When we first planned our current kitchen over fourteen years ago, one of our main goals was kitchen storage. It’s not a bad goal, and it’s probably a reasonable focus when you are also in the midst of planning a wedding and the UPS man is on your doorstep every few days with a new box with a gift that needs to find a home in the kitchen somewhere. Our kitchen is a nice size – roughly 11′ x 16′, so you can fit a reasonably long galley wall of cabinets that can hold a lot of stuff. Because our ceilings are so high, we went with taller upper cabinets – 42″ instead of the more standard 30″. Those upper cabinets hold a lot of things – but a lot of those things are higher than I can reach. Plus, the shallower depth of an upper cabinet is no match for the kitchen appliances we own – and I’m not willing to sacrifice the limited counter space to house them. They now float around to various temporary homes, which is a lovely look in our living room or dining room.
The more I cooked in the kitchen – and the more residential projects I was involved with at work – the more I realized that added volume did not always equal added storage or added accessibility. One of my favorite examples of this is this Balthaup Kitchen (I know, Balthaup! I went to a showroom once in Boston and it was painful to extract myself from that place).
Outside of the island with sink, (and possibly some additional dry goods storage) the entire kitchen resides in two cabinets.
Everything is right there. If I gathered up all the things I listed in this post, that’s what they would look like.
If I had a squarish room with large enough proportions to hold a nice central island like that, I’d certainly consider a freestanding storage piece like this. The price tag is hefty – but I challenge you to install enough base and upper cabinets plus drawers and appliance garages and countertops that hold that much equipment for less.
Since we don’t live in that lovely pristine white box above, we need to incorporate storage underneath the largest expanses of countertop we can fit into the space. So drawers are the way to go…
Unlike base cabinets where objects go to get lost, drawers are completely accessible – and you don’t have to squat down to see what you are looking for. If you pay some attention to what you want to store and tailor your specific drawers sizes to fit them, you would be amazed at what you can store within them. For me – my goal is to maximize the capacity and accessibility underneath the countertops, and eliminate all closed in storage above the countertop.
Two systems I’ve used in projects for clients are this Haefle peg system with round or triangular pegs that can be arranged and rearranged to hold different sized objects in place.
I’ve also used this system from Blum – it’s really handy because you can adjust those handles to accommodate various plate sizes, and then lift a complete stack out to set the table in another room, or to transport from dishwasher back to drawer.
There are some lower cost options as well, like these drawer dividers from IKEA.
And you might laugh at me, but I’m also thinking about storage and dispensing options for parchment paper (I go through a lot of the stuff when I’m baking), plus foil and plastic wrap. Blum makes some pretty sweet organizers and tools to make those drawers as efficient as possible.
My head is currently stuck in a stack of test prep materials, and it’s taking a lot of willpower to keep focused. My favorite form of procrastination is cleaning and organizing areas. With E at camp this week, I’d love to tackle her room and give it a nice (uninterrupted) purge. I can’t let myself get sidetracked, but that doesn’t mean my mind can’t occasionally wander to virtual drawer organization!