“People love not having a lot of small appliances on their counter,” says designer Tracy Cimba. “Hiding the microwave behind a cabinet has been a big trend.”
Enter a unique pocket door system that Semihandmade customers can create on their own or with the help of a pro.
“On a scale most easy to difficult, [creating an appliance garage] is at the higher end,” she says. While it’s technically a DIY project, she warns that you have to be savvy to correctly place the pocket hinges, plus have access to a table saw to cut the cabinets correctly. Get Cimba’s best advice below.
Appliance Garage 101
Eighty percent of the Chicago-based designer‘s projects now include some kind of appliance garage, thus she “developed tricks using IKEA and Semihandmade,” she says.
To begin, one must understand the structure. To create a full-height “garage,” use a 30′”x 20″ IKEA fridge cabinet at the top. Mount on the wall with 26″ x 95″ side panels (cut to size as needed) and connect at the sides with screws from the interior of the cabinet.
The middle section does not include an IKEA cabinet, but rather 40″ Semihandmade pocket doors with two sets of pocket hinges attached to side panels. Here, one can create custom internal shelving for a coffee bar, storage, and more.
Next comes the base with a 30″ x 30″ IKEA cabinet. Cut this cabinet down based on countertop thickness. For instance, if your countertop measures 1.25″ thick, then you take that same amount off the base cabinet so the doors can slide in and not hit the counter.
The counter will sit on top of the base cabinet and drawers can be installed as normal. The top of the drawers or doors should align with the top of the internal counter.
“You can use similar instructions if you want to do an on-counter pocket door system,” Cimba says. “Take two side panels that come down onto the counter and attach the pocket doors to the left and right of the panels.”
When planning a pocket door installation, consider the width of the doors and depth of the pocket to determine how much the door will remain outside the pocket.
Make It Yours
Appliance garages aren’t just for appliance and pantry storage. Customize it with floating shelves, internal tile, or wallpaper.
“We’re currently doing a double-sided pocket door system with a walnut coffee bar on one side and a cocktail bar on the side that faces the living room,” she says.
Hide your TV within a media center, use Cimba’s technique for a simple work-from-home set-up, and more. “You can use it for everything,” she says.