Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Art of Making Space

There's valuable storage space under the staircase and I finally felt it was time to take advantage of it. I had cut away the sheet rock last week and spent the next seven days looking at it, trying to see what I can do to maximize the storage capacity, make it look great and pay as little as possible. Luckily I had saved 5 sets of Blum Tandem drawer glides from a previous cabinet job, this saved me $100. Today's cost was $25 for a sheet of cabinet grade birch plywood. The Depot got some shipped in from China. From what I understand at Panda Kitchen, the Chinese manufacturers import wood from Russia and Canada and then export the plywood to the U.S. The quality isn't bad considering I can get 3/4" plywood with two smooth side for this price. This sheet good is used for drawers and shelves, so the look is not as important. I would spend more money on the visible or primary wood, so you do get what you pay for. There's plenty of challenging obstacles to overcome from this project. The goal was to put shelves and drawers between the studs. The hard part was that the studs were crooked and out of plum, so mounting the drawer glides on the stud took a little more than trial and error. I could build a plywood box between the studs to make them square and plum for the glides, but that cost more money and makes the drawer even more narrow. So I opted for harder way because today, my time is free. So this is all I have to show after five hours of work. At this point, I have no idea how the unit would look like in the end. I might take ideas from the built in fridge I had made out of the pantry in the kitchen. Now, before you start shoving major appliances into the cavities of your house, understand how the unit works. The fit was tight, but I knew the compressor was at the bottom of my fridge and the fan pushes heat from the bottom of the unit. Another precaution I took was to leave a 30" x 6" gap behind the shelf over the Fridge to let the heat escape (heat rises). This is the reason why i never made doors over this unit. This would've been a failure if I this cabinet guy didn't know something about refrigeration. Now, back to the stair case, if I didn't know this was a load bearing wall, then this would also be a total failure. That's why I having so much design issue with this project and the studs will have to be integrated into the design. Actually, the design would have to be integrated into the studs.