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DIY: Countertop Basket Storage

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!



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  1. Abracadabra! The amazing Kristi waves her magic wand and voila! another lovely new basket cabinet!!
    Once again! Great job!
    Labels are great….how about a whimsical design with some of the bright colors you are using in your space?

  2. I love this! I am not going to attempt myself. My hubby or daddy will be saying “sure honey, I’ll whip that up for you” tomorrow when I show it to them! Okay, so I’m a bit spoiled, but similar store bought units like this cost an arm and a leg and they don’t hold up. Besides I’ll quick them a fantastic supper and watch a guy movie in return. 🙂

    All is fair, you know what they say!
    Thank you for sharing, it’s lovely!

  3. Label tip: paint a leftover piece of ply wood with chalkboard paint, trim it with thin trim and glue it to the baskets!

  4. Is there nothing you can do!. I visit your blog/site to take away ideas and learn a little from how your blog is set up, the colors, patterns, and overall look and how you have achieved such an easy to navigate, informative site. Instead I get sucked in (this is like the 4th time )and I find I have just spent the last hour looking at EVERYTHING you have done in your home (love it) and other people’s homes, diy projects, all of it ! I have come to the conclusion that I will never get to look at your blog from a design and layout aspect, because I can’t stop exploring everything else. You are one talented lady and should be very proud of yourself! I think I know whats going on here–you have devised a site that is so easy to “play” with and so much fun to “explore” that I will never learn what I need to do on mine and I will just give up, throw my hands in the air, give you my credit card # and let you have your way with my blog! Smart Lady! (wink wink)

  5. Kristi,

    Found you on pintrest and when I saw your condo makeover I was overjoyed!! I live in a similar condo and I have been thinking of doing a built in set up in that same area. Wasn’t sure if I would like it so I have put it off… now thanks to you I know I will love it!!
    Your amazing!!

  6. Kristi, you have made the space so unique but you’ve also created a space that will appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers. The fact that it is freshly remodeled and with a decorator’s customs touches, well….what more could anyone want?

  7. I love your design ideas!
    And I love your empowering message that we women can pick up the power tools — thank you such much. I just subscribed as I want more 🙂

  8. I spent the better part of today–looking for ideas for a bathroom redo.
    I happened on your site. You are so talented and did a terrific job.
    Thanks for giving us so much info on how you did it. Great color
    You are my inspiration!