Kitchen Storage Ideas

Well-thought-out cabinets make cooking easier and reduce clutter.

cabinets
Photo by David Prince
1 ×

 

One route to Jay and Kirsten Johnston's kitchen goes from the foyer down a wood-paneled hallway and then takes a sharp right into a corridor lined with cabinets. On both sides, tall pantries topped by small cupboards rise up to the 10-foot ceiling.

A few steps farther along, the counters, appliances, and many more cabinets come into full view, and it becomes clear what this kitchen is all about.

"It's like you're walking inside a big cabinet," says Mac Patterson, the Connecticut architect who designed the kitchen. "The whole room is a cupboard."

With its walnut-topped island, marble counters, and a 7-inch wide white oak floorboards, the room is elegant, to be sure.

But its real beauty lies in much more than its pretty face. With twin sinks, two dishwashers, double wall ovens, a warming drawer, a 48-inch range, a full-sized refrigerator, a full-sized freezer, and cabinets, cabinets, and more cabinets, this is one high-functioning facility built for cooking, cleaning up, and above all, storing.

Tucked between a breakfast room and a large, oval dining room, the Johnston's kitchen is, in fact, relatively small. But in its 10 1/2 by 14 feet of space, Patterson has maximized storage while keeping the room bright with an 11-foot expanse of windows over the sinks.

"In today's kitchens, storage needs exceed workspace needs," he says. "You just don't need 30 feet of counter." The Johnsons are doing fine, he adds, with their 18 linear feet of Impera Dora marble.

"The kitchen's extremely functional," says Jay, who worked with Patterson to iron out the details, then hired Zepsa Architectural Woodwork (known for its precision boat interiors) to build the white-painted, raised-panel maple cabinets.

Patterson was careful to specify interior features to keep the acres of stored items in order. A pull-out bin holds recycling containers; a blind-corner base cabinet has slide-over, swing-out shelves; drawer dividers organize spices, and — the piece de resistance — a sliding library ladder makes the topmost cupboards accessible.

In a world where having too much storage is almost unheard of, Jay knows he has it good.

"There's so much cupboard space," he says, "we'll probably never fill it up."

One route to Jay and Kirsten Johnston's kitchen goes from the foyer down a wood-paneled hallway and then takes a sharp right into a corridor lined with cabinets. On both sides, tall pantries topped by small cupboards rise up to the 10-foot ceiling.

A few steps farther along, the counters, appliances, and many more cabinets come into full view, and it becomes clear what this kitchen is all about.

"It's like you're walking inside a big cabinet," says Mac Patterson, the Connecticut architect who designed the kitchen. "The whole room is a cupboard."

With its walnut-topped island, marble counters, and a 7-inch wide white oak floorboards, the room is elegant, to be sure.

But its real beauty lies in much more than its pretty face. With twin sinks, two dishwashers, double wall ovens, a warming drawer, a 48-inch range, a full-sized refrigerator, a full-sized freezer, and cabinets, cabinets, and more cabinets, this is one high-functioning facility built for cooking, cleaning up, and above all, storing.

Tucked between a breakfast room and a large, oval dining room, the Johnston's kitchen is, in fact, relatively small. But in its 10 1/2 by 14 feet of space, Patterson has maximized storage while keeping the room bright with an 11-foot expanse of windows over the sinks.

"In today's kitchens, storage needs exceed workspace needs," he says. "You just don't need 30 feet of counter." The Johnsons are doing fine, he adds, with their 18 linear feet of Impera Dora marble.

"The kitchen's extremely functional," says Jay, who worked with Patterson to iron out the details, then hired Zepsa Architectural Woodwork (known for its precision boat interiors) to build the white-painted, raised-panel maple cabinets.

Patterson was careful to specify interior features to keep the acres of stored items in order. A pull-out bin holds recycling containers; a blind-corner base cabinet has slide-over, swing-out shelves; drawer dividers organize spices, and — the piece de resistance — a sliding library ladder makes the topmost cupboards accessible.

In a world where having too much storage is almost unheard of, Jay knows he has it good.

"There's so much cupboard space," he says, "we'll probably never fill it up."

2 ×

How to Get Organized

 

How to Get Organized

kitchen with a storage island
Photo by David Prince
Besides providing a big prep area, the 3 1/2-by-7 foot island houses a dishwasher, pull-out recycling bins, and cabinet drawer storage for cookware and utensils. On the other side of the island, the walnut counter extends a foot beyond the cabinets to provide space for stools and knees.
Of course, having lots of cabinet space doesn't solve your storage problems unless you can find what you want when you want it.

To help you get your cooking essentials organized, here are some tips from Barry Izsak, the Austin, Texas — based president of the National Association of Professional Organizers. — Store like things together: dishes with dishes, utensils with utensils, food with food
— Store things nearest their point of use; cooking gear should be near the stove, dishes and glasses near the dishwasher, plastic wrap and bags where you are most likely to actually cover the leftovers or make sandwiches.
— Place things you use everyday within easy reach; put less used items at the back of shelves or in top cupboards.
— Keep the kitchen a kitchen a kitchen; if you're short on space, store light bulbs, tools, cleaning supplies, and pet food elsewhere — Install small lazy Susans in cupboards to make it easier to find jars and cants
— Screw in cup hooks under shelves to make use of otherwise wasted space.
— Have a huge collection of plastic containers? They'll stay better organized nested in a drawer instead of stuck on a cabinet shelf. — Install racks for pot lids, spices or canned goods on the insides of cabinet doors.
—Equip base cabinets with pull-out shelves or bins to make the contents more accessible.
— Pare down your kitchen possessions. If you haven't used something for a couple of years, maybe you don't need it all.

 
 

TV Listings

Find TV Listing for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.