Well, after fretting over how to handle the blind corner storage in the lower cabinets of the pantry, and mulling over just about every solution I could find online (both ready-made and DIY options), I finally made my decision, came up with my own design, and spent yesterday implementing it. I got the building part done on one side, although I still need to decide how I want to finish the drawer fronts. And today, I’ll be building the other side. Now that I’ve figured out the process, I anticipate that the second side will go much faster.
So let me back up a bit here and remind you that the very last option I considered, and that I really liked, was this Shelf Genie blind corner storage.
I must have been overtaken by the awesome music, though 😀 , because once I really stopped and thought about it, I realized that this wasn’t really the best option for me.
That video shows those shelves completely empty. What happens when they’re piled full of stuff? I’m only five feet tall, which means I have pretty short arms. By the time that first shelf is pulled out completely, and the other shelf is pulled over, there’s no way I could easily (or at all) reach over all of the items stored on the front shelf to reach the items at the back of that back shelf. Someone much taller than I would probably have no problem, but my short arms would have trouble.
But I remembered someone commenting and saying that they had a UK version of that where the front/first shelf actually lifts out, making access to that back shelf much easier.
That got me to thinking. I would need to do something similar so that I could reach the items on that side/back shelf once it was pulled over into view. And since I only plan to store things back there that I don’t use often…or ever (like perhaps our stash of freeze-dried food that’s good for 30 years that we keep on hand for emergencies, but have never yet, to this day, had a need to access), then I shouldn’t have to be removing those main drawers often. But when I do need to remove them, I want it to be an easy process.
Here’s how mine works. (And pay no attention to the drawer fronts just yet. I’m still trying to work out how I want those to look.)
The main drawers/bins fit into the cabinet on the lower and middle shelves, and I promise that they’ll look nice when they’re done. 🙂
The drawers slide in and out easily, and have a guide on the right side (i.e., the side opposite the blind corner storage) that holds the drawer securely when it’s open.
But that drawer can easily be pulled all the way out (as in, removed completely and placed on the countertop) to access the blind corner pull-out shelf.
And that shelf can be pulled over to the right for easy access to everything stored on it.
I think this design will work out great for me! Especially since I won’t have to access it frequently. And as you can see from the picture below, it would be a very long reach to the back if that main drawer weren’t easily removable.
So to create my blind corner storage and removable main drawers, I started by raising the bottom of the cabinet so that the bottom was flush with the top of the face frame. I just did this by adding an additional layer of plywood.
I only added it to half of the cabinet, though. There was no need in wasting plywood for the blind corner since nothing would actually be siting on the bottom of the cabinet in that blind corner storage area.
Next, I added a shelf in the middle by measuring halfway up (the halfway point of the cabinet opening, i.e., between the horizontal face frame pieces, and not the halfway point of the actual cabinet cavity). I used some 1″ x 2″ pieces as supports for the shelf, glued and nailed into place on the back as well as just inside the face frame on the front inside of the cabinet.
Then I cut a piece of 3/4-inch plywood for the shelf. Once I made sure it fit, I removed it so that I could add the drawer slides for the blind corner pull-out shelves. I installed one set along the bottom and one set along the middle, making sure that I had enough room for them (and the pull-out shelf) to clear the bottom plywood piece and the middle shelf when extended.
This was actually much easier than I had anticipated. With the shelf removed, there was actually plenty of room for me to get inside the cabinet to easily install the drawer slides.
One important thing I learned, though, is that it’s a good idea to shim out the drawer slide that goes on the back wall of the cabinet. Without it shimmed out, it’s almost impossible to remove the pull-out shelf once it’s installed. I don’t know why I would ever need to remove it, but I like to have that option. So when I start on the other cabinet today (the cabinet by the freezer), I’ll just attach a strip of 1/2-inch plywood first, and then attach the drawer slide to that plywood. That will allow room for my finger to get back there and unlock the drawer slide if I ever need to remove the pull-out shelf.
I built the drawers and pull-out shelves just like I showed you in this post on how I built my cabinets, so I won’t go into details on that again.
Once the pull-out shelves were built and installed in the drawer slides, I placed the plywood shelf back into place, and then attached a piece of 1″ lumber along the left side, making sure it was square with the front of the shelf before attaching it with nails. The purpose of this piece is to serve as a guide for the main drawer box. I couldn’t use any kind of drawer slide on that side of the main drawer since it would interfere with the function of the blind corner pull-out shelf, but I did want to make sure there was some sort of guide that kept the drawer square with the front of the cabinet as it is pulled out and pushed in.
And then on the other side, I made a very basic drawer guide. The part inside the cabinet consisted of three layers of 1″ lumber. The top and bottom pieces were the same width, and the middle piece was 3/4-inch narrower. When stacked and nailed into place, this created a 3/4-inch track. I ripped another piece of 1″ lumber that fit perfectly into that track, and attached it to the side of the drawer box.
Once it’s attached to the side of the drawer box, that piece slides into the track inside the cabinet. And the guide on the left side of the drawer box ensures that the drawer box will go in and out straight and won’t come out of the track.
And that’s it! The boxes can be made as drawers with higher sides, or as pull-out shelves with lower sides. (You’ll notice I decided on higher sides for the main boxes and very low sides for the blind corner pull-out shelves.) You can add pretty drawer fronts to the main boxes, or hide them behind cabinet doors.
I’m still deciding how I want to finish mine. I actually made cabinet doors for these side cabinets, but I didn’t like them because of the width. (I tend to like narrower cabinet doors, which is why you might remember me switching out my 24-inch-wide kitchen cabinet doors for sets of double 12-inch-wide doors when I repainted last time.) So I have a couple of other ideas that I’m playing around with. We’ll see in a couple of days where I land on that.