Kim Berndtson | August 14, 2020
Kaitlyn Wolfe worked within the existing space of this kitchen and improved the storage. She gave her customers more than 18 feet of extra storage space. Photo: Kevin Brost
Function is at the heart of most storage solutions that today’s designers incorporate into their customers’ kitchen and bathroom projects. Ultimately, it’s still about creating a place where you can put a person’s “stuff”.
Fortunately, storage has developed so much that it is so much more than just a shelf behind a door or a cavernous space in a drawer, in which “stuff” is stowed away and too often seems to be lost forever. There is a lot of thought these days about how best to organize what’s behind doors and in drawers so that people can easily and efficiently access and retrieve items.
Of course, designers also need to think about aesthetics. Perhaps it is a drawer with exquisite wooden partitions or a floating shelf, in which glassware is not only stored, but also artistically presented, adding beauty to the room. The choices seem limitless.
This month KBDN asked designers to share projects that showcase some of their favorite storage solutions.
Kaitlyn Wolfe, MBA
Owner / main designer
Iconic Design + Build, Scottsdale, AZ
When Kaitlyn Wolfe revisits the transformation of this kitchen, she is pleasantly reminded of the dramatic improvements she made to the modern, mid-century home built in 1959.
Wolfe is based on a foundation of walnut furniture that is accented with a three-dimensional, emerald green ceramic tile backsplash, and enlivens the room with a playful, organic design that is characterized by many clear lines.
The designer worked within the available space and improved the memory significantly. It gave its customers more than 18 feet of additional storage space.
“The previous layout just didn’t make optimal use of the space,” she says. “Now your new kitchen has enough space for rubbish and recyclables instead of a free-standing rubbish bin and even a microwave drawer in a base cabinet so that it doesn’t have to sit on the worktop.”
Most of the profit was made by removing a 12-inch soffit, which gave Wolfe the ability to include larger wall units. She also redesigned the closet layout, creating an L-shaped arrangement that allowed for additional closets, and eliminated the peninsula which she replaced with a more functional island that she specified with drawers and an overhang for seating.
Additional storage expansion was achieved by selecting custom frameless European cabinets with pull tabs that slide into the door for a clean, seamless aesthetic.
“The way these cabinets are built takes up every square inch of space since there are no bulky face frames,” she says.
Although there wasn’t enough room for a large pantry, Wolfe improved the functionality of the cabinets by adding horizontal elevator doors on several upper units that their customers use to store glassware and dishes.
“Personally, I love elevator doors,” she says. “They are my preferred storage solution because they are so functional and allow easy access to content.”
Wolfe further improved access to storage space by using full-height doors on the cabinet under the sink, as well as folding doors on the wall and on the lower corner cabinets, which includes a lazy Susan.
“Manufacturers are designing more modern styles of lazy susans that are more efficient,” she says, noting that she and many of her customers prefer them to drawers with blind corners.
Although storage was a priority, Wolfe didn’t want to just fill every corner with cupboards.
“We wanted to break open the cabinets a little, so we built a floating shelf over the sink,” she says. “It also gives my customers a place to display items or store things that they use every day.”
Main designer / project manager
NAR Design Group, Sacramento, CA.
Specialized storage plays an important role at Ashlee Richardson, including this master bathroom where she has incorporated a variety of storage features for specific functions.
For example, custom vanity tops are designed to accommodate a 12 inch difference in height between a husband and wife.
“He’s 6’8,” says Richardson. “Although he’s got used to squatting down to use the sink, we didn’t want him to have to do that in his new bathroom.”
For this reason, the designer created washbasins with several heights. His is raised to 40 “, while hers, which hides under his countertop and wraps around the corner, drops to a standard of 36”.
The vanities are also designed to resemble furniture. An open shelf on the corner where the two of them meet is within easy reach of the shower, according to Richardson Customers can use it as a place to store shower supplies such as B. Extra, set Towels. The designer also took into account the storage of items that would be used while relaxing and bathing in the freestanding bathtub a “shelf” that is actually an extension of the shower bench.
Above each sink, its medicine cabinets with lifting doors offer hidden functionality and storage space, including internal power and lighting, as well as a mirror on the back of the cabinet that can be used with the door open.
Black powder-coated frames match the fittings and furniture fittings. Richardson designed the lower frame to expand and serve as a towel rail. The black metal also goes with the stacked elements at the end of their vanity.
“They create a lot of dynamic interest, especially given the height of the room,” she says, noting the 10-foot ceilings. “The open frames in combination with the closed cabinets offer you hidden storage space and an exhibition area.”
One of Richardson’s most popular storage items is the custom makeup station, which is positioned in front of the window to take advantage of the natural light. The top of the case tilts up while the front tilts down for easy access to the contents. A mirror, sockets and LED lighting improve functionality.
Another special element in the room is a built-in chest of drawers, which serves as an extension of the storage space for the bathroom and the cupboards. It comes with several sizes of drawer including three shallow drawers nearly 6 feet wide, one of which serves as a place to load electronics. One of the deep drawers below them hides a basket.
“We moved a lot of the storage in the new room to large drawers,” says Richardson. “Drawers are easily accessible and can add storage space to avoid overhead cabinets, making a room feel more spacious. In the end, we were able to offer our customers twice as much storage space in the same space. “
Owner / main designer
You-Neek Designs, Pittsburgh, PA
Emily Klapkowski’s customers had grown tired of their old, chopped-up galley-style kitchen. Large devices were badly placed, the workflow made no sense and several doors and Window openings worked against them. Also, cabinets were ineffective for any kind of efficient storage and an oddly shaped closet They were used as a pantry and were so deep that it was difficult to use.
Focusing on furniture and function is one of Klapkowski’s most popular parts in the design process. Hence, creating an abundance of storage solutions for any space you create is fundamental.
“I work with a local carpenter and everything is custom made so we can solve a lot of storage problems,” she says.
Many of her favorite solutions are included in this kitchen, starting with a more suitable and useful tall pantry.
“People don’t always have a place to store food,” she says. “It’s usually scattered around the kitchen.”
She often has storage space built into the inside of the doors, which has the advantage that the shelves in the cabinet housing are shortened so that someone who opens the door can visually see everything inside.
Another common request is drawers in the corners of base cabinets, which Klapkowski’s customers often use to assemble plastic storage bins and their lids, as well as items like plastic wrap and aluminum foil that are packaged in slim boxes that fit neatly into the long drawers.
The designer also frequently receives inquiries about built-in paper towel dispensers, which she likes to set up conveniently next to the sink. As a complement, Klapkowski usually includes a wide, tall drawer under the dispenser that can be used for baking trays, cutting boards, platters, etc.
“Everything is loaded from above, and because I include partitions, the objects don’t lean against each other,” she says.
Additional special storage options in this kitchen include a shallow drawer under the plug-in hob, which homeowners use to store cooking utensils. A magnetic knife strip near the hob eliminates the need for a drawer or countertop knife block and keeps cutting utensils close at hand, while a “touchdown station” serves as a command center and keeps the children’s mail and school newspapers in check.
While many storage elements focus on keeping items hidden, Klapkowski built in some open floating shelves that flank the bay window above the sink.
“She wanted a large window to let in lots of light,” she says, adding that it was flush with the countertop to maximize the flow of light for her indoor herb garden. “It didn’t make sense to put cabinets on either side. Also, sometimes it’s better to finish the top cabinets in a straight line so you don’t have cumbersome corner cabinets.
“Everyone seems to want more storage space too, so it might be tempting to fill every square inch of wall with a closet,” she continues. “But if we’ve made the cabinets efficient, we can get away with fewer cabinets and include other elements like shelves that can open up the space.” ▪
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