She Dreamt It, He Built It – The Craft Counter

Hello, Hello! Hope everyone is having a fabulous week! Today, I am really excited to show you some progress we have made in our “Cr-Office” (Craft Room + Office)!
Maybe not for every family, but for us, when we move into a new home, getting settled is a two-part process. The first stage is to get everything unpacked and put away so we can start living some resemblance of a normal life. The second stage involves re-visiting each room, closet, nook and crannie in order to determine the optimum way to arrange it, organize it, decorate it, etc! For us, the quickest way to get out of the first stage and into the second  is to have the packers unload every.single.box. Most families (that we know) don’t use this approach. They have the movers bring in the boxes and furniture, but set to unpacking each box on their own, one at a time, in their own time. There is A LOT of sense to that approach, because then you don’t end up with scenes like this…
Yikes. That is our house in the hours right after the packers left. Not a box in sight, but stuff literally EVERYWHERE! (by the way, we have gone back-and-forth about the benefits of having the packers do all the un-packing…and while we are left with a huge ol’ mess, we  find that we get settled so much quicker. To each their own, right?!?) Anyway…the whole reason I bring this up is because we typically don’t start craft projects and other DIY under-takings until the mess and unpacking is conquered. However, in the case of all the craft supplies…this mess…
wasn’t going anywhere until we checked off one of the biggest projects on our To-Do List for this new home! If you closely examined my Inspiration Boards for our Cr-Office that I posted last week, then you may have noticed a theme regarding what type of work and storage space I was looking for.  Here’s what I mean…
Although I can’t have the wonderful Craft Cave that I had in our last home, I was eager to have a large space that I could keep my craft supplies permanently accessibly yet out of reach of the baby. I  was also really attracted to the idea of 2 workstations, one for each of my sewing machines as well as  a permanent home for my Cricut (because then I would use it more!). My husband had a few days off of work, so we rented and loaded up a U-HAUL with all of our supplies to make this…my new favorite spot in our house:
Because I was nothing but a cheerleader and tool-hander-er during this endeavor, I thought this would be the perfect debut for my new blog feature called: “She Dreamt It, He Built It.” As I mentioned in this post, my husband has a heavy hand in a lot of our home projects as well as my blogging; and we thought it would be fun for him to narrate the projects he took the lead on! So without further ado…here’s Greg with all the how-to info!

Greetings to Megan’s Followers!
By now you have realized what I have known for a long time: Megan’s projects have a way of taking on a life of their own.  My two-cents that I will add in this section of the blog is to clarify how these projects were accomplished, the mistakes we made, and the solutions we came up with.  Neither of us are experts by any means but our insights might help you avoid pitfalls in projects that become “too big to fail”–more on this in a minute.  For now, on to the counter-top workstation!
Firstly, we needed to identify the scope of this project.  Did Megan need a small table in a corner or a 10’x10′ island in the middle of the room?  Ultimately she decided that she wanted a counter that stretched along the farthest wall in the Cr-Office…PITFALL ALERT–If you plan to do this, measure the wall!  We thought our measurements were accurate but you will find that there is absolutely NO way to make a countertop that is 12 feet long fit along an interior wall that is only 11 feet long.  This happened to us and we ended up having to adjust our plans as well as which wall this countertop workstation was up against.  LESSON: Measure and remeasure prior to buying materials.
As for the materials you can look at a quick list of what we picked up to assemble this project:

The materials set us back about $500 and we took full advantage of some July 4th sales for the cabinets which made up about 70% of the cost.  The countertop was purchased at a wholesale supplier who kept  a stock of 12′ long slabs (~$100) as well as shorter pieces.  You are probably scratching your head about the two 1x4x12 wood slats and we were too; you need them to lay across the the top of the cabinets so you can screw the countertop to them.  Now that all the materials are assembled lets get started!

1. We used our garage to space out the entire project prior to moving it indoors where there would be less room to work.  This is where we identified that our project was too large for the wall we wanted it to be on.  So we were presented with the problem of trying to return some items or trying to make the project work on a new wall.  Ultimately we decided that the location was less important and the adjacent wall would be fine…economic crisis (e.g. “too big to fail”) averted.

2. Next we drilled those 12′ sections of 1×4 on the bottom of the countertop.  This will come into play later when we attach the countertop to the cabinets.

3. You will notice that both of the 1×4 sections look close to the edge, but some of that is the angle of this picture.  The 1×4 closest to the front of the countertop (the waterfall edge) actually fits into a mitered edge.

4. Part of the materials for this project included an end cap kit which you can see a piece of in a darker brown below. Before moving the countertop inside, we attached the shim to the backsplash as it would be against the wall and too difficult to attach once on top of the cabinets.

5. Next we put it on top of the cabinets to ensure a good fit.  The side view gives a good illustration of the mitered edge mentioned in step 3.

6. We moved the cabinets inside and aligned them along our (new) wall.  PITFALL ALERT: If you plan on using any electronics on your countertop, ensure that you identify where your electrical outlets are located.  Our cabinets blocked two outlets so we used a flat plug head power strip (not shown) to have power available for Megan’s equipment.

7. Although these cabinets don’t look like they could tip over, we have a young guy at home and felt that we were better off securing them to the walls.  The floorboard made the cabinets stick out from the wall slightly so we had to use some shims to ensure the screws made a tight fit.

8. We placed the screws high on the interior of the cabinet with the shims between the cabinet and the wall.  You will repeat this step for each cabinet.

9. Once the cabinets were secured to the wall we brought the countertop into the room and placed in on top of the cabinets.  Although not pictured, there are some diagonal wooden braces on the cabinets that you screw through and then into the 1×4 that was screwed into the countertop in step 3.  You will repeat this step on all the cabinets.

10.  At this point the countertop workstation is up and functional but requires a few aesthetic adjustments to be complete.  The cabinets all came with toe-kick boards to place along the bottom of each one.  We were fully prepared to glue these on but were worried that the glue might get on the carpets.  As it turned out, the boards fit so snugly into place that they are just wedged between the cabinet and the floor.  No big deal…until we move again.

11. As noted in step 4, the end caps are secured after the unit is installed.  If you do not put the end cap on you will have exposed MDF.  First, it is taped on to secure placement.

12. The end caps have a glue that is heat activated; we used an iron to attach the end caps. Once the glue had dried, we filed down all the rough edges to fit the counter with a heavy-duty file (not pictured). 

When its all said and done, you have a nice space to do work AND a happy Megan!  Bonus!

Phew! It was quite a project, and I think Greg did a great job detailing it all. Since the cabinets went in, I’ve been hard at work organizing this space to a “t.” I’ll have all my organization solutions up for you soon! Until then, have a great weekend!

I am linking this post to:
Positively Splendid

Powered by ConvertKit

7 Responses to She Dreamt It, He Built It – The Craft Counter

  1. Awesome job! I did a similar thing for a four-station computer desk. I’d love for you to link up this (and any other ideas you’d like to share) at "One Creative Weekend" on OneCreativeMommy.com. (If you browse around a bit while you're there, you can see my desk. (Click on the "desk" tag.) I'm glad I saw your post. I just realized that I never posted the final desk–just some in progress posts! I'd better finish!

  2. Wow! You are one lucky woman to have a talent and accommodating husband like yours. I wanted a piece like this in my office but my husband wants the office as HIS sanctuary. Instead I want a much smaller version of this behind my pass thru/counter in my kitchen to match the new (2010)counters in the kitchen. I'm going to show this post to my husband and the person who helps him build it.

    Thanks Greg and Megan for the great instructions.

  3. Megan I totally love it! It turned out fabulous and I love all the storage space. Great job Greg!

    I always have the movers leave the boxes packed but it's SO MUCH WORK either way that maybe this move I'll experiment and see what happens if they unpack and leave it. Especially since it will be our first move ever with a baby crawling over stuff.

  4. This ROCKS so hard. I wonder if I could pull this off…I'm not much of a carpenter but this would be so amazing for me and my space.

    I just added your link to my page b/c I am really enjoying your blog. thanks 🙂
    Beth

Leave a reply