Storage options for every need.
Story by Tracy Dickinson
Featured in March/April 2021
When designing your kitchen, your choice of cabinetry, countertop, and flooring helps create a look that reflects your individual style. Choosing what goes inside that cabinetry should be just as personalized. Today’s cabinetry design should not only reflect your taste. It should also be customized to your storage needs.
Deb Pudenz of AIM Kitchen & Bath explains, “Now more than ever, homeowners are looking to get organized as their homes have also become workplaces and schools. More time at home means more eating at home. Getting the kitchen organized and more efficient is a must.”
Drawers and more
For a number of years now, manufacturers have been offering pullout drawers instead of cupboards with shelves, and that has become the most popular option for homeowners. But even that design has evolved to meet customer needs. Drawers can now be customized with inserts for bowls and plates, pots and pans, and even delicate glassware.
“Narrow pullouts can house utensil holders so they don’t have be stored on the countertop or take up drawer space,” Pudenz says. “And you can use these with dividers to store cutting boards or sheet pans, too.”
Nancy Ruzicka of BLC Projects says, “Some manufacturers even have corner drawers so you can maximize the space and walnut drawer boxes for an upgraded look.”
Because the deeper cabinet drawers offer so much flexibility, homeowners can create a variety of storage layouts to suit their lifestyle.
“Quite often, I’m designing work zones for clients,” says Woodharbor’s Jill Lampe. “They might want baking zones with specifically divided drawers and cabinets that hold baking ingredients and pans right next to a mixer lift. Or they might want a breakfast cabinet for the coffeemaker, toaster, and juicer with dishes and food storage handy in that cabinet as well.”
“Spice drawers aren’t new, but what is relatively new are the 3-inch pullout spice racks that fit in a filler space between two cabinets,” says Ruzicka. Not only does this option make use of what could be wasted space, it makes all the spice containers visible and accessible at once.
Appliance garages went out of fashion for a time, but they are making a comeback.
“Appliance garages are requested all the time,” Pudenz says. “Instead of the roller-style door fronts that drew attention to themselves, garages are now concealed with either a lift-up drawer front or a pair of cabinet doors that slide back into the cabinet itself.”
Ruzicka adds, “Instead of the old rollup tambours [like roll-top desk fronts], manufacturers offer lift-up, tip-up, and pocket doors” to make the appliance garage blend better with the rest of the kitchen cabinetry.
Rather than disguising the garage, some homeowners opt to use it as a design feature. “We’ve used recessed doors, hydraulic-lift swing doors, or even an open cabinet nook trimmed out and finished to display designer appliances,” says Lampe.
Whatever the look, the appliance garage has returned for good reason. It offers easy access to frequently used small appliances without cluttering the countertops. And improved lighting options, in addition to electrical outlets, make the garage even more convenient than before.
No matter how you customize the options in your kitchen, creating some sort of pantry storage can transform your space like nothing else can.
According to Lampe, “I still find pantry cabinets to be the most popular storage request.”
But the pantries her clients are requesting are not just closets with shelves.“Clients are fully customizing their pantries and requesting very specific drawers, roll-outs, lift doors, etc., that suit their specific needs or tastes,” she says.
Because pantries are so much more than just shelves, their design involves much more as well. “We’re adding outlets, lighting, custom shelving,” says Pudenz. “Getting organized in the pantry is a huge help in getting the whole kitchen organized.”
In addition to creating a space for food storage, pantries offer the perfect solution for organizing the family electronic devices, too.
Ruzicka says, “We try to plan a place for cell phones and iPads in each kitchen. Charging drawers with electrical outlets” are a good fit in the pantry, where they can be accessible but not in the way. “We also like to include motion lights inside walk-through pantries.”
“More and more, I’m providing a charging station or drawer where phones, iPads, etc., can be charged and tucked out of sight,” Lampe says. “Our cabinet line has electrical options that can be built right into the cabinet.”
“We use a lot of USB outlets throughout the kitchen, too, to allow for device charging without giving up the actual outlet,” says Pudenz.
As product options continue to expand, your kitchen design can be personalized to your needs, not just your style. •
- Deb Pudenz AIM Kitchen & Bath
- Nancy Ruzicka BLC Projects
- Jill Lampe Woodharbor