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Kitchen & Bath: Cabinet Upgrades, continued

Turning corners. Curved or angled cabinet fronts and countertop overhangs can be effective in defining and accenting the space, but they definitely add to the cost of the cabinet package (below).

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A radiused countertop over a rectangular box can achieve much of the same visual impact without the cost of curved doors (below).

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Bendable plywood, covered with wood veneer, plastic laminate, sheet metal, or tile, is a great material for creating a curved wall on site at the back of an island or peninsula. Angled cabinets or fillers are useful transition pieces to bring the cabinet face line to a shallower depth (below). An angled cabinet also provides a neat way to widen a narrow room entry or soften the corners of an island.

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Framed inserts. Yet another way to add visual spark is to order doors "framed for glass" and substitute an unusual panel material like perforated or polished metal, wire mesh, chalkboard, plastic laminate, or art glass (below). Soft materials like rice paper or fabric are also good but may require backing material to make them lie flat.

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Beadboard panel or matching flat panels on the back of an island or peninsula can add substance and an upscale look to a cabinet installation (below). Door blanks also make great cabinet back and end panels. Door costs vary but are certainly competitive with most site-built solutions.

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Interior Details

Even though planning each cabinet's function can enhance the overall function of the kitchen, it is possible to over plan and lose flexibility. It's best to have a few cabinets with specific purposes such as the following and leave the majority to general service.

Roll-out shelves are very convenient, if not a must, particularly in a 24-inch-deep pantry cabinet. Small appliances and attachments, mixing bowls, stock pots, and lids all store nicely on roll-out shelves.

Deep drawers for pots and pans are frequently requested by clients. There are lots of inserts available for storing other things in deep drawers: peg boards for stacking plates and bowls; pot lid racks; bins for storing bread, flour, sugar, rice, pasta, or pet food (below). Food storage bins can be custom built of acrylic sheet by a local shop.

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Shallow drawer inserts include spice bottle racks in plastic or wood, as well as utensil trays (below).

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Some inserts are available from the cabinet manufacturer; others come in universal sizes and are cut to fit.

Pull-out trash bins are available as single or multiple units, depending on the width of the cabinet (below), but weight can become a problem with some roll-out units. My favorite solution is to set the bins in a drawer box on heavy-duty single extension guides, concealed behind an attached door front.

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A pull-out towel rack is a simple, inexpensive convenience under a sink. A more elaborate version attaches inside a roll-out filler cabinet (below).

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Lis Sillimanis a professional kitchen and bath designer with International Kitchens in Bellevue, Wash.