Sunday, November 10, 2013

More kitchen progress

We have an old cabinet out of an optometrist's office. It has many drawers, an oak top, and is full of leftover lenses and prisms. It is also 8 feet long and 2 feet wide. I wanted it as a kitchen island but those dimensions weren't going to work. So Chris took a look at the way it was built and discovered something pretty cool - although the piece is definitely crafted (complete with dovetails and pencil notes from the craftsman), it was also designed in pieces. This woodshop must have specialized in cabinetry for stores and had a stock of drawer cabinets, shelf cabinets, tops, etc. Because it disassembled quite easily and we were able to choose the pieces that I wanted in the kitchen.

I was using a folding table that was 3 feet wide and 6 feet long. Here's a reminder shot of that table and a gratuitous picture of Cooper trying to make friends with the cat. She's decided that maybe if she lays down and croons at the cat then T'BD might play. Look at the cat's ears - she's having none of it.
Cooper tries to befriend the cat
Anyway. The cabinets separated into three sections, two drawer and one cupboard. We eliminated the cupboard and put the two drawer sections back to back. That gave me unit 4 feet wide and 3 feet long. 

Then I started cleaning. Murphy's Oil Soap on the exterior and bleach sheets on inside. This cabinet had been in various garages and storage units for years before we got hold of it. Lots of dirt and spider gunk had accumulated in the drawers. Yuck.
Desperately needed cleaning
While I was cleaning, Chris was figuring out how to support a temporary top. We didn't want to cut down the oak top until I was sure I liked the dimensions. So we bought a high grade sheet of plywood and cut it to fit.

One of the great things about building something like this yourself is you get to fit it to your needs. I'm short and most countertops are uncomfortably high for me to work on. So we designed this to suit me. Which is hilarious when my father or brother try to do anything at it as they are both over 6 feet tall. The good news is that if anyone in the future wants it taller all they have to do is add feet. Easy.
Figuring out the top
The drawer units were the right width but only 3 feet in length. I wanted 6. I've got a piece of bakery marble that is 2 feet and is destined for the end of the island closest to the stove. Since I'm not sure what I want under it as a support we decided to hold off installing it just yet. So we cut the plywood to 6 feet and left overhangs on each end. Chris added extra support on the end closest to the dining room table as that was deeper and we didn't want the top to sag.
From the right
The gap between the dining table's end chair (not shown) and the island was a bit tight so we cut an additional 4 inches off the top's length. Still plenty big for work space but a bit more walking room. Amazing what a difference that 4 inches made.
From the left
I oiled the top to protect it and now I'm going to live with it for a while to see if it's right. The right size, the right overhang, the right configuration underneath (I've already decided to shift things a bit). When I'm sure it's what I want, Chris will do the finish work to incorporate the marble, install the permanent oak top, and build out the shelving/cabinetry underneath.

In the meantime, I'm using it and loving every minute.

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