What you can do with that empty space in your kitchen or home
I am one of those people with a home built in a development. I fell in love with my home on first walk through, regardless of the yellow walls and funky mustard color surrounding the fireplace. I saw all the potential through the paint, and frankly not my typical style. One of the biggest mistakes home seekers make is not being able to see past paint on the walls and minor upgrades. If anything, you may land a great deal. On the flip side, not everyone is cutout or wants to hassle with renovations.
Our home to be had two of empty nooks or odd spaces. One in the family room and the other in the kitchen.The family room nook was next to the fireplace and my guess- is was meant to hold a TV. However, I either had to find a console to fit nicely in that space or build it out to something much better. We did the later. Super easy, yet nice. Future post.
The empty space in our kitchen was actually caused by us. It had a small builders-grade desk in it when we moved in that was kind of short and small. We ripped it out about a year into living in our home, thinking we would be remodeling our kitchen soon, but life got in the way. Nearly four years later it was still an empty space which became our trash area. We ended up putting in a pool first.. so the kitchen had to wait. Eventually I got tired of the empty space in the kitchen and found a great idea. I was searching Pinterest and had seen a couple of nooks with cabinetry in them. One in particular had two cabinets, a wine frig on one side and open area for wine bottles. Ding, Ding Ding…..
The idea to build something similar popped into my head. Between this DIY Beverage Bar Pinterest idea and a Pottery Barn hutch that my sister had refinished with an “X” wine holder, we came up with a great idea. My goal was to have a pullout trash can and recycle bin in one cabinet and be able to hold our wine in a free-style shelf like the X. Here’s the pullout trash can we picked up from Amazon. I think in the end it came out much better then what I had envisioned. While working on the space, we decided to enhance our space further and put wood surfacing spanning the entire back wall, plus create shelving out of iron plumbing and wood (more visions from my late night Pinterest escapades). A perfect place for coffee cups and even wine glasses.
My coffee and wine bar is now one of my most favorite things about our home. Your space may be different depending on where it is and how you want to enhance it to your desires/needs, but this post will give you the gist of what to do. If your space is wider, add a larger cabinet or two to fill it in. It’s super easy to modify to fit your space. This post will talk about painting the cabinets, but you can easily choose to stain your cabinets instead. Just substitute your favorite color stain where paint is used on the cabinets. I recommend General Finishes Gel Stain. You can use it as a paint or a stain. You may also opt to use something like chalk paint or General Finishes Milk Paints. Both are great options.
How to build a beverage station in a weekend
Supplies needed for painting:
- Ready-to-finish Cabinets
- Zinsser Cover Stain, STIX Waterborne Primer or your favorite primer
- Benjamin Moore Advance Paint (Waterborne and excellent for wood), or your favorite paint/stain
- Paint spray gun (Graco Paint Sprayer is recommended)
- Artist brush for nooks/crevices (optional, but recommended)
- Large drop clothes – I prefer canvas
- Small bucket to test spray gun
- 4x4s or other device to raise the cabinets/wood off the ground while spraying
- Micro fiber cloth, tack cloth or something to remove dust after sanding.
- 220 grit sandpaper
- Painters brown paper and tape
Supplies needed for staining the wood
- Large plastic drop cloth (for staining the wood pieces; more on this later)
- Danish Oil – Dark Walnut
- Minwax Express Color – Walnut
- Gloves (I like disposable Nitrile gloves )
- 220 grit sandpaper
- General Finishes Polyurethane Flat
- General Finishes Polyurethane Satin
Supplies needed to build the Coffee and Wine Bar
- White Chalk Paint (upper shelves are stained on bottom, chalk painted and distressed on top/sides)
- Large pine board (or your choice of wood), to make the counter & cabinet shelf/ wine-X holder for inside the cabinets.
- Long pieces of 1x4 pine boards for rustic wood wall and sides
- Wood for Toe kick. We choose a decorative toe kick from home depot.
- Wood trim for sides of cabinets. We choose a decorative trim from home depot.
- ½” Iron plumbing for industrial shelves
- Miter Saw – I love the Makita LS1216L 12-Inch Dual Slide Miter Saw with Laser
- Electric Drill – I use the Makita CX200RB 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Sub-Compact Brushless Drill (it packs power and is perfect for that DIYer who does many home reno projects.
- Painter’s Latex Acrylic Caulk
- Jig Saw – Again I love Makita. It’s a great idea to own a brand that you can use the lithium batteries universally between the line. Check out the Makita XVJ03Z 18-Volt LXT Lithium-Ion Jig Saw
- 2.5″ wood nails and 4″ screws
- Elmer’s Wood Glue
- Liquid Nails and Gun to apply
Prepping the Area
First and foremost, plan out your project, then gather all your supplies! Take a pen and paper or in my case, grab the ipad Pro, and sketch your idea out. I am no artist, but to make simple lines with a ruler and jot down dimensions is easy for just about anyone. It’s super important that you take dimensions of the space, ie; width, height, depth. You’ll need this to buy your cabinets, for cutting wood to fit the back wall, etc. Planning will save you time in the long run!
After you’ve gathered your supplies, create an area to sand, cut and prime. Basically your work area. I used my garage and laid down a large canvas drop cloth for painting. My hubby did all the cutting outside of the garage.
The Cabinet & Wood
We picked up ready-to-finish cabinets at Home Depot. My hubby and I just walked the isle and found two cabinets that would fit our space and that we could modify ourselves. Originally we were going to buy wood, and one cabinet door face/hinges, to build the cabinets ourselves. But while at HD gathering other supplies we noticed they had decent cabinets. The drawers and doors were all real wood. Not to mention each cabinet we needed was only $60 bucks a piece! We would save so much time by not building the cabinets ourselves. Our space was 38.75” wide, so we picked up two identical cabinets that were 18” wide. This left us with 2.75-inch in the center; perfect space to use pine board in the center of the cabinets.
We headed to the wood isle. We needed a slab of wood for the counter, custom shelf and the Wine-X holder. We went with a large ¾-inch pine board. For the sides of the counter, we grabbed 1x4s made of pine too. We picked up lots of these because they would also be used to cover the back wall. We were sure to pick up imperfect boards that would have a natural rustic/distressed look.
Originally we purchased some Pergo flooring to use on the back wall, but after bringing it home and sitting on it overnight, we decided we wanted to custom make the backsplash, using real wood. So glad I did!
We then picked out a decorative toe kick for the base and two pieces of decorative trim for where the cabinet sides meet the wall. This completed the supplies needed.
If you don’t want to custom make your own wood wall, which involves staining and/or painting depending on the look you’re going for; you can use ready to use panels or even peel and stick wood walls. Here’s a DIY peel and stick Barn Wood Wall application. Here’s a tutorial for another option to make your own barn wood look out of real wood. Here’s RoomMates Distressed Wood Peel and Stick Wall. Here’s East Coast Rustic DIY Brown 3.4″ Sealed Reclaimed Wood Wall – Do it yourself genuine barn wood. There’s many more paid and ready to use options on amazon and at hardware stores such as Home Depot.
Here’s a real wood wall plank that we ended up using for our small bathroom project. (Coming soon). The wall we were covering was small enough that the cost was not too bad. We spent about $160. But large enough that it would have taken us a lot of time to achieve this same look ourselves from raw wood. We found these in our local home depot and they had other options as well.
To save money, making it yourself is always a great option and way to get the look YOU want, as we did with this project!
Here’s How to Build a Custom Coffee & Wine Bar
This project only took us a weekend to do, but we spent the week gathering supplies to prepare for the weekend. The labor was performed from Friday night to the end of Sunday. My hubby always does the cutting and measuring. I do the rest. Here are the steps we took after gathering our supplies and creating our prep area.
Steps to modifying & installing the cabinets
- Measured the depth and width of the opening for the cabinets.
- Selected unfinished cabinets from Home Depot (as mentioned), to fit.
- Hired an electrician to move the outlet which was low, to a higher position so it would be above the cabinets.
- Removed base-boards and cleaned the area.
- We dry fit the cabinets in place. We knew that our cabinets was not an exact fit, but knew we could use a piece of wood to close the gap between them. We placed one cabinet on either side of the wall, so we could measure the small gap in between the cabinets.
- We moved one of the cabinets back to the garage to attach this board to it.
- Using a miter saw (slang – chop-saw), we cut a pine board to fit the space between the cabinets. The height of the board needs to align with the top of the cabinet.
- We secured it the board to the side (front edge), of one of the cabinets, using wood glue (Elmer’s Wood Glue). We used strong clamps to clamp the board to the cabinets. Allowed to dry for 24 hours.
- We brought the cabinet back with the attached board and placed it back in the nook.
- We Secured the other cabinet to the other side of the board, using wood glue.
- Using 2.5″ wood nails, we secured the back of the cabinets into wall studs.
- Secured the cabinets together even more by using a 4x4 in between the cabinets and secured one side of each cabinet to the 4x4 using 2.5″ wood nails. From the cabinet, into the 4x4.
- Attached the decorative trim to both sides of the cabinets that were against the wall This gives a more complete and finished look, closing and small hairline gaps between the cabinets and the wall.
- Attached the toe-kick to the bottom using glue
- Cabinets were painted using a spray gun, and allowed to dry after this. See below steps on painting.
How to make the custom wine X-holder and shelf for the cabinets
See our diagram in the gallery for a visual guide of how we made the X-holder
- We use engineered 1/2″ pine boards. We cut two identical pieces of wood to make the wine holder.
- First we determined how high we wanted the shelve that would rest on top of the X-holder.
- Measured the depth of our cabinets where the X-holder would fit in place.
- Measured the height diagonally from the bottom right corner of the cabinet to the upper left of where the shelf will sit.
- We then cut out two identical pieces of wood to the height we measured and the depth of the cabinet (this will be your board width).
- We then cut the boards so that we could connect them together, which formed our X was put together. We made a rectangular cut in each board, to match the thickness of the board, so we could slide the boards together. The cut went from the outside center to the inside center.
- At the center of the boards we marked it with a pencil. We then drew a line to the outside of both boards. The cut was made to accommodate the thickness of the other board which would be slide in. For example, if your board is a 1/2″ thick, you will cutout a rectangle shape, all the way to the center, a 1/2″ wide.
- Using a jig-saw, we cut the thickness of the board from the outside center to the inside center. Basically cutting over the line we marked with a pencil. Both pieces of wood required the this same cutout so we could slide them together.
- We then cut another 1/2″ board to the depth and width of the cabinet space to rest on top of the X-holder, giving us a shelf and closing off our X at the top.
- Primed and painted the shelf and wine-X holder as directed below under priming and painting your cabinets.
Steps to painting the cabinets, cabinet shelf and wine-X holder
- Laid down a canvas drop cloth in the garage and then a few 4x4’s to lay the door face, trim and toe kick on.
- Lightly sanded the front of the cabinets and toe-kick with 220-grit. Just a quick once-over.
- Hand primed the cabinets, toe-kick, door face, x-holder, custom wood shelf and trim with a nylon bristle brush and STIX Waterborne Primer.
- Once the primer had dried, hubby positioned the cabinets in the open nook. He placed the decorative trim on the sides with wood glue and finishing nails every 12-inches. I flipped over the door, shelf and wood for X-wine holder and primed the opposite side.
- I used Painter’s Latex Acrylic Caulk in the gap where the cabinets met. This just gives it a more solid finish and removes the look of “two cabinets meeting together”. They were not perfectly aligned so you could still see the line. But if you align them well, you can soften the line.
- Using brown paper and painters tape, I covered areas of the wall I did not want to get sprayed with paint.
- Loaded my Graco Hand-held Spray Gun with Benjamin Moore Advance in Simply White Satin and sprayed my first coat on the cabinets. I then sprayed the door, wood for X-holder, shelf and toe-kick in the garage “spray station”.
- After 16 hours, I sprayed everything again.
- I flipped over the door, shelf and wood for the X-wine holder and spayed these. I did two coats, waiting 16 hours in between coats.
- Once all had dried I applied General Finishes High Performance Polyurethane in Satin to all painted surfaces, following the label directions. I applied 3-coats of poly, waiting 2 hours in between coats.
- Once all was dry, we slide them together and we had an X. We inserted the custom made “X-wine holder” into place. This was done by placing it through the top, before the counter-top was secured.
- We then placed the custom made shelf on top of the X-wine holder. This just rests on top, nothing is secured. The X-wine holder is very sturdy and the self does not slide around. It’s a near perfect fit to the sides of the cabinet.
Finishing the counter-top
- Once the wine X-holder is installed and the shelf placed on top of that, we installed the counter and wood backsplash. We placed this through the top of the cabinets, before the counter top is installed.
- We used two pieces of the 1x4 inch pine boards to create a backslash for the sides. This was cut to fit after the wood wall was installed.
- Measured the top area (width and depth) to cut the counter top down to size.
- Next we stained the counter and backsplash boards.
- I used our project table, drop cloth and saw horses to hold these items off the ground.
- Wearing gloves, I applied the Dark Walnut Danish Oil to counter, side boards and one side of the shelves. I dumped this on liberally and allowed to sit for 30-40 minutes. I wiped this off using paper towels.
- After the boards dried, I used Minwax Dark Walnut Gel Stain and buffed around and off using paper towels. I used these two types of stains to give it more of that rustic look and take out some of the “yellow” color from just using the Danish Oil. It’s not a strong yellow, more like undertones, but using the Walnut Gel Stain in took that away.
- I waited for all this to dry and then applied General Finishes Polyurethane in Satin to the counter and sides.
- We placed the wood counter top on and secured it in place with wood glue and finishing nails. Added the left and right side, also using glue and finishing nails to secure to the wall.
- We used finishing nails and liquid nails to secure the counter it to the cabinets and the side backsplash. Make sure the finishing nails are used where there is a stud in the wall.
Here’s how I stained the pine boards for the wood wall
- I laid out a plastic drop cloth so I could throw it away when done. The Danish Oil is liquid form and I dumped a good amount on each board. Which pooled up, ran-off and left lots of extra on the plastic drop cloth; to give you and idea of how much I used.
- Wearing gloves, I took the 1x4 boards that my husband cut and laid them out on top of some 2x4s. I then dumped the Danish Oil on top and spread around using a sponge brush. I applied generously, making sure to get all the sides too. The backsides did not need to be stained.
- I let these sit for 25-40 minutes. I came back and wiped all the Danish Oil off using paper towels.
- I did not need to do the backside since they would be against the wall.
- After about 2 hours, I applied the Minwax Dark Walnut Gel. I rubbed it on and buffed-in over each piece of wood; then buffed off, one by one using paper towels. I went heavier in some areas and allowed it to sit a minute or so longer before buffing off. This helped give a more “uneven” rustic look.
- Later I applied General Finishes Polyurethane Flat finish, after they were mounted to the wall. I used a flat finish so the wood would look more natural. If you want a little shine, go with a satin sheen.
Steps to cutting and building the wood wall
- Measure the width and height of the remaining wall, from the top of the counter to the ceiling.
- Used this to calculate how many 1x4 pine boards were needed to make the wood wall. Make sure to examine your wood, choosing flat pieces of wood that are not warped. If they are warped, they won’t sit flush on the wall.
- First cut all your wood (using a miter saw), to fit the full length of the wall and then you will cut each piece to stagger after. You may have a different way of preparing the wood to cut for staggering, but one way would be to simply use a pencil to mark your cut on each piece of wood, so you end up with two pieces. Making sure the lengths vary. If you’re wall is very long, you may do more than two staggers per row. Also, you don’t have to stagger the wood, that style also looks great.
- Now, once all your wood has been cut to fit the back wall, cut each pine board to your desired lengths so it appears staggered. For example, if you have a 20-inch board, you might cut that in two pieces, such as 8-inches and 12-inches. You would then cut the next level differently to give it a staggered look. Number the back of the boards so you will remember where each board goes. For example, number 1 might start at the bottom left corner and 2 would follow and so on. We cut the wood 1/16″ longer than the required length to fit the wall, to accommodate for loss of wood via cutting with the saw blade.
- Leave 2 whole pieces uncut. The shelves will be mounted to these. If you’re not staggering your wall, you will already have full length pieces.
- Install the wood by starting with board (1) and so on, working your way up. We glued each board to the wall with liquid nails.
- When we reached the electrical outlet, we cut the boards to accommodate this. Keep this in mind if you have an outlet or other object.
- When we reached the level that the shelves would be hung, we then glued the single width board in place. These were further secured into the studs when the shelves were installed with 4″ screws.
- Continue gluing your boards all the way up to the ceiling.
- Use an outlet spacer to bring the receptacle (outlet) flush with pine boards.
- Allow the wood wall to set for 24 hours. We also used 2-inch finishing nails through for extra strength.
How we created the upper shelves and secured them to the wall
- To make the two shelves, we purchased 10-inch deep shelving.
- Cut them using a miter saw to nearly the width of our space.
- Stained the bottom using the Minwax Express Dark Walnut Gel.
- I painted the top and sides in Valspar Chalk Paint. I just so happen to pick this up while at Lowes. You can use any chalk paint. I often use Folk Art Chalk Paint. I used a white color. I applied 2 coats, following the label for dry times. I was able to recoat after about 1 hour. Chalk paint dries super fast.
- After about 2 hours, I used 220 grit sandpaper to distress the edges a little. Do this to your taste. I didn’t go crazy. Just lightly distressed. I used micro fiber cloth to remove the dust.
- I applied a coat of General Finishes Polyurethane in Satin to the chalk painted surfaces. I applied 2 more coats, waiting 2 hours in between each coat. Total of 3 coats.
- We used industrial 1/2″ galvanized plumbing to create our shelves.
- We used 2- 10″ pipes per shelve, 2 – flanges and 2 caps.
- The flanges were screwed into the full length wall boards, one on each side, of both boards to accommodate two shelves.
- The 10-inch pipe was then screwed into the flanges.
- We added caps screws on one end of each pipe.
- The shelves rested right on top. Easy way to make shelves that look cool.
- Here’s a kit for Industrial Pipe that could be used for shelving, or buy each piece separately. Here’s a 10″ galvanized pipe. Remember to make sure your board will fit! A 12-inch board will not work for a 10″ pipe and so on. Here’s a 1/2″ galvanized flange. You can use 1/2″ to 1″ and your choice of color pipe. Home Depot or other plumbing supply stores are also a great place to find pipe.
To maximize my time, I always work on other things in between “drying” times. For example, I might stain the shelves and while they are drying I would start painting the cabinets.
In summary, the steps should be: plan your space, purchase supplies, make your cuts, dry fit the cabinets, finish any cutting if there are modifications to the cabinets, prime the cabinets by hand or install the cabinets, decorative side trim and then spray the primer, once the cabinets and side trim is installed spray your paint (topcoat). During the process of preparing the cabinets, you should prime and paint the components going inside the cabinets, as well as staining the wood wall boards and shelves. Then install your wine-X holder, shelf, counter, wood wall, and last install your shelves.
I cut and stained or painted all the wood before installing. The only thing I painted after it was installed was the cabinets. If you decided to stain your cabinets, I would probably have done that before installing them, but you can still always do that after you install them. Since I was spraying the paint, I felt like it would be easier to apply the paint to the cabinet boxes, decorative side trim and toe-kick, after it was installed and secured to the wall. You can imagine how easy it would be to dent or ding the paint job had I done it before hand. By applying after, I was able to ensure I didn’t muck up my paint job!
The last thing was did was add our hardware and installed our pullout trashcan. I love the pullout trashcan and it’s great because you can use one as a recycle and one for trash.
Should you ding or scratch your paint, you can fix it super easy. Lightly sand the area and spray a new coat. You an learn more about how to paint like a pro on my blog post “painting like a pro” or watch my video “how to paint cabinets and get professional results“. I also have a “quick guide to painting cabinets” for those who want simply steps and not all the details.
We are now thinking of selling our home, and I can assure you, I WILL be making this in my new home and any thereafter. I absolutely love love love my beverage station! It’s one of my favorite things in my home.
What’s your favorite feature in your home or project you’ve done? Share below in the comments section at the bottom of the page!
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I'm a daughter, sister, twin, mom, wife, aunt, friend, designer, kitchen gadget craze, tech nut, home improvement enthusiast... I love the many hats I wear. My two kiddos are my world. I love reading and writing. I started writing as a graphic and web designer providing content, then started my own blog JennyLeeBlogs which progressed to Perfectly Inspired. I'm an Account Manager by day and Blogger/Web Designer by night. I'm your everyday, 9-5, non-frilly, OCD, driven lady who tells it how it is and my posts will reflect this. I am me, as you are you ~ Love and Respect One Another 🙂