Of the basic elements of good kitchen design (storage, easy maintenance, lighting, appliances and counter space), this week we’ll talk about storage. The basic premise of storage planning is to put items either at the place of first or last use. For example, dishes can be stored near the sink (point of last use) or near the eating area (point of first use).
Peg Drawer Organizers can be used near the dishwasher or near the eating area.
There are lots of ways to add storage to a kitchen from walk-in pantries, open shelving and to (my personal favorite) well-designed cabinetry. While the trend lately seems to lean towards more open shelving, I like using it judiciously. Keeping it where it works best, while leaving room for ample wall cabinets. For me, the behind-door storage they provide is worth its weight in gold. I’m a fairly tidy housekeeper but I still love being able to close the doors and call it good. And there’s ever so much less to dust.
Nothing beats tall utility cabinets outfitted with roll out trays for all purpose storage. Another tall cabinet that can offer helpful storage is (surprisingly) the wall oven cabinet. There’s always space over the ovens that can be hard to access. But the 24” deep area is a perfect place to install tray dividers. The vertical storage created by doing that is a great place to store cookie sheets and pizza pans too.
Of course even in a small kitchen, interior organizational accessories can be a big help. And the options are many. From built-in waste baskets to drawer organizers there are many to pick from. It’s always best to choose the interior accessories when the kitchen design is in the development stage so that storage is well-planned from the beginning.
Interior organizational accessories like this tray divider make the most of even small spaces.
Of the basic elements of good kitchen design (storage, easy maintenance, lighting, appliances and counter space), this week we’ll talk about counter space.
The National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA) has specific recommendations on how much counter space is needed around appliances. For example landing space is required on both sides of sinks and burner surfaces. That only makes sense. Refrigerators, microwaves and wall ovens require work space on one side only.
Once minimums are met, the more space there is to spread out, the better. What I love about this kitchen is that not only is there plenty of space around the appliances but with both an island and a peninsula there is generous room to set up buffets, spread out at cookie-baking time or to do homework.
A couple of interesting features in this kitchen are the arched shape of the island countertop. It gives a bit more depth and adds design interest. The niche to the left of the refrigerator is a nice addition. The island across from the refrigerator and the counter space to the right all would qualify as a sufficient landing area but that extra space to the left makes it function in so many ways.
Not every kitchen has this much room to work with but well-planned countertops make the space function well no matter the size.
Home offices add real value to our lives and to our homes. Some simply need a place to pay bills and for the kids to do homework. Others need a true professional office for a home-based business. That might even include a separate entrance for clients to come and go without entering the main home. And while offices can be basic or elaborate, large or small adding a few extra amenities will make the space even more efficient and enjoyable.
If you follow my blog at all, you know that I place good lighting high on the list of must-haves for every room in the house. It could never be more important than in an office space. In the large office (shown above) there is a combination natural light in the corner windows as well as ceiling lights and a lamp for task lighting. A new hi-tech version of the table lamp is the LED pop-up by Doug Mockett. It extends from 6” to 21” and includes outlets which are especially nice for easily plugging in laptops.
Photo of Levity pull up light compliments of Doug Mockett
Besides great lighting, some of the other ideas that make this office sparkle are the tall bookshelves, the under cabinet organizer to the left of the bookshelf which makes sorting incoming and outgoing mail so much easier. Glass door inserts in the upper cabinet doors add their own sparkle. Pull out key board holders and lots of built-in filing storage ramp up the value of any home office.
Waypoint's File Drawer Base Cabinet
Waypoint's Keyboard Tray
Finding ways to save space is important in any office and combination printers/ scanners /copiers are a big help in that department. I have always been a big fan of multi-tasking and it’s even better when our machines do it for us. And since so many pieces of office equipment are wireless these days, cord management has become less of an issue. You have to love that.
Wall cabinets are commonly used, well…on kitchen walls but there are a variety of other things that can done with them. Given the variety of heights and widths as well as the ability to increase or decrease the cabinet depths,a great many other things can be done with them other that holding plates and bowls. Here are just a few ideas.
Two double door, increased in depth wall cabinets are stacked together to create a pantry of a non-standard height. This can come in handy when the design is contemporary.
There are two design ideas in this photo: the window seat is made from wall cabinets as is the top of the hutch. The window seat adds great storage for seldom-used kitchen items or even games to play on the nearby table. The glass doors in the upper section of the hutch provide display space for decorative pieces or even dinnerware.
This floating storage below the television is just one more way to use wall cabinets. The first time I used this type of application was as a server in the eating area to a kitchen with very little room for wall cabinet storage. It added more places to store dishes as well as additional counter space.
Here, the raised section of the island snack area is supported by 42" high wall cabinets. It's great extra storage and provides the a solid base for the countertop.
A stack of a wall cabinet and a Wine Storage Cabinet are combined for great bathroom storage.
Wall Top Hinge Cabinets are used as part of this creative island. The doors flip down for easy access.
I love the flexibility of design and finding multiple uses for standard components.
It’s always fun to really look at the details in a kitchen design. I still do it and I’m often surprised what I see when I take the time to analyze a design. Here’s a great kitchen and I did all the work for you by labeling ten things worth taking look at. Here they are:
- Just as the layered look is big in the fashion world, layering countertops packs a punch too.
- Built-in banquette seating is always a space-saving way to make an eat-in kitchen. This one is tucked in under a window creating a sunny spot to relax as well as for meals.
- Besides layering countertops, this kitchen has layered lighting. Let me count the types: pendants, under cabinet lights and recessed lights in both the ceiling as well as strategic places in the cabinetry. Believe me, multiple sources of lighting is the best way to provide all the lighting a space with dark cabinets needs.
- Side by side freezer/refrigerator units are the ultimate in luxury for a big family or those that entertain a lot.
- The island is huge and holds two sinks each facing in different directions. They allow multiple cooks to freely move about in the kitchen. They are a big help in clean up too.
- Ends of islands need to be finished off beautifully in a totally polished kitchen like this one. Don’t you love the horizontal detail that seems to wrap around from the bank of three drawers?
7. When the kitchen is large like this one, there is room for display shelves to add designer style and hold daily dishes too. I just like the way this one looks!
8. I’m’ a big fan of tile as a decorative element. Sure, it’s totally practical and easy to clean but here it adds a punch of color and texture. I love the way it goes all the way up to the ceiling and wraps around the wall cabinets.
9. One of the interesting things about the design of this space is that there are places where the wall cabinets go up to the ceiling and other places where they don’t. It gives more of an unfitted look.
10. The mullions in the glass doors are just horizontal as opposed to the more typical grid pattern. This gives the appropriate contemporary look for this very ‘today’ kind of kitchen.
It’s often said that design is in the details. I think that’s absolutely true of this kitchen.
The feeling of a space is often established by the lines in the room. Floor tile is often installed on a diagonal to give a room a sense of motion and a larger feel. Horizontal lines (which is what we are talking about here today)are known to give a sense of repose and calmness. They can also make a room or design element feel wider. Here are some examples of how horizontal lines can affect a room or even the exterior of a home.
The custom stainless steel bands installed between stacked wall cabinets make a real design statement.
The exterior of this home features several hortizontal accent stripes that are the lone adornments on this simple but stately home in Florida.
Here is an interesting collection of lines: vertical, diagonal and the strong horizontal band of blue tile in this pretty bathroom. Photo compliments of daltile.
A narrow stainless steel band insterted in the molding build-up adds subtle detail and that all-important horizontal line.
The strong horizontal metal bands in this fireplace design are nothing short of a spectacular! The strong lines also make the fireplace feel even more massive.
Adding a band of contrasting tile in the backsplash is one of the easiest ways to add a horizontal design element. Photo complimets of daltile.
Adding a strong horizontal design element is a good way to pull a room together and give a sense of strength and at the same time calmness.