Jun 16, 2023
You Can DIY a Better Over
I live in a city, but not the city, so my inexplicably teeny tiny kitchen tends to amuse my friends. It barely qualifies as a “room;” it’s more a small space carved out of a hallway and it’s
I live in a city, but not the city, so my inexplicably teeny tiny kitchen tends to amuse my friends. It barely qualifies as a “room;” it’s more a small space carved out of a hallway and it’s constantly cluttered with my various kitchen projects. There is no countertop space because I have almost no countertop. Since I also don’t have an under-the-counter dishwasher, I have to deal with figuring out where to dry my dishes with no space for a dish rack. For years, I tried foldable models; or flimsy, store-bought over-the-sink dish racks; or just piling everything onto a towel.
When I decided, early in the pandemic, that I’d had enough hand-washing dishes, I shelled out for a countertop dishwasher, but knew I couldn’t spare the space. So I did what any city planner does: I built up. And you can too
First, I mapped out the functionality I needed from my dream dish rack. I wanted a place where I could drain a bunch of plates, bowls, and containers. I also wanted it to be able to support my countertop dishwasher, which needed to be close enough to the sink to hook it to the faucet.
This meant whatever I built had to be really strong, so I immediately thought of steel pipe. I knew from previous DIY projects that you can get pipe cut to any size at Home Depot. The store will even engrave threads on the end so you can fit them together.
The hardware store can be time-consuming and expensive, though, so I considered other options. Shopping online, I found Pipe Decor Store, which allowed me to buy precisely the size of pipes I needed, down to the inch. They also had every single fitting I could imagine, even five- and six-way fittings.
Next, I had to design it to fit over my sink. I did not use the simplest plan, because I needed a spot for my dishwasher, but if you simply need a place to dry dishes, you can go a lot simpler: Just measure the width of your sink from edge to edge to create a simple rack with braces on each end. Because I was lofting something heavy, I used a middle support too; the important this is simply to measure carefully and sketch out a plan, which will help you understand which fittings you need.
You can order the pipe in black or galvanized steel, I chose galvanized. Once the parts arrived, I just assembled them per my drawing- they just screw together. I was so impressed by the strength of the structure, but at this point I just had an empty structure, no real racks to dry things on.
To give the dishes a place to rest, I looked for a cooling rack that would fit my frame. Above it, I placed a rack designed for pot lids. I used black, coated, galvanized wire to wire the grids to the rack. To support the dishwasher, I chose a laminated piece of wood and cut it to size to sit perfectly on the rack. I added some hooks to hang items off the rack, like a canister for drying utensils and one for sponges.
I’ve now been using this towering dish rack for three years, and aside from a little rust (and the overall absurdity of having it over my sink), I’ve had no problems with it. It holds a ton of dishes and keeps them off my counter. It’s a great option if you live in a really small kitchen, and you’re willing to put up with a little absurdity as a concession for extra space.