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Custom IKEA Credenza to Hide Water Meter

by Chad Ludeman on October 31, 2008 · 3 comments

in Design,kitchen

On our site visit yesterday with Brian the Builder, we ran into a bit of a design issue that just sprouted its ugly head. The plumber on the job brought to our attention that since we don’t have a basement, we will need to install the water meter and main shutoff on the ground floor. By code, it can’t be on the second floor so the utility closet is out. Our second choice would be to put it on the side of the fridge in the back of the house, but that is most likely where we will be hiding our electrical panel and building code doesn’t like lots of water near lots of electric for some reason.

So we don’t have many options left. Brian suggested bringing it up under the stair and hiding it the best we can. I love the open stair and wasn’t crazy about this location, but we quickly came up with a good compromise.

We have been discussing options to add more storage in an affordable manner throughout the home. Once of those ideas was to build a modern IKEA Credenza out of AKURUM upper cabinets just like the one shown in the image below from Apartment Therapy.

IKEA Wall Mounted Credenza

This custom credenza could be built for as little as $200 and would add valuable storage to the kitchen/dining area while also providing another surface to display flowers, books, pictures or liquor. The simple, cantilevered design fits our modern and affordable design philosophy to a ‘T’ as well.

So what does this have to do with the water meter you ask? Easy. Instead of locating the water meter under the stair, we simply move it towards the back of the house a few feet beyond the stair into the dining/kitchen area. This allows us to bring the water main out of the slab and directly into the bottom of the credenza where the water meter and main shutoff will be hidden. This takes up one of our storage locations, but solves our ugly water meter issue on the first floor. Hooray teamwork and compromise. See my lovely diagram below illustrating the new setup. We just returned from the site where we confirmed the correct placement and by now, it’s long buried. Feel free to comment on your dislike, but it’s not changing now. Development is fun.

100K IKEA Credenza

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 cyndi November 3, 2008 at 9:27 am

That is a great idea!!! Looks good and functionally hides the meter plus adding more storage!!! Economical also!! Good job!

2 MORGAN November 3, 2008 at 5:39 pm

this is beside the point, but I was by the site earlier today and saw what certainly appeared to be SIPS panels in various stacks about the foundations. It’s all happening Chad

3 Alex Ferguson November 4, 2008 at 2:41 pm

I saw your twitter note about your solar-thermal vs gas-boiler comparison — I’d twitter back, but alas, I’m not twitter-savvy.

It’s hard to directly quantify the efficiency of a solar-based system. Sure, it reduces or eliminates conventional energy use for heating and/or hot water, but it also has real-world implications for your development, including added costs and system complexity, reduced reliability, increased use of heavy metals, and significantly increased design effort. For these reasons, statistics such as “Solar-combis reduce primary energy use by 55%” really only tell half the story.

I think you’ll be able to rule out solar-thermal heating without undertaking detailed analysis. The real problem with most solar thermal heating and combi systems (as opposed to stand-alone solar-hot-water) is that they have very low capacity factors in most of North America. That is, they’re only used for 6-8 months of the year, and spend the rest of the time inactive.

These systems are very expensive to design and install, and for most homeowners, it won’t make sense to invest heavily into systems that idle through much of the summer and shoulder seasons (when, paradoxically, the sun shines brightest).

Some researchers advocate increasing capacity factors using very large water storage, but these systems are even more expensive and require a lot of space.

A lot of recent interest has focused on PV as a primary energy source for space heating use in net-zero housing. Vastly simpler than solar-thermal, PV can meet most of a space heating load when coupled to a air-source heat pump or (gasp) electric baseboards, and exhibits much higher capacity factors because it delivers useful electricity during the summer months.
And anecdotal evidence from the Canadian Equilibrium housing initiative suggests that PV+ASHP and PV +electric baseboard systems (with the capital savings afforded by the baseboards reinvested in PV) are much more cost-effective than solar heating.

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