Planning our kitchen, will be a _U_ shape, part of the _U_ will be an
island, the rest will be along walls.
What features are most desirable for cabinets? For that I mean, lazy
Susan's, pull out trays, etc. If you've put together a wish list, or maybe
you've completed your wish list, would you share the pro's & con's?
We have lazy Susans, one cabinet with pull-out trays for pots and pans
(and also in the lower part of a ceiling-height pantry cabinet). One
feature for which we do not regret paying extra is soft-close
1 - By far the most desirable feature of my cabinets is that they are
stick-built. There are no dividers between sections. You would be
amazed how much more room you have in cabinets that are essentially
one big box, especially the upper cabinets in the corner. No blind
2 - Behind one door of a lower cabinet I installed 2 drawers for our
plastic storage containers. I built the drawers to be the full height
of the 2 sections. The bottom drawer holds all of the containers and
the top drawer holds all of the covers. It's so much easier to find
matching sets that way.
I made the cutouts that are used to pull the drawers open large enough
so we can slip covers (and some of the smaller containers) into the
drawers without even opening them.
I had a U-shaped kitchen in my last house. It was very efficient to
work in because it had the triangle of sink, stove, refrigerator. It
was a matter of a short reach or just turn around to get to the sink.
A 24" cabinet between the stove and fridge works well. I also had one
cabinet with a butcher block top instead of regular countertop. Made
prep easy. It should be near the sink.
Better cabinets have self closing drawers, pull-outs in the base
cabinets and one or two should have a lazy susan. They work well in
1. Avoid corners; i,e, two cabinets at 90 degrees to each other. Yes, one
can use lazy susans but they are a pain too IMO.
2. Use pull outs, either vertical or horizontal in the base cabinets.
Twenty four inches is just too deep to reach stuff in the back without
crawling around on your knees; even then, they are too deep.
a. Compartamentalize all drawers. An easy way to divide a drawer is to
saw 1/4" deep "V" grooves at regular intervals along the sides; pieces of
1/4" ply can then be cut with matching "V"s for moveable partitions without
their lengths being critical.
b. Drawers should be deep enough to hold what they are meant to contain
but no more; for kitchens, that means mostly shallow drawers. To avoid lots
of drawers, I often use a sliding tray *IN* a drawer. I use 3/4" stock for
drawer sides, make 1/4" deep "V" grooves as above and then cut off a portion
along the top inside of the sides to serve as a runner for a half depth
(front to back) tray. Most of the trays I make are no more than 1 1/2"
c. My wife loves the specialized pan drawer I made under her oven
because it stores pans/trays vertically. It is just a high drawer with
front, back, bottom and four 3/4 x 1 1/2 pieces connecting the front and
back. IOW, no sides. The four connecting pieces have 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/4 deep
dados to accept moveable cross pieces which hold the pans/tray in a vertical
From just spending $36k on remodeling two kitchens in the last four years,
let me add a couple of pennies ...........
Get the roll out trays for under counter cabinets. You won't be bending
over and crawling in there to get a pot or something that is in the rear.
They can also be used for pantry foods and make access light years easier.
Lazy Susans are good for getting the most out of corner space storage and
making it easier.
Consider a pot filler at the stove. Very handy.
Consider a very shallow and deep drawer under the stove which is usually
wasted space. You can lay a lot of those little bottles of spices in there,
and they are handy when needed.
Consider a dedicated place for a knife rack. I have two Wolfgang Puck's. I
got one for Christmas, and liked it, and one wasn't enough. Or some sort of
rack system that keeps the knives accessible.
Go granite for the tops. You cannot hurt them. Have them double the edge,
which makes it look double thick, but is not. I like the nibbled rough
On any island or bar, be sure to put enough electrical outlets underneath.
You will need them for mixers, blenders, etc. Maybe a small prep sink,
which is very handy. (I don't have one, but wished I did. We had to cut
the floor for the electric as it was, and it would have been a much bigger
project to include water and drain. Easy when building new, though.)
Consider under cabinet low voltage lighting run to a dimmer. The ones I got
were commercial, have a daisy chain of lights that are easily replacable,
and give a nice hue to the room and are a good night light. Likewise,
consider lights at the top of the cabinets that shine towards the ceiling
for a nice glow. Or even in the glass fronted cabinets. Beautiful at night
with the swirly glass.
Pick a few upper cabinets, and have the door routed out and put a glass
panel. We have the clear glass with the big swirls in them and they look
outstanding. The other had just clear glass. This breaks up the design so
much instead of everything flowing together into monotone.
Consider the use of a range hood and pot rack. If you are going to use
these items, you will want to build ahead to fit them in, instead of having
to make a place later, and perhaps remove or move cabinets. They are hard
to find in the larger or odd sizes. Sears has some that are nice and not
Go quality on the faucets. We went top of the line Moen. Have your granite
drilled for a RO system even if you don't want one at this time.
Make a diagram and go over and over and over it to establish traffic
patterns, and the triangle you should have between stove, fridge, and food
prep area. THINK about where you are putting stuff, and what it would be
like to actually work in a kitchen like this. Later is a bad time to change
the location of stuff. When you get your final diagram, THEN make your
light diagram for the ceiling, and where to place the lights, making them
task specific. NEVER EVER EVER EVER put a microwave over a stove. You
pull something out, and find out it's really hot or really really full and
now you have it at shoulder level........it's starting to spill or burn your
hands ............ what do you do? Dangerous for all people, particularly
short ones and kids, and they get all gunged up. (The microwaves, not the
shortys or young.)
Make specialty cabinets. Example: We have one regular one that has little
spacers in it. We use it for cookie sheets, racks, pizza stone, everything
that is thin and is stored on edge. We made drawers under the cook top for
pots, pans and lids rather than putting them under the counter. Infinitely
easier to reach and keep organized.
On the cabinet under the sink, put as little as possible in there, as
repeated digging can jostle the lines in there and cause leakage without you
knowing about it. Make separate cabinet for all those cleaning things you
need in a kitchen. DAMHIKT. With the garbage disposer, the RO system, and
a tray of most essentials in there, that's enough.
Consider a large single compartment farm type sink. I love mine, and would
do another as first choice of sinks.
Utilize door backs, getting those little racks that will hold a lot of the
little cans, bottles, and boxes of stuff. Handy to reach when you open the
door, and you can either use Big Lots stuff or spendy stainless steel.
Probably more, but that's enough for now.
I would like to do another kitchen in my lifetime incorporating what I've
learned from the three I've done. One original build, two remodels.
Never thought of that. Good idea. What kind of thing did you use?
I think the NEC now specifies maximum distances apart, but I don't
recall what it is. And maybe have a quad -- two duplexes -- in every
We put in under-cabinet lighting, but it's 120V and not dimmable -- just
We installed cabinets that go all the way to the (standard-height)
ceiling -- no horizontal surface to gather grease and dirt.
We chose a double sink with a low center divider -- much more convenient
for large pans.
We got the matching door-mounted spice racks from the cabinet
Articulated arm pot filler that we bought at Home Depot. Shopped many, and
most were very overpriced. A little work to run PEX line to distribution
point, but worth it. Measure accurately, and it will swing far enough out
to add water to hot pots on the stove. Miss it, and it's a PITA that
defeats its own purpose.
We had very little cabinet space in our condo kitchen, so had to
improvise. A long rod (about 2" diam. curtain rod) above the sink where
I hung pots, pans, collanders...loved the convenience, but ya' have to
have pretty pots and pans :o)
Pantry with roll out shelves for canned goods and bulk stuff; the
verticle shelves that roll out waste a lot of space.
Soffit cabinets for roasting pans and holiday stuff.
I like stuff on the countertops that I use often; or a "garage" for
mixer and small electrics.
A lot depends on who cooks and how often...entertain a lot? Company
eats in kitchen? I wouldn't waste space with a dishwasher; dislike
using the d.w.
Wood cutting block on island? I like that handy, along with a slot to
drop scraps into (nice for compost heap).
Jerry-rigged something to cover old, nasty metal tile on backsplash
behind cooktop by cementing on plain color laminate and then putting up
tempered, pattern glass (with texture side of glass against wall). Best
idea I ever had for kitchen decor, as it was simple to clean. Could use
plain or frosted glass with painted/paper behind it; ours was held up
with only clear silicone, so it was very easy to remove. No tile grout
in kitchen for me :o)
Lazy Susan with doors that revolve with the l.s.; don't like the
I had drawers beneath wall oven which were very handy for baking
supplies and table coverings.
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