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How to Build and Install Custom Storage Cubbies

Carter Oosterhouse shows how to take advantage of unused space by installing custom storage cubbies.

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Step 1: Create Rectangular Dividers

Cut the birch plywood down to size to form three rectangular dividers. In this example, the dimensions were 21-3/4 by 15-inches, but the size will vary depending on your space.

Step 2: Cut Poplar Strips

Cut down the 2-inch poplar strips so that two will cover the longer side and one will cover the shorter side of each divider. Then cut down a shorter piece of trim for the fourth side with a two-inch space on each end to form notches. These will later attach to a ledger and baseboard.

Step 3: Attach the Trim

Attach the trim to the edges of the dividers with glue and 1-1/4 inch brad nails. Remember that the shortest piece will be centered on one of the shorter edges and there will be uncovered space on each edge.

Note: A great trick is to hold up a small block of wood with the desired thickness next to the trim to ensure everything is nice and flush.

Step 4: Cut for the Top of the Cubbies

Cut more birch plywood down to size for the top of the storage cubbies. The tops in this project measured 24 by 96-1/2 inches.

Step 5: Cut Two Maple Strips

Cut down two maple strips the length of the top since that will give it more depth. The strips measured 96-1/2 by 4-3/4 inches in this example.

Step 6: Attach the Strips

Attach the strips with glue and nails so that they are 1-1/2 inches from the top and bottom edge of one side of the bench top. This side will be the bottom and will fit inside the dividers.

Step 7: Add a Strip of Poplar

To spruce things up and to cover the plywood grain, add a 1-1/2 inch strip of poplar with a rounded edge between the maple strips and the outside edge of the top.

Step 8: Add Decorative Molding

For more texture, attach a 1/2-inch decorative molding along the front edge so that it is flush with the top and partially covers the poplar. Next, stain the top and paint the dividers.

Step 9: Attach a Ledger to the Wall

Screw a ledger into the wall so that the notch on the dividers will fit snugly around the ledger and the existing baseboard.

Step 10: Attach the Dividers

Evenly attach the dividers to the wall if there are studs. If there are no studs in the wall you can attach to, a better option is to attach the dividers through the plywood beneath the floor. Be sure to use a level so each leg is nice and even.

Step 11: Secure the Top

Secure the top onto the dividers. Place some baskets inside the cubbies to enhance the usefulness of the new storage space.