Recycling two old kitchen wall cabinets

Now that I’d tackled making use of the wall on one end of my kitchen, I once again turned to the problem area opposite it. It’s the sagging end of my kitchen where the floor (and ceiling, I fear) dips down, making it somewhat useless. Someone had also put in a little wall that juts into the space; whether it holds up the ceiling is a question to explore later, right now I have to work with it.

Earlier, I’d found a nice old 1950s wall cabinet and put it up in that corner (all by myself). 2018-01-07 14.54.52

And ever since, I’ve been experimenting with what to do with the space below it. I used a few tables, bought an Ikea Stenstorp kitchen cart, and later a dark-blue Fabrikör glass-door, metal cabinet that fit right under the right-hand window. (You know by now that I like Ikea, mainly for practicality and because I love putting things together.)

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In the end, I gave away or sold both the trestle table and the antique icebox (sorta regret that) pictured above (below that window and to the right of the kitchen table).

Still, the Ikea cart, although it was great for my microwave, jutted out and wasn’t really practical for storing pots and pans.

So, while I was looking on Ikea’s website for shallower kitchen cabinets that might fit in that space (the least deep are still over 15 inches deep), I thought maybe I ought to quit spending so much money and try first glancing at the marketplace on ol’ face-book, just in case.

That’s where I found these:

They had been, as you might be able to see, stacked in someone’s closet (upside down). They reminded me of the kitchen of my childhood: exactly the same handles. The poor seller had almost given up on ridding herself of them because who nowadays wants these 1950s kitchen wall cabinets?

I do, that’s who.

I bought them for a song and brought them home, where they, especially the larger one, needed a few repairs and deep cleaning. Mice or worse had eaten their way through the back and left little gifts behind.

Once they were cleaned and sanitized ( ! ! ! ) and their loose sides reattached, I measured them and my corner. Wow! Exact fit! The corner between the outer wall and the little jutting wall is about 52 inches. The narrow cabinet is 21 inches and the wide one is 30 inches! I could put them on legs and squeeze them right in there!

Due to the baseboards and my deficient math skills, I decided to try it out first just to make sure, but had to raise them up on something…scrap pieces of wood.

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Indeed, they would fit. And they would hold all my pots, pans, bowls, etc! I rushed to the local “depot” and stood around for 40 minutes waiting for someone to come and saw a remnant piece of MDF board (on the left in the photo above) to size. Then I brought it home and went to work:

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I placed the two cabinets on their heads side by side and bolted them together.
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Put the board on top (actually it’s the bottom) and decided where to put the screws. Drilled pilot holes…
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…Zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom-zoom, done.

I had to wait a few days for the rest of materials, but when they arrived…

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I attached six of these metal plates to hold the feet (or are they legs?).

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Once the feet also arrived, I had to first measure exactly how much the slope in the floor was. I already had extra height adjusters and screwed them into the left four feet and flipped the whole cabinet over and carried it into the corner. A little fine-tuning with two spirit levels and I had it.

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Since these were originally wall cabinets, the pulls were at the bottom, so I had to turn the doors around. For the left cabinet that was no problem, but for the one on the right, I had to move the hinges. It was either that or move the pull, which would have left holes in the door that I knew I couldn’t fill perfectly.

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Here it is! It doesn’t jut out so I can leave my table and chairs where I want them. It holds plenty of stuff. And the runner I’d once bought fit perfectly on top so I didn’t need to get or make a counter-top for it.

It doesn’t exactly match the cabinet on the wall above it, but it’s the same era and that’s enough for me. Practicality over perfection.

I’ve “recycled” the kitchen cart in my upstairs office and the glass-door cabinet where it fits better: the dining room.

The time will come when I’ll have to have the floor straightened. Then we will discover how bad things are underneath, where that draft is coming from (gasp) and whether the floor and walls can be straightened up and made stronger.

Until then (and that will not be any time soon since my resources are few: donations welcome), I am very, very happy with my little crooked kitchen.

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