Thursday, July 18, 2013

Storage Decisions - Drawers vs. Shelves etc.

Storage is a major consideration in the world of kitchen design.  I spend a good deal of the design interview on the issue of storage.  It's not just a matter of having enough storage but you must also have the right kind.  One rule of thumb is that you don't want to use your counter for storage, you need to keep it clear so you use it as a work surface when necessary for food preparation and cleanup.

Part of my job as a designer is to calculate storage.  I consider the items that people have to store for my calculation and I consider how my clients like to work in their kitchen for  cabinet placement.  Everyone is different but most kitchens need between 1400 - 2000 inches for the various items.  The best storage feature you can have in any kitchen is the pantry.

The Pantry:

There are all kinds of options when it comes to a pantry.  You can use a closet that is nearby or a furniture piece like an armoire or you can purchase a cabinet to match your kitchen cabinets.  Most cabinet lines offer numerous options depending on what the client needs to store in the unit.  It's what you need that counts.  If you need more space for trays or baking sheets near the oven then it may be necessary to modify the manufacturer's cabinet to accomplish that.  Most semi-custom manufacturer's will allow modifications to their cabinets but stock cabinets do not have that option. The cabinet to the right is 36" wide with 4 roll out trays and modified to include  tray storage in the top level.  The storage capacity is around 360 inches making it a very good choice for any kitchen.

If your remodeling budget will allow it, a walk in pantry is a gem in the kitchen.  This type of storage can easily accommodate bulk items or oversized dishes.  Walk-ins are great because it gives you the greatest number of stored items within reach.  You will get the most out of this configuration if you  plan the shelf depth to accommodate the items that you need to store.  I've done this in several  pantry designs and, in this case, a little planning goes a long way.  

The Wall Cabinet:

In modern kitchens wall cabinets are slowly being replaced by just shelves.  You will often see just shelves within easy reach rather than entire cabinets.  If you have a kitchen with several big windows then  just shelves may be your best option.  It's a great look but some people will always prefer cabinets because of the dust factor. We tend to keep things like dishes, glasses, cups, spices  in wall cabinets so I know that somewhere between 300 and 360 inches will take care of the homeowners needs.

The Base Cabinet:

Base cabinets offer the greatest number of options to the homeowner.  Base cabinets are typically 34 1/2 " high with one drawer at the top and a cabinet door with one shelf on the bottom.  Most cabinet lines automatically give you a full shelf in the bottom cabinet but many come with a half shelf as the standard.  And clients that are use to that half shelf still like it because they store their taller items in the front part of the cabinet.  Just a note that when something comes as standard it is already in the cabinet price.  Any changes like a full shelf, a roll out, full extension slides etc will increase the cost of the cabinet.

The current trend regarding base cabinets is the debate over drawers vs shelves.  A decade or so ago, pull outs or roll outs in place of shelves in base cabinets were the hottest item but now people wonder why they should open a door to pull out a shelf when they can just get a drawer and save a step.  Well, it all comes back to what items you are storing.  And things can get just a lost in a drawer as they can on a shelf. One other trend that is afoot is placing dishes in the base cabinet rather than in the wall cabinet.

There is a base cabinet to solve every need.  The corner of the kitchen was an issue until the lazy Susan cabinet was invented. That solved the problem of  that unused and unreachable space nicely but it is more expensive than a blind corner cabinet. 

Below are other post on this blog relating to storage in the kitchen:

Designing the Right Trash Bin 

Lazy Susan vs Blind Storage

Avoid Kitchen Chaos

If you have any questions regarding this post please feel free to write me through the contact page.


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