Breakfast Bar Conversion to Storage Shelving

Added kitchen and dining room storage by building bookcases / shelf units to fit under the peninsula breakfast bar overhang. It's the simplest possible "box with a toe-kick", loosely based on Ana's plans for a bookshelf and the closet master system.

Much of the "working time" was stain and finishing time. Actual cutting and assembly time was under 3 hours.

No dimensions: every breakfast bar is different.

1 - The boards were cut to fit under the overhang, with 1/8 or less clearance. Top and bottom of unit is between the upright pieces.

2 - Width of units was also cut to fit. One unit is the width of the lower section of countertop (appx 23 in), the taller section was divided into 2 equal units (appx 21 in)

Shelves were cut about 1/4" narrower than the insiude dimension of the unit, to allow for insertion and the shelf pegs.

3 - Toekick space cut to match the cabinet on the far side of the peninsula. Used a circular saw and then a hand saw to finish the corners.

4 - Drilled pocketholes in the top and bottom boards.

5 - Used Rockler's jig for drilling shelf pin holes in the 6 uprights. Oops! I should have drilled every possible hole. I drilled every other hole and don't have the shelf flexibility I really need.

6 - Stained and topcoated everything, let it dry.

7 - Assembled each shelf unit, using corner clamps and a carpenter's square to make sure it was square. The bottom shelf is screwed at the same level as the toe-kick.

8 - Slid units under the overhang, shimmed them firmly under the countertop.

9 - Added shelf pegs and shelves


Doors could be added, using the hinges for inset doors on frameless cabinets.

The units are backless. I considered nailing a 1/8 hardboard back onto them, but because the finished back of the peninsula is visible behind them, and they are shimmed into place to prevent slouching it was not needed.

Cost is low because we had some 1x12 boards in the attic. Already had the tools and stain from earlier projects. 3 1x12 x 6ft boards were new, the rest were salvage.

Estimated Cost
Estimated Time Investment
Week Long Project (20 Hours or More)
Finish Used
Minwax Jacobean oil stain - one coat wiped on after light sanding

General Finishes gel topcoat - one coat wiped on
Recommended Skill Level