What to do with 3''- 6'' between fridge and DW?

lisa_aMarch 8, 2012

I'm laying out the cab plan for my sink/fridge wall and I realize that I will have 3" to 6" of "spare" space. I wish it was more (don't we all wish that?) but I'm glad I have this little bit because it will help reduce any fridge door/DW door collisions. But what to do with that bit of space?

I could do a towel bar cabinet like this one from Crown Point Cabinetry:

(Rev-A-Shelf offers similar 2-prong towel hardware)

Or I could do a filler pull-out, either 3" or 6", like this from Rev-A-Shelf

(I'd do it without the decorative post.)

Knowing what to put in the towel cab is easy. And I've been kinda taken with this towel cab ever since I first came across it months ago. It makes use of the space and gives me a pretty place to store towels.

Figuring out what to store in a 3" or 6" filler pull-out cab has me puzzled. Especially a 3" filler pull-out. I could store dishwasher suds and such in it but I had planned to relegate that stuff to the sink cab. Sure, I could store it in this cab but then what do I put under the sink instead? I know many people store spices, oils and other food prep items in their narrow cabs but that only makes sense to me if the cab is next to the cooking or prep zones, which this won't be. It's squarely in my clean-up zone.

Help! I'm hoping you all will tell me how you use, or would use, a narrow pull-out cab that is *not* near a cook top/range because right now I'm stumped. How much storage space does a 3" or 6" filler pull-out offer? In other words, what's the distance between the bars along the sides?

If you have a suggestion for how else I could make use of this bit of space, please spill the beans!


PS Pictures would be appreciated!

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Do you have space for only a base cab or a taller cab. If Fridge height is a possibility, then do look at Plllog's tall spice cabinet and also IKEA kitchen mod for a narrow broom/ cleaning closet. For base cab height, spice cabinets are one option but also look at Beaglesdoitbetter in the other thread today on what to store in drawers. She has some seriously clever ideas in her drawers.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:48PM
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Sophie Wheeler

At minimum you will need a 3/4" panel next to the DW in order to provide support for the countertop and you will need a 3/4" tall panel for the side of the fridge in order to support the cabinet over the fridge. If you are doing a pullout, it will need to be able to fit in between these two panels as all pullouts require finished cabinet sides or panels for sides.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 6:55PM
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lalitha, we have a walk-in pantry where the spices are kept. We also store a stepping stool and wine in the pantry, items that often get placed in a narrow cab. The laundry room is nearby so we don't need a broom cabinet in the kitchen. I want more counter and a wider upper cabinet, which is another reason why I'm not considering a tall cabinet here. But thanks for that link because I see that Beagles has 2 narrow pull-outs on either side of her sink. Since these are also in her clean-up zone, I'll check with her in that thread to ask what she plans to store there.

holly, thanks but I've already accounted for those needs. I really do have 3"-6" here to play with, depending on what size sink cab I go with. I'm doing custom cabs so I can adjust that cab's size as needed. And yes, I've taken sink specs into account already.

I've searched through houzz.com but I can't figure out how to do a narrow search on this topic so it's time consuming. I'm hoping to hear what others have done with mere inches of space. What would you store in a narrow cab in the clean-up zone? Thanks!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:44PM
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We didn't do it, but if I had the room I'd have LOVED to have a rev-a-shelf pullout like you show above. I would keep cleaning products in it.

It would be great to have things like Mr Clean, Lysol, Pledge, Windex, Febreeze, HW Floor Cleaner, etc, etc, all neatly lined up and accessible instead of rooting around for them in the cabinet under the sink.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 8:52PM
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lisa_a here are mine:

On the left, those silver rods are for dish towels to be folded over. On the bottom, inside of the plastic space, I will be storing foil, plastic wrap, etc. etc. When dishes come in from the dining room to be put into the fridge (which is right on the other side of the pantry door to the left), the wraps will be right there.

On the right, the wood box on the bottom is for plastic grocery bags. They slide in the side and they come out from the top. The top of that side has sponge holders for sponges.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:00PM
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This was the inspiration:

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:04PM
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OK. The picture shows up until I hit submit!

here's a direct link

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:05PM
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I'll bet dollars to donuts the problem is the space in the file name. Let's see if this works:

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:42AM
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Looks like I owe someone donuts!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:43AM
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LOL Angie. Jelly please. Or Boston cream.

I tried to remove the space and it would not remove. I thought that was the issue too.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 12:56AM
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Yeah, I replaced the space with %20. Like you, it worked in the preview, but not after submission. Strange indeed.

Mmm, Boston cream. Good choice!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 1:28AM
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don't they still have the apothecary drawers at 6 in wide-pot holders/garbage bags/pencils/pens/notepads/kitchen shears/spare keys/tea bags/small bowls for soy sauce/dips/etc. cans of cat food...plenty useful.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 6:23AM
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Agree about apothecary drawers or do wraps/rolling pin cubbies or a home for one of those thin stepladders.

The problem with a pullout thing is still door contention.

I have never understood the pull out towel holders exactly. Do they dry towels? Cause when I'm reaching for a towel, my hands are already soaking wet!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 8:44AM
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Thanks for posting pics and telling me what you will store in your pull-outs, Beagles. (btw, I've linked to the photo you tried to post, see below.) Very helpful. Do you know how much space, width-wise, you have in each of those 5" pull-outs? I've looked for this info on-line but can't seem to find the answer. Thanks!

I've eliminated a 3" filler pull-out from the running because I don't think it's going to provide useful storage, especially given the cost for the hardware.

I've added the suggestion of open cubbies for plastic wrap, baggies and/or rolling pins, at the suggestion of my friend, Kelly Morisseau, CMKBD and blogger at Kitchen Sync (she beat you to the idea, bmore, but thanks for popping in to help me).

bmore, the towels I'd keep in the towel cabinet would be for drying off clean but slightly wet dishes from the DW. If I leave these towels on the counter, they get used to wipe less-than-clean hands. That drives me nuts. I try to put the "dish" towels in a separate location on the counter than the "hand" towels and that does help most of the time. If I had a cabinet just for "dish" towels, though, that would be even better.

(oh, and the step stool is stored in the walk-in pantry about 4 steps away so no need to store one in the kitchen proper.)

The other idea Kelly suggested was an open cubby to store over-sized butcherblocks, which is a great idea. I will have at least 1 large butcherblock and possibly a second (my late mom's large bread board) and I haven't yet assigned a spot for them in my new kitchen. Even though this is in the clean-up zone, it's actually a good spot to store these items because we set our large butcherblock on the island, directly across from this spot, to use as a very large trivet for hot items coming out of the oven (especially handy for pizzas since we can then slice them on the same surface). It would be similar to the tall open storage in the island in this kitchen (but only one cubby):

traditional kitchen design by seattle architect knowles ps

herbflavor, by apothecary drawers, do you mean a series of narrow, shallow drawers top to bottom? I wouldn't want a drawer stack less than 6" wide and even then each drawer would only yield 3", interior width. The narrowest drawer, interior width, I have in my current kitchen is 5". I store match books, used corks (for the times when a cork disintegrates when a bottle is opened), and kiddy-type birthday candles in it. Not sure how I'd fill a series of 3" wide drawers but tea bags are a possibility since the mugs will be in the upper cabinet just above. I'll measure items to see if I can fill a series of narrow drawers. Thanks for the suggestion.

For you visual folks, the size of these cubbies is fairly representative to the amount of space I'll have (I may have a smidge more room).

traditional kitchen design by dc metro kitchen and bath Kleppinger Design Group, Inc.

I know a lot of people use narrow spaces like this to store wine but it really wouldn't do the wine any good to be stored between DW and fridge (mulled wine is fine but heat and wine are not a good combination for storage).

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 1:39PM
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Debbi Branka

I was wondering, if they're custom cabinets and you can change the dimensions, why not make them bigger so you don't end up with a 3-6" space? (Not said maliciously - I'm really wondering!)

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:50PM
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Lisa I dont' know how much space there is and I can't measure b/c they are in PA and I am in FL. I think my fiance is going over to the house this weekend. I will ask him to measure.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 3:55PM
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deb52899, I've been looking for a kitchen stretching tool for more than 3 years now. You know, the magical tool that creates extra space without the expense and headache of adding on. ;-) But alas, it doesn't seem to exist so, custom cabinets or not, I have to work within my space's constraints. I only have 129" for this section, ending at a wall at one end (forming one corner of my L lay-out) and at a doorway at the other (and the doorway is already molding-width away from the adjacent wall). The only way to make this cabinet wider is to make something else on this run go away. That would require way too many compromises - definitely not worth it.

Thanks, Beagles, that would be a huge help! Both my cab designer and my GC are on vacation (not together, he's in Europe, she's in Mexico) so I can't ask them for help right now.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 5:05PM
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My fianc´┐Ż measured today. It is 3.5 inches interior space(he measured the hole once the cabinet had been pulled out if that makes sense, the thing the pullout slides into to get the width of the pull out

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 4:31PM
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Bump to make sure Lisa sees the measurements

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:08PM
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Hi Lisa! Hope you enjoyed the kitchen tour today.

Sounds like the towel hanger would work for you given how you use towels. I'd love the board storage, personally. Even though my gigantor Boos block lives on the counter during the day, almost every day, I still wish I had a good spot to tuck it away on occasion. Large, heavy, wooden boards aren't easy to store. Plus, I like the idea of having something so special from your DM within easy reach. :)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:24AM
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Thanks, Beagles! So if the cab opening is 3.5" then there may be about 3" of actual storage in each. That gives me something to play with while I wait for my GC and cab maker to return from their vacations.

Hi Breezy! I did enjoy the kitchen tour (actually remodeled home tour so saw more than just kitchens). I go view the final 4 homes today. Two of the kitchens I saw yesterday had the apothecary drawers that herbflavor suggested (at least I saw what I think herbflavor suggested) so I got to measure them inside and out, which was helpful. One of these kitchens also had great cab organization with Rev-a-Shelf items, a big improvement over the "before" and its clutter because storage was poorly set up. I saw a pot/pan and lid rack that may work for me.

As for my kitchen, I'm leaning towards either a towel cab or oversized board storage. I liked the cubbies and may use them elsewhere (hutch/desk cab most likely) but not here.

Feels good to be closer to a decision. Thanks, everyone!

(PS I like the idea of having my mom's bread board in a special place, too. I'm not the bread maker she was but I have so many lovely memories of watching her cut fresh baked bread and slather it up with butter for me. My mouth is salivating at the memory!)

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 1:12PM
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I'm not really sure whether to be insulted cause it sounds a little bit like you're saying I'm not worth listening to, or pleased that I think a bit like kelly. In any even, unless she was posting, I fail to see how I could be late.

And a space is generally replaced with %20 in the image tag.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 5:02PM
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bmore, I did not intend any insult, not by a long shot! I meant it as flattery because I find her advice very beneficial as I do yours, which is why I was grateful you stopped in to help me. However, since she hadn't posted here (the exchange was via private email a few hours before you posted), I shouldn't have publicly said that she beat you to the idea. Sorry.

I only saw small space storage ideas in one kitchen today: column pull-outs, one on either side of the range with the requisite spices and oils, and one next to the sink with a towel bar above and storage for dishwasher suds below (very similar to what you have, Beagles). As much as I like that idea, I think I'm still leaning towards either the towel cab or open storage for oversized boards. Thank goodness we're not starting the kitchen for several more months. I have time to make up my mind and I'm sure I'll need every bit of it.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 7:18PM
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