My husband, Bob, and I run a design-build remodeling company
in California's Silicon Valley. Many of our customers are
engineers, so they expect cabinets to be highly functional and
designed to fit their specific needs, in addition to being
beautiful. Our in-house designers work closely with local
cabinet shops to produce a tailored product. By rethinking
standard configurations, they're able to create unusual storage
solutions and make use of space that normally goes to
Leftover Inches Put to Good
Problem: What can you do with an extra 6 inches in a
run of cabinets?
Solutions: With custom cabinets, you can turn extra
inches into specialized storage that's tailored to your
clients' needs. In this kitchen, storage was added by turning
decorative pilasters into pullouts for cooking supplies
The same idea was used in the upper cabinets, where spaces
that were too narrow for standard cabinet boxes were turned
into pullout spice racks on either side of the stove
In another kitchen, drawers added between the dishwasher and
sink (below) are just big enough to hold foil or wrap and are
close to the workspace where they'll be used. The space they
occupy is so narrow that it would be hard to use it for
Bathroom vanities often lay out with just a little extra space
— and aren't there always a bunch of small items that
clutter up the counters?
We use the extra space by building tiny drawers for articles
like makeup, hair accessories, and medicine bottles (below).
The bottom drawer is narrow but deep enough for extra shampoo
bottles or bathroom cleaner.
Keeping the Cookbooks Close
Problem: Where should those cookbooks go? They need to
be handy but out of the way, so they aren't constantly
Solution: If you have an extra 9 inches or so on the
kitchen island, think about putting bookshelves on the ends
instead of the usual blank panels. The client could also use
this space to display a collection of salt shakers or
decorative tableware. One client, a professional chef,
requested a utensil storage rack on the island end because it
was within easy reach of the range.
Problem: Where can the client post the grocery list,
appointment reminders, and the kid's soccer schedule instead of
on the refrigerator?
Solution: We like to use something we call a "clutter
concealing cabinet," a shallow unit with storage and even a
bulletin board inside. The bulletin board can be on the back
wall of the cabinet or on the inside face of one of the doors.
Phone books can be stored in a vertical rack, and pens and
office supplies can be stored on shallow shelves.
If your client's daughter is the reincarnation of Rembrandt,
you can provide a display board covered with fabric elsewhere
for the art. The client can pin things up inside the frame, and
it will look like a planned piece of artwork. A less expensive
option is to use homasote for the bulletin board and paint it
to match the wall.