men hoisting cabinets up the wall
Photo: Kenneth Chen
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2. Minimize upper cabinets

Of course, limiting upper cabinets can save you money. But in lofts, where you can't mount heavy kitchen cabinets directly on crumbly old exposed bricks, and ceilings are 12 or 13 feet high, there are other reasons to resist them. Probably the biggest downside to upper cabinets is the time and labor it takes to prep the walls to hold them. In this loft, for example, the original brick wall sits 12 inches behind drywall that conceals the kitchen's pipes. The wallboard alone could not support the two 24-inch-deep cabinets Lopergolo wanted over the ovens and fridge. Before each of these—and a smaller, 12-inch-deep cabinet above the sink—could be hung, head carpenter Patrick McCormack had to cut out small sections of drywall, then screw plywood panels, or "grounds." to the back side of it in between the steel studs. The grounds reinforced the drywall, giving him something solid to which he could fasten the steel mounting cleat. "A lot of people make a big mistake relying on a string of toggle bolts to mount cabinets on drywall, and it doesn't hold," says McCormack. "But this combination holds up to 100 pounds."

Lopergolo concentrated as much storage as she could down below, in 24-inch-deep, drawer-filled base cabinets and in the new 3-by-8-foot island.
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