So, I did the math

annkh_ndFebruary 19, 2013

I knew that my kitchen remodel was going to vastly improve the storage space in my kitchen, but Holy Cow! I sat down tonight and did the math, and even I was astonished!

I am not touching a single wall, or changing the general layout of the kitchen. I am having custom cabinets built, to utilize space as efficiently as I can. I am replacing a small desk with cabinets above with a floor-to-ceiling pantry and desk area. I'm running the uppers to 8' instead of 7'. I'm lengthening both ends of the U by 8".

So I measured my current space (cheap builder grade cabinets). I have a total of 6 drawers, plus 5 more drawers in my small desk. 6 upper cabinets with 3 shelves each, plus one shelf each above the fridge and range. 4 shelves above the desk. 2 base lazy susans (3/4), one base cabinet with 1-1/2 shelves. A far too wide (48"!) sink cabinet.

Total existing horizontal surface:
drawers: 17.5 sq ft
uppers: 56 sq ft (including desk area)
base: 21.5 sq ft (not including sink base - I didn't include it in the new measurements either)

Grand Total 95 sq ft

In the new space, I add a shelf all the way around the kitchen, by going to the ceiling. I'm having pull-outs above the fridge, to better utilize that space. I'm putting a full lazy susan in one corner, and closing off the other. I'm putting L-shaped corner cupboards on top, instead of cavernous (and difficult to access) diagonal corner cupboards. Base cabinets will be drawers, except for a trash pull-out and narrow tray storage.

New horizontal surface:
drawers: 35 sq ft (not including deep base drawers)
base drawers: 16.5 sq ft
uppers: 84.9 sq ft
lazy susan: 7.4 sq ft

Grand Total: 175.7 sq ft

So, if anyone is counting... that's 80 square feet of storage surface that I didn't have before! I will definitely not miss the 8 sq ft I'm losing in a blind, inaccessible corner.

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Awesome! Enjoy your newfound space. Having suffered for 10 years in our poorly planned, poor quality kitchen with about 15% utilization of two corner cabinets (no susans), too many pullouts and not enough drawers, not enough drawer organizers, and a 24" wide trash pullout that isn't being used for anything, we feel your pain and exult in your expansion simply from better use of your existing space!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:03AM
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Rachiele, LLC

Years ago when I designed kitchens I often blocked off corners instead of using Lazy Susan's. I found that the efficiency of a standard cabinet far exceeded, in many cases, the poor use ability of a Lazy Susan cabinet. It appears that you did your math and outcome will be wonderful. Great job. Dino Rachiele

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:57AM
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That is great! I thought I was doing well to increase my storage by about 50%, but you increased it by 85%. Way to go! I am confident you will love the increased storage.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 9:20AM
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We buy in bulk (2 teenage boys), and we have metal shelves in the laundry room in the basement for extra cereal, cases of soup, and cases of soda and beer. Opened soda and beer are currently stacked on the floor next to the fridge. In the new kitchen, extra cereal can go over the fridge (pullouts), and I'm making sure the bottom shelves in the pantry are placed just right for beverages.

I am so looking forward to having everything in the kitchen! I will move some of the old cabinets to the laundry room, to replace the metal shelves. I have big plans for that space, too, once I get all the food out of there.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:39AM
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I think we all come out of remodeling with some favorite storage discovery. I agree with your decision to wall off the blind base cab in favor of more drawers, but I do question that the black holes in D-shaped upper corner cabs need to be a problem.

I think you might reconsider the upper corner cabs. I had a 15'' deep D-shaped upper corner cab and the shelves were indeed cavernous and inaccessible.

Below is a link I posted to my solution. The super susan shelves are a wonderful solution, much better than I expected, and that corner cabinet now holds a huge amount of absolutely accessible ''stuff''.

I don't know the floor plan of your kitchen, but even though you are gaining a huge amount of storage space (as I did), we TKO folks always need more.

So, 3 considerations based on two of my pet ideas:
1. Have 2 extra adjustable shelves made for the upper cabs. Most upper cabinets have lots of wasted VERTICAL space and/or stacks of unlike items that are hard to access. More shelves can eliminate this.
2. Use 15'' deep upper cabs over counters where you will not do extensive prep. That extra 3'' allows so much more storage.
3. D-shaped corner upper cabs with susans on every shelf. Be SURE the cab maker fits the susans properly to use ever inch of the space.

(If I remember correctly, my 15'' corner cabinet is actually a 26'' square with the front corner cut off. The susans I put in are 24'' susans. That means that each of the four shelves hold just short of 4 sq. feet of stuff for a total of a bit less than 16 sq. feet of absolutely accessible storage in that one corner.)

Here is a link that might be useful: Using ever inch of upper cab storage

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 10:48AM
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Thanks for the link, Bellsmom - your corners are fabulous!

We aren't getting 15" uppers - DH is 6'4", and does most of the cooking. Our kitchen is also pretty small - a U-shape, 10' on the closed side. That's one of the reasons I want easy-reach corners instead of diagonals (which I have now) - I think it will open up the space and make it look bigger.

Admittedly, because the current corners are such a mess, I'm not sure what will go in the corners in the new kitchen. Many of the things currently in the corners will go to more appropriate places (like aluminum foil and ziplock bags to a drawer).

I do love your suggestion to get extra shelves made for each upper cabinet! I hadn't thought of that. Since our uppers will be 42" with a single door, an extra shelf will give me more flexibility, especially in the higher shelves. It's on my list for the builder!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 12:43PM
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Yes, I would not use 15'' deep cabs over a prep or work area, even for a shorty like me.
I am attaching a photo because I added TWO extra shelves to my only wide upper cabinet. Most of the other cabs just got one extra shelf.

If I were you, I would either order two extra or measure carefully and think about it. But extra shelves aren't that hard to make and a lot cheaper than a cabinet maker's shelves. I cut mine and painted the front edge to match. Well, to be honest, I bought a full sheet of plywood and had the nice guy at the lumber company cut them for me, which he does at no charge. A lot easier than trying to handle a 4 x 8 sheet of 3/4'' plywood. ;-)

A few dishes normally stored here are in the DW. But you will get the idea.
There IS wasted space at the top of the upper shelf, but if I raise that shelf, I can't reach the items without a stool. GRRR on being short! I would LOVE to add that 3 inches of unused vertical space to the shelf below it, which would allow me to stack two serving trays high.

This post was edited by Bellsmom on Tue, Feb 19, 13 at 14:07

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:30PM
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Bellsmom, my local lumberyard cuts stuff for me too (one more reason not to go to Menards).

I'll ask the cabinetmaker how much he would charge for extra shelves. He seems determined to make me happy, and equally determined that I not have any surprises in this process.

I'm going to have a lot of shelves that I can't reach (I'm 5'4"), but DH can reach almost anything. He's a handy guy to have around! With the amount of reachable/usable space I'm gaining, I shouldn't have to put anything on the top shelves that I use often.

Thanks again for your helpful suggestions!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 1:37PM
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If you can fit a 24" x 24" x 12" upper deep diagonal corner cabinet, you can put 20" D-shaped lazy susans into it and have an amazing amount of storage that is very easy to access. The link below is just one version; they also have ones that sit on a shelf with no center shaft.

More storage, easier access - what's not to like? Well, they are definitely spendy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Rev-A-Shelf D-shaped lazy susan

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 2:44PM
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Wow! Math doesn't lie, but this is astonishing! And do I understand correctly that you added no extra square footage? You JUST have more efficient use of the space you already had?

This is absolutely proof to those who say they want a big, big, big kitchen -- it's all in the arrangement, not the square footage.

Good for you!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:31PM
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By the way, posts like this are why I read this board!

I'd never, ever have thought of asking for extra cabinet shelves.

I would have thought of buying a white plastic lazy susan from Bed, Bath & Beyond, but I'd never have considered the solution discussed in the link above -- yet it's perfect!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:53PM
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If you decide to do susans (which I do not think you will), check with your cabinet maker. Some can make them cheaper and better than you can buy them on line.

Personally, I do not like the pole style show above. Much prefer the ones that sit on shelves. You can adjust the shelf height and there is no center pole in the way.

And they are not terribly pricey if you look. Here is the best price I could find quickly:

This was on ebay.

BUT these Rev-a-shelf units still waste a lot of vertical space (more than 3'' per shelf), as I explained in the post I linked above. If your cabinet maker can make them, he could use the inexpensive--$6 each--turntables I used, which are only about 1/4'' inch thick and rated for 1,000 lbs.

Anyway, just tuck this post away in case you ever decide to add susans. It is not a difficult retrofit.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 4:01PM
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MrsPete, I'll run through the numbers again - I am not too proud to admit it if I made a mistake. I was astonished too!

Here's the new layout: currently I have a desk and upper cabinets in the 32"x42" space on the bottom left; the whole room is open to the dining room. The general layout is the same, though I did move the fridge 8" to the left, and extended the range side 8" as well. That makes the fridge stick out past the end of the wall, but it is all enclosed with new built-in pantry, so it doesn't show. The pantry is shown as 10 and 11 on the drawing, and goes to the 8' ceiling. The left side is 20" deep; the right side is 12" deep.

The cabinets are framed, partial overlay - with a LOT of frame showing (wasting a lot of space). Currently on the fridge side I have a stack of 4 drawers, the DW, and a 3/4 corner lazy susan (no drawer above). The sink wall is only 10' long, has two 36" lazy susan corners, and a 48" sink base! Obviously it was the cheapest and easiest solution when the house was built - certainly not the most efficient. In my calculations, I did not include that space; it holds my trash can, and I did not include my new trash drawers in the calcs of the new space (I considered it a wash). I also did not include the new sink base (which will be only 30").

In the new design, I'll have a diagonal lazy susan in the left corner (as you face the sink); a narrow base cab for cookie sheets, with a small drawer above; and a 4-stack of drawers. The corner to the right of the sink will be closed off.

On the range side, I currently have one base cabinet with doors, and a 1/2 shelf. I'm moving the range a foot to the left, giving me more counter space to the left of the stove, and giving me room to add base drawers on both sides.

Admittedly, I didn't give full credit to the existing upper diagonal cabinets - because I can't reach or even see most of what's in there. I know there is junk in the back of most of them, but it just sits there. I expect I'll get rid of most of it when I empty them. In my calculation I used the door width times 12" - the space I actually use.

Currently the cabinets go up 7'; the new ones will go to the ceiling, 8'. Just adding that additional foot (assuming one extra shelf all the way around) adds 18 sq ft! The extra 8" on each end of the U adds 5.3 sq ft of uppers (assuming 4 shelves).

Above the fridge went from a 12" deep shelf that I can't use without a stool, to a pair of fridge-depth, full extension pullouts: a gain of at least 6.5 sq ft.

So I've increased upper cabinet space by 30 sq ft! That's without even skimping on the existing upper corners as comparison.

By replacing the single base cab I now have with 2 sets of deep drawers, I gain 6 sq ft. Not counting the big drawers, I'm going from 6 to 10. Three of the new drawers (in a 4-stack) are deeper than what I have now, but that doesn't show up in my math.

The pantry has 32 sq ft of shelf space, plus 5 sq ft of drawer space, two 20" deep file drawers, and a space behind doors on the 20" side that will serve as my "desk" - two wall outlets for phone chargers, calendar, bulletin board, place for papers that need attention (currently this all is on the top of my small desk). I do currently have some drawers in the desk, and upper cupboards above, so the pantry space isn't all gain.

OK, I must have screwed up somewhere - I'm not getting to a gain of 80 sq ft. I'm still pretty happy with what I'm getting!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:16PM
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