Open shelves under an upper cabinet

IowacommuteFebruary 20, 2013

I have found one pretty good past link:

Although I'm hoping for some updates. I will have a small U shaped kitchen, and I cook/bake a lot. Plus I cater. I think closed (glass door cabinets) and open shelves will be a great mix for me. I have found some more examples on Houzz.

This first one is more of a custom cabinet with the bottom of the cabinet acting as an open shelf. Although pretty I'm not sure if I like it as much. I'm also afraid if I don't like the open shelves then I won't be able to change it or the height of the shelf because it will be a part of the cabinet.

Traditional Kitchen design by San Francisco Architect Gast Architects

This one looks like the open shelf is at 18" above the counter (guessing from the stand mixer being under the shelf). I do like it but am worried the above cabinet would be too tall for me (I'm only 4'11).

Eclectic Kitchen design by Raleigh Media And Blogs Home & Harmony

This one is closer to what I was thinking although this shelf looks a little close to the counter.

Traditional Kitchen design by Other Metro Interior Designer Kimberly Arnold Fletcher

After reading the above thread I posted it seems like a good idea to at least start a test at having an open shelf at 10" off of the counter. The only thing I will have on the counters will be my stand mixer (I don't use a toaster or coffee/tea anything, and my microwave will be in an upper cabinet).

I was thinking about putting an open shelf under each run of cabinets. I will use the shelves for seasonings, measuring glasses, some mixing bowls, some plates, glasses, and maybe platters I use everyday. I know anything else on there will just get dusty, and I'm not into washing before I use stuff.

So any updates on the open shelves under cabinets? I do like the look of floating shelves and have a really nice one now my husband built me for the bathroom.

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I have a skinny open shelf under one kitchen cab. It's only a little over 3" wide but I find it handy for the salt and pepper, some spices, etc. Strongly considering doing the same type of thing in the reno kitchen.

Also have deeper open shelves by my prep area that holds measuring cups, serving bowls, some canisters etc.

I am a fan of open shelves. It's nice to be able to grab something and not have to open something to get at everything.

Here is my skinny shelf. I think I'd like it lower down rather than up high where it is:

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:27PM
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I love the idea of having opened shelves. I'm a short person too (5'3"). I like the first photo because it doesn't look so much like after thought. The last one seems a bit to o low.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:31PM
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I think the last one is a little low.

My crappy little toaster oven happens to be ten inches tall and the top is exactly ten inches deep. So guess what I was doing tonight? I can fit most of my mixing bowls and dishes on there.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:30PM
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Deedles- I like your shelves and am happy to hear you are thinking about putting them in again.

Id rather have even a very shallow shelf for seasonings and timers then have them on the counter where I'm bumping into it during prep or rolling dough.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:34PM
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.Seems like mixing and measuring bowls would be better stacked and in a drawer-wouldn't that be about perfect for your physical height and ergonomics. I have too many spices to line up on a shelf-they'd take too much space-besides some get used less frequently and yet having them all in one place is superioor/I'd therefore far more prefer a spice insert in a top drawer. Roll out pantry drawers can be various widths-from 6 to 15 inches/with or without sides and adjustable or not.....if you calculate even one stack of rollout pantry with 3 shelves at 12 in wide I think you'd get a lot more efficiency than lining up your items that you mentionned on a 9 or 12 in deep single shelf. Have you seen all the ways roll out or pull out base cabinets can be configured? For your issues with height I'd be gangbusters about drawers.Nothing wrong with some plates and mugs on a shelf/but platters/mixing bowls measuring vessels/spices-much more efficient done in base cabs.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:00AM
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We have open shelves perhaps 5" under our upper cabinets. I had the carpenter put curved end pueces on my cabinets that extend down below the uppers, and the shelves are attached to these. We store sauces and seasonings on these. I like them a lot. But, this also means my kitchen does not look like a magazine shoot kitchen where everything is sterile and immaculate and doesn't look like people really live there.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:46AM
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I'm confused by the original poster. You say you recognize that things will get dirty and aren't into washing things before using them but then you also mention putting plates, glasses, mixing bowls, measuring cups, and platters on there. Won't those things get dusty?

Its good you recognize the limitations of a shelf, but it doesn't seem compatible with how you want to use it. Unless you are just goign to put decorative items on there or items that don't need to be washed before being used, I dont think its a good idea for you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:26AM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I have an update since I commented on the thread you linked. These are my 'cup rail' shelves, where I keep my most-used spices--the others are kept in a drawer to the right of the stove.

This pic is from the old kitchen. When we bought the house the area where the spice shelves are (and down to the counter), was open to the living room, with a snack bar on the LR side. We filled it in, and my late husband built the shelves. When our kids were young, I cooked much more than I do now, and used up the spices much more quickly. Some of the quart jars held pasta, cornmeal, lentils, etc.

If you click on each pic, you can see the larger version on my PB page.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:39AM
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This was from Southern Living a couple of years ago.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shelves under uppers - Southern Living

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:45AM
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Here's another nifty idea from a recent kitchen update on GW

Here is a link that might be useful: adding shelves

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 9:46AM
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Love this idea!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Wooh we're in the middle of a blizzard! Being trapped inside makes me want to cook.

Herbflavor~I originally had wanted everything in drawers, but my kitchen will be around 8'x10' so I was trying to free up as much space as possible to make sure I don't have to store things in the basement or something.

I was testing last night on my toaster oven which happens to be be the exact height and depth of the (maybe floating shelves) I would use, and it was perfect for my arms reach. I store my mixing bowls under counter (although not in a drawer), and it's a pain. I use a lot of mixing bowls.

Needinfo1~I know my little place will be far from Parade of Homes worthy. It is a very modest little house (960 sq ft), and the little U shaped kitchen will NOT be open to the living room. It will be nice to not have to worry about keeping my kitchen amazingly beautiful so I can really cook. Oh, and did I mention I'm a messy cook. : (

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:38AM
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Keep in mind that spices stored in clear containers exposed to light and heat will degrade faster. They might look pretty, but they won't taste as good. Then again if you go through spices fairly quickly you might not notice it as much.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:40AM
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Keep in mind that spices stored in clear containers exposed to light and heat will degrade faster. They might look pretty, but they won't taste as good. Then again if you go through spices fairly quickly you might not notice it as much.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:41AM
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Realism~Maybe I just thought about it but didn't post at the top. I'm only putting things on the shelves I use everyday. I am a SAHM and make everything from scratch. I also have a small catering business.

I know it may be hard to believe, but it's not unusual to go through a couple of sets of mixing bowls in a day not to mention several plates, and bowls.

Also after I plate food I like to put the extra on pretty platters (I collect Fiestaware) so they too get washed every day.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:43AM
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Mama_goose~I do like your shelves. I think your kitchen is wonderful and comfortable which is exactly what I am hoping for.

I do go through spices (both for baking and cooking) pretty quickly, but then I have a couple I only use occasionally so I'm not sold on having them out in the open. I may go with a drawer for those.

Clueless~I really like that kitchen. I really love those shelves. It's funny because the house plan I fell in love with is from Southern Living so it would be cool to use ideas from other houses featured in the mag. Okay maybe not that cool but still. Very charming.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:52AM
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Nosoccermom~I remember seeing that kitchen but totally blanked on the shelves. Thanks for bringing it back. I do like that they went a different route on hanging the shelves.

Our first home had a very small galley kitchen with an empty (non window) wall at the end so we hung a steel pipe with chain from the attic to hold all of my pots and utensils. I thought it was pretty sharp.

Joyce~I remember that post too! Now that I'm looking at it in a different way that is a neat way to have shelves between cabinets. I do like it. I suppose this will be a good way to go to not make it look like an afterthought.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 10:58AM
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robo (z6a)

You commented on this image I posted elsewhere-- this is still my fave example.

It looks custom but also easily undoable with longer doors if it turns out to be unbearable -- BUT, would only work if the cabinets were hung at 16-18" from the counter so the shelves might be too high for you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:21AM
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Robotropolis~I do love that kitchen, and that color would be such a fun color to paint the cabinets.

My uppers are 15 1/2" off of the counters now. I can very easily reach things off of the first shelf and a slight stretch for the second shelf. Although to get to the top shelf I have to imagine my body is elastic and stand on my tip toes (or get out my footstool which I probably should do anyway).

We're also going to have 8'6" ceilings at the new house, and I want the cabinets to go all the way to the ceiling with maybe a 6" crown.

So I guess I will try to imagine just a taller cabinet. Hmmm I don't think it would really make a big difference to me because at least half of the time I have to get the step stool for the top shelf anyway.

Here is a link that might be useful: Deer Run Southern Living House Plan

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 1:12PM
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