My small kitchen reveal

annkh_ndOctober 21, 2013

Hi everyone! I recently completed a gut of my 1989 builder-grade kitchen. We kept essentially the same footprint, but with custom cabinets and a few small changes, we were able to gain significant storage space, and dramatically improve the function of the kitchen. We've been using it now for almost 2 months, and there's nothing I would change.

The details:
Cabinets: oak, built by Radi�s Custom Woodworks; Blumotion softclose hinges and drawer glides; uppers to 8�
Countertop: Cambria Somerset
Pulls: Bayport, South Bay, 5", satin nickel
Sink: MR Direct stainless 503L, 16 gauge
Faucet: Grohe Eurostyle with side spray, satin nickel
Fridge: LG LFC25776ST
DW: Whirlpool gold (re-use)
Range: GE 90313 with convection
Hood: Zephyr Breeze II AK1200
Disposal: InSinkErator Evolution
Undercab lights: LED strips, no dimmer
Paint: BM Putnam Ivory; ceiling BM Elephant Tusk
Stencils: Cutting Edge Stencils
Pantry cabinets with built-in file drawers, charging station. Half 12" deep; half 20" deep
Full-depth pull-outs over fridge
Trash/recycling pullout
Super susan
Easy-reach upper cabinets
Built-in spice rack on the back of a cabinet door
Tray storage
Closed off corner with drawers on both sides
Built-in cutting board
Wusthoff knife drawer insert
Lee Valley drawer organizers
Extra shelves in some cabinets
Powered phone jack (direct power for cordless phone/answering machine)
Folding step stool

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Before photos:

I hated junk thrown up on top of the cabinets and fridge, but I didn't have any other space. One of my remodel goals was to eliminate the clutter on the cabinets, counters and floors (doesn't everyone have beer and pop piled up next to the fridge?)

This was my "command center" - I never sat at the desk, because it is too small, and the table is a few feet away. The desk itself is ash, and belonged to my grandpa. I've moved it to the living room. This little nook stumped me for a long time - I couldn't figure out how to best make use of it. You might be able to see my purse, tucked under the desk.

My only drawer stack - 12" wide. There's a lazy susan to the right, so when the DW was open, there was only a foot on the right (next to the sink), and the dishes were kept in the cabinets above - very inconvenient to unload.

Sink side. The kitchen is 10' wide, and with a 36" lazy susan in each corner, there was room for a 48" sink base. And for me, the diagonal uppers were black holes - I could neither see nor reach what was inside. The LS on this side held plastic containers.

The 12" uppers on each side of the sink were tightly packed - cups and glasses on one side, canned goods on the other. Never enough room. And the prep space between sink and stove was tiny. This lazy susan routinely slipped on its pole, requiring that I empty it and adjust it every few months.

A little more space here, but too little, too late. One of these drawers was silverware, the other utensils.

The base cabinet next to the range had just a half shelf, making it very difficult to organize. Part of me wishes I had taken more interior "before" pics; part of me is embarrassed that I lived this way for so long.

The cabinet above it wasn't much better - things got shoe-horned in, for lack of any better place to put them.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 2:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And now, after.

The turning point in my design was figuring out what to do in the little nook where Grandpa's desk was. Eventually I hit on the idea of building in a wall of cabinets. But more importantly, I moved the fridge 8" to the left. The tall cabinets are 12" deep on the right side, and 20" deep on the left.

The other minor change we made was to move the range a foot to the right, vastly improving the prep space between sink and stove. The cabinet run on this wall was also increased 8", like the fridge side - going as close as we could get to the patio door.

I love my new undermount sink! The sink base is 30", giving me a lot more space on each side.

To the left of the sink, I had just enough room for a tray/cutting board cabinet.

To the right of the sink, I now have room for a 21" drawer stack. After a LOT of calculating, planning, and soul-searching, I chose to close off the corner. I gained so much useable storage space in the new kitchen that I didn't feel like I needed corner space for seldom-used items - it was far more important to me to make efficient use of the space I had, so I put drawers on each side of the corner. The cutting board is DH's favorite thing in the new kitchen (and he does almost all of the cooking in our family).

The top drawer to the left of the range is utensils - I used Lee Valley brackets to make the dividers:

Next down is the plastic container drawer - I was worried that this would quickly become a jumble, but after 2 months of use, we've managed to keep it organized. The trick is lots of same-sized containers.

The bottom drawer is one of my favorites! I measured all the containers, and specified the height of the drawer.

To the right of the stove - potholders and tool/junk drawer:

The cast iron frying pans used to live in the oven - now they have their own drawer!

This drawer is the same height as the canister drawer on the other side of the range - again, I measured my cake pans, and specified the drawer height accordingly.

My favorite part of the kitchen is the trash/recycle pullout. We are lazy people, and would pile up cans, bottles, and cardboard on the counter until someone got tired of it can hauled it out to the garage. Now it all goes in the recycle bin, and carried out when it's full. No more cans on the counter!

I moved the DW next to the fridge. I know lots of people here would cringe at the DW so far from the sink, but this location works really well for us. There is plenty of room to stand between sink and DW, both for loading and unloading (especially for unloading). We don't pre-wash our dishes, so there isn't a lot of dripping in between.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 3:20PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Silverware is above the trash - very convenient to the DW. It used to be on the opposite side - next to the range. My kids gave me no end of crap for moving their spoons, and messing with their breakfast routine, but even they admit it works out better this way. More Lee Valley dividers.

Super susan. First of all, I did NOT want a LS with a pole! I measured the items I wanted on the bottom turntable, which determined the shelf height.

I specifically wanted a diagonal corner so I could add yet another drawer - after having so few before, I couldn't have too many this time around. I put a knife insert in the drawer, which has turned out to be DH's other favorite feature.

I ended up having to wait a couple of weeks for cabinet installation, and had too much time on my hands - so I painted a backsplash.

Built-in spice rack -this is to the left of the range.

Upper cabinets on each side of the sink are 15" wide, instead of the old 12". Big difference! I also ordered extra shelves for these cabs, so I could put in more stuff without stacking.

And I replaced the diagonal uppers with Easy-reach corners, which I love.

With room for my stock pot above the range, I didn't need to access that dead corner.

Remember the "before" pic of my upper cabinet next to the range? Here's what it looks like now, after I found logical homes for everything else:

When I came up with the idea of pull-outs over the fridge, I thought I'd come up with something new. No, my cabinet-maker had built them before. They are perfect for bulk cereal, napkins, paper towels, etc.

Now for the floor-to-ceiling wall of cabinets. The left side is 20" deep - plenty for roasters and large mixing bowls. This is another place I asked for an extra shelf.

Below that is my new command center (still in progress). There are two outlets on the left wall, so I no longer have to charge things on the countertop. The white board is magnetic.

The drawers replace desk drawers - pens, scissors, phone books, batteries, checkbook, etc.

My other, other favorite thing - built-in file drawers.

And I have a dedicated cabinet for beer and pop! No more piling it up next to the fridge! I specified the height of the shelf, so the beer bottles would fit.

On the right side of the cabinet wall, the 12" depth is perfect for cookbooks. And I used to dream of having a whole shelf dedicated to water bottles (instead of tossing them on top of the cabinets). Now I have it!

Finally (yes, finally) - I needed a place to stash my purse, and the canvas bag I carry to work every day. The purse used to live under the desk; the bag sat on a dining room chair. Now they have a home of their own.

    Bookmark   October 21, 2013 at 3:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow! You did huge planning and such detail in your design. Impressed!

    Bookmark   November 1, 2013 at 9:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Impressive. I especially like the clever storage wall and the over the frige storage.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The back splash is very nice. Did you make your own stencil?

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks - it came from Cutting Edge Stencils. I had never stenciled before, so I practiced on the wall behind the storage wall, then practiced some more behind the fridge (with a small ranch peeking out from the fridge surround). After that I felt confident to work behind the range. It was all done before the cabinets went in, so I taped blue tape to the walls, showing where the counter and cabinets would go. My biggest challenge was to not get carried away, scattering too many falling leaves around the rest of the kitchen.

I'm very pleased with the way it came out. I've had several people IRL describe it as "subtle", which is exactly what I was going for.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2013 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ankh, I am the same rangehood and I love it so much! It is quiet, takes odors out even in the recirculating mode, I can reach the buttons underneath, had great light, and is pretty and matches my GE Café Range.

Your new improved kitchen has amazing storage, wonderful mostly new appliances, and looks so nice. Amazing you were able to do everything within a budget. Thank you so much for sharing.

    Bookmark   January 13, 2014 at 1:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

what a great kitchen! how tall are your uppers? they look like a great size.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 11:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Since this was brought to the top, I decided to look at the pictures again, and got some great ideas, like moving my stockpot out of the regular pots & pans drawer, since it is only used occasionally.

annkh, in the picture of the "tools" drawer, you have a plastic box that has dividers in it. Do you know where you got that?

The other idea was to move some of my bowls and casseroles out of the drawers (despite how much I love my drawers) into otherwise-empty upper cabinets, at least those that are used less frequently.

Really nice use of space!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks! After using it now for 4 months, we love it more than ever.

The uppers are 42", more or less - they were custom, so built to fit. The ceiling is 8' on the sink side, and vaulted toward the dining room.

DH's favorite parts are the knife drawer and the cutting board - his only complaint is that there isn't another cutting board on the fridge side, for chopping veggies for salads. He does most of the cooking.

My favorite part is whatever I'm using at the moment - the cake pan drawers, the fridge, the sink and faucet, the file drawers, the knife drawer, the storage when I'm putting away a big load of groceries. The novelty has definitely not worn off yet.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Your before kitchen and after kitchen reminds me so much of mine. I too have a very small kitchen (mine is even smaller than yours). I had the exact kiddie corner (black holes) spaces that were useless. Fortunately, we had room to add a good size pantry, which really helped me with space and the cabinet maker was able to create cabinets that I could use where the corners met. I love my kitchen now. It just feels so functional. We were on a budget so we didn't have the luxury of knocking down walls or moving appliances, which is something that I really wanted to do since my stove and refrigerator sit right next to each other. Other than this issue, I love my new kitchen.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 12:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love all your clever storage! I really like the upper pull-out in particular. You really made the most out of the space and made it work. You even have empty areas ;)

So I have a question about the easy-reach vs. the angled corner cabinet. I really like my angled ones as it holds so much compared to any other cabinets that were put in my kitchen. I can easily reach items on the bottom and next shelf up (but stuff in the back on the second shelf are things with handles to make it easier to grab). Is there a loss in storage in the easy-reach and how far can you reach in the corner?

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The square footage of shelf space is greater with the angled corner. But for me, at least, the usable space is much, much greater with the easy-reach.

First of all, I can see what's in there. Then, I can reach what I can see! With the angled cab, I could reach what was in the front, but had to move stuff to get to the back (or it just got lost).

I'm short, so I could reach the second shelf - in the front. Anything further back required me to climb on a chair, or climb up on and counter. Now, I can reach everything on the two lowest shelves, and get to everything else with a stool.

When I tore out my old cabinets, those angled cabs either had empty space, or held stuff I didn't remember I had - even though I did clean them out (and try to organize better) every couple of years.

I probably could have made better us of the space in those cabs if I had put something else in them. The fact that you like them is just a perfect example of how there is no one solution for everyone.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
sweet_betsy No AL Z7

Great job - I am envious!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 6:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

ankh - thank you for the info. I'm not sure if I really like them over something else though. I'm afraid the reason I may like them is because I have so few cabinets that are of a good size to store anything in them that I may be blinded because of that.

I do know one of them is encroaching on my prep space as mine is similar to yours between the sink and stove. A bit more than your original and less than your new.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the biggest contributions DH made to our kitchen design was to move the stove over a foot to the right (away from the sink corner). What a difference!

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 1:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the most enjoyable reveals ever, for me; I'm a storage geek.

Maybe for your DH's salad-making, a cutting board stores on the inside of one of the cabinet doors on that fridge-sink stretch?

Going back to admire those file drawers... Mmmmmmmm.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 12:07AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Love your kitchen Wish I had thought of pull out shelf over my refrigerator.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 4:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, everyone, for the compliments!

Ellabee, there are cutting boards in the narrow cabinet next to the sink, and he does use them, but it's an extra step. It's not a source of huge disappointment - it's the only think he could come up with when asked "Is there anything that could have made the new kitchen better?"

Teeboo, I thought I'd come up with something unique when I talked to my cabinet maker about pull-outs over the fridge, but his response was "Oh, sure, I've done that!" I was slightly disappointed that I hadn't invented it, but thrilled that he knew what I meant - and how to do it. He's been doing this for 25 years - there's not much he hasn't done.

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 9:29AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Quartz Countertop Color
We are going with quartz countertop for our kitchen...
Very cool island sink with retractable faucet
Has anyone seen this Sink by Blanco? It is made to...
Nobody does drop-in sink on stone countertop? Really?
I know... undermount is more popular these days --...
How old will I be?
How long did your kitchen remodel take, from the tearing...
Kitchen layout, updated
Revised layout:
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™