Kitchen & Bath: Cabinet Upgrades,
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).
A radiused countertop over a rectangular box can achieve much
of the same visual impact without the cost of curved doors
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.
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
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
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
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.
Shallow drawer inserts
include spice bottle racks in plastic or wood, as well as
utensil trays (below).
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.
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).Lis Sillimanis a professional kitchen and bath
designer with International Kitchens in Bellevue, Wash.