Cabinets for Dry Bar Hutch

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I hope I'm not overreaching, but I think this is the place for me to ask about my project. We started out looking for a free-standing cabinet to hold bottles of wine and liquor. That grew into a hutch that would provide some counter space and maybe incorporate our a 24" wide under-counter wine and drink refrigerator (with center opening double doors). Customizing an existing piece of furniture looks daunting and everything would just have to fit perfectly for that to work. We've found a few options that were built to accommodate a small fridge for $2,000 - $2,500 but I don't know how well they're made or what they're made of. That evolved to the idea of using kitchen cabinets to create a hutch I can control the dimensions of. I thought that might be cheaper anyway, but maybe not. It boils down to building something close to this:

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I'll be assembling this myself. I'm not afraid of RTA cabinets as long as the final assembly rivals the quality of fully assembled cabinets.

Our specs include:

5' total width +/- a few inches.

7' total height +/- a few inches plus a 3" angled crown molding. We're not trying to reach the ceiling.

White all-plywood shaker cabinets with a dark counter top. We like black wood or maybe quartz but I'm not too concerned about the counter top at the moment.

2 18" base cabinets, one door, one drawer each, two roll out trays each and a decorative end on the exposed side of each. A 24" opening in the center for the fridge. I'm not opposed to a drawers rather than roll out trays behind a door, but from what I've seen, it doesn't look like that's a cost-effective alternative.

2 glass-door 18" x 30" wall cabinets with a decorative end on the exposed side of each. A 24" opening in the center for a wine rack.

The wine rack adds a bit of complication. We prefer the X style to the lattice style. It needs to be 24" wide which is hard to find. I can build something similar to this:

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Between the wall cabinets and the counter top is an 18" tall work space. That space is enclosed to simulate the hutch look. I'm thinking two 18" x 12" doors, back-to-back on each end with a DIY plywood back panel. That space is topped by a board to separate the end panels but it does limit my options. I'd prefer a 12" tall space under 36" tall end cabinets (more cabinet space) and 24" of space under a 24" x 24" wine rack in the middle (taller counter space). But the full-width divider board doesn't allow for that. The divider would be DIY, 3/4" birch plywood with solid wood trim on the front and ends.

I'm planning to add a 1x4 or base board around the bottom to enclose the toe-kick area and, again, look more like a piece of furniture with an arched front board. That board would be removable so we can access the fridge if it ever needs to be serviced. I'm working on how to do that. ;)

I'm looking for opinions on improvements. We've talked to a kitchen designer who didn't give us a very detailed recommendation, just a picture and a price but the plan has since changed and she's not been responsive so we've moved on. I think she's busy with bigger projects anyway.

Another designer has shown more interest but she only sells Wolf Classic and Waypoint cabinets (plus some low-end particle board option). She recommends all-plywood Waypoint 650 over Wolf Expression Series. We like the Waypoint cabinets but they get mixed reviews online. Many people diss them as low-end junk so we haven't pulled the trigger yet.

What are your thoughts? If you were putting this project together what would you expect it to cost (2 bases, 2 30" walls, 4 18" doors for the work space ends, crown molding and toe kick)? Is $2,000 unrealistic for four cabinets? I think I can build the wine rack and other pieces for $500 more.

I look forward to your comments and suggestions.


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