try to hold it while I was drilling. I made sure it was at the desired height, centered and level on the door. Next I drilled through my existing holes in my bead board (the second set–ugh) and into the door.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I removed the shelf from the wood stack, and screwed the wall anchors into the holes I had drilled in the door. The creaking noises during the screw turning made me cringe a bit, but I kept plugging away—ever so gently.

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since hollow core doors these days are sort of cardboardish, I was left with fuzzies around the anchors. My OCD was wanting to give that thing a hair cut, and I openly admit I started to remove it with a utility knife. But I got a grip and quit because that tiny bit of “squish-out” is never going to be seen—ever.

I propped the shelf back up on the piece of wood, lined up the holes in the bead board with the wall anchors (I could actually see the anchors through my drilled holes if I looked closely) and installed the screws.

I repeated the process with the top shelf. Installing the bottom unit first, turned out to be a good idea because I could balance the top unit on it while I leveled and drilled.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Lastly, I painted the screws and touched up the paint as needed.

I had actually stopped using most of my spices after I’d moved because it was such a hassle to find what I needed. You can see why from this “before” photo.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here are my after photos.

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

  DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Pantry Spice Rack/HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It took me about a day and a half from start to finish for this project. That included figuring out how to space everything, a trip to Home Depot for supplies, painting, assembling and hanging. It was well worth the time, as these storage units have made my life so much easier, and now I have two empty cupboards in my kitchen!

If this project seems too complicated for you, and your spice cupboard is a wreck, you may want to check out my simpler “no construction” Dollar Store idea for storing spices by “Clicking Here“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

DIY Rolling Pantry Tucks Into Space by Fridge

Do you have an empty space in your kitchen next to your refrigerator? If you do, and want to make good use of that space, you might want to add this rolling pantry to your honey-do list.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I wish I could take credit for this idea, but I can’t. I saw it on a Facebook post, and decided to construct one, only with a couple of tweaks to make it work better for my situation. Here’s the original post—http://www.instructables.com/id/Hidden-Fridge-Gap-Slide-Out-Pantry/.

I agonized over measurements for about half a day before deciding to build the pantry one inch smaller than the width of the space. This allowed for a decent amount of wiggle room when wheeling it in and out.

I purchased MDF (medium density fiberboard) from Home Depot, which is my all-time favorite construction material. It’s amazingly smooth, doesn’t splinter or have distracting knots, and it paints beautifully. The only con I’m aware of is that it can’t be exposed to water, so it can only be used on interior projects.

I bought a 3/4″ thick, 4′ x 8′ sheet of MDF, and Home Depot cut it down into seven boards, all at a length of 5’4″ by 6 3/4″. I originally wanted the pieces cut at seven inches, but I went with 6 3/4″ instead so I could get an extra board out of the sheet. I allowed 1/8 inch loss of material for each cut made, as that is the saw blade thickness.

I used two of the 5’4″ pieces for the sides of my unit, and cut the rest of the boards at home for the individual shelves, and the top and bottom pieces. I had a nice sized piece left over for another project too. Hernia alert!! MDF is very heavy. If you plan to purchase a sheet of it to cut at home, be sure to have help carrying it! Here are my cut pieces.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I constructed the rolling pantry as you would construct any bookcase, and used a bead board plywood scrap that I had on hand for the back to keep it square.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I used several garage sale purchases that I had on hand to keep the cost down, including finish nails, the handle, the wheels and some upholstery tacks.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

First I cut my bead board to the size I wanted my unit to be. I then constructed a box with simple butt joints to fit the size of the bead board, being sure to glue all four corner butt joints. The top and bottom pieces should be placed in between the two side pieces, rather than on top and on bottom of the two side pieces. It makes for a more sturdy piece, since gravity would be working with your nails if they’re perpendicular to the floor instead of parallel to the floor. You want your nails working against gravity whenever possible.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I like using upholstery tacks for attaching backing to a shelving unit because the big heads don’t allow the bead board to pull off. If finishing nails are used, the bead board can be pushed off right over the top of them. I used wood glue here too.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then I decided where I wanted my shelves to be, based on what I anticipated storing on them.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It’s much easier to paint shelves before installation, so I put a coat of primer and a coat of finish on the shelves, and all the semi-assembled pieces.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I installed the shelves, I caulked, spackled and applied the final coat of paint. Caulking the cracks makes for a much more professional-looking job as you can see here.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s when I realized the importance of using the right kind of wheels. I have a bucket of miscellaneous hardware that I pulled this first set of garage sale wheels out of.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I tried wheeling the pantry on these wheels, and as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, they weren’t a good choice. They were made of glass or porcelain, and I’m guessing they used to be on an antique piece of furniture. They would probably have been just fine on linoleum, but they weren’t well-suited for ceramic tile since they wouldn’t grip the tile. And since they were small, they were catching in my grout lines. So back out to my junk bucket I went. I found these larger, rubber wheels, and they worked much better.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since my garage sale wheels didn’t come with screws, I searched my garage sale screw stash and found the perfect size.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the finished rolling pantry. Ta-da!!

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Going…

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Going…

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Gone!

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

It tucks quite nicely in my little space.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This magnificent contraption holds lots of kitchen stuff, and frees up my “real” pantry for my most often used items.

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Rolling Pantry / HomestagingBloomingtonIL

Toddler alert! Although I love this idea, it wouldn’t be a safe storage solution if you have toddlers who could possibly pull the unit out and tip it over. I placed my handle out of reach, and it would take a pretty strong child to pull this out of its resting place, but best to rule on the side of caution.

I had originally planned to insert wooden dowels a few inches above each shelf to keep items from falling off as was shown in the original post, but I decided it wasn’t necessary.

As far as cost goes, the MDF plywood was $27.00. The rest of the supplies were either garage sale bargains or leftovers from other projects. I got a lot of bang for my buck on this one!

For other kitchen storage ideas, visit my posts, “Creative Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids“, “How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display” and “Organize My Kitchen Pantry With What?!“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids

Every human on the planet should have a kitchen with designated storage for pot lids. I am not amused by a game of kitchen Jenga every time I need a lid. Unfortunately, the only place for me to store my lids is in a heap on top of my skillets, and it makes me grumpy when I need the pan on the very bottom.

But I’m happy to report that I’m done with all that. I have the world’s tiniest kitchen, as was recently confirmed by the man who delivered my new fridge. You know it’s small when the fridge man says so, but I love my kitchen. Even in my cozy cooking space, I managed to find a couple of clever ways to store lids more efficiently. If I can find room, you certainly can too.

My storage solution started with this old hymnal rack that I purchased many years ago. It had been stored in a closet for quite some time, but I’d always loved it, and just couldn’t bring myself to part with it. If you don’t happen to have a spare hymnal rack lying around, don’t despair–I’ll show you how to make one in this post.

This rack was too long for the end of my cabinet, so I removed the screws and a couple of nails, disassembled it, cut the wood pieces to the correct length and re-assembled it. I love distressed pieces, so I painted it to match my cabinets (See previous post “Yes You Can Paint Your Oak Kitchen Cabinets“), distressed it, added a couple of hooks and installed it on my end cabinet.

That took care of three of my lids and my often-used colander and steamer. I loved the idea so much that I decided to make my own rack, patterned after the original one. I decided I could mount it inside my cabinet door where my pots are stored. Genius.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Out to the garage I went for scraps. I found these in my stash, so this rack was 100% free for me to make. And even better, I didn’t have to make a trip out in the frigid, God-forsaken, bone chilling tundra of Central Illinois. It’s been a rough winter, folks.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I started with the side support pieces, marking where I needed to chisel out a spot for my bottom piece that the lids would sit on. It probably wouldn’t be necessary to chisel a groove in the side pieces if you don’t have access to a chisel or a router, but I did it because the original hymnal rack was constructed that way, and I know it offers a little more support. And more importantly, I’ve been anxiously waiting for a project where I can use my new chisels!

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Please allow me to show off my set of chisels that I scored at an estate sale. I’m loving the leather pouch they came in. Most people would want to show off a new house or car. Not me. I wanna show off my pouch full of chisels.

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I cut slits on my pieces with my band saw to make it easier to chisel out the centers.

  Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now I chisel! (Insert Tim Allen’s gorilla noise here.)

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a side view of the piece I’m using for the sides. It’s similar in shape to the original, but this design made more sense for the inside of a cupboard door.

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Next, I slid the bottom piece into the side pieces, nailed it in on both ends, and then cut and screwed in the front pieces, making sure the lid handles didn’t interfere with their placement. The bottom piece that the lids will rest on was a scrap piece of lattice.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The two front pieces that hold the lids in, were salvaged from one of those accordion-type clothes drying racks that I broke when I ran over it with my car. It was an unfortunate accident, but I saved all the non-pulverized pieces and have used several of them. My kids think I’m a hoarder. I think I’m smart.

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 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I realize this is not very attractive at the moment, but once I fill in gaps and imperfections with spackle, prime, paint, and install, it becomes one stylin’, state of the art, organizational masterpiece.

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I made sure I used screws short enough that I couldn’t pop them through the cabinet door, which would be highly disappointing, and that I was screwing through the thicker frame of the cabinet. I also made sure that the side pieces of the rack weren’t going to interfere with the door closing. I added an “L” bracket under the bottom piece for extra support.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I bought these screws at a garage sale, and these are the best screws I’ve ever used. Even I don’t have to pre-drill larger pieces of wood using these. I did, however, pre-drill the holes on this project since the wood was so thin and the cabinets are oak, both of which have a tendency to split.

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here are my before and afters. This is a little slice of lid-storage heaven!

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Creating Kitchen Storage for Pot Lids / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I did these projects in an evening, and the most time-consuming part was waiting for the paint to dry. The two racks combined have given me storage for five lids which makes a huge difference in my emotional well-being. I now only have two remaining lids that stack neatly inside my skillets. No more kitchen Jenga at my house!

For other kitchen storage ideas, visit my posts, “How to Build a Simple Kitchen Cabinet for Open Display” and “Organize My Kitchen Pantry With What?!” and “DIY Rolling Pantry Tucks Into Space by Fridge“.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Easy DIY Coat Rack

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

My son, Ross, mentioned to me one day that he wished he had a place to hang his coat when he came in his front door. I’m no Fairy God Mother, but that’s a wish this Mom is capable of granting. So we went to work making him a beautiful wall-mounted coat hanger for his entry way for under $25.00.

Here’s a picture of where Ross currently hangs his coat. Unsightly. When visitors come to your door, you don’t want to greet them with an excuse-me-a-tornado-just-blew-through-my-entryway look. Organization is the key to a healthy life, and to a healthy price when the time comes to sell your house.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here are the pieces Ross bought for around $20 from Menards for our project. (Except the black, painted piece.)

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The pine 1 x 8 is the main piece of our project. All of our other pieces are built on and around it.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This piece is going to trim out the bottom of our board to add some interest. It makes our piece a bit more professional looking.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This trim will be used for the top piece as part of the plate rail, because Ross has some pictures in his entry way that he wants to display on top of the coat rack.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

This trim is to place under the top piece for support.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I donated this piece of wood to our project. I stopped to pick up a treasure off the curb a couple of months ago, and found this piece in the “store” too. I liked the shape of it, and knew I’d use it for something sooner or later. It was painted black, but we’ll give it a light sand, and prime it along with the other unprimed pieces.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I also donated some hooks that I purchased at a garage sale this summer. I bought five hooks, still in their unopened packages for a grand total of $2.00. That bargain cut the cost of this project nearly in half.

I’m assuming most of you DIYers out there like to curb shop, go to estate sales, garage sales and thrift stores. If you don’t, I promise if you start, your family will never see you again. Ok, that might be a bit extreme. But you’ll quickly become addicted to the thrill of finding inexpensive (or curbside free) and unique items, and you’ll be sure to find some neat stuff to do projects like this one. Your local Habitat Restore is a great place to treasure hunt too.

I have an internal GPS that leads me to curb piles, and it nearly short-circuits if I can’t stop or at least drive by nice and slow to scope things out. I’ve also found some great stuff when I’m out walking my dog. He likes to curb shop too. Unfortunately, a curb pile to Buster is the equivalent of a fire hydrant, so I have to power-shop if you know what I mean.

For this project, we’re using both a miter box and a power miter saw. We’re using both because it’s cold in my garage, and some of the pieces are going to be more pleasant to cut with the miter box inside my warm house. But if your pieces are too tall, like the black piece I curb-lifted, they may be too tall for a miter box. I swear by my miter box. The cuts it makes are perfect with no chipping or splintering. Sometimes with a power saw, the wood on the smaller pieces of trim has a tendency to chip.

So here’s how we are going to arrange our trim pieces on the main 1 x 8 board. It’s looking pretty goofy at the moment with black, white and yellow wood all butted up next to each other like a wood rainbow. But it’s all going to come together beautifully.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

The 1 x 8 needs some attention where the knots and rough areas are, so we’re spreading Durabond over them. You can use spackle or joint compound instead if that’s what you have on hand.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

We sand the patches, being sure to make the edges of the patches super smooth so they blend right into the wood. If you don’t sand your patches well enough, when the paint hits them, any remaining ridges will be magnified. Then, I’m sorry to say, you’ll have a mess on your hands trying to get rid of them once they’re covered in wet paint. So sand, sand, sand those patches down.

 Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

We cut the ends of all of our trim pieces at 45 degree angles so they wrap around the sides of the 1 x 8. You gotta watch your fingers cutting those tiny end pieces! Not the best way to get a manicure.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

We use small finishing nails to attach the trim, countersink the nails with a punch and spackle the holes. Since neither my son, nor myself have any talent with a hammer, we choose to pre-drill all the holes. This is especially helpful on those tiny end pieces (even if you have hammer talent), as it helps prevent them from splitting.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s the primer I use to paint the entire project, even though some of the trim was pre-primed.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I apply one coat of my favorite white paint in a semi-gloss. The color is Pure White from Sherwin Williams. Next, we caulk where each piece of wood meets another piece to get rid of all the cracks. This step is really important because it makes all the pieces look like one, continuous piece of wood. Ross is a whizz with a caulk gun! (Good thing, because our next project is to caulk his shower…) After the caulk sets up, it’s time for the final finish coat of paint.

After the paint dries, we’re ready to attach our hooks. We find the center of the board so we know where to install the first hook. We cut a piece of cardboard to put between the trim and the top of the hook to use as a spacer so all the hooks will be exactly the same distance from the trim piece above them.

 Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

We find a stud in the wall, and make sure the center hook sits directly over it. We use some very long wood screws to go through the holes in the hooks, through the 1 x 8, through the drywall and then into the stud, so there’s no chance the rack will ever fall off the wall. We want at least one hook to be installed into the stud, and the middle hook is the only one that lines up properly with one.

Since the long screws that I had on hand weren’t black like the original shorter screws that came with the hooks, we used a black Sharpie to color the heads black. (The screws that came with the hooks were too short to go through our board and into the studs.) Normally, I would stick the long screws into a piece of cardboard or Styrofoam, lining them up like little soldiers, and spray-paint the heads, but again it was too cold outside to spray paint. And the Sharpie worked just fine, so why deplete the ozone, right?

Here’s where Ross’ coat used to live….

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here’s its new home! The project was under $25, but the Mother-Son experience…priceless.

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtionIL

Easy DIY Coat Rack / HomeStagingBloomingtionIL

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

Paste Wax Wonder

If you have wood pieces that are looking tired and need to be restored, this solution may work for you!

I snagged this wooden bowl at a garage sale. I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and when the seller told me it was only a dollar, my heart smiled. I’ve been looking for a nifty, non-breakable bowl (my dogs already killed a vase that was on my entryway table) to plop my keys and sunglasses into when I come in the door. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve misplaced my cell phone, and can never seem to find the t.v. remote, but at least now I’ll be able to keep track of my keys!

Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I know it doesn’t look like much, but I have a “thing” for wooden bowls, toys, utensils and so forth. (I think I was a tree in a former life.) I bought it knowing it was going to take some elbow grease to get it to look nice. My not-so-new bowl would need to be sanded, stained, sealed, and varnished—the works. But since I loved it, and could clearly see its potential, I was willing to spend some time on it.

But once I started looking at this bowl a little closer, I realized either the finish had worn off completely or no type of finish was ever applied, so I decided ‘Plan A’ would be to try using paste wax on the raw wood instead of my original elaborate idea, which quickly became ‘Plan B’.

I’ve had this jar of paste wax for so long, I can’t believe it’s still good. Although I don’t know too much about paste wax, what I know for sure is that it will stay useable for ions if you keep the lid on tight!

 Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

So I started to apply the wax, and couldn’t believe how beautiful the wood on this old bowl actually was.

Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here she is completely finished. What a beauty!

Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 Paste Wax Wonder / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Since I’m not a paste wax expert, I’m just guessing that over time, I’ll need to reapply more paste wax as it wears off or dries up or whatever it is that paste wax does over time, but I don’t care. I love my new, old, unbreakable, bargain bowl. A dollar? Seriously.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom

This space above my toilet has been speaking to me for five years now. What’s it been saying, you may wonder? It’s been saying, “This is wasted space that could be a functional, show-stopping, toilet-paper-holding, chachki-displaying extravaganza.”

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I must agree with my talking space. I’m not a carpenter by any stretch, and although I’m comfortable with power tools and know how to use them, let me assure you this is a very simple project that can be done with basic carpentry skills. And to top it off, I’m a girl! If I can do this, so can you.

Bathrooms never seem to have enough storage, and this is a great way to add some. I happen to have a linen closet in this bathroom, so I’m not really needing more storage, but pretty much anything would be more visually appealing than air.

I had some time off work when the weather here in Central Illinois was a record-breaking 25 degrees below zero with wind chill, so it was the perfect day for a project like this one. Needless to say, I brought my miter saw into the house, and totally made a mess so I didn’t freeze my patootie off in the garage. Seriously, I set up this saw on my kitchen table and let the sawdust fly. Who does that? (Thanking God for my laminate flooring.)

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I already had some scraps of bead board in my garage, so I just had to purchase some 1 x 8’s for the shelves and outer box, and some casing for trim. I’m a painter by trade, so I already had paint, caulk, primer, brushes, etc… With that in mind, this project cost me $15.75. It’s true, ladies and gentlemen. You can make yourself some sweet, mind-blowing storage for mere pennies.

To start this project, I decided to cut a piece of bead board plywood about 1/4″ smaller than the recessed area over my toilet since I’ll be trimming the shelving unit out to cover any gaps. No need in my mind to make it fit so tight that I have to ram it like a linebacker to get it to fit in the space. Since walls are rarely straight, and to assure myself that I could avoid the linebacker situation, I placed the cut-to-size bead board where it was going to go before building the shelving unit to fit the bead board.

I did actually hold the plywood up to the ceiling where it’s actually going to be mounted, but couldn’t do that and take a picture at the same time. That’s why it’s hanging out on the toilet tank in the photo. (Imaginations, please.)

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I cut four pieces of 1 x 8 to fit the bead board, and made a box out of them using simple butt joints. This shelving unit is only going to need to be sturdy enough to hold things like toilet paper, towels and pretty stuff, so there’s no need to reinforce it with a frame-type construction. I used screws to construct my unit, pre-drilling the holes to make my life easier. It keeps the blood pressure under control.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I decided to slide the box into the recessed area just like I did the bead board to be sure it was going to fit before I went any further.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I then determined where I wanted to place each shelf by using items I plan to put on them. Of course I won’t be keeping the same items on here for forty years or anything, but it gives me a plan. If you’re needing shelving more for storage of not-so-lovely looking items, like, well, you know–those hygiene sort of items we all need–you can buy yourself some pretty baskets, and keep your personal items hidden. I would recommend buying your baskets first, then spacing your shelving appropriately.

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Before screwing the shelves in place, I made sure they were level by using two speed squares placed in both directions. One speed square makes sure the shelf will be level side to side while the other makes sure the shelf will be level front to back.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

I screwed in each shelf using two screws on each side. And here’s my unit with all the shelves installed.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonILg

Next I attached the bead board plywood to the back of the box by using upholstery tacks that I bought at a garage sale (note my 10 cent sticker reminding me of the fantastic bargain I snagged). Upholstery tacks are perfect for this application because they’ve got a large head, and won’t pull through the plywood. I attached the tacks on the edges of the back of the box as well as one in the middle of each shelf. If this were a freestanding bookcase, I would have run several tacks into each shelf, but since it’ll be against the wall, there’s no chance of the plywood pulling away from the back of the shelf.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Now we’re starting to look like something! And holy toilet paper, check out my bubble! Gotta love it when that happens.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

To save a few dollars, I bought less-than-desirable wood that’s referred to as “standard” grade, and fixed any imperfections myself. I carefully checked to make sure the boards I bought weren’t warped, which was, and always is, a monumental task. If you’ve ever tried to pick out wood at a box store, you know where I’m coming from. For every ten boards you inspect, you may find one good one, but I consider it a fun challenge in some sick sort of way.

I covered all the imperfections with durabond, let it dry, sanded, and I was good to go! Or if you’re not a cheap skate like me, you can just spend a little more and buy decent wood. But you’ll still have to go through several pieces regardless, so I say go the frugal way, and buy a stick of gum or something with the money you saved yourself. Here’s a picture of my patched up shelving unit.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

After I primed the shelf, I caulked every place where two boards meet, and every place where boards meet the bead board. Caulking makes a huge difference on how your finished product will look so don’t skip this step! Here’s before caulking.

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

And here’s after caulk.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then it was time for paint! Since this will be in a bathroom, and next to my shower, I used a semi-gloss paint–one coat now, and another coat after adding the pre-primed wood trim. I used Sherwin Williams Promar 200 in the color Pure White. It’s a nice, crisp white that I use on all my projects, including the trim and interior doors in my house.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

I installed the unit by driving screws into the corners. I bought pre-primed casing at Menard’s to trim out the cabinet, and here’s a photo of that. Trim gives it a more finished look and hides the gaps left after installation.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Here’s a picture with the two vertical side pieces of trim tacked into place.

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

To install the trim, I used finish nails and then counter-sunk the nails with a punch. I spackled over the holes being sure to overfill them so I could sand the spackle down smooth. I was careful not to sand so much that the hole showed again. I then brushed some primer over my patches so they wouldn’t show through after I painted the second coat. Here’s a picture of all the trim complete.

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Then it was time for more caulking. I caulked around both sides where the shelf butted up against the side walls and also against the ceiling. Then it looked like a real built-in!

After the caulk set up, I applied a second coat of paint, being sure to paint over the installation screws so they’d disappear.

And here are the before and after pictures.

 DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

DIY Custom Shelving for a Small Bathroom / HomeStagingBloomingtonIL

Of course once I had this nice, new built-in shelving, I had to update the light fixture. And a new light fixture made the old paint look bad, so I had to repaint. Then I needed a new bath mat to match the new paint color. Then I needed new towels to tie in the bath mat, etc… So much for my $15.75 project.

This post was written by Tracy Evans who is a Certified Home Stager, Certified Redesigner and Journeyman Painter servicing the Central Illinois area. Feel free to visit her website at www.HelpAtHomeStaging.com to view her portfolio for more before and after pictures of her projects. And if you enjoy gardening, you may want to visit her gardening blog at MyUrbanGardenOasis.