The idea for the built-in beverage center came from the same place as the under counter microwave: our friends/neighbors who enlisted Cody to help build theirs. Both of our kitchens originally had built in home offices. Remember when those were all the rage in the 80’s and 90’s? Well since we use the formal living room as a home office it left this space’s purpose obsolete, so we decided to follow our friends lead and put in a beverage center complete with built-in wine and beer fridges.
This project almost didn’t happen because of budget restraints. See these fridges are $400 a piece at Home Depot, and with the budget noose tightening around our necks with the unexpected expense from replacing the sub-floors I just couldn’t justify spending $800 on coolers for our alcohol. Luckily for this project, our friends who have their own beverage center put us in contact with a local appliance retailer who buys appliances off Home Depot trucks (returns, scratch and dents, extras ect). The retailer usually sells these fridges for $175 a piece, but our friends had already talked him down to $150. When Cody got there; however, the wine fridge had a small scratch on it and he was able to talk the guy down to $125 for both fridges if we took the scratched one! That’s a $550 savings over the retail price and just like that this project was back in the game.
We wanted the fridges to be built-in, not just sitting in a corner all by their lonely selves. Before we installed them we added a new electrical outlet underneath the existing one on the back splash (you can see it in the middle of the orange square below). We started by screwing 2 x 4s into the walls to create a frame to screw the cabinetry paneling into.
Next, we moved the fridges into place and screwed on a cover panel to the 2 x 4s on the right side. The cover panel came with our Ikea cabinets and hence already matches them, but you could also use MDF and paint it to match.
Then we added primed 1×2 pine pieces to the front of the 2x4s to create that built-in finished look we were going for. The pine got two coats of paint that was colored matched to the cabinets then we installed the new butcher block counter top.
Finally, we installed glass front Ikea Adel cabinets above to hold all our alcoholic glassware. I find it incredible that we have literally 4 times more glassware for alcohol than we have for non-alcoholic beverages. As you can see from the picture below we still need to replace the existing electrical outlets and plates and install the new back splash (hopefully next weekend!)
Here’s what they look like inside. Apparently the wine fridge holds something like 50 bottles, not that it will ever probably see even half that many. Although I’m taking donations…..
And one more view:
I feel so swanky now. Like I should put on a dress, make a martini, and host a cocktail party. It’s hard to believe that just over a month ago we started with this: