The other day I mentioned that our kitchen really only has 3 base cabinets – the other spaces are taken by the fridge, freezer and dishwasher. Out of those three cabinets, one of them is for the sink and the other one is used to store pots and pans and is already quite organized. But the third one is actually to the far left of the kitchen and it’s tiny, about one feet wide. Needless to say, it isn’t very useful, because reaching inside the cabinet is hard and everything gets lost in the back. I knew I wanted to adapt it so it’s one of those slide out cabinets, kind of like drawers.
After measuring the width of the cabinet, I quickly realized that luckily, it was one of the standard Ikea measures! This was going to be way easier than I thought! The plan was to buy three drawers: the deep one would be the bottom drawer and would be attached to the door, so when you pulled the door open the bottom drawer would come out; then the other two drawers would be shallow and have interior drawer fronts. To access them, you would first pull the door open (and with it, the bottom drawer) and then pull the drawer whose contents you wanted to see. In case this doesn’t make any sense at all, check this pull out pantry at Ikea… I wanted the same thing but for a standard height cabinet.
So after paying 61.03€ for the set of three drawers (why are drawers so expensive?) we brought it home and our short afternoon project began. Or so we thought.
Assembling the drawers was easy enough. The first problem came when we tried attaching the drawer rails inside our cabinet: they were half a centimeter too long. We stared at it in disbelief (aren’t kitchen cabinets supposed to be a standard depth?) and quickly decided to remove the back panel and take it from there.
That’s when the next problem came up: we had to completely move the cabinet from its place to do this, and since we had added a concealed drawer to the dishwasher cabinet next to it, they were both attached to one another. That meant we had to remove that drawer, then the dishwasher, and then the cabinet we were trying to retrofit with drawers. After a lot of huffing and puffing (the drawer on top of the dishwasher barely fits, I don’t want to think of ever having to take everything out again) we had the cabinet out and ready to remove the back panel.
Next problem (are you starting to see a pattern here?): because of the way the cabinet is built, we had to take it apart completely. But everything was glued down! So we kind of broke it a bit… and had to use one of the existing shelves (which we no longer needed, thanks to our new drawers) and place it on top of the bottom piece of the cabinet to cover up the damage we had made. But the back panel was removed and placed again about a centimeter away to give us the clearance we needed. It didn’t look pretty, but we don’t mind because after putting the drawers in no one will ever see it.
Anyway, while trying to put the cabinet back into place another issue came up: the plumbing to the washing machine, which is now outdoors, is back there… and having moved the back panel meant that there wasn’t enough space for it anymore. Luckily the panel was quite flexible and allowed us to move on. We suffered a lot to put the dishwasher and drawer back into place, but we made it.
So, it was by now about 2h into the project and we were just at square one: trying to attach the drawer rails to the cabinet. After using a x-acto knife to remove some plastic pieces that stuck out (they were originally for the shelves) we were finally able to attach them using the lovely Ikea instructions. Not without some difficulty, since the cabinet was so narrow we had trouble getting the screwdriver to the back… but anyway.
The worst part was when we realized that, although Ikea said the drawers were for a 12” (30cm) cabinet, apparently the inside of our cabinet was 3mm wider than the Ikea cabinets (again, aren’t they supposed to be standard across the industry??). So retrofitting the drawers was a pain… it took us another hour (or two). We actually left it half done because getting the drawers to slide was very frustrating, and finally finished the next day. In the end we decided to attach the top drawer to the door, too. After a lot of tries, we finally got the drawers to slide – more or less.
You actually have to pull a bit to get the door to open, but I don’t know if it’s because of the weight or because of the drawers themselves. Anyway, here are pics of how the cabinet looks now. I’m using it for all my baking supplies and I love it!
The verdict: it’s infinitely more useful now. So was it worth it? Yes. Will I do it again? Probably not. The under the sink storage is already covered, and the other cabinet is pretty accesible as it is. But whatever happened to everything that was originally inside of this cabinet? Well I stuffed it in the now empty space, where the baking supplies used to be… and it’s all a mess. Oh the irony.