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Under-Sink Cabinets


This is a fairly simple little project, which I think vastly improves the useability of the cabinets located under the kitchen sink. The idea for this came from a recent issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine, which I was browsing at the library. (Sorry, I did not record the issue number, though it was likely from jan-jun 2004.) The sink and associated plumbing make for a crowded and awkward cabinet. However, there is still plenty of good storage down there. You just need to be able to more easily access and use that space.

The plan is to put in some roll out trays, on full extension slides. The cabinet doors are taken off the hinges, and attached to the trays, which turns the whole thing into a sort of large shallow drawer. You could leave the trays hidden behind doors, but then it becomes a two-step process to access anything down there. (open a door, pull out a tray) So we favoured fastening the doors to the trays. This also gives you a slightly larger tray, since you don't need door clearance

The trays can be divided into sections if you desire. In our case, the plumbing is mostly concentrated on the left. So on the right side, I have one big tray, and we use it to hold small appliances. On the left, I have the tray divided into sections. This keeps taller items from banging into the plumbing. The standard trash can goes in the front, and there is room in the back for cleaners or other supplies.

Are you lost? This is best explained with pictures, so read on.

First, you need the before picture.

Well, I don't have one.

You'll have to make do with a photo of the cabinets beside the sink. There they are; basic kitchen cabinets. They're kind of old and not in the best of shape. But they are functional. Furthermore, as I have young boys at home there is no point in replacing them until the boys get a bit older and less rough on the doors. Get it?

Now, here are the new improved under-sink cabinets in the closed position. Can you see the six screws which attach the door to the tray? Me too. I still need to purchase some screw caps, to cover them up.

Ideally, you want to screw into the doors from behind. Unfortunately, my old kitchen cabinets have just a 1/4" thick (thin?) panel in the doors. If you have a proper raised panel in your cabinet doors then you're all set.

I haven't bothered (yet) trying to fill the holes left from moving the door handles to the top of the door. The holes are very dark, and fairly unnoticeable, as is. So far, we plan on just leaving them there.

Right-hand side in partially open position. The tray is about 8" tall at the front, to provide a large surface to attach to the door. Then it slopes down to make a 4-5" tall tray, to give easy access to the appliances.

This new arrangement makes it far easier to pull things out of the back of the cabinets. I can believe that this would be much more manageable for people who have difficulty bending over.

Left-hand side partially open, showing the different compartments of the tray. In my case, the P-Trap for the sink falls over the back/right section of the tray. That section is "fenced off" from the rest of the tray. There is also a u-shaped cutout in the back/right to avoid hitting the trap as the tray is rolled in and out. This tray is also about 2" shorter (front to back) than the tray on the right, to avoid the water supply pipes.
And finally, the left-hand side in partially open position, now full of stuff.

So there you have it. SWMBO loves it, and that is the opinion that counts.


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