I can’t recall how many times I’ve gone to the grocery store thinking I was out of something, only to return home and discover I had five or six of what I thought I'd run out of. It can be easy to lose sight of what you have when things are pushed to the back of deep cabinets and pantries.
More storage is at the top of the wish list for most people who are planning a kitchen remodel. But more storage is less important than better storage.
By better, I mean efficient, user-friendly storage.
The Container Store, Home Depot and other home improvement stores are filled with shelf extenders, racks and rails that can be installed to enhance the organization and efficiency of pantries and cabinets. But those are all retroactive solutions.
If you are planning a kitchen renovation, give extra thought to how to make the most efficient use of your space. Builders love to showcase walk-in pantries in luxury homes, playing on the thought that bigger is better. These huge pantries, with low-cost U-shaped shelving, appear impressive. But if you can walk into a pantry, you’re stepping on a huge amount of wasted space. Sometimes these pantries have 2 to 3 square feet of unused space.
Even the Lazy Susan, rotating storage that has been around for more than a century, is not as efficient as custom storage designed to fit into otherwise dead space. This includes space between studs behind drywall, in corners and unused space next to large appliances.
Falls Church-based Case Design/Remodeling maximized the space in a kitchen designed for a Bethesda, Md., home by making custom angled drawers to fit into a corner. They also created a shallow pantry/spice rack behind a cabinet door. The shelves are less than 3 inches deep, which allows products to be displayed in a single row. I always like to say, "When you can see what you've got, you know what you have."
Similar to a bathroom medicine cabinet, a shallow shelve can easily be installed between studs in a wall. It’s easy to incorporate this type of storage by using a cabinet door in the same style as the rest of the kitchen cabinetry.
One of the most efficient and elegant storage ideas I’ve ever seen was in a Great Falls kitchen designed by AV Architects and Builders. They made retractable shelving that disappeared into the wall when not in use. Positioned behind what appears to be elaborate trimming, these shelves slide out to reveal kitchen spices and supplies.
The company installed one on each side of the stove so that spices are easily accessible while cooking. This used otherwise dead space, as the space was in the kitchen already. So they didn’t use more space, they just used the existing space more wisely.