Open base cabinet shelving for my office craft room: Help!

I am going nuts. Here is what I want for storage in my office craft room space:

  • Base cabinets with open shelving that are 24″ front-to-back (like kitchen cabinets), so that I can add a 25″ deep work surface counter on top.
  • The overall installation needs to be 36″ high – also just like a kitchen.
  • On legs.
  • The inside sides need to have those little pegs on the side to you can adjust shelf sizes. I’ll add brass grommets.
  • In my dreams, chunky natural wood frame, with white shelves.
  • In my dreams and here’s where it gets really complicated:  I’d like the design to allow me to adjust the width of the shelves and back and therefore, the width of the cabinet to fit the exact dimensions of my space. Like: The legs and side pieces would be a fixed depth and height (24″ deep, 36″ high with the legs and counter). The width of the shelves and back (if you wanted a back) could be adjusted easily by cutting down the shelves or using different sizes of shelves.
  • Affordable — considering I am talking about a simple wood frame, and am fine with piney legs and MDF shelves.

Kinda sorta like the Ikea Varde freestanding kitchen cabinet unit (above) — but my design need to be shelves only and needs to be infinitely adjustable in width. Haha, that’s all I need: “infinitely.” Does anyone know of something available to suit my needs?? I have already spent, like, 30 hours online looking, and I am finding it’s constitutionally impossible for me to “settle“.

So far, the closest I am coming is the idea of using Ikea Akurums (1) in plain white (2) without the doors (3) put onto natural wood legs and (4) somehow, further framed by me in some kind of wood, to get the white-within-wood effect. However, this does not allow infinite flexiblity, as the Ikea Akurum shelf-only cabinets go only up to 24″. Also, I am not too keen on going the Ikea route. Ingredients of these pieces include and I quote: “Particleboard, Polypropylene, Melamine foil, Fiberboard, Acrylic paint”. I an not anti-plastic, just anti-plastic in this particular room quest. And third, even at “just” $70, this Ikea cabinets strikes me as overpriced compared to other items on their site. I think that because it’s called a “kitchen cabinet” the price is about $30 too high. For plastic, and those legs are even extra…

Meanwhile, I am doodling a design of my own — one that tries to use stock lumber and woodworking pieces — even though I have never tried to design furniture before.

Do you know of anything out there that might fit my demanding criteria??


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  1. TappanTrailerTami says

    Pam, this Varde is only $169 – no drawers, and no top so you can use whatever counter you want………..the one you originally posted on is $349.

    link broken

  2. lynda davis says

    Pam, are you looking at the kitchen brochure on the Ikea site? It is hard to find, but click on brochures on the bottom left and then click on the one for the kitchen. Scroll through the pages until you come to the cabinet drawings. On the top row is the cheapest melamine cabinet, go to the bottom line and it says frame only. that would be the price for the frame. Also, base cabinets go to 36″ wide, if you decided to use them.
    You can put anything you want into the frame–no doors, two doors, all drawers, etc. they are showing you the different types of cabinets so you can plan a kitchen. Many years ago they sold just the frames and you added what you wanted. I think people got confused so they now show the cabinets like most people would want to buy them. I have even used the 24″ deep refrigerator cabinets to make a window seat. The kitchen designers at the store are a little helpful, but sometimes not really creative. The corner cabinet, which you will need is not as handy as some of the other kitchen cabinet companies. Did you see the turquoise door on the door selection page? Another tip, check the as is section of the store. You might be able to find a wood countertop that could be cut into shelves. (or other useful items!)

    • pam kueber says

      alas, i cannot find the kitchen catalog you refer to… when i click there i get to an annoying 8-page marketing brochure (they asked for my zip and connected me to the new haven flyer….)

  3. Tracy A says

    I agree… Ana White is outta sight! 😀
    I’m sure you’re handy enough to be able to follow her directions!

  4. lynda davis says

    For interest, you could use some of the taller refrigerator cabinets and some of the lower ones. As long as every other one is a 24″ high one, the counter could go over the whole length. That would save a little money and maybe add interest. I just draw everything on graph paper to see how it will look. You could use the metal Ikea legs and then just cover them with birch strips to match your counter. I bet HD or Lowes would have birch 1″ thick wood. Also, I think this would work with a little planning–maybe your corners could be empty, but you could put a bottom on the empty space and make the counter in the corner a lift out with finger holes or a knob. Then you could store supplies like fabrics or something in the created corner bins. I have no idea if you understand this!
    Some birch legs–

  5. Annie B. says

    If it were my project, I’d draw it on paper and get estimates from locals who could construct it for me. You’d get exactly what you want and can make changes during construction if need be.

  6. says

    We’ve been having the same problem with our bathroom vanity, and have been down the Ikea road (and back). Finally found a basic vanity at the ReStore (for about $10, I think), and we put retro furniture legs on it (from Ace Hardware), and Cane added some shelves to the side of it. Don’t have the whole project ready to post yet, but we wrote about all the things that didn’t work. Like you, we got to a place where we were pretty particular about what we wanted. I think the ideas about finding an existing piece and modifying it are good ways to go.

  7. Katie says

    The doors are sold separately, because IKEA sells one set of base cabinets and offers a bunch of different door choices. I’ve never ordered online, but I know that in the store, you can just not have the doors added to the order.

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