After 5 years and 38 built kitchen projects, I’ve developed a few tricks to solve issues with storage, cooking practices, and maintenance through cabinetry details, custom fixtures and hardware. Here are some of my favorites:
- Custom Stainless drainboard for a corner sink. At Anna & Michael’s kitchen, we worked with the existing location of a somewhat awkward corner sink, but made it that much better by designing a custom sink with a drainboard off the back. Sink was fabricated by Julien through Ferguson.
- Knife slot in a butcher block counter. This makes use of the dead space behind a drawer box. I love the commitment level of this idea, since the slot can be emptied if counter space is needed. Slot design by Devos Custom Woodworking.
- Counter-height cubbies. In Laura & Blake’s kitchen, an open shelf sits at counter-height below the window for storage of plates, small bowls and sink accessories. An extra-deep counter was necessary to achieve this detail. Custom cabinetry by Matthew Herdon-Prine.
- Pantry next to refrigerator. The refrigerator door needs space next to the wall to open properly, so we made use of that space with skinny pull-outs for canned goods in Serena’s kitchen.
- Sink drawers. If you’re a human on this planet, you probably fear the grunge at the back corner of the sink cabinet when it’s been unmanaged for 15 years. It takes a cabinetmaker with great attention to detail to pull off this sink drawer, but it certainly optimizes storage for sponges, cleaning supplies, and linens. Using Blum drawer glides, the drawer boxes are removable in case one needs to access the plumbing. Cabinetry & drawers by Steve Tull.
- Butcher block shelves. I’m a fan of the IKEA Numerar butcher block line, and we’ve used it as shelf material to save money and bring a kitchen together cohesively. These niches in Jennifer & Matt’s Kitchen are made very simply using Numerar tops cut to size, and hidden cleats attached to the shiplap walls. Installed by McIntyre Building.
- Spice Niche. The big side panel of a refrigerator cabinet often goes unused… so we designed a thickened panel with a spice niche facing the cooking area in James & Leah’s kitchen. Cabinetry by Tim Cuddy.
- Tech Niche. I love niches! This sliding door cubby facing the desk area is equipped with outlets for phone chargers and other tech stuff. The top cubby stores mail. Cabinetry by Scott Manshum.
- Mini-shelf. A custom steel hanger hanging beneath some upper shelves holds a piece of reclaimed wood. This becomes a great spot for on-hand cooking items. Steel work and shelving by Vintage Material Supply. (p.s. a better design would have incorporated recessed puck lighting. Compromises due to working outside of town!)
- Window box shelves. This trimless window offered the perfect opportunity for a new set of shelves. The piece was fabricated off site and installed by FABshop cabinetry in Austin.
- Vertical Storage slot. In Alison & Dana’s kitchen, the cabinet beneath the peninsula was left open facing the kitchen. A recessed middle shelf makes way for an 8″ wide slot for storage of cutting boards. Cabinetry by Matthew Herndon-Prine.
- Shelves in front of a window (and another vertical storage slot). In Blake & Allison’s kitchen, we made use of the outside wall by hanging open shelves in front of a new window. This is a perfect spot for glassware, which still allows plenty of light into the kitchen. Cabinetry by Honea Woodworks.
- Spice niche in wall. Yes, another niche. But this one in Jenny & Chris’ kitchen can be achieved by creating a drywalled opening in a frame wall and installing 3/4″ MDF painted shelves. Countertop trivets made of stainless steel domes create a handy place to set a hot dish off the oven. Contracting & installation by TAS Construction, countertops by Devos Woodworking.
- Microwave below counter. We often have a need for more open counter space, so locating a microwave below counter top works in larger kitchens. This one in Erin & Taylor’s kitchen is a simple countertop model, fit into an open shelf that could be used for other purposes (like platters or cookbooks).
- Countertop appliance storage. This tall cabinet has retractable doors that hide the KitchenAid, popcorn maker and toaster sitting on the marble countertop. Cabinetry by FABshop.
Photos 1, 5 , 8, 9 & 11 by Hello Kitchen.
Photos 2, 3, 4, 7, 10 & 12 by Whit Preston.
Photo 6 by Valarie L. Campbell.
Photos 13, 14 & 15 by Allison Cartwright.