Woodworking Project: Coffee Bar Mini-Fridge Cabinet

One day I got a message from my softball coach from college telling me that she was looking for a piece of furniture for her office. I quickly gave her a call to learn more and by the end of the phone call, I was so excited! She said that she wanted a custom coffee station that incorporated her mini fridge. Since there is no official kind of furniture like this I knew it was going to be custom-built. I’m calling it a ‘coffee bar mini-fridge cabinet’…at least I am for now.

The first step was to get the measurements of her mini-fridge cabinet. It turned out to be 17 inches wide, 26 inches tall, and 20 inches deep. I had a vision of this rustic looking piece where her mini-fridge fit perfectly into and it also included a spot where she can display her coffee mugs.

I quickly sketched something out and sent it her way to see if she liked the concept.

She said, “Why am I in love with this right now?” Nothing is better than hearing your customer liking (or loving) your vision.
I took a trip to Home Depot to buy the wood that I was going to need. I also purchased a solid wood door from a seller because I planned on using that as the back part of this coffee bar mini-fridge cabinet.

The section I started with first were the sides to the cabinet part. I wanted to make sure that the height was going to be at least 3ft tall (normal countertop height). Since her mini-fridge is only 26inches high, I decided to include a space where baskets can fit right above the fridge.

In order to give it this rustic look, I bought 1×3 8ft planks and cut them at 36inches high. I needed 9 for each side so I had 18- 1x3x36 planks. I also purchased 2x2s and 1×2 planks to use as a trim for the siding. I cut four 1x2s at 25in, four 1x2s at 18in, and I cut four 2x2s at 36in.

I combined a dark grey stain with whitewash to create the look and color I wanted. I made sure to paint all the pieces and let them dry.

I started to assemble the 9 wood pieces side by side with some wood glue and screws. After the two sides were completed, I added on the trim. The 1x2s were laid on top of the 1×3 planks and the 2x2s were assembled on the side of the 1×3 planks.

The next part of the project was to cut out wood for the counter space and the shelf. The countertop and the shelf needed to be cut at 22×20. I painted those two pieces, let them dry, and then I screwed in one of the 22x20s to the top of the two sides. Next, I screwed the other 22×20 into the sides to make the shelf using L brackets. I screwed it at around 28 inches. After this was all done I was around 80% done with the project.

I wanted to add planks to the top of the countertop (like it looks on the sides) to tie it all together. There were nine planks that I needed to fit the countertop. I cut them all at 20 inches long. I alternated my planks using 2x4s and 2x3s. There were 5-2x3x20 and 4-2x4x20. After painting them I used wood glue and laid all the planks in place. I also screwed them in from underneath to ensure they were secure.

My next step of this project was to cut 2 pieces of plywood at 20×36 to fit the inside of the two sides. I wood glued and screwed them into the inside of the sides.

Now that the majority of the base was complete it was time to screw in the old wooden door to the back. I used around six 3in wood screws to secure the door into the back of the cabinet part.

I needed to add trim around the front cabinet to give it cleaner lines. I cut a 1×2 at 32inches long for the trim for the front of the countertop. I also cut 2 1x2s at 19in for the side countertop trim.

I cut trim for the rest of the front as well. The sides needed 2 pieces of trim at 1x2x28 and then another 2 pieces at 1x2x7. I also cut a piece of trim at 1x2x20 for the front of the shelf. I glued all the trim onto the cabinet.

We are 90% done now…woohoo! The next few steps are simple: cut, paint, and screw in the top shelf to the door, and add in cup hooks. The shelf length was 6x20inches. I used shelf brackets to screw it into the door. Lastly, I used three cup hooks and screwed them in.

I added some baskets on the bottom shelf and the project was FINALLY DONE!

mel with mini fridge cabinet

Check out the final piece!


I love how the piece turned out and so did my customer!

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Hope you like it!


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