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Friday, October 9, 2009

Do You Need More Space in Your Kitchen.... without adding more space?

Don't we all. It seems that no matter how many cabinets, shelves, and drawers we have, we always need more. For those of you with cramped kitchens, or nowhere to grow more room, there is a solution.

My decorating mantra is 'If you can't build up, and you can't build out, find a way to build within'.

Here's an example of a kitchen where we had to do that. This space has a dedicated amount of  cabinets and drawers predetermined by the builder of a typical spec home. On the other side of the doorway is the dining room, so we couldn't knock out the wall to gain space. On the other side is the family room, whose layout also didn't allow us to push the kitchen out. Outside that window is a very small back yard, so we couldn't grow outward.

The client needed more room for her baking dishes, cookie sheets, trash cans, etc. She had been storing them elsewhere in the house, and since she entertained a lot, she really wanted everything in her kitchen. When we discussed the role she wanted her kitchen to play during her entertaining, she had a strong desire for it to be the gathering place. With a small table in the nook, it just wasn't a place people were drawn to.

Have you noticed when you have several people in one place they tend to want to stand and chat, or lean against something?
So, I suggested that we build her an island table in the nook, with seating for the kids on the back side, and at a height that would nudge people toward it. The best thing? We could put a large amount of storage in a somewhat small island. Are you thinking that putting an island in a nook is a bad idea? If so, maybe you'll think differently when you see all the benefits.

Ta Da!

This is a lot bigger than it looks in the pic. (To give you an idea of the size, the back end has 4 bar stools for seating. )

We built so many great things in to this island.
On the front side, we put in a sliding trash can holder, sliding drawers behind cabinet doors, pull-out towel racks, deep utensil drawers, and a pull-out spice rack. That's like a whole new bank of cabinets!

On one side, we put small exposed shelves for wine glasses, cookie tray sections, and a place for her Kitchenaide Mixer. (not sure why that plastic tub is sitting there)

On the opposite side, we did the same open shelving for her jars of goodies, and then we added a bank of drawers in graduated sizes for all of her kitchen linens. One of the things you can't see is that we added electical outlets into the fluted ends of the island base. We covered them with a matching cap of  fluting so they wouldn't be exposed when not in use. These allow her to use appliances right on the island without having to stretch cords across the room.

(Sorry for the size of this pic. My battery died before I finished all my pictures and I had to resort to my camera phone for this one.)
This is the backside where the barstools are. We extended the granite over the edge on this side so that it would allow 'table space' for the kids to eat. The two large drawers house her Christmas dishes.

I wish I had more after pictures of this kitchen, with the new window treatments and the 'table' set, but as I said, my battery copped out on me and the sun was streaming in so strong that my camera pics are all blacked out.
The clients and their kids love the island and she says she doesn't know how she ever functioned without it. And, yes, her guests now hover in the kitchen around the island, where she has discovered, is the perfect place to put all the food. It's convenient and pretty. That distressed black looks so good with the rest of the kitchen, especially the wood floors.
When you need more storage in any room of the house, think outside the box and challenge your own creativity. I'm sure you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you come up with.

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