The space that I left open and tiled in my newly finished bookcase-turned-pantry was left open specifically to house our Berkey water filter. I needed it in a place that didn’t take up any of the precious little kitchen countertop space that we have, but that was still easily accessible. That seemed like the perfect solution.
But of course, the water filter didn’t take up the entire space. I was left with this large empty space next to the water filter that needed something.
When you live in 834 square feet, it’s difficult to fill up potentially useful spaces like that with decorative items and tchotchkies, so I decided to create something that we’d actually use. I didn’t want to spend any money on it, so I rummaged around to see what I could put together.
I found two baskets that I wasn’t currently using for anything, and of course, I always have leftover MDF and trim sitting around. So I got out my saws, nail gun, wood glue and a tape measure and whipped up a little countertop basket storage unit.
Since it’s in such a prime location, it’s something that we’ll actually use. In fact, Matt has already claimed it for his vitamins and supplements that he takes every day. It’ll be perfect for that!
Here’s the quick rundown of how I put this together.
I used my circular saw to cut out five pieces of 1/2″ MDF. I had measured the space, so I knew exactly what size to make the box. Here’s what I cut:
2 pieces 18″ x 11.25″ for the sides
2 pieces 12″ x 11.25″ for the top and bottom
1 piece 11″ x 11.25″ for the middle shelf
I used wood glue and my nail gun to make a box with the two side pieces and the top and bottom pieces.
Then I measured exactly where the shelf needed to go, and I secured it by nailing from the outside of the box into the edges of the shelf piece.
Then it was just a matter of adding the trim, back and feet to finish it out.
To trim out the front, I didn’t use anything fancy. In fact, I used very cheap lattice, cut at a 45-degree angle on the corners.
The only potentially tricky part was the bottom edge. Instead of having the outside edge of the trim line up with the outside of the box, I had to have the inside edge of the trim line up with the inside edge of the box. This made the trim extend past the lower edge of the box. To compensate for that, I had to add four little “feet” to the bottom, which were just pieces of 1″ x 2″ lumber that I cut and glued on.
And of course the reason I did it that way was because the other option would have been to have the trim sticking up into the basket storage area, which just isn’t practical, and would have made getting the basket in and out of the lower section rather difficult.
In the picture above, you can also see that I added a piece of luan (really thin, cheap plywood) to the back just to finish out the back and keep everything nice and square.
With the construction finished, it was time to fill all of the nail holes and cracks with wood filler, sand, prime, and paint. I wanted a distressed finish, but I’m not sure that I like the finish I ended up with. I might paint it again this weekend if I have time. After priming it, I used yellow spray paint. Then I distressed it by sanding it, dry brushing it with some white paint, waxing it with some dark wax, and sanding it again.
It’ll do for now. I also think my baskets need some labels, but it was midnight when I finished this little project, and I was way too tired to make any labels. If you have an idea for creative basket labels, I’d love for you to share it with me!