I’m not sure if I would call this one a design flaw or an implementation flaw, but either way I will take responsibility for the issue. Of course I’ll also take responsibility for the solution. If I wanted to install my wall oven as planned, it would mean adding support to the Barker Cabinets.
In the last post I showed you how I modified my kitchen cabinets to fit around an existing HVAC line, which used to be hidden by an ugly soffit. That was a planned modification. This was not.
You can clearly see in this picture that the cabinet under the wall oven was sagging. A lot!
In a misguided effort to make things easier on myself, I bought the appliance case from Barker Cabinets, which set me back $256.95! (All the ordering details can be found here) Of course I thought about making my own cabinet for the wall oven, because it is literally just 4 pieces of plywood screwed together to make a box. Ok maybe 2 more smaller pieces on the back, but still. Because I ordered the special wall oven cabinet from Barker Cabinets, I didn’t think the wall oven would be an issue. In fact, I thought this would be one of the easiest parts of the installation.
In fairness, the issue did not occur with the appliance case itself. The issue was with the base drawer cabinet it sits on, and more importantly the fact that the base cabinet is wider than the appliance cabinet.
You can also probably tell from the picture above that the top of the base cabinet is not a solid piece of plywood. It’s two smaller pieces about 6″ wide each. These pieces also don’t rest on top of the side pieces, but instead sit inside the side pieces. This means they aren’t very strong!
The base cabinet would probably have been up to the task if the weight of the appliance cabinet was evenly distributed to the stronger side pieces. Or in other words, if both the base cabinet and oven cabinet were 36″ wide.
But I did not want a 36″ wide oven cabinet. If I went with a 36″ cabinet, it would have 3″ buffers on each side, which I thought that was ugly. It was also wise, I thought, to add more between the refrigerator and the wall oven. I research and stalked Pinterest for months to see how far apart people put their wall ovens and refrigerators. I obsessed about it. And then I decided I didn’t want them next to each other, for reasons of hot vs. cold and worry about handles bumping into each other. I decided I wanted a 6″ buffer.
Buffer Cabinet Next to the Refrigerator
My solution was a thin 6″ cabinet, which I decided would conveniently hold cutting boards and baking sheets. I love using this cabinet!
Unfortunately, Barker Cabinets messed up my original order and didn’t send one of the side pieces to this cabinet. I installed the remaining cabinets, and the wall oven, without it. I think this exaggerated the sagging problem because the corner of the wall oven cabinet fell squarely on the thin top supports of the base cabinet. Had the appliance cabinet been attached to this 6″ cabinet, more of the weight would have been distributed to the sides.
I’m going to take the delay as a blessing. I probably would not have noticed the sag otherwise, or made my fix, and I think the cabinets are better off after my modification.
So what did I do?
I ended up adding support to the Barker Cabinets to make it work.
Well first I had undo all my hard work. Cabinets had to be unscrewed from one another, from the wall and even the floor.
When the base cabinet was free, I took it out and tried to figure out how to add strength without it being noticeable from the outside. I could have put a solid 3/4″ plywood top on, but I didn’t think it would add much support. The issue was still the fact that it would be resting inside, as opposed to on top, of the side pieces. I was too lazy to cut 3/4″ off the top of each side, but that would have allowed me to run a 3/4″ piece of plywood all the way across.
Ultimately, I decided to use 2x3s. If I notched 1.5″ out of the side pieces, the 2×3 could sit on top of the sides and I would only lose 3/4″ of internal space. This did require me to move the drawer-in-drawer down ever so slightly, but I made it fit. The drawer functions properly and no one is able to tell there are 2x3s inside the cabinet. I won!
Planning out the notches…
Testing to see if the 2x3s would fit…
They worked! Here they are all installed.
I reinstalled the appliance case above, but this time I attached it, in multiple places, to the slim 6″ cabinet next to it. They should function more like one unit now. This is the left side of the inside of the appliance case. I count at least 5 screws along the front edge of the cabinet.
The top cabinet had to be reinstalled as well. Then the bridge over the refrigerator was finally added. The bridge cabinet was also missing a piece in the original order, so it was quite a feat to get the cabinets on either side of the refrigerator to line up properly without the cabinet between them missing. It worked out in the end! I win again!!
We lived with a pantry wall sans doors for a few months because who wants to deal with paint!?! It might not have looked as nice, but it was super convenient for accessing the inside of the cabinets.
Final steps for the pantry wall — paint the doors, decide on hardware, frame the whole thing out, and make the toe kick. Oh and I can’t forget the side wall, which is still a work in progress.