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Ikea apron sink cabinet hack

Ikea cabinets are great, but their modularity can sometimes become constraining. Case-in-point: Ikea sink cabinets are really only designed to receive Ikea sinks, which don’t have the best track record. We wanted a solid slip-cast fire clay apron front sink and not have to make a completely custom under sink cabinet Ikea apron-front sinks have two options, 25- or 37-inch widths – we needed 30-inches to make the kitchen work). With a little thought and reinforcement – solid cast sinks are heavy! – we converted a 30-inch over fridge cabinet from Ikea into a perfectly functional under-sink cabinet.

Supplies

Tools

  • Circular saw

  • Miter saw

  • Hand saw

  • Drill

  • Clamps

  • Pipe wrench

Assemble and dry-fit unmodified cabinet

I built our 30” over-fridge cabinet leaving out the MDF back to allow room for the plumbing connections. I put the cabinet on 4 Capita-style legs and adjusted the height until the cabinet was level and then marked out where to put the Sektion wall mount for the back of the cabinet. I did a dry-fit of the cabinet directly centered under the existing window, and also placed the dishwasher and stove in line with this (I built a custom open cabinet for the space between the appliances).

Trace out sink drain, cut out, and add reinforcements

Grace and I positioned the sink on top of the cabinet to trace out the drain (make sure to also overlay your garbage disposal on top of this initial trace to allow for clearance. I didn’t and ended having to cut it after everything was already in place – which is way harder!) I then cut out a section with my circular saw that was tangent to the traced out circle and square to the front edge of the cabinet.

Next I added supports made of 2x4s to the middle of the cabinet, since I was worried it wouldn’t be able to support our 100 lb solid-cast fire clay sink. I secured these with 2 inch screws through the top and bottom just to hold them in place.

I then had to raise the sink up about 5 inches to line up with the top of the rest of the cabinets. This worked out well since we had extra 5” toe-kick from Semi-Handmade, I just had to miter one end and glue a small piece to cover the exposed MDF. I made this cut on the side of the dishwasher since it would be mostly covered up. I also had to make a small frame/stand out of 2x4s for the sink to rest 5 inches above the top of the modified cabinet. I fastened everything together with 2 inch screws and glued and clamped the toe-kick piece on the front frame section making sure to get the cabinet door gap just right.

One thing that I did not foresee was how crooked I had made the frame, so getting the sink level proved to be difficult and not only because it weighed 100 pounds. This created a half-inch gap between the top of the toe-kick piece and the sink. We ended up solving this issue by making a drip rail out of red oak, which was definitely not planned, but was a really nice addition to the space.

2 Comments

  1. This is so clever! My husband and I are hoping to use your tutorial for our kitchen – the link that you included to the cabinet is for the 20″ cabinet – but it looks like you might have used the 15″ cabinet and a 5″ piece of trim? Let me know! Thanks 🙂

    • Yes, you’re right – it is a 15″ cabinet


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