idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

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KristenS
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by KristenS »

If you're looking for simple drawers (and if this sort of newfangled thing is kosher in your lovely old house) then you can use slides of this variety:

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Then all you need to do is build drawer boxes at the right size.

I like this type of slide because it doesn't require much space. You save all the space for the drawers.

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sooth
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by sooth »

Kristen, not to trash your idea, but I'm a cabinetmaker, and I have used these slides OFTEN. I know them as Blum 230's (because that's the company and slide model, etc). The PROBLEM with them is that they work really great if your cabinet opening is square and precise. If your cabinet isn't straight, parallel, and square, you will run into problems. Having seen the cabinet in the photos above, I'd say that it does NOT look straight/square/etc.

Instead, I'd suggest going with a different slide. You can use a pair of regular full extension slides (these guys: http://www.edirecthardware.com/img/prod ... 2_GRP1.jpg), and mount them on the BOTTOM of the drawer (and then just screw the tracks on the shelf). This would also give you the full extension feature, which you don't get with the cheapie Blum 230's (which don't open past the last 3-4 inches at the back), AND you would get a much nicer look since the slides would be hidden underneath (not visible on the sides).

That's assuming you'd want to add the drawers to the cabinet in the first place.

Here's MY opinion on the cubby cabinet:

This option would be a LOT of work, but I'd get rid of the entire thing. I'd also go through all the trouble to extend the banister to the back wall (which would require getting a matched handrail and spindles made). I'd also see if the tall column could be removed (dunno if it's load bearing or not), and I'd get rid of that half wall too (assuming that it's not covering any plumbing/hvac). Then you would have one large open corner near the stairs. You could put a nice comfy chair and a reading lamp, or a small bookcase and some artwork, an armoire for linens, or whatever.

My second option would be to remove the existing cubby, then redo the small wall past the banister (it looks a bit sloppy because of the way they joined it at the top). I'd also be tempted to fill-in the open "window opening" in the wall next to the column (it just looks strange to me - I don't like half walls). Then I'd probably make either a built-in or a freestanding piece of furniture to fit the space. Probably either a hutch style (wood doors on the top and bottom with open table top in the centre, or a tall armoire/linen closet.
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KristenS
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by KristenS »

sooth wrote:Kristen, not to trash your idea, but I'm a cabinetmaker, and I have used these slides OFTEN.
You didn't trash my idea at all -- you educated! That's awesome!

These look much better. But I've got one question (after the picture):
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With those, how do you screw them in? Can you separate them and screw one part to the cabinet, and one part to the drawer? Or do you screw the whole thing to the cabinet, and then have to perfectly line up and balance the drawer against the constantly sliding already attached piece while you try to screw it in with an old B&D power drill/screwdriver that only holds half a charge?

(As you can probably now tell, I use the crappy ones cause they're really simple for people who don't know what they're doing!)
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sooth
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by sooth »

These slides are technically designed to be side mounted, but they work equally well as undermounted slides. The slides DO come apart, and depending on the company, there's either a lever that you push flat, or that you have to push to one side.

To line them up, the easiest way would be to make a centre line on your drawer and your cabinet, then measure from that line (let's say you have a 20" drawer, I'd go to maybe 8" off the centre line to end up at around 2" from the sides) then you'd also mark the cabinet the exact same (in the case of the example 8" off centre on each side, and I'd assume that your opening would be something like 20 1/4"). Then you just use a square and draw a straight line front to back basing yourself on the cabinet front, and your drawer back (or front - since your drawer should be perfectly square if it's new). The holes in the slides are all lined up in the centre, so you'd just attach them where needed, and then carefully slide the tracks back together until they click in place.

Some of the more expensive full ext. slides also have built-in "soft close" feature (but they cost a bit more). We use ones made by Accuride. They come in many sizes in 2" intervals.
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MsErickson
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by MsErickson »

Sooth-
I would love to get rid of the entire thing. The half wall isn't hiding anything...that area used to all be a wall...and my ex removed part of it, but was worried that beam he found in the wall would be load bearing, so he left it. My house actually used to END there...and over the years more [2 additions on separate occasions] was added to the back of the house.

I wish I knew if it was load bearing or not :( Part of me thinks not, because well...this is really hard to explain...when you come up the FRONT stairs in the house [which you can see in the background of the 3rd photo] the ceiling is sloped. You cut over to the back hallway [where I was standing when I took all the other pics, and there is no sloped ceiling...it's open WAY up. you go into a bedroom to the west of this hall - sloped ceiling. You go to the bedroom to the east, sloped ceiling - but sloping the opposite direction.
This weird little nook is smack in between 2 staircases. "Front" staircase is a straight run that was added when they made the house a duplex and tore out the open stair case in the entry. This staircase empties out down into the front parlor.

"Back" staircase I think is semi-original....it empties out down into the dining room...but I can see patches in the floor that it must've curved at the bottom in the past, right into the kitchen.


is there any easy way to find out if something is load bearing? or do I need to call in an architect?

Thanks!

sooth
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by sooth »

Sure there's an "easy" way... just yank it out, and if your house doesn't fall apart it's not load bearing, hahaha. Honestly, there are ways to find out, but you should be able to figure it out using common sense, and doing a bit of research.

Generally, load bearing walls and supports will follow a straight path from the upper floor down to the basement. Usually you will have a few walls that follow the centre beam of the house, and go all the way up. The other walls then tend to be spaced wherever they're needed (like closets or between rooms) and they won't really line up with any walls on the main floor below.

In your case, it's harder to tell (because I don't quite follow your description: I'm really visual) because your house has been added-onto. Was there an original wall where the post is now, or was that just a dividing wall that was put there later? What's above this, just attic? Etc. If you're really not sure, then you're better to get an expert who can tell you for sure.
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superbeetle
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by superbeetle »

A PO removed a load bearing wall in my dining room when it was remodeled in 1918 (the plasterer left the date on the wall). It managed to survive that way until 2008! My carpenter said that old houses are sometimes held up by memory! I found out because I wanted to fix the sagging ceiling and discovered that it was the joists that were sagging.

The worst part is that In the last 30 or 40 years, someone took up the floor of the room above, leveled it out with 2x4s on top of the sagging joists, and put a new floor in! I can't imagine what they were thinking!

MsErickson
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by MsErickson »

Ok, I took some pics that will hopefully help make sense of my weird corner :)

this is standing in the front of my house, facing the area where the weird nook is. it's behind that half wall. Notice how the ceiling above the halfwall is sloped.
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This is standing in the back of my house, facing the nook/builtin/post. Note how the ceiling is open...even though it's sloped on the other side of the half wall.
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The I ran down into my basement. The red arrow is pointing to where the waste line was cut off for a toilet that used to be on my main level, directly above. Directly above that, is the area with the post. I pointed that out in the first photo with a red arrow also. I don't understand why the wall is so thick behind it, then open to the left.
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Last edited by MsErickson on Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

MsErickson
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by MsErickson »

This shows how open it is in the basement to the left of that thick wall. I have the arrow pointing in the bottom right corner to give you a rough idea where that old waste line is.
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Then I walk around to the other side of that thick wall...and that header beam that I pointed out in the pic above...does not go all the way thru. It stops before it gets to the waste line area.
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Back up on the main level, this is the weird thick wall in my house. That door behind it is the closet that the toilet I had removed was in. This wall is directly below the post/curved ceiling area upstairs.
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I honestly think that wall is so super thick on the main level bc the house used to end there. But upstairs, the wall(s) around the random post area aren't anywhere near that thick....they're normal.

I contacted a structural engineer yesterday. Hope I hear back from him.

JamesReed
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Re: idea for a builtin for weird vacant space.

Post by JamesReed »

If it were my house, the half wall would disappear and that spot would become a floor-to-ceiling bookcase. We never have enough bookshelf space. And personally I'd be nervous having an un-edged shelf right above the stairwell, for fear of stuff falling off the shelf onto somebody's head.

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