Group 6 4 minutes Read

kitchen details

Lauren Zerbey

First of all, a big thanks for all the positive feedback last week! Seriously, it made those six months of eating in our basement totally worth it.

Some people had questions about the innards of our kitchen, so we’re back to share the dets. In addition to the custom shelving units that we made, we also made some modifications to the IKEA units themselves, and thought we’d share those tidbits here as well.

But first, the view inside our fridge. It may only be 2′ wide and counter depth, but 98% of the time it’s enough space for us. Usually we just buy food and eat it the same week so we don’t need a lot of space for extras. The freezer portion below has 2 full size drawers and a half drawer at the bottom (to make room for the compressor). Our freezer mostly consists of coffee, ice cream and frozen veggies so it works for us. If, someday, we have lots of little Zerbeys running around and need more space, we could always do a full height refrigerator-only unit and then do a separate freezer in the basement. But for now, it does the job. (Note: since the fridge needs to ventilate at the top, we opted not to do another custom shelf in that area. The space is still useful for storing larger trays and the like.)

In addition to our custom shelves and plywood wraps, we also fabed up our own toekicks. The matching high-gloss gray was an option, but we decided that a solid wood piece would be more durable and add a little extra pizzaz. So we bought one length of IKEA toekick material and used it as a template to make our own. This basically entailed using the table saw to kerf out a notch that would accept the IKEA clip that then snaps onto the plastic legs that the cabinets are sitting on. (We also finished the wood with polyurethane.) Since the space under the island cabinets acts as a plenum for supply air, we simply incorporated a metal grille into that toekick. This is also a very good place to stand on a cold morning. (Did we mention that we went two years without heat in our house? Yeah, love us some heat.)

For the door and drawer pulls, we went with fancy Reveal pulls which are thicker than typical top-mounted hardware and thus needed to be recessed into the doors and drawer fronts.  This seemed like a daunting and potentially risky job to me, but not for Kyle. He simply fashioned a custom jig that allowed him to router out the exact shape and size. Of course.

Love ’em.

The restocking and organizing of the kitchen was my territory. During the design stages, I laid out where everything would go (mainly to make sure we’d given ourselves enough space) and I think I followed the original plan pretty closely. The great thing about going the IKEA route is all the interior fittings. Really, I feel very sophisticated now.

…or maybe not. Yes Mom, the smiley face spoon gets used all the time. Tonight, it made polenta.

Something else I love about the IKEA drawers is that they’re deep. (Even though they’re more expensive, we did all drawers except the sink cabinet. Drawers are just way more functional. Period.) In an effort to avoid countertop clutter, I decided to stow the food processor, toaster and other infrequently used items in the drawers. With full extension drawer glides, it’s easy to pull things in and out and the wider drawers come with extra beefy drawer glides.

Lid organization – just one of the many new luxuries in our lives.

Originally, we were going to dedicate several of the island drawers for food storage (an idea we called the island pantry), but with the awesomeness that is our big pull-out pantry we didn’t really need more space. Except for this one – the all important snack drawer (the white bins are IKEA too).

Lazy Susan! (Where did that name come from anyway?) This is the space where we stash our pots and pans, strainers and mixing bowls. I love it. After years of apartment dwelling, this is another indulgence. On another semi-related tangent, the one thing that we just weren’t thrilled with was the vertical gap between banks of drawers. Even though there is adjustability built-in to the hardware, there’s just no way to avoid a small gap and using white cabinet boxes with a darker front only makes the issue more obvious. Our solution – a strip of black electrical tape on the cabinet box face so it now reads as a black reveal. Architectural detailing at its best.

Finally, la pièce de résistance – the IKEA pull-out pantry! For old houses or small spaces, this is a must-have. IKEA has a few different options, but on this particular model, the top and bottom drawers are permanently attached to the door front and the intermediate 3 drawers can slide in and out independently. And like everything else, it has soft closing dampeners so you only have to give it a light push before it retracts back into the closed position. In the small cabinet above, we store things like vases, the crock pot, and the ice cream maker. We also weren’t afraid to use those handy end panels. By installing one on the exposed side of the fridge, it gave the assembly a more buttoned-up look.

So there you have it – the kitchen tour, MTV Cribs style.