Plate Rack Over Sink - Bad Idea?

frisbeewifeSeptember 28, 2012

I am in the process of planning a kitchen remodel and have loved all of the ideas and advice I've seen on GW. But I haven't seen this topic discussed (at least not recently).

I am planning to put a plate rack over my sink. I have beautiful Fiesta dishes and the colors should add a bit of a pop to the dark wood cabinets. This will have a small cabinet stacked on top of the plate rack and to make everything look right it really needs to be 6" higher than the cabs on each side of it. Otherwise the staggered-height cabs will look wrong.

But my concern is the plate rack will be 15" deep, since the cab above it has to be 15" deep to allow for the crown molding on the cabs on either side to meet up with the cab above the plate rack. Will that be sticking out too far and interfere with me washing dishes at the sink? I don't want to keep hitting my head on the plate rack!

Does anybody have this setup, with a 15" deep plate rack above the sink?


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Check out the blog Attic Mag...they just did a wonderful piece on plate racks and there are a lot of pics. You can also post a question on the blog and get great advice ( I have no direct interest in this blog...just love to look :) ) c

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 5:08PM
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I have a plate rack above my sink. Mine is actually a bit deeper than the cabinets surrounding it. The sink and plate rack are both bumped out a bit and I have never hit my head.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 5:17PM
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Is it for display or dish draining?

If for draining wet dishes (that get later put away in cupboards) then I think that function would outweigh any drawback - assuming you had thought through any downsides to drips off the wet plates. (Some people would go nuts with dripping/spotting issues.)

However if for display purposes I would think twice. I know at my sink I often have lots of steam (dumped pasta water, for example) and from daily hand dishwashing, a lot of potential for stray droplets of water/soap to fly around. (I use my hand sprayer for really hot rinses of stuff in the drainer rack fairly often and it splashes.) I also wash everything by hand not liking a DW, so YMMV.

My final issue is that unless everything is used every day you are setting yourself up for having to re-wash each time before reuse. That's what happens in my house to open-stored stuff. It's one thing to have to rewash essentially display pieces every now and then. But for stuff I might use to get out a meal, I want to know it's ready for use before I reach for it. If it needs rewashing, again, sometimes I just feel like throwing it across the room instead!

Maybe if I used a DW it wouldn't bug me so much - but one trip through the washing process per item per use is my hard limit.

I have had open storage of dishes and cookware on shelves, plate racks (both over sink) and a pot hangar for a couple of decades and in my new kitchen there won't be any of it, if I can help it. I was beguiled by the look, but in practice I loathe it. And since I've been looking at it since the late 1980s, it looks pretty passe to me, despite it's current flash of popularity. (Probably seems trendy to all those people who have had -quite sensibly - closed or fitted kitchens up till now.) My kitchen is an historically unfitted one (same as it was in around the time of the Civil War).

As for your question of depth. My own above-sink open shelves are 12" deep and while I don't find them troubling, my much-taller DH does. They are up about 24" (I'll be glad to measure if that's important) from the counter. Fifteen inches would seem to me to be encroaching and would be much more troubling to my DH; assuming I liked the look and function of the set-up I have now, I would be looking at making it narrower, not deeper.



    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 12:25PM
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I remember an episode on the Victorian Kitchen show (has its own thread here) where she talked about how putting the plates in the plate rack meant water dripping down your arms all the time. Sounded unpleasant.

Here is a link that might be useful: AlexHouse thread on the Victorian Kitchen

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:10PM
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Donaleen -- I was just thinking about that! Everyone else *do*, do check out that thread listed by AlexHouse; it's so wonderful!!

frisbeewife -- dunno, but you could also store frisbees this way in, say, the laundry (or pet (beagle?) room! ;) , bypassing all the drawbacks -- unless you needed to, say, rinse slobber from frisbees prior to storage.

Personally, those racks make me nervous just *looking* at them. I'd be afraid things would rattle off and go splat or I'd miss and they'd go splat or Atlas would toss the earth (EQ) and they'd go splat... they really truly make my hands sweat just viewing them! YMMV :) Not to mention all the dirt settling on them! True in those Victorian kitchens first, the racks were in a dish room away from the wood-burning, soot-producing range. And second, they were using more dishes constantly, all the time -- plus they had live-in slave-help to wash them constantly.

Plus your own atmospheric conditions may differ from mine here in LA, but leaving dishes out to the open air seems icky to me. It's the norm (or was) in India and my relatives sternly taught that you always, always rinsed a dish quickly before using it as it had been stored outside. Why you plan this, under modern conditions, has always kind of escaped me. But again, YMMV for a lot of reasons (cleaner air, more time, less klutziness, fewer plates, more maids or eaters).

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 1:23PM
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I wouldn't do a drip-through plate rack that's wider than the sink or one mounted too high.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 2:28PM
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Re the molding- you can make the rack the same depth as the wall cabinets if you use wide stiles on the sides. The molding can then return to the face of the plate rack cabinet. You need to pay attention to how what the molding is and dimensions. Just another option.
I have a designer client who is British and has a plate rack that goes over the window at the sink and then flanks both sides of the window. I was led to believe that these are not uncommon over the pond.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Thanks for all of the wonderful comments. This is definitely for display, not for drying wet dishes. Here in Central Florida the air is pretty clean so I'm not too worried about dirt - dust, maybe, but not dirt. ;-)

And don't ever mention frisbees and dogs in the same sentence around my husband! He uses frisbees for disc golf and shudders at the thought of dog teeth sinking into his precious plastic.....

Anyway, beautiful pictures, beagles. If I hadn't looked at a white kitchen for the last 23 years I would be going that route, but as it is I'm opting for nice dark wood.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2012 at 4:47PM
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