Tuesday, March 24, 2015


I've been designing a lot of kitchens lately with finishes, colors and styles as varied as the budgets.  While many shy away from kitchen renovations, the key to good design in ANY ROOM is to determine how the people living in it will use it every day.  Are you a house of chefs or a microwave family?  Are looks more important than function?  Is potential resale an issue?  I've recently popped into kitchen design stores and the Home Depot and Lowe's to see what the latest trends are, and for the most part, I'm not impressed.  One item I've seen over and over is a hidden hydraulic shelf in a cabinet, which holds those heavy mixers we all have and (more than likely) only use a few times a year.  In my humble opinion, unless your kitchen is the size of an airplane hanger, this is a total waste of space.  We have always lived in older homes and I'm constantly baffled by the size of the kitchen and lack of storage space...I mean, in the late 1800's people weren't going to the Olive Garden every night and were most likely COOKING,  however I have yet to see a kitchen in an older home with respectable storage space.  If I had to list my priorities for the perfectly designed kitchen for US (something I ask of clients when I'm designing a kitchen), I would walk into it with a few key items in mind; Joe cooks A LOT and has well over 100 cookbooks he references almost every time he steps into the kitchen.  We need storage space for those (I love a beautiful bookshelf in the kitchen).  Loose lids for pots and pans make me INSANE and are almost as frustrating as organizing a Tupperware drawer, but both are realities that more than likely plague all of our kitchens.  SO,  high on my list are smart, space-saving alternatives for lids, baking pans and Tupperware (these can take up a lot of space, but don't have to).  Spices are another issue for us, and I have found a drawer next to the stove is best, yet won't hold half of our spices.  We also love a large sink, double ovens, gas stove and large refrigerator.  I've blogged in the past about trying out various refrigerator styles, and while I loved the look of our french-door stainless refrigerator with drawer freezer, it wasn't practical for us as we had far more frozen items than it could accommodate. So, with this list of priorities I then sit down and price everything out, which usually leads to opening a bottle of wine or pouring a martini, as our dreams are often far bigger than our budget.  Such is the case with many clients, so coming up with more DIY storage solutions help save DINERO.
1.) If space (and budget) aren't issues, I would design a cabinet with vertical dividers to keep lids organized.  TO SAVE MONEY: I've installed towel racks to the inside door panels in cabinets where lids can safely live ORGANIZED.
2.) No matter how often you channel your inner Martha Stewart, Tupperware containers and lids can get out of control in any ones home.  I recently designed a space for this little problem where I created a cabinet with shelves at various levels, making the dividing process far easier...one shelf was for large containers, one for medium, one for small..each with vertical dividers for corresponding lids. TO SAVE MONEY: I headed to Target and bought plastic containers (about twice the size of larger Tupperware containers), when placed in a cabinet I can put matching lids vertically in the container next to the Tupperware.
3.) I keep all cleaning items in our laundry room and because we don't have space for a rolling drawer unit (you can purchase at Home Depot, Lowes, Target. etc.) I hung a small tension curtain rod inside the cabinet and dangle my spray bottles from that.
4.) To make deep drawers in a clients home more useful, I inserted wood dividers for a better, more organized spot for baking sheets and lids.