Building a Kitchen Bench with Storage

Jan 25, 2016 | 0 comments

The far end of our kitchen had been used by the previous owners as a small dining area. We decided to shift eating activity into the adjacent dining room, thus creating a space which we decided to fill with a storage bench. The idea was to build a bench with three drawer spaces for sliding wicker baskets. Here are examples of the effect we had in mind at the outset:

I approached the job in the same amateur DIY fashion as my first bookcase, namely sketch the basic design on the back of a proverbial fag packet and get on with it. I measured the bits of wood required, raided B&Q, and got stuck in. I constructed the frame out of lengths of 50x50mm timber. I wanted the drawers to sit a few inches off the floor, so I built ‘stilts’ on to which I screwed the mdf sheet that would form the base of the drawer space.

The stilts on the underside of the unit can be seen in the images below. You might also deduce that I later had to raise the height of each stilt by adding a wedge. This was to make the base of the drawers match the height of a piece of skirting I attached to the front. A pretty amateur mistake, but invisible on the finished unit.

With the frame complete, I used mdf sheets to form the base of the drawer spaces, side panels, and front of the unit. I used a load of left-over pine slats for the top. Incidentally, these pine slats came from a futon my wife and I were given when we first moved in together, so it is rather nice that they still more-or-less serve their original purpose. This somewhat legendary futon also crops up in my post choosing a sofa for life.

Finally I glued on the skirting, added some decorative edging round the drawer spaces, and lashed on a couple of coats of primer and white eggshell.

I am pretty happy with the result save for two elements that I plan to rectify in 2016. The first (and major) flaw in the design is that I can’t find any wicker baskets that fit perfectly into the drawer spaces. We have had to make-do with plastic trays, but it’s hardly the look I was going for. So job number one is to build some drawers. The second finishing touch will be to replace the battered old futon cushion with something better looking and bum-friendly. Watch this space.

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