Clever Storage for Kitchen and Bath.
Keeping the Counters Clear
Problem: Your client uses every small kitchen appliance
ever heard of but wants the countertops to be kept clear.
Solution: We like to design workspaces behind closed
doors. A full-height pantry cabinet can be equipped inside with
countertop, electrical outlets, and pullout breadboards for
additional horizontal workspace. Most countertop kitchen
appliances are designed to fit under upper cabinets placed 18
inches off the countertop, so be sure to allow at least that
much space inside the pantry. Also, be sure to provide adequate
clearance for heat-generating appliances such as toaster
Problem: Brutus, the 150-pound indoor dog, eats in the
kitchen, and his food and supplies take up more space than
those of your clients.
Solution: Create a special drawer for his food and
scoop, as well as the leash, brush, and other supplies. This
deep drawer can hold one large bag of kibble and should be
placed close to the feeding station. If you want, you can put
the food and water dishes in an adjacent pullout or toe-kick
drawer: Pull it out at mealtime, and push it back when he's
done. The kitchen will be less cluttered with no big bag or
messy dishes to trip over.
Storing Everyday Dishware
Problem: Your clients' collection of fancy dishware is
displayed on open shelves or in glass-front cabinets, so where
do they store the everyday stuff?
Solution: Use a full-height pantry for storing dishes,
not just food. Pullout shelves on full-extension slides make it
easy to access dishes that are stored in back. These pantry
cabinets are usually much deeper than a typical upper cabinet,
and this allows for storage of big platters, chargers, and
mixing bowls, as well as everyday dishes and glasses.
Just Like the Restaurant
Problem: Your client is a professional chef and wants
her home kitchen to be as functional as the restaurant
Solution: Her restaurant kitchen is functional because
everything is within reach, not behind doors or in drawers.
Create open upper cabinets to stack cookware and serving
plates. This approach can be decorative as well as functional
if the dishware is attractive. An island can have open shelves
for large pots and trays and can allow easy access to bins of
vegetables stored there. The cook shouldn't have to turn around
or walk to another area of the kitchen when all six burners of
the professional range are in use, so hang utensils near the
range for easy reach at crucial times.
Recycling Made Easier
Problem: Where do you put the recycling bins that are
so common these days? After all, recycled items are often wet
or dirty, so no one wants to haul them across the room.
Solution: The 24x36-inch space under the sink provides
the solution. This pullout puts two bins in the work area,
right where the client needs them. The standard 10x14 trash
cans rest on a pullout attached to the back of a drawer front
that looks like a pair of doors. The cans are mounted sideways
to clear the plumbing, and there's room left over to store
shorter items in back.
Making the Most of the Lav
Problem: The client wants drawer and shelf storage in a
vanity, but the sink bowl and plumbing are in the way.
Solution: One of our cabinet subs suggested this
bathroom vanity, which has a 5-inch-deep drawer on the bottom
behind the cabinet door. On top of the drawer is a shelf for
storing taller items, making them easier to reach than if they
were on the floor of the cabinet. The drawer keeps smaller
items organized and off the countertop, and it can be made deep
enough to store extra toilet paper. There could just as easily
be more than one drawer, or the drawer could be accessible
without opening the door.
Blind Corner Engineering
Problem: What do you do with blind inside corners in
the base cabinets?
Solution: Everyone knows about the lazy susan, but some
of our clients prefer Häfele's dual-function slide-out
This trick gizmo especially appeals to our engineer clientele.
One wire storage unit is attached to the door, so that when the
cabinet door opens, it comes out into the room, pulling another
wire storage unit out of the dead space and into the cavity
left by the unit attached to the door. The door unit can then
open another 180 degrees to make access to the inside unit
easier. I don't recommend these blind corner units for heavy
things like canned food, but they're suitable for lighter
items.Susan Davisis co-owner with her husband, Bob, of
Spectrum Fine Homes, Inc., in Mountain View, Calif.