Even before we moved to this house, right after I first saw it, I had this idea for a coffee… thing.

You see, the kitchen in this house is tiny and cramped. The emphasis is on the cramped. It might actually not be that tiny, but I cook a lot, and I’m used to a massive kitchen.

We knew we wouldn’t be able to eat in there. That’s fine. It has a dining room. And then I thought “I can get more room on the counters, if I move the coffee making/breakfast bar to the dining room.

As the idea evolved it threatened to become a coffee shrine. I was going to get coffee sacks and put them on the counter part, and then epoxy them on. And on the back part, I was going to put a series of repurposed drawers, now with coffee advertisements on the back.


And we’re at a time of a year where epoxying in the workshop is asking for trouble. And I don’t have the time to paint the adverts on the back of the drawers. Also the used drawers I could find looked…. a little funny. No matter what I did to them.

And see, I plan to feed the cats underneath the breakfast station (One way or another it’s been like that for all our houses, and the current bosses resent not having their breakfast stuff near mine, so they can harass me for food before I eat.)

Yesterday the restaurant we went to for anniversary dinner was right next to Hobby Lobby (A massive hobby lobby) and I asked husband to let me go in for twenty minutes.

I wandered the isles not sure what I was looking for but sure I’d know it if I saw it.

The mini crates were 70% off. And there were reproduction old-fashioned (and old looking) wallpaper books) and….

So, today at 10 am I was going to assemble the coffee thing, then write.

Well, as it happened, I was going to assemble the bottom of the coffee thing.

But I didn’t stop.

Husband came in as I was (of course, look, I’m not stupid. Or at least not completely stupid) attaching it to the wall and said “What the heck?”

I explained. At which point he laughed and started singing Bob the Builder.

…. At first in my head I saw Sponge Bob Squarepants. And I thought he was telling me I was high.

Well, I’m not, but a writer in the grip of an inspiration is always a little peculiar. Even when the inspiration is for a coffee… thing. And my coffee thing is ALSO a little peculiar. So, I could understand if he thought so.

Anyway, here is a picture. NO JUDGING!


  1. Hey, whatever works! I have a tiny kitchen also – and my plot is to have a pull-out drawer at the countertop next to the refrigerator niche…

  2. I may be Crazy but I wondered “what’s so peculiar about that?” [Very Big Crazy Grin]

    1. I keep wondering which vintage. The backing suggests early 20th century (actual time, not ‘designer’ designation) or earlier. The table suggests, to me 1970’s or maybe (late?) 1960’s. But I grew up with stuff that what could be afforded and sufficed (or was cast-off) so my time-guessing might be… “just a little bit late” as the song goes.

      1. This is the epitome of vintage, as in “stuff collected over a period of years that we didn’t throw out because it might come in handy, and lo, it did!”

    1. “It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that my thoughts acquire speed the hands acquire shakes. The shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone that I set my mind in motion.”

  3. I was wondering what it was going to turn out like and what flavors of King Harv’s would be featured! Is that Camel Spider up front? Looks nice with some fun mugs regardless! I wonder if I shouldn’t expand beyond my usual few myself at some point…

      1. Thought so. 🙂 I haven’t had the Cameroon yet but I enjoyed Camel Spider while I had it and I’m enjoying Two Cats now! I’ve been switching between that, the King Harv’s Imperial itself, and, if I really need the kick, the Zate. I do plan on trying the others in the high caffeine collection at some point but the Camel Spider is my favorite of those and both Two Cats and Saturn have the best balance of flavor to caffeine so far out of those I’ve tried.

  4. Looks okay to me. What do I know? I’ve built dog houses out of pallets and plywood.

    (My dad, he built a cedar chest for his mother as his shop final.)

    1. Now all you need is a decent sized UPS so your coffee isn’t interrupted by a power outage.

      Fun fact, on submarines the engineroom coffee pot is wired into the vital AC bus, because even Rickover knew that a Bad Day (and if you’ve lost the non-vital busses you’re having a Bad Day) is worse if the Nukes don’t get their coffee.

      1. Looks at 1500W UPS units. Hmmm. Nope, would resurrect the percolator if we had a power outage that long.

  5. I would never have enough room to work on that surface, and I would NEED a hot plate big enough to scramble or poach eggs. Other than that, if it makes you and the husband happy and it works for all of you, felines included, then well done! Enjoy!

  6. Hey, it does the job. Remember, no committee could ever produce something as functional and improbable as a camel.

  7. That’s a coffee shrine. Can’t tell me it’s not. I can’t have coffee anymore (and have to regulate my black tea and chocolate intake *grumble grumble*) but I can still appreciate it.

  8. Nicely done and organized; everything you need and a home for the kitties! Mine have the kitchen table while we are adding on a room since they lost their real buffet cabinet—have to keep it away from the dog…

    1. I use a bench that is suppose to be for shoes (not sloped) in a closet. Will not work if you have dogs taller than 12″-ish. OTOH dog thinks it is horribly unfair that the cats can get into her food with impunity. Now to be fair they are more likely to go sniff and walk away with their noses in the air. One however paws walls and floor to “bury it”. Resource guarding by the dog? Oh H* Heck no.

      1. With cats that “cover it up” maneuver seems to be one of two statements 1) I’m saving this for later 2) This smells like crap and I’m burying it. I’ve only had one cat do/mean the latter. We had Hurricane a tan oblate ellipsoid of a cat who would eat darn near anything. When my elder daughter was JUST getting baby food we bought all sorts of stuff, including a jar of Beechnut beef baby food. We opened it and smelled it. Pretty much instantly we knew my daughter wouldn’t eat it. My wife turned to me and said ” Don’t look at me I’m not eating it, try the cats.” Our orange tabby Spike came to within about 5 feet of it puffed his tail and retreated post haste. Hurricane came up sniffed, then tasted. His body twitched like he had the willies, and then he “buried” the baby food. He then did an about face and stalked off in high dudgeon. That baby food and broccoli were about the only things that cat wouldn’t eat.

        1. With cats that “cover it up” maneuver seems to be one of two statements 1) I’m saving this for later 2) This smells like crap and I’m burying it.

          I know. It is just funny watching him do this. What is hilarious is I have to keep the food envelopes contained from him. It is BarkEats Chicken & Liver kibble, delivered in pre portioned in wax lined sealed manila envelopes. He’ll dig out envelopes, pack them off, and hide them, still sealed or not.

  9. It’s a great start! Needs more coffee staging…er, um, storage. My wife refers to my coffee consumption as “your legal addiction.” Harrumph. Plenty of coffee in my go bag, because after 5 days without power during Hurricane Fran, she declared her refusal to deal with me not having coffee.

    1. D’oro Espresso– comes in little glass jars, about 2/3 the size of a soda can– flavor’s OK, and it dissolves in cold water.

      It’s in ALL of our emergency packs.

        1. G7 3-in-1 Instant coffee is one of our Morale Boost standard items– only issue is it doesn’t dissolve in cold water for crud!

          I have the Thai instant black coffee for when we’re camping, but I’m the only one who can stand it– husband drinks it half and half with a chocolate pack.

          Both of us drink them with way more water than the instructions say, though!

  10. That’s nice. Very functional, too.

    You mentioning the smalness of your kitchen recalls the apartment I had in graduate school. It was five feet by twelve. One short side had the refrigerator (30″) and the stove (24″). The other had the sink and just enough counter space for the dish rack. Most of my gear, and all the food, had to go in the living room.

  11. Looks like you’ve been having fun! 😀

    For certain values of fun, anyway.

    As a practical matter, replacing the table with a base cabinet or vanity might an option. You’d have a lot more storage, and it would be cat proof. That can be an important consideration.

    1. No. This one is barely deep enough to accommodate things, so people can walk past it, between it and the dining table. Anything else would be deeper. AND it’s counter height, which is important in the morning.
      I don’t know what kind of cats ya’ll have…. I will be hiding the cords, but seriously we have a little rolling metal thing their food goes into, and which will go under this. it will be fine.

  12. I like it. Clever use of wall space. Now all it needs is a matching tabletop. I like Imaginos’ notion of a vanity-like piece there, could even be of similar construction.

    I’ve been eyeing the price of lumber vs the stack of pallets out back, considering that those pallets are mostly fir and oak, and that the crosspieces are just about the right width for paperback bookshelves… so yeah, you aren’t the only one thinkin’ that farmhouse chic is right practical.

      1. I read that too fast and my mind inserted an ‘s’ to make “springs”, and caused me to think of what kind of headboard could be made from leaf and automotive coil springs. Shudder.

        I like the coffee shrine. And hope you don’t use springs for your headboard. 🙂 🙂

      2. I built a headboard a loooong time ago. It incorporates a book shelf, bottom shelf for the alarm clock and other stuff, two duplex outlets with one switched, one unswitched each. A desk lamp plugged into one of the switched outlets makes a dandy reading light.

        Sometimes cats like to sleep on top of it, which is fine until they jump off. OOOF!!

    1. Clever design- it looks like you have almost everything you need for coffee and breakfast all together. I probably would have just scoured the used furniture listings for a Hoosier cabinet, baker’s rack, or kitchen hutch, but you had the joy of creative creation.

      I third the suggestion for a base with storage to make the most efficient use of the limited footprint.
      My thought was an old, probably painted wood, student desk with two drawers on side and one drawer over the knee-well. I’ve seen many examples that are approximately 48” long x 18” deep, so there might be one to fit your small space. This option would provide the knee-well for the cats’ dining area, at least one of the big drawers for extra bags of coffee, and the skinny drawer for cutlery.

      P.S. To add to the pleasant morning vision, I finished knitting your slippers and I can get them to you in January.

      1. I actually had the exact same thought about using an old wooden desk, of the smaller variety. Pull out the drawers and turn ’em into shelves, if desired. Would be a good aesthetic match. Old wood is always a good theme.

      2. I love the shelves! I can see a need for more counter space there, but that can wait for experience and all the rest of the unpacking to be done.

  13. I’m just looking at the hanging power cords and thinking


    I’ve gotten in the habit of using zip ties for attractants like that.

    1. We just got our first cat that chews on cables– and she won’t go for anything bigger than a USB cable, and then only when it’s got a rubbery cover on it.

      Her uncles look at you like you’re a moron if you try getting them to play with any “strings” that aren’t fluffy.


      1. Well, here in Florida there’s all kinds of non-fuzzy toys. Spiders, flies, palmetto bugs, geckos (technically anoles), snakes (red into black, venom lack. red into yellow is an expensive vet bill.)

        Power cords are cheap.

          1. I”m reminding of a friend whose cat had decided the top of the Franklin stove was a great place to sleep during the summer. First cold day had an emergency vet visit.

            1. We had a wood stove insert that took awhile to setup. Cats were all over that thing as it sit in the middle of the basement. First time we fired it up … We saw her jump for the top. Lots of leaping and screaming, that was us. She barely landed. Red paws, no blisters. Vet suggested some cream and lots of love. Scared the heck out of us. She was our first bottle baby. Lots of fussing over her, immediate trip to the vet. Current stove has a iron piece that deflects heat back into the room. Cats can’t easily just leap for the top, they have to get close enough to feel the radiant heat first.

              Reminds me. Now that kid feels better, need to get him splitting wood and finish off burning the wood pile. Hubby has finally admitted we aren’t taking any wood from home for picnic fires on our trips. Lots of reasons, but primarily other states do not want wood transported from other locations, not considered “considerate”. Canada really doesn’t want it. Plus half the time fires are banned anyway.

                1. We got lucky with Pippie’s encounter. Very lucky. The deflector on the current insert isn’t there to just deflect heat back into the room … That is the mechanical reason. Not my reason.

      2. >> “CATS!”

        Did you ever tame that one that’s been hanging around your place? If not, I have a little technique that sometimes gets the scared ones to let me pet them.

          1. We all know the rule: once you feed a cat, it’s stuck with you forever. 😛

            But she’s already leaving food for this one anyway, as I recall. It just won’t come near humans.

        1. As soon as we didn’t have highs in the negatives, she vanished again. We keep water out in the heated dish, though, and days when one of the kids say they saw a cat we put out cat food. (So far we’ve avoided racoons by being irregular.)

  14. Mid-century modern meets farmhouse chic for coffee. Love it.
    Glad that you are getting your house in order. Or at least beating it enthusiastically. 🙂

  15. Congratulations on your breakfast shrine! May you and your cats enjoy it for a long time.

    I enjoy your flights of fancy and your independent spirit. I wish you and your family a long and happy time together.

    We should have coffee together over the internet, when you have time. It might be very productive.

    Best regards,

    David St Lawrence

  16. I really like this. I’m thinking of re-creating it in my own house. Find some way to work this, and the picture, into a book. I’ll put a copy of that book on my coffee shrine.

  17. When you said “coffee sacks” I immediately thought of the large burlap sacks with loose beans, probably unroasted. I thought, “Hmmm, she’s really committed to this coffee shrine. I gotta wangle an invite!” Anyway, congratulations for scratching the obsessional itch.

    1. That’s exactly what I was picturing, too, sealed under 1/2″ of epoxy to make a smooth, wipeable surface.

  18. Happy anniversary, and congratulations on your unique new coffee shrine and breakfast bar.

  19. Good start, but you need to plumb a cold water tap so you don’t have to tote a pitcher of water every time.
    And does everyone at Casa Hoyt drink their java black?
    I’d put a mini fridge underneath, but as you mention, that’s already the cat feasting realm.

    1. I also thought a used mini fridge (easily available from nearby colleges dorms as people leave for a song). but that would intrude on the feline dining area and that can not happen 🙂 . I too kowtow to our feline overloads

  20. The mug display is clever! We have too many mugs and most of them are hidden away. That’s a far prettier solution.

    1. We stay with cups in cabinets–too many years in frequent-earthquake country to change our approach. (Actually, there was a fairly large one almost 30 years ago in the area, and the Cascadia megaquake would probably cause us some trouble in Flyover County, so it’s still a good idea.)

  21. MomRed would love one. Except the new kitchen countertops, and stove, and oven (not planned) and sink at the house budget. What was left after the Plumbing and Foundation Surprise and the Roof Renewal.

    We have a dedicated “teas and coffees” shelf in the pantry. Except . . . they now flow onto a second shelf. But I can stop any time. Really. I’m serious.

    1. You’ve seen our tea selection? It and the coffee has now all the way to the knife block, and forward across the counter… I have at least 3 square feet dedicated to drinkables. I’ve told my husband I’m planning on a concerted effort to drink it down to fewer choices.

      Which was working until I decided to use up the loose leaf assam by making a homemade chai mix, and then I wanted to try King Harv’s Papua New Guinea roast, and…

      1. I keep a running inventory spreadsheet of the teas I drink most often, which is updated whenever I have to refill some of the 4-oz tins from the 1-lb bags. Most are loose-leaf teas, the rest tea-bags. I try to keep a combined total of at least six pounds in stock of my favorites, and there are probably 2 pounds more of odd flavors I’ve bought but don’t drink very often.

        Right now there are twelve tins in the corner of the kitchen counter next to the 3-cup teapot and the electric kettle. The rest of the tins and all the bags are in two boxes stacked on the floor of the pantry. I brew at least a pound of tea a month, and rarely make the same variety twice in a row.

        My favorites are the high-grade Ceylon teas from Nuwara Eliya (currently from four estates), Indian teas (Assam, Darjeeling, others) and a very nice Kenyan black tea that looks like coffee grounds and has a bit of a grassy flavor and lots of caffeine. I have been slowly drinking up my older stock of Oolong teas and other Chinese varieties, and will not be buying any more. My miniscule boycott effort.

        This new-to-us house has about a third the counter and cabinet space that we were used to, hence the limited number of tins in the corner. (I used to have about 30 tins within easy reach on two wide cabinet shelves right over the teapot station. *sigh* )

        It’s nice to know someone else who appreciates good black tea! 😉

  22. Hey, I like it. But then again, my mother once lined the walls of her living room with wooden privacy fence that had tree branches sticking out of the tops (like there was a forest on the other side of the fence), so I have a pretty informed understanding of “cool, but not quite normal”.

    Mother also had her heart set on an upside-down Christmas tree that slowly rotated on year… we never figured out how to manage that one though.

    1. The lights would be the biggest problem, if you have a plant-basket-hook that would work for hanging it…. hm…

      Make a cone of sparkly green gauze and have a projector inside, so there isn’t a cord to get wrapped up?

      Guess you could have a normal tree with one of the battery operated spinners (like a disco ball) and use battery LED lights, now, too.

      1. Ever wonder how a tank turret spins without tangling the electrical cables? 🙂 Could totally do the same thing for a spinning tree.

  23. I like the concept, but…. I hate unused space, like that space under the countertop. A good place to put those drawers should you find some. And then keep the sugar and other coffee accoutrements in them along with a little stash of whatevers including napkins, and such. Oh, and put the coffee bag down there and a spoon bowl on the countertop. I suspect that like mine would, this one is going to evolve as you use it. I have long said, laziness is the mother of invention. (maybe some would say efficiency)

    1. Assuming the space ends up actually being empty (Because cats! We doubled our feeding-and-lounging area with a box on its side, for example, which ate a lot of vertical space…and now I’m picturing putting boxes on their side all through that to mimic the coffee mug storage….) she could always add in some “under shelf hanging basket” type storage.

  24. I’m judging.
    And I must say, I’m most impressed by Mrs. Hoyt’s choice of mate.
    (Mine would have reacted differently, and yes, I’m jealous.)

    The project itself looks nice.

  25. My son and his new wife were looking at houses. All but one were rejected – they were simply disgusting, unliveable. They signed a purchase agreement to buy the tolerable one and then discovered the kitchen paint was simply disgusting, unliveable, had to be changed before they could move in. And that living room furniture, what were we thinking . . .

    Two years later, it looks like a Hobby Lobby showroom, simply beautiful. But you know, that mirror really doesn’t . . . .

    Chill, Sarah. Live there for a while. Let the house grow on you. If something is Not Right, wait a bit and see if you feel as strongly about it six months from now, lest you spend the rest of your existence in DIY remodeling hell, endlessly seeking the newer and better, which I believe is the Fourth Circle.

    1. We were on a time crunch when we bought our house. Oh, we’d been looking for quite awhile but nothing was “perfect”. Between the mortgage up north and a good rental we were looking for “what we wanted”. Then for reasons the rental went up for sale. We made an offer. Rejected. Realtor convinced owner they could get more (didn’t but water, bridge). So we had to scramble. We didn’t close before the rental closed, but the contract specified they had to wait until we had moved (bless the owner’s heart). The day I found this house I’d looked at three places. The other two were trashed. Where trashed is every bit of what one would imagine. Looked like someone had decided to stop in the middle of premodel demolition, only this was back in the late ’80s when that type of thing wasn’t typical. The third house “only needed cosmetic work” (plus had room for hubby’s always wanted pool table). Cosmetic work – Wall paper, paint, floors, carpet, ceilings, kitchen. We did the wall paper, paint, bathroom, kitchen floors and cabinets were done in 90, after the baby was born, the house up north sold, both summer of ’89, and I went back to work, spring ’90. Rest of house and floors in 2001. Redid kitchen floor in 2015, family room and hall floors 2014. Upstairs floors will be redone again when Pool Table is gone (sold, just waiting for it to be taken). Bedroom floors should be redone, but we’ll see. Kitchen cabinets need stained again. It is time for counter top redo, and we need to paint … Again (I do not like painting). Oh and the stupid acoustical knobby ceiling needs to be gone. Well okay, based on the DIY, HGTV, remodeling shows there is a lot of things I’d Like to do that will never happen (anymore than building our dream house in our dream location). In some ways what we wanted in ’88, or even 2001, isn’t what we want now. Oh except two things: NO wall paper, and we like wood, but you can have too much wood. We have been here since 1988.

  26. Looks dang nice! All needs met and cups and toaster etc. Do like, and frees up that space in the kitchen.

    Beware of scope creep on epoxy projects. I’d highly recommend a couple of Youtube watching of Blacktail studio for some epoxy/river tables (guy makes some amaaazing stuff and gorgeous furniture over and over) and John Maleki, who is a big fun guy. Lot of neat stuff on both.

    Stone Coat Countertops as well. Their presentation can be a bit grating to me but dang does that guy know Epoxy. It’s like they sell it or something, oh wait.

    Either way on that kind of the above, Tyvek tape and Melamine base with a heatgun/propane torch as well for getting rid of bubbles as you go. Man I typed a lot more than I expected on this. Scope creep on epoxy indeed.

  27. That looks damn good! I’d be proud to have that in my house, but I’d need 4x for just ‘some’ of my cups…

  28. OK, I just wanted to make sure I understood this correctly. We’re doing fireworks for New Years for each timezone, plus the really big one for the Alternate Earth where Trump won in 2020 and made Adam Baldwin his press secretary?

    Oh, and the first batch of BBQ is ready. The terror bird drumsticks will be out in another hour or so. I hope y’all like dark meat!

  29. OK, just to make certain we got everything set up correctly. We are doing fireworks for New Years in every time zone, plus a really big display for the alternate Earth where Trump won in 2020 and made Adam Baldwin his press secretary?

    Oh, and the first batch of BBQ is done. The terror bird drumsticks and thighs will be ready in an hour – it took a bit to get the smoker set properly. I hope you like dark meat!

      1. *Glances at list* We’re a little light on salads. For some reason, the “adult beverage” and “dessert” lists filled to overflowing. Odd, that . . .

        1. The aardvark points out the greenhouses. The doors tend to open to either winter or bad places to grow salad ingredients.

        2. “We’re a little light on salads. For some reason, the “adult beverage” and “dessert” lists filled to overflowing. ”

          “Whisky is made from corn.
          Corn is a plant.
          Whisky = salad.”

          I fail to see the problem. 😎

  30. Oh, and pretend I did the work to write a mini-rant about how baseboard heaters are da debbil, if you’ve got to use electric heat look for the oil filled radiators. They’re much more efficient and you CAN move them, or even put a fan behind them to get a bigger room warm, cats and kids can’t stick a limb inside and get singed, etc.

    And they don’t set the house on fire!

    1. My apartment in the Midwest had baseboard heaters. That was the most jaw-dropping utility bill I think I’ve ever had. Late 1990s, $150 for one month’s electricity in winter, thermostat set to 65, one bedroom, one “everything else” room apartment. (The landlord had not covered the air conditioner, which didn’t help. I moved in in November and didn’t know about AC covers, and didn’t have a 20′ ladder to reach the AC unit.)

  31. >> “NO JUDGING!”

    Aloud, you mean? 😛

    Seriously, though, it looks fine. But I’d worry about cats trying to climb it and pulling out the coffee cups. Even if none of the ones you have NOW do that, we all know you’ll end up taking in another one eventually.

        1. Husband won’t let me have new ones till one of these dies, so hopefully not for years. ALSO we had a similar setup in the other house and the cats never bothered, even when they were little. Don’t ask. Weird cats.

          1. >> “Husband won’t let me have new ones till one of these dies”

            Heh. Like he’ll be able to make that stick when a starving stray turns up.

            Anyway, happy New Years everyone.

            1. Or just a stubborn stray. Resistance is futile.
              “Isn’t the universe a wonderful place? I wouldn’t live anywhere else.”

  32. Ermm…

    If you could find bulk of the pieces, you could probably make a few quid installing those at motel lobbies.

  33. A quick note from your coffee nerd friend…I have seen worse*, and I think it’s rather cute!

    *At my own house. My coffee space is at the shop. Shoemaker’s children and all that.

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