Everything I Wanted to Know About Drawers...

aloha2009February 2, 2013

I was hoping to make this thread not only informational for myself, but that other information regarding drawers could be collected together. This is all about function.

Obviously to maximize storage and ease of use, drawers are the way to go.

Some things that are not so obvious are about framed, frameless and inset cabinets.

Another is how do cabinet manufacturers differ (if any) on the available usage.

The usage of 3 drawer vs 4 drawer (or even 5 drawer) stacks.

Determining the width of cabinets for your kitchen.

If you have answers to any of these please proceed.

Framed, frameless and inset cabinets utilize differing INTERIOR usable measurements. Please specify the type of cabinets you have (framed, frameless or inset) your manufacturer (or custom), the size of the cabinet, and what the entire TOP drawer INTERIOR measurements are (width, length, height). I stated top drawer only for comparison purposes since only the height should change from drawer to drawer. Perhaps certain manufactures have better storage in their cabinet lines.

Why did you choose cabinets with 4 drawer (and 5 drawer) stack when you did? How many do you have? How did you deal with the "horizontal lines" differences between your 3 and 4 drawer stacks? Just one aesthetic question isn't too bad.

Though wider cabinets are highly prized here, why did you choose narrower cabinets, instead of the widest available that would fit in your kitchen?

If there is anything else, I haven't though of to ask to have this thread be as complete as possible regarding drawers, please feel to add.

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Thank you for starting this thread. It would be great if a thread such as this could end up being a 'sticky', since drawers seem to be a recurring issue. This is right where I'm at in the planning so I'll be watching this thread with great interest. Also, it's so helpful when people post pics of the interiors of their drawers (!) but what would be supremely helpful is if they'd also state what the dimensions are of said drawer.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:33AM
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Just met with my cabinet maker yesterday for hopefully the last time before construction. My kitchen is entirely drawers except for trash and pull out pantries. Here is how the interior drawer sizes come out. If you have glides on the bottom of the drawers with inset cabinetry, the internal height is approximately 1 1/2 inches less than the opening measurement. My top drawers are 5.5 inches giving me 4" of height on the inside. I have 14 drawers this size around the kitchen in varying widths. Two will be spice drawers, three will have dividers in them. One for silverware, one for baking needs such as rolling pin, wooden spoons, measuring cups etc. etc. and the third for spatulas, spoons, meat thermometer etc. in the cooking area. The others will hold fry pans, ebilskiver pans, shallow casserole dishes, towels, coffee and tea stuff etc. My cabinets are 27" deep vs. 24" deep.
21" 4 drawer stack: (2)
2 drawers 5.5" : Internal 4" high by 16.5" wide by 22.5" deep.
2 drawers 6.25" Internal 4.75"

Other widths and depths:
34" wide three drawer unit. Bottom drawer is 14" with internal ht of 12.5" x 29.5 wide by 22.5 deep. I have three this size. One is divided vertically for 9x13 pans, casserole dishes etc. (Cookie sheets and oven racks will not fit in this size drawer unless laid flat.) Also one for large items like blender, huge mixing bowls, electric can opener and turkey roasting pans. Another for dishes.
One drawer 12.5" with an internal depth of 11" for various types of flour, sugar etc.
While I like deep drawers, I think you can have a lot of wasted vertical space unless you really plan what you are putting in them. I like the four drawer stack so items are "one layer" thick and easy to see and retrieve. I am anxious to see some of the comments posted here just in case I need to switch my sizes somewhat!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Before you get too far into this, I just want to state for the record that there is NO DIFFERENCE in the size of a drawer for an inset cabinet vs a drawer in any other framed cabinet. Drawer slides come in standard lengths, and the typical base cabinet slide (21" or 22" depending on the manufacturer) will work for the same size drawer whether it is installed inset or overlay. The width (side to side) of the drawer box does not change if the drawers are installed inset. Only the drawer front (the piece you see on the front of the drawer) changes in size. The height of the drawer will remain the same, because there are always intermediate rails on framed cabinets, whether inset or overlay. Of course, the drawer sizes in frameless cabinets will not be the same as those in framed.

The usable interior measurement of a drawer will also depend on what type of slide is used. Side mounted slides will allow drawers to be taller, but also they will be narrower (side to side). Under mounted slides result in drawers that can be wider (side to side), but they are not as tall.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:28AM
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Ours are all custom but a mix of framed inset and frameless, just to keep it interesting. :)

Interior top drawer dimensions:
20" x 14" x 5.5" in a 2-over-2 36" inset framed cabinet, undermount slide [was designed to be 3.5" though--lucky mixup since we like it!]

20" x 15" x 4.25" in a 4-drawer 18" frameless cabinet
20" x 16" x 4.25" in a drawer-over-door 48" frameless corner pullout
20" x 24" x 4.25" in a 3-drawer 27" frameless cabinet

We went as wide as could fit and did deep drawers for all but one. (These four are all we have, plus a sink cabinet and a small 12" door cabinet--small kitchen!) The four-drawer was for potholders, napkins, wraps, etc. and works well. We lined up top drawers in frameless and didn't worry about lower drawers, except that we have Shaker style cabinets and made the rails narrower in the four-drawer bank for aesthetics--cabinetmaker's idea I think. Love it. Inset drawers are on a separate wall so didn't worry about lining them up. Top and inset drawers are all slab. DH wishes the deep inset drawers were Shaker style too but I like them as is.

Two years in, I don't regret any of our drawer choices, if that helps!

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 12:57PM
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I have posted this other places before, but I am going to try to consolidate it *all* in one place.

My kitchen cabinets from UltraCraft are semi-custom. LOVE them. They are Frameless cabinets that allow size modifications in 1/16" increments to height, width, and depth (or all 3) at no additional cost. So, have deeper base cabinets. Go ahead and make your uppers 13" or 14" deep for those extra large mixing/salad bowls and charger plates, and maximize your storage space for example storing glasses 4 deep instead of 3 deep and storing cereal bowls 2 deep instead of only 1 deep. Make your toekick slightly shorter so you have an extra inch or two for more drawers height. Cut down on the fillers you need by making your cabinets the exact width you need them, instead of being forced to choose from 3" increments. No extra charge ! I like that all my uppers are flat across the bottom (no frame/dividers between cabinets), so I could install one long plugmold and one long under cabinet light, then hide it all with lightrail at the front. Also, standard is Blum full extension soft close drawer glides, soft close doors, no charge for finished sides (like end of cabinet run), all dovetail drawers with fully captured bottoms, and bunches of other stuff is standard. 100 year warranty. WOW.
http://www.ultracraft.com/ Yep, I LOVE them !!!

Cabinet Decisions - I emailed this part to a friend recently, so am copying here ...
1. One of the first things to decide is what cabinet door overlay you want. Inset doors or overlay doors ? Inset doors sit inside of the cabinet box frame rather than attached to the front of the cabinet box. Overlay is further broken down into traditional overlay, partial / modified overlay, and full overlay and determines how much of the cabinet box/frame behind the door you want to show (traditional overlay shows the most of the cabinet box & frame, full overlay shows the least). The hinges can be exposed or concealed for all overlay styles except full overlay which only allows for concealed hinges. The overlay you choose will automatically knock out some cabinet options and cabinet mfgs who may not make that type of cabinet. (My cabinets are full overlay)
See ... http://www.hansoncustombuilders.com/questions3.html
And ...http://www.kraftmaid.com/learn/choose-right-cabinetry/door-overlays/

2. Then you want to decide on the cabinet boxes ... framed or frameless ? Some mfgs only make one or the other, but not both, so this will knock out other mfgs. Framed cabinets have a frame on the face of the cabinet box that the doors attach to and allows for inset doors as well as all 3 overlay styles (traditional, partial, and full overlay). On frameless, the doors attach directly to the cabinet box sides instead of a face frame. Frameless are typically full overlay, but inset is also possible although not very common. I think a small partial overlay is possible on frameless if you are using semi-custom or custom cabinets - you would order slightly smaller doors so a little of the cabinet box would show. Traditional overlay is not possible on frameless because the cabinet box sides are not wide enough to show the traditional 1"-2" of the face frame. (My cabinets are frameless)
See ... http://www.cabinets.com/FORM/THE BOX - construction.asp

The disadvantage of framed is you give up useable space in drawers/pullouts and ease of access on cabinets with doors. This is because the drawer or pullout has to clear the face frame that goes around the opening, so they are narrower from side to side and also shallower from top to bottom. In a small kitchen, the extra useable space from frameless could make a big difference. Estimates say frameless gives 10-15% more space, so 100 inches of framed would be 110 inches in frameless. To me, an extra 10 inches of drawer space is huge, especially when you don't have much to begin with !! Frameless cabinets with doors also offer easier access - there is no face frame creating a 1-2" obstruction on the left, right, and top inside the cabinet doors, also there is typically no center stile between double doors in frameless.

For full overlay doors, there is very little difference in the looks of framed vs frameless. From an exterior appearance standpoint, these cabinets will basically look alike. Because the doors are full overlay, you don't see much or any of the frame and would have to open the door or drawer to see if the cabinet was framed or frameless. For inset doors, the framed cabinets would have a wider frame around the door than the frameless cabinet would.

In the below two pics, the cabinet on the left is framed, on the right is frameless. Looking only at the size of the opening, see how the drawer for frameless is wider from left to right and also has more open space from top to bottom. The useable drawer space is a couple inches more in each direction in the frameless. If they both had the same size full overlay exterior drawer face on them, they would look alike from the exterior. You would not be able to see the useable interior space until you opened the drawer.

framed . . . . . . . . . . frameless
As catbuilder said, the useable space for inset would be the same, depending on which you use. In other words, it doesn't matter if the framed cabinet above on the left had overlay or inset, the actual drawer space would be the same no matter what door style was used on the framed cabinet. The inset is set into the face frame. Similarly, if the frameless on the right had overlay or inset, the actual drawer space would be the same for that cabinet. If they both had inset doors, you can see that the framed cabinets would have a much wider "frame" around the door and drawer openings.
examples of inset ...

Inset in a framed cabinet box on left - inset door in a frameless box in middle - and inset with door and drawers in a frameless cabinet on right

3. The third thing to consider is the cosmetics ... the door style you like (slab, raised panel, recessed panel, arched top, etc), the drawer style (slab/flat/plain drawer front or drawer front that matches your door style), as well as wood species (cherry, oak, maple, etc), and stain or paint colors, glazing, distressing, finish/sheen, etc. (My cabinets are slab drawer, raised panel door, cherry with a chestnut stain, no additional finishes or glazes. My granite is Black Pearl.)
This website shows just a few of the different door styles available ... http://www.cabinets.com/FORM/THE DOOR - style.asp

4. The fourth thing to consider is stock cabinets vs semi-custom vs custom cabinet mfgs. Stock cabinets are available in 3" width increments (cabinets have to be width of 12", 15", 18", etc), filler strips fill in gaps between cabinets and wall or appliances, you have to choose from the heights and depths they offer, and there are very few options available, which can be pretty pricey to add on. Semi-custom cabinets vary by manufacturer in what customizations and options they offer, but they offer many more options than stock and allow sizing modifications. With custom cabinets, there should be no limitations ... including drawings for non-standard items, custom molding profiles, door styles, alternate wood species, custom stains & finishes, construction, accessories and options. (My cabinets are semi-custom)

5. Finally, you want to consider the cabinet construction. Not that this is the least important ! It is one of the most important things. Pretty much all the other stuff is just the "pretty" stuff, LOL. This has to do with how well the cabinets are made - are the drawers stapled, dowelled, glued, dovetail ? What materials are the cabinets made of ? Solid wood face frames, door frames, door fronts, drawers ? Corner braces ? How thick are the sides, rear, drawers, shelving ? Warranty ? What hardware do they use (full extension glides/soft close) ? etc, etc.

Drawer depths (front to back dimension)
My bases are all 24" deep bases. The interior of the cabinet box is 23.25" deep (because of back wall panel). The drawer boxes are all 21" from front to back with 19.75" useable interior.

I'm pretty sure I could have (and definitely should have!) requested the drawers be an extra 1-2 inches deep to more fully use the inside of the cabinet box. I *think* the full extension glides would not have pulled out that extra inch or so, but I could have lived with that !! I was already used to my drawers not pulling out for the back 4 inches anyway with the cabinets I already had. I could have fit my 8qt stock pots 2 deep front to back in the drawer instead of having to offset them slightly in the drawer if I had even an extra 1/2".

Some people choose to have their base cabinets deeper (i.e. 27-30" deep instead of 24" deep standard) from front to back for a number of different reasons, for example to make the front of the cabinet even with the front of the refrigerator so the standard fridge looks like a built in/counter depth fridge. Or they may want a larger countertop work surface. This can be accomplished two ways - by using deeper base cabinets or by using standard 24" deep bases and installing them a few inches out from the wall then covering the full space with the countertop material. If you want to do this and order deeper bases, be sure to specify the drawers are deeper from front to back as well ! Some mfgs will still only install the standard depth drawer even though the cabinet box is ordered larger.
(in pics below, my two standard $500 ea fridges look counter depth by recessing the wall behind the fridges only)

Drawer Heights
You can get a number of different drawer height combinations ... for example two drawer could be 6-24 or 15-15, three drawer could be 6-12-12 or 6-9-15, four drawer could be 6-6-6-12 or 6-6-9-9 or even 6.5-6.5-6.5-10.5, five drawer could be 6-6-6-6-6. These are just a few examples of size combinations !! I have even seen linens in 8 shallow pullouts behind doors in one base cabinet.

The height of my drawer fronts do not line up all the way around the 4 sides of my kitchen, but do line up when you are looking at any one section at a time. I have 2 stacks together that are 6-12-12 separated by a stove. On the opposite corner of the kitchen are 2 stacks that are 6-6-9-9. What helps is that my stacks are caddy-cornered across the kitchen with appliances and base cabinets with doors separating them ... it would be very hard to look in any direction where you could see the "mis-matches" at one time. Some people have drawer stacks right next to each other where the drawer heights do not 'line up' and others have all the drawer bases in their entire kitchen the same so the drawers line up all the way around for a continuous horizontal line.

My one advice ... find out the interior useable height of your drawers ahead of time. My Ultracraft cabinets are frameless so have more interior height than framed would. They have undermount glides. You want to know how much clearance you have from the floor of the drawer up to the next drawer or the stile between the drawers (or interior cross brace if there is one).

On the 6-12-12 stacks, my useable interior drawer height/clearance is 4, 10.5, 9.5 (top to bottom on stack). Where this becomes an issue ... I wanted to store all of my pans, pots, etc vertical on their edges in the drawers so I wouldn't have to have my pots/pans stacked inside each other. The middle 10.5" drawers are tall enough for all of the casserole/baking dishes and pie tins, the roasting pan, and almost all of the pans, pots, and lids to stand on edge (the 9.5" drawers are not tall enough for a couple of those items to stand on edge). Both height drawers are definitely tall enough for all of the big pots (even the 8qt stockpot) that I own, except for the huge "canning" pot which is on the top shelf of one of my 15" deep uppers.

Obviously, neither drawer is tall enough for my 12" pans/skillets to stand on edge (arrggh!). I have really been struggling with how to store these. Right now I have them flat in the bottom of the 9.5" height bottom drawer. Big waste of real estate !! I wish I had a shallower drawer I could put the big skillets in, like 6-6-6-12 so the frying pans were flat in drawers 2 & 3 and the pots were in the bottom drawer. Or even better(?!) if I had made my drawer heights 6-9-15 that would have given me 4, 7.5, 12.5 clearance. My tallest 8qt pots are 7" tall, so all of them could have gone in the middle drawer and everything on edge could have gone in the bottom drawer (including the 12" skillets!). Google for images of drawers with pans on edge. I have included some at the bottom of this post.

On the other side of the kitchen with the 6-6-9-9 stacks, the useable interior drawer height/clearance is 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 (top to bottom). I use the top 6" drawers all around the kitchen for silverware, spatulas and all the other kitchen gadgets, in-drawer knife block, foil wax paper cling wrap and plastic baggies, potholders, dish towels, etc. All of those things fit with no problem in these drawers including the ladle and the box grater. The 3rd drawer holds all of the tupperware and is the perfect height for this - 6 would have been too shallow and 12 would have been too deep. The bottom drawer is where we currently keep the paper and plastic grocery bags until we carry them for recycling.

(note: the interior drawer heights listed above vary slightly for the bottom two 12" drawers, the top two 6" drawers, and for the bottom two 9" drawers because of an interior cross support and space to clear the granite without scraping at the top. Jakuvall addresses this below "Note that some brands use intermediate stretchers in frameless which take up 3/4" vertical clearance. If they do I always spec them to be removed.")

ALSO: the drawer face to interior useable space ratio will be DIFFERENT depending on if your drawer face is inset, partial overlay, or full overlay, and depending on if you have undermount glides or sidemount glides as catbuilder says above. For example on my 6-6-9-9 four drawer stack ... 1.5" counter + 6 + 6 + 9 + 9 + 4.5" toekick = 36" finished height to top of counter. My useable heights are 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 = 22.5" total useable height. I lose 1.25-2.25" useable height for each drawer.
Compare to quiltgirl above inset drawers ... 1.5" counter + 5.5 + 5.5 + 6.25 + 6.25 + 4.5 toekick (assumed) = 29.5". Are her cabinets shorter than mine ? No ! Add in between each of her drawers approx 1.25" face frame to come up with the full 36" to top of counter. She has undermount glides as well so her useable heights are 4, 4, 4.75, 4.75 = 17.5" total useable height. She only loses 1.5" useable height for each drawer face showing so it sounds like she is losing less, compared to my loss of 1.25-2.25" each. But she is also losing useable height in the face frame between each drawer which is why her total useable space is less.
This is FINE !! Nothing at all against her cabinets. They will be beautiful. Inset is a gorgeous look. And she knew she was going to lose space with the inset when she chose them, but chose to do it because inset is the look she loves.

Drawer widths
The maximum cabinet width my manufacturer will do for drawer bases is 36" wide. I have 4 drawer bases at 21", 32", 17", and 36" wide. The interior useable width of these drawer bases are 18, 29, 14, 33 wide, so 3" less than the exterior width in each. I went with the widest drawer bases that would fit in each spot.

Going around my kitchen ... first I have a 6" wide pullout broom closet. Next are two 30" wide fridge/top freezers. There are full depth cabinets above the fridges with an adjustable shelf. Then a 24" full height cabinet with pantry space at the top, MW, a single oven, and 6" high drawer under oven (4.5" useable height).

The 21" wide 3 drawer 6-12-12 with useable interior heights of 4, 10.5, 9.5 is to the left of my stove. Top drawer holds in drawer knife block, sharpener, scissors, trivets, potholders. 2nd drawer holds casserole/baking/pie dishes on their edge. Bottom drawer is basically empty - it has one 8qt stockpot. If my drawer heights had been 6-9-15 instead (did I say grrrr?), I would have used the middle drawer as a bread drawer and stored the bakeware on edge in the bottom drawer. The 9.5" interior height on the bottom drawers are not tall enough for a couple of those items to stand on edge.

Next is the stove (Whirlpool GGE388LXS Smoothtop Electric Range w/Double ovens).
This stove is now available with an induction top(!) which is what I would have gotten if it had been available at the time WGI925C0BS http://www.whirlpool.com/kitchen-1/cooking-2/ranges-3/-[WGI925C0BS]-1021750/WGI925C0BS/

The 32" wide 3 drawer 6-12-12 with useable interior heights of 4, 10.5, 9.5 is to the right of the stove. Top drawer holds spatulas, spoons, ladles, wood spoons, basting brushes, meat thermometer, etc - things that are used at the stove. 2nd drawer holds frying pans, the smaller pots (1qt 2qt 3qt), and lids all on their edges. Bottom drawer holds 8qt pots. Also, the 12" skillets with lids, splatter screens, and griddle are all stacked in one stack flat in bottom of drawer, Grrrrrrr. If they were on their edges in the drawer with the other frying pans instead of taking up real estate here, that lone 8qt pot in my other cabinet would have been here with the other pots.

Turn the corner and next is the first dishwasher and then a 36" sink base with Ticor S405D sink (70/30 double bowl) 16 guage stainless. LOVE !!! This sink configuration is sooooo useful. The big side is 19x21.5x9 (23" diagonal) big enough for everything to lay flat in the bottom - cookie sheets, the broiler pan, my largest skillet with the extra long handle & a helper handle on the other side, the enormous canning/crab pot, etc, and its big & deep so the dirty dishes are hidden from view until its time to wash or go in DW. Then I also have the smaller right hand sink that is 16x10.5 perfect for washing dishes, the water fills up fast, & it's even big enough for my 8qt pots to fit in (single sinks take forever even to just get an inch or two of water over the grate, but with the double I can use the small side). When it's just a few things, I like to wash in the small side and lay out on the sink grid in the large side to drain. If it's more than a few items, they go in one of the dishwashers. And as a bonus ... both of the sink grids fit in the dishwasher ! No scrubbing those grid intersections by hand.

(I didn't have a straight down shot of my sink, above right is Buehl's sink)
You can get a sink with the same dimensions from MR Direct (models 509L or 509R)

Turn the corner and next is a 36" wide all door base cabinet (no upper drawer) with full depth adjustable shelves. I use this base cabinet for all my small appliances - blender, beaters, toaster, George Foreman, elec can opener, elec skillet, crockpot, etc. Next to this base cabinet is the second dishwasher, followed by an 18" prep sink base with a Ticor S815 14x15x8 sink, and an empty space for an ice maker which is where the trash can currently resides.

The 17" wide 4 drawer stack 6-6-9-9 with useable interior heights of 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 sits between the trash area/future ice maker and the peninsula and is on the opposite corner of the kitchen from the other drawer bases. The top drawer holds foil, wax paper, cling wrap, plastic baggies, chip clips, and restaurant menus. The 2nd drawer is our "junk" drawer and has some of everything including screwdrivers, clothespins, matches, flashlights, sewing kit, lint brush, etc. The 3rd drawer holds medicine, bandaids, alcohol, peroxide, as well as dish towels and plastic utensils from takeout restaurants in a tub. The bottom drawer is for "tupperware without partners" - bowls and lids with no matches (haha!).

The 36" wide 4 drawer stack 6-6-9-9 with useable interior heights of 4, 4.75, 6.75, 7 forms the peninsula. The top drawer holds all eating utensils (silverware and kid utensils), serving utensils, chopsticks, handheld can opener, wine opener in a strategically easy-to-access location : ), etc. The 2nd drawer holds all the other kitchen gadgets that aren't to the left and right of the stove like shrimp deveiners, graters, whisks, rolling pin, pizza rolling cutter-thingy, mashers, salad tongs, etc, etc. The 3rd drawer holds tupperware with their matching lids. As I said above, it is the perfect height for this - 6 would have been too shallow and 12 would have been too deep. The bottom drawer holds paper and plastic grocery bags until we carry them for recycling.

I don't like lazy susans or corner cabinets, so in the blind corner between the 17" and 36" drawer stacks is a 26" all door base cabinet that opens out the backside to where the barstools sit.

Weight of Drawer Contents
I will come back and fill this in later

ROTS = Roll Out Tray Shelves, a.k.a. pullout shelves. As a general rule of thumb, I think drawers are better than ROTS. A ROTS pullout is just a drawer behind a door. With drawers, you just pull to open; with ROTS you have to open one or two doors, pull out the shelf, then to close push the tray back in, wait for it to close completely, then close the drawers. Sometimes you may ding your door hitting it on the ROTS, the doors have to be opened fully to be able to access it, and the shelf has to be pushed in fully to be able to close the door(s). With ROTS, sometimes things will fall off or over the shallow sides. With some manufacturers, cabinet with doors and ROTS may cost more than one with drawers. However, most ROTS are adjustable; drawers are not. But with planning and/or organizers you can do almost anything with/in them

Upper Cabinets
I will come back and fill in more on this in later
You can maximize your storage space in the kitchen by making your upper cabinets a little deeper ... from 13"-15" or more. I have some upper cabinets in my kitchen that are the standard 12" deep and others that are 15" deep. There are 4 items that will not fit in my 12" deep uppers so I am forced to keep them in the 15" deep uppers, even though the 12" cabinets are a more convenient location for those items. Also, my iced tea glasses will only fit 3 deep in the 12" cabinets, but will fit 4 deep in the 15" cabinets, with room to spare. The cereal bowls also fit 2 stacks deep in the 15" cabinets.

Over your fridge, have extra deep cabinets. The front of my fridge is even with the edge of my base cabinets and I ordered the uppers over it to come out as deep as the fridge & base cabinets. These uppers have one adjustable shelf.

Another thing I recommend is getting extra shelves for your cabinets. I have my lowest two shelves closest together, then the higher shelves a little further apart. The bottom 2 shelves hold things that are not very tall ... coffee cups, plates, short glasses, measuring cups, etc. This makes the bottom shelves very easy to reach, and the higher shelves are easier to reach as well because they aren't quite as high up. I'm only 5'2" and can pretty easily reach items on the 3rd shelf up in all of my cabinets. When you have your shelves as close together as they can be for the items you want to store there, you could very easily end up with a tall space leftover at the top of the cabinet. That's when an extra shelf or two would be great to store those seldom used items way up at the top. My cabinets are 42" tall and all have 4-6 shelves of storage.

left side of kitchen
6" wide broom pullout
2 cabinets over fridges 30.75w x 26h x 24d (wall recessed behind fridges, not cabinets)
1 full height cabinet 24w x 97.5h x 24d
1 cabinet 21w x 42h x 12d
30 wide hood
1 cabinet 7.5w x 42h x 12d
1 cabinet 40.5w x 42h x 12d
1 cabinet 15w x 42h x 12d

right side of kitchen
1 cabinet 39w x 42h x 12d
2 cabinets 39w x 45h x 15d
1 cabinet 36w x 42h x 12d with glass doors & 6"h wine rack at bottom

Handles / Knobs / Pulls
I know this is a subject that causes a lot of angst to people ... should you do all knobs, all handles, latches, mixed knobs & pulls, vertical or horizontal mount, all same size or mix sizes, mixing styles & finish, where to mount on the drawer/door face, etc ???

Here's what we did ... we went with the same size handle for all of our drawers and also only one handle in the center for all of the drawers, no matter what the width of the drawer. They are all 4" wide pulls. We maybe would have used different widths for the wider drawers, but the ones we liked in the finish we wanted did not come in a bunch of widths. The cabinet guy said they would look fine and they do. We have slab drawer fronts and the pulls are centered top to bottom and side to side on each drawer. We used round knobs on all doors.

What I have found in the bazillion of kitchens posted on GW is there is no right way or wrong way. I have never seen a kitchen where I thought the handle choices someone made looked odd or bad. It's one of those things where they all look good.

Drawer Organizers
We ordered the drawer divider channels from Lee Valley so we could completely customize our drawer interiors. They often have free shipping on orders over $40.
Google for images - lots of gardenweb members have used these.

Take inventory of the things you will be storing in the drawers & doors. Plan it into the zones they will go in. Measure all of it and plan ahead how they will be stored (drawers/upper cabinets). You don't want tin foil or potholders to end up in the bottom of a tall drawer. And, you should know by now how I feel about my large skillets and too short of a drawer. ; ) From the FAQs that Buehl put together ... http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/kitchbath/msg010523449014.html
Excellent information on organizing !!

These are not my cabinets ... examples of pans stored vertically ...

Other ideas for vertical storage ...

This is my kitchen ...

A note on our kitchen ... this home is a vacation rental Ocean front beach house in NC with 8 bedrooms, 6 baths, that sleeps 26. Hence the 2 fridges, 3 ovens, 2 dishwashers. We had a large portion of our family here at Thanksgiving (32 people) and had like 7 or 8 women working to prepare the feast all at one time. Thank you Gardenweb for helping design a kitchen that WORKS !!! (send me a private message through My Page above if you are interested in renting or are just curious and would like a link to see more info & pictures of the home)

I'm sorry, didn't meant to hijack the thread with my insanely long post. : P

edited: mostly to decrease monster picture sizes thanks to GW changing their website coding, also clarified my wording on a couple things

This post was edited by angela12345 on Tue, May 13, 14 at 22:10

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 2:03PM
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What an amazing and helpful post! Thank you! I need to finalize my drawer heights and this post was a big help.

Do you have any pantry shelves? I also have to decide the height of my pantry shelves. They will be 24" deep and about 36" wide. I am thinking about putting can racks in them, but I am not sure if they are sturdy enough. I ordered 1 last week so I could see how strong they are.

Peke (Would love to see pics>)

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 7:34PM
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That is an amazingly helpful post. Thank you!!! I'm looking forward to the pictures.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 8:40PM
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With frameless cabinets do you have to use those hinges that do not let the door open all the way? European?? I used those hinges on my last kitchen and hated that they wouldn't open all the way. Peke

    Bookmark   February 2, 2013 at 10:02PM
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Thank you for posting! Very helpful post and quite timely for me. I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 3:06AM
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Some general notes-
The reveal on frameless is almost always narrower than the reveal possible on framed full overlay due to the hinges used. The only exception I know of is Brookhaven who notch the frame to use the same hinge for most door styles. This shows up in the doors and the drawers.

The most commonly used of the better undermount glides are only available in 3" increments. Accuride undermount come in 2" increments. Side mount glides come in 1".

Between brands using the same construction the main difference is in top opening height- top row varies from 4.5 to 5.5". Loss of vertical clearance, width, and total depth can vary based on brand of glide by 1/4". Thickness of drawer box is the other obvious factor in width.
For total vertical clearance available the height of the toe space matters. The most commone are 4" and 4.5"

Catbuilder is correct that the depth and width for inset drawers is the same as overlay framed.
Note thought that some brands use a taller opening for inset drawers for looks (for instance Showplace inset drawers have a greater vertical clearance than their overlay)

Also worth noting that some brands will either automatically use narrower stiles for overlay (QCCI uses 1") or will optionally change them on request.
Less often- optional 1" rails can be had- don't use this on a pocket hole cabinet!!!

Even some semi custom brands will "relocate intermediate rail" at a pretty nominal charge (Showplace will) any custom or "almost custom" brand should as well. (sometimes called "alter face")

You can also "delete intermediate" rails in insets- again depending on brand. For instance the rail between the two lower drawers on a 3 drawer inset cabinet- makes opening heights match while giving you another 1.5" clearance.
Use this with care on framed overlay cabinets as you will want to also alter the reveal so you don't see a big gap.
Keep the first intermediate rail on pocket hole cabinets if they are willing to eliminate any at all.

Note that some brands use intermediate stretchers in frameless which take up 3/4" vertical clearance. If they do I always spec them to be removed.

Many even semi custom brands now do widths in either 1/16 or 1/8" increments, some free as Angela notes, other are really nominal in the scope of things. AFAIK every brand charges at some point for an increase in depth.

Most brands offer wall cabinets deeper in insets as standard, varies from 13, 13.5, 14. I'd avoid any brand that has a standard 12 for inset walls and then wants to charge to make em work.

Peke- there are hinges of that type that open wider. Some makers will change to those at a charge, some won't- be very careful- they are that way because the reveal on frameless is so tight. The restriction keeps the doors from rubbing. It can be done, just have to know what your doing to avoid a problem.

This post was edited by jakuvall on Sun, Feb 3, 13 at 11:41

    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:32AM
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angela12345: You are a goddess! I'm keeping your whole
post for reference. It's the best guide to kitchen cabinets
on the net!!! It's early days for me yet, but cabinets are
a deep and thorny issue and they take time to get
delivered, so I'm doing my homework.

Or, I was, until you posted your dissertation for us all.

Thank you!


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 11:33AM
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I have seen cabinets where the door and drawers are a full one inch thick. Does that mean the face frame has to be one inch thick as well? Also, what would the upcharge run on that? Would that 1/4 inch be really noticeable in looks on an inset shaker style door?


    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:09PM
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Thank you for the time and effort you all put into this! Such helpful information!

The only thing you failed to address...... HOW do you get thru all the sleepless nights and the stress??? :)

1 Like    Bookmark   February 3, 2013 at 1:19PM
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Jakuval, in an inset cabinet, what combination of drawers do you sell the most? How is a cabinet base attached to the unit? Is it just a 6" high board with some moulding added to it so that the 6" piece is also the face frame below the bottom drawer? Does that make sense?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 11:52AM
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Quiltgirl-drawer combos are specific to the layout, client needs, and preferences.

Subbase Attachment can vary- ask your maker

As to questions in other thread-
Upcharge varies- a lot- by mfg and door style

For the door style with the cove it is very noticeable,
At 3/4 the cove is both shorter and shallower.
some other styles it matters, some less so- shaker is pointless
The only reason to use a 1" door is style as holly points out.
1" door can be mounted to a 3/4" frame-often is.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Angela12345 - Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! not only is this information helpful to most people, it is especially helpful to me since I am leaning toward ultracraft cabinets. i love that they will upsize for no additional cost.

Do you know if ultracraft has a microwave cabinet? my dealer said that they don't but I saw something in their brochure that suggests that they do. I'm a little unclear about your microwave placement. Can you be more specific about where you have your microwave?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2013 at 10:18PM
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NYMK-I have the UC brochure and it lists a MW cabinet. What do you think about the distance between drawers or drawers with a door below on UC? Does it seem greater than face frame cabinets to you? Not as snug? Thanks.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2013 at 8:47AM
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Aloha2009, Thank you for this wonderful informative thread that I just read all of it to learn more about cabinets. I really appreciate your hard work in teaching us.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 11:21PM
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Hi all, Sorry for the delay in responding. I did not click the "post replies emailed to you" button when I first posted and did not realize I had questions. Thank you everyone for the nice comments and thank you to all others who contributed to this thread.

Peke, I have been following your granite saga, so I know you are way past the pantry shelves decision. I do have shelves in my pantry cabinet. My pantry space is the 24d x 24w x 42h cabinet over my built in oven & MW. My shelves are adjustable and I did order extra shelves for this cabinet so I could space the shelves closer together. Some I have only 5" high between the shelves for one can high storage (I don't like stacking cans & I REALLY don't like wasted space between shelves in the pantry). A couple shelves I have as much as 10-12" between the shelves for cereal boxes etc storage. The other shelves in between vary in height.

Very bad shelf spacing . . . . . . . Pretty darn good shelf spacing !

In the left example, there is lots of wasted space between the shelves. The 2nd shelf from the top could be 2 shelves, and the 3rd shelf from the top could be 3 shelves - 2 for cans plus an even shallower shelf for very short things like tuna cans, jello boxes, tomato paste, etc.

I keep everything pulled forward to the front of the shelf so nothing gets lost in the back of the 24" deep shelves. That does make the back of these shelves wasted space. My ideal pantry shelves are 10" deep which is deep enough for almost all boxes to be stored on their side with the box top facing out. By storing boxes on their edge, I can put the shelves closer together and have more shelves. 10" deep shelves are also good for having 3 cans of the same item in front of each other. Eventually I would like to cut these shelves down to be less deep and add shelves onto the back of the cabinet door. One day . . .

I have not paid attention to how wide the hinges open. I am sure I would have noticed if they do not open all the way.

terri, lots of wine ; )

sparkling, I am not sure exactly what you are asking about. If I am answering what I think you are asing... the distance between drawers/doors is less with Ultracraft because they are frameless than face frame cabinets would be. I think they are very snug & very precise in the alignment.

NYMK, I do not know if Ultracraft has a MW cabinet. As to my MW placement: my installer did a great job! I had not picked my appliances yet when my cabinets were ordered. I had them order a 24"x24"x97.5" full height cabinet with the top space being 42" cabinet (for pantry), then I had a large face panel, and 6" high drawer at the bottom. The MW & oven fit in between the pantry cabinet at the top and the drawer at the bottom. If I had picked a taller oven, we had the option to remove the bottom drawer in order to make the oven & MW fit. My installer installed the MW sitting directly above the oven (no filler in between), then used a trim piece he had leftover to trim out around the 3 sides of the MW to fill in the space. What you cannot see is the oven doesn't fill up the whole cavity that the oven control panel covers. He installed a shelf above the oven inside the cabinet that the MW sits on. It only *looks* like it was 'planned' to be this way !! I have attached 3 closeups of this area. Hopefully you can see how he did it from the pictures.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 2:28PM
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We are remodeling our kitchen and just received and installed our base cabinets. I made a big mistake by not checking the drawer heights. I wanted to get taller drawers to fit pots and pans but the end product was unsatisfying. I am asking your opinion on how to fix this problem before countertop installed.
Here are the dimensions of the cabinets:
Drawer width from side to side: 18"
Frame: 1 1/2"
Top drawer: Height to the frame:3 1/4", W: 16 1/4, D: 19 5/8
Middle and bottom drawers: Height to frame: 8 1/4, and the rest is the same as above.
The front of the top drawer measures 5 5/8", the others are 10 3/4".
As you can imagine I cannot fit anything in these drawers and not sure how to fix it without changing the square footage of the current layout.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. I can provide photos if needed.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:28PM
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You have base cabinets that will only hold 18" wide drawers? I think you may want to start a new thread, with pictures, to see what can be done. Include more info about what kind of cabinets and who is doing the install work. Consider setting out cardboard boxes or using tape to mock up drawer bottoms and fitting your things inside to see what dimensions are needed.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 6:04PM
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(There will be one 18" drawer base in my kitchen... why is that odd?) Yes, post a picture with the info requested by kksmama. Can't imagine how you'd end up with only 8" height in a
3-drawer base? Are the horizontal rails between the drawers 1 1/2"?

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 10:17PM
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I started a new thread called "Base Cabinet Problems - Help Needed" and included photos of the current cabinets.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 10:50PM
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As i'm putting things back into my new kitchen with almost all drawers, I definitely missed the valuable information in this post. I envisioned storing my baking dishes vertically, on there sides. My drawers are not deep enough. I consider myself to be TKO (DH suggests instead of TKO, I should GAL (get a life) but I obviously did not research enough. Not the end of the world. They are still nicely organized in a big drawer. Note: this is not my drawer.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 11:10AM
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Romy, if it makes you feel any better, I wanted to do that too, and thought I had measured, and they still don't fit!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 12:01PM
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GAL lol.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 12:21PM
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Romy--can you slant them at all? Maybe then the drawer would be deep enough? Just a thought...

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 12:58PM
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I also wanted cake pans vertically in a drawer, and measured to make it happen. I specified the usable height of the inside of the bottom drawer of a 3-stack, with the middle drawer getting whatever space was left.

The cabinet maker built the cab with the two bottom drawers the same height - which was not enough room for the pans the way I wanted. But since it was his mistake, he quickly and gladly rebuilt the cabinet and drawers to my specifications. I am thrilled every time I use that drawer!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:13PM
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This is such a wonderful post and to timely as I want to do as many drawers as possible and keep going back to framed inset or frameless overlay. I am now going to print this and reread it after I get some more work done. Thank you!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:27PM
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I have a question on the frameless construction- what is the "intermediate stretcher" Jackuvall speaks of in his above post? What is it for? What does it look like?


    Bookmark   February 16, 2014 at 11:23PM
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The intermediate stretcher is a narrow piece of wood between two of the drawers, approx 1x4. I assume it's there to add structural strength to the cabinet. You cannot see it when the drawers are closed. In my drawer stacks that are 6-12-12, the intermediate stretcher is the reason why the useable interior height in the bottom two drawers are not the same (one is 10.5, the other is 9.5). The below link shows a picture of what it looks like labelled #9.

Here is a link that might be useful: http://www.westernproducts.com/cabinets/brochures/quest.pdf

    Bookmark   February 18, 2014 at 9:51PM
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thank you Angela!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2014 at 9:23PM
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Dragging up an old post. It's awesome!

I am thinking about shallower base cabinets on my island since I don't have the width for 24"+12 or 15" overhang. In evaluating my options, I'm wondering what the depth (front to back, not top to bottom) of a standard drawer (if there is such a thing) on a frameless cabinet. I'm currently looking at Innermost (Design-Craft).

I'm wondering what the depth of drawers are relative to the depth of the cabinet. My current late 1970's/early 1980's cabinets have 18" deep interiors on the drawers. I've survived with those. Is that what I'd expect on current 24's? Or would they be deeper? I'm thinking of having cabinets on the island that are 15 or 18" deep and wondering what the depth of drawers would be like for cabinets that deep. Maybe it wouldn't be worth having drawers in those shallow cabinets.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 11:56PM
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IKEA Akurum drawers are have Blum tandembox hardware. The standard configuration is for 3 drawers - a shallow top one and two deep lower ones (with different sized fronts). Wider base cabinets have two small shallow drawers on top. The glides are full extension with optional soft close. There are no false fronts on the drawers - the drawer fronts attach directly to the side/bottom drawer pieces. The deep drawers are partially open on the sides - organizers would be needed inside to prevent loose, small items from falling out of the sides. Many cool interior organizers of convenient dimensions are available at IKEA. All drawer dimensions are posted at the link below.

The drawers are a dream to put together and operate! I'm very pleased that I got all drawer base cabinets except corner, undersink, and a 12" pullout.

Use the IKEA online kitchen planner if you are working on layout and want to get a quote and 3d rendering of your ideas. It's fast and convenient. The ikeafans forum is great for hand-holding with the details.

Akurum will be discontinued soon, by the way.

Here is a link that might be useful: IKEA Akurum cabinet and drawer measurements

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 1:42AM
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I'm trying to figure front to back depth, not top to bottom. Is there another word than depth I should use?

I saw that the organizers you can get from Innermost are 19 5/8" deep, so I'm guessing the drawers are 20-ish". Probably. I'll stop today and measure.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2014 at 8:59AM
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Cal_quil, I have edited my post above to include that information. My bases are all 24" deep bases. The interior of the cabinet box is 23.25" deep (because of back wall panel). The drawer boxes are all 21" from front to back (plus the drawer face on the front) with 19.75" useable interior. I also use depth to refer to the front-to-back dimension, top-to-bottom is height to me.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:21PM
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Framed full overlay.

Completely custom, built by a local shop.

My top drawers are purposefully shallow, interior useable space is 2.5" high 21" deep and 23.25" wide, 17.5" wide and 28" wide, respectively.

I have three 3 drawer bases (two 23.25 and the 28) and one four drawer base (the 17.5")

My top drawers are used for silverware (23.25), saran wrap, foil, sandwich bags, etc. (23.25), cooking utensils, spatulas, garlic press, etc (28) and pot holders (17.5)

I have found it to work perfectly for my kitchen and I wouldn't change a thing.

1 Like    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:37AM
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We did this 20 inch deep drawer adjacent to the range for holding cutting boards, platters, and baking sheets.

We went with a 27 inch deep island so we could use 23 inch deep drawers.

This post was edited by Quadesl on Fri, May 9, 14 at 13:04

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 12:53PM
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I just posted this info on another thread and thought it should also be here.
I didn't reread through all the posts so forgive me if this info is redundant.
I recently replaced the Blum Tandem Plus Blumotion drawer runners on four 36" drawers with heavy duty ones.
My cabinet manufacturer provided the 568H but there are newer heavier duty full extension soft close drawer runners available from Blum.
Standard Weight Runners:
Blum 562 series - 75 lbs dynamic/100 lbs static
Newer Blum 563 series - 90 lbs dynamic/ 100 lbs static

Heavy Duty Drawer runners:
Blum 568H - 110 lbs dynamic/125 lbs static
Newer Blum 569H - 135 lbs dynamic/150 lbs static
Attached is a Blum PDF with additional info.

Here is a link that might be useful: PDF for New Blum Tandem Plus Blumotion Drawer Runners

This post was edited by romy718 on Fri, May 9, 14 at 17:53

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 5:44PM
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Reviving this post.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:25PM
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Thank you, romy718, for bumping this thread up for me! Lots of info to digest.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 2:55PM
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This is the best information I have ever seen (and I've seen plenty) on planning your kitchen cabinets so they really work. Thank you!!!

I have Ultracraft cabinets that are over 20 years old. I will just be getting new doors for some of them because they are still in such good shape. I hate the current slab door style (they were in the house when we bought it) and feel after 20-some years I can finally justify new doors at least. I will be replacing the lower cabinets to make them more efficient, and this post was unbelievably helpful.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 2:06PM
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We need one of these on drawer slides! I have older built-in-place cabinets, and trying to figure out new drawer boxes and slides is making my brain hurt :o

    Bookmark   August 20, 2014 at 2:03PM
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Errant, 5 posts up is a link to the Blum soft close drawer slides/glides. It made my brain hurt too. Are you using standard depth boxes? Any drawers widths over 30", I'd recommend the Heavy Duty slides.
For standard depth boxes, the Blum 563 are the standard slides & Blum 569 are heavy duty slides.
I hope that helps.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 2:02AM
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Thanks, Romy, I'm glad I'm not the only one. Yes, they are standard depth and nothing over 30". In fact. they are just small drawers, the biggest being 19.25" wide. None of them very tall or holding anything particularly heavy.

My drawers currently have the old roller tracks with the single nylon roller mounted above the back of the drawer box. I simply wanted to upgrade them to something that is full extension, smooth opening/closing, and doesn't let the drawer sag at the front. While cool, the soft close feature seems a bit silly, as I'm not one to slam doors and drawers.

So I keep going back and forth on what type of glides to buy. The Blums will cost as much as each new drawer box, but are supposedly the best. CSHardware has a knock-off at a much better price, but it could be total crap. I could get a basic side-mount full-extension, but then I wonder if seeing the guide will bother me, or if doing all the work for a sub-par guide is a waste?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2014 at 11:36AM
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wow this thread has a wealth of information! I loved the idea of hanging pots and lids in that corner cabinet. so much better than those corousal thing.

I am deisigning my pantry cupboard with internal drawers and wondering what should be good height of drawer sides and drawer front in proportion to the height of containers stored inside it so I can still see them from front but they dont topple and fall when i close and open the drawer. would more than 50% is supported/covered be good enough or can I get away with covering even lesser percent?

My kitchen is IKEA metod (new range in UK) and they dont have a glass front drawers which would have helped. Most of my containers will be almost hidden if I use a medium drawer and front and I am worried if I use low drawers they will start to fall.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2014 at 5:53AM
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after doing some more serach i realized what i am trying to get is something like pullout shelves for pantry cupboard but when i see picture of pullout shelves on google they seem to have very small fronts. To me looks like things will fall out from it.

Do you have a pullout shelve in pantry and do things stay in place or fall out. I wish i had atleast one at existing kitchen to try it out.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2014 at 9:35AM
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Love all the information on this post. Incredibly helpful.

I am closing on kitchen design with Ultracraft cabinets and am stuck on one point: 12 or 15 inch overhang on peninsula. My designer is discouraging 15 inch due to support, says we will need an additional wall in the back for support.

Any suggestions or thoughts?

Angela12345, what is your overhang?

    Bookmark   January 19, 2015 at 12:42AM
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Excellent thread. I'm the 'know it all arrogant' type of guy (heck being honest) but this thread made me rethink kitchen cabinet sizes for the new home I'm architecting. I love the idea of extending base cabinets' depths from 24" to 27" and walls' from 12" to 18". I was using our existing home cabinets as a guide in our 13x11 kitchen layout within 19x11 kitchen/breakfast area as opposed to designing 24-6x15 kitchen within 30-3x24-7 kitchen/breakfast/wet bar area in the new home I'm designing. This excludes a 6-1x13 walk-in pantry.

Fortunately no panic yet since I'm still in design stage for a home build commencing this summer; I will reluctantly meet a K&B designer to help fine tune the layout.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 6:50AM
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Pinebaron-a wealth of information on this forum for kitchen design. Post your layout when you have one & let the layout gurus help you get design a super functional kitchen. Be sure & read the threads on countertop install (lots of countertop install mishaps) electrical outlet placement, backsplash install & so much more. There are a few threads about "mistakes", "regrets" that you might find useful.
We also have some great KD's on the forum that contribute advice.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2015 at 9:56AM
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