Closing off a blind corner

annkh_ndFebruary 14, 2013

Today I told my cabinet-maker to do something I never, ever thought I would do: close off a blind corner forever! And I have you folks to thank for it!

I'm replacing cabinets in a 24-yr-old house with a small U kitchen. One corner is getting a super susan with diagonal front; the other is getting closed off, with drawer banks on each side of the corner - one with 3 and one with 4. The larger drawers in the 3-drawer stack will not be the same height - I need more height to accommodate the items I want to put there (one of the many reasons I'm glad I'm going custom).

I have always been a fanatic about wasted space, and much of my kitchen design is based on improving the space that I have. I am thrilled at the prospect of drawers! When I realized, however, that I had to choose between accessing the dead space in the corner and getting my wonderful drawer, it gave me pause - for about 5 seconds. Then I said "Do it!"

I calculated the additional space I'm getting with the remodel - uppers to the ceiling, deep cabinet over the fridge, and a pantry wall - and came up with 35 square feet of new shelf space! I can afford to sacrifice 8 square feet of difficult-to-access space in favor of functional, beautiful drawers that I will use every day.

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function_first

I think that's a great idea. I have a blind corner and would far rather have a couple drawers there -- I'm almost positive that I'd be able to store the same number things in the drawers without doing the "cave crawl" to get to them. Good choice.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 6:55AM
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jakuvall

"wasted space" a lot of what goes on when people select corner options is purely emotional-" the space is there I want it"
A pie cut susan takes up 12" of frontage in each direction. Two 32" shelves inside give you about 1750 sq in of shelf space.
Block the corner- takes up 3" frontage in each direction. Add the extra 9" (18 total) to cabinets that are already there- lets say drawers or rollouts- 3 in each direction. 9" x x 20" deep x 6 drawers= 2160 sq inches of shelf (albeit shorter in height)

Think your winning there.

I regularly calculate real shelf space and what fits where for clients.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 7:52AM
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wi-sailorgirl

I'm doing it too, and since we live in a small house I sort of pride myself on creative storage solutions. We're just doing pull-out drawers on both side and closing the corner. The cabinets on either side of the corner are too small for any of the magic corner type things (the old Le Mans corner might have fit but theat version is getting to be very hard to find and it seemed like a ton of money for not a great gain in space. I don't care for lazy susans so we weren't left with a lot of options.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:29AM
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localeater

I did it and I am very happy with the result.
One thing to think about is if it will be functional or beneficial to access some of the space through the countertop. I saw a design where they had a hole for trash and then on the other side of the wall In their mudroom) was actually a door to remove the waste receptacle. I did think about putting in a countertop compost insert but with my kitchen layout it would have been a very incorrect location.
What I do keep in that corner is my countertop crock of wooden spoons, I could have recessed that crock but I like it on the counter.
Just some food for thought.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 8:39AM
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mrspete

I did the math -- very much like jukavall's math -- and decided that the space in the blind corner wasn't as valuable as it might've appeared.

Another math problem to consider: The cost of a Lazy Susan vs. plain drawers.

Closing off the blind corner was a clear winner.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:08AM
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cat_mom

We kept our "L" corner as dead space. It was pretty much a no-brainer for us; having a "tray" cabinet (even a small one such as ours) for baking sheets, cooling racks, and pizza stones next to the range was non-negotiable. The only way to achieve that was to close off the corner space.

The dead-corner space came in handy though! When it came time to plot out where to locate the gas shut-off required by code (had to be within a certain number of inches or feet of the range), I was reluctant to shorten any drawers, or give up usable cabinet space (for the gas pipes and shut-off lever). I asked our plumber; if our cab installer cut an access panel in the side of the tray cabinet, could the emergency shut-off be located in that dead-space?

The panel is held in place with magnets, and a pull-ring was attached to the panel in case we need to pop it out to access the shut-off or the dead-space for any reason.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 10:51AM
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may_flowers

I did the same in my small U. I closed off all my corners! It was the only way to get functional drawers next to the corners. I have 30 years of accumulated kitchen stuff, and I still have a few empty shelves. I often wonder what people store in those huge kitchens.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:21AM
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donaleen

We are closing off our blind corner, too.

Will yours allow you to access the space from an adjacent room? Some people do that.

We couldn't do that because ours is on an outside wall.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:47PM
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annkh_nd

Ours is an outside wall as well.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 1:58PM
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Jfay

Wow, I like that idea myself. I could possibly access the space from a stairwell landing where I could put some recessed shelving. Thanks for the idea.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:28PM
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allison0704

We had a U in our last house. One L corner with a single shelf (plus bottom, of course). The other side was blind, but opened with a drawer and cabinet to the breakfast room.

I think this is a good option for an upper dead corner, especially since I am not fond of upper corner cabinets. Also for those that want some open shelving but not too much/all open.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 3:48PM
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PeterH2

You can sometimes use the dead space by putting a cupboard in the adjacent room - the cupboard door is flush with the wall and the cupboard goes through the wall into the dead corner.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 4:58PM
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Iowacommute

Annkh~I am so happy you posted this. This is what I'm planning on doing in my next house with a small u shaped kitchen. I thought I was crazy for wanting to 'waste' the dead corner space and thought my plan may be torn to shreds if posted on here. I'm happy to hear people have actually done the math and proved it's a winner.

1 Like    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:15AM
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msl511

I just want to make sure I'm understanding. Closing off the blind corner would mean making the cabs look like the picture posted above, but instead of the cabinet to the left of the sink being open inside all the way past the left edge of the door and right to the wall, walls are built to close off the two cabinets, leaving a "wasted" square space that's not accessible from the kitchen (although I understand about access from other rooms on the other side of the wall)?

Why is that better than leaving the cabinet to the left of the sink open all the way to the wall and installing one of the pull out things that get attached to the door so that you don't have to crawl in there to get stuff (my current arrangement, which is clearly terrible)?

Is it the general advantage of being able to do drawers on either side of the corner (unlike the above picture?) or something else?

Thanks for your patience.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 5:38PM
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jakuvall

Marcia-The best corner solution is always a combination of how it affects the layout, type of storage needed and persoanl preferance. In this case it sounds like a combination- a preference for drawers AND the available width for a blind cabinet would be too small to have a mechanism that gains much storage.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 7:21PM
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islanddevil

Interesting thread.
Can some of you please post more pictures showing the corners where you eliminated access to the blind corner space?

I have a small U-ish with 2 lower cabs with small bifold door fronts that access a ton of corner space. It is a jumble in there, but their locations, one next to the sink cab and the other near the fridge, wouldn't give me much space if I swapped them for drawers....I think, but maybe my minds eye is missing something. Pictures please?? Thanks.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:22PM
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islanddevil

Duplicate deleted.

This post was edited by island on Sun, Feb 17, 13 at 18:25

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 6:23PM
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SparklingWater

Cat_mom: " I asked our plumber; if our cab installer cut an access panel in the side of the tray cabinet, could the emergency shut-off be located in that dead-space?
The panel is held in place with magnets, and a pull-ring was attached to the panel in case we need to pop it out to access the shut-off or the dead-space for any reason"

This is a real help. I've been trying to come up with a possible plumbing solution for an accessible emergency gas shut off valve, and will have a 9 inch base next to the gas range. Can't you just reach in the tray cab base to turn off the emergency valve without popping the access panel off? I will need to check code, but thank you very much for this suggestion!

OP- currently I have blind with base drawers on either side and doubt I'll go the lazy susan way on the re-model. Love that open shelf above the counter picture.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:08PM
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annkh_nd

Island, mine is still in the planning stage, but I can show your sketches.

This is an outside wall - the closed end of the U. It's only a 10-foot wall, so there's not much space. I'm putting a diagonal to the left of the sink, with a full lazy susan and drawer above. The sink cabinet is going to be 30" instead of the 36" shown, so I gain a bit of space on either side - a wider tray cabinet on the left, wider drawer stack on the right.

This is the adjacent wall, to the right. It is also an outside wall. I have switched from pull-outs to drawers on both sides since this was drawn up. If I kept a pull-out on the left side, I could have accessed the dead corner - though not very easily. Drawers eliminate the possibility, since the builder will put in a solid panel to support the drawer glides.

The third wall of the U contains the fridge, dishwasher, and trash pull-out. The spot to the right of the sink is the only place I have for a stack of 4 drawers - and even with a smaller sink cabinet, there isn't really enough room there to access the blind corner, even if I had put in a regular base cab instead of drawers.

I have gone through the entire kitchen, and figured out what is going in each cabinet. The drawers next to the corner will get used a LOT - and the convenience of drawers far outweighs the ability to get to the dead corner space.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 11:52PM
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cat_mom

Our shut-off is located in the blind corner itself (in the dead space between the adjacent cabs on either leg of the "L"), so in order to reach the shut-off lever, we would have to pop off the access panel. I suppose we could have forgone the panel, and just left the opening open, but we preferred to have it covered.

Another alternative would have been to locate the shut-off inside the tray cabinet, which I believe is what you are considering doing (locating it inside your 9" cab next to your range). We had the dead space anyway, and locating the shut-off in it preserved all the usable space in our tray cabinet.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 1:05AM
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SparklingWater

Ah, I got you. Yes, mine would go in the adjacent tray base cabinet. I'm a stickler on having an emergency valve for gas. Thanks for answering.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 8:21PM
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psyohe

I did the math too. I didn't lose much s.f. plus I gained an 8' spice baking cabinet that is 6" deep.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:23PM
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ivaniphone

On newstands now, This Old House magazine, May 2013 page 73-ish? shows a clever idea of what to do with a dead corner, both upper and lower.

Essentially, they added a custom hutch snuggled into the corner, stained a beautiful shade of brown contrasting with the white and light green primary colors in the kitchen. The front of the hutch forms a triangle with the wall.

The lower cabinets on either side do go in front of the lower part of the hutch somewhat, but not completely. The upper part has shutters that swing open. In the photo they display special dishware pieces.

It looks gorgeous but I wish they had a complete picture of it. In the picture I snapped on my cell phone, an island is blocking the view of the lower.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 2:54AM
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