Aesthetics and Function trade offs

donaleenOctober 17, 2012

Some of you might remember that I've been working on the design for our sink cabinet wall.

At first I was going to have stacked cabinets above and cabinets with doors below. Now we've gone to tall uppers with glass doors and all drawers below. I've made the pullout cutting/chopping boards smaller, too.

I am liking how it looks better. But I don't think the base will be quite as functional as the doors would be. One thing I lose is the vertical storage unit that was going to be behind one of the doors.

I know, I could make a narrower drawer and also have a vertical behind a door but I don't want to lose the symmetry on the two sides of the sink.

base with drawers

base with doors

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Base with drawers looks so much nicer and will be functional - some like more drawers than 3, but I went with 3 drawers.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2012 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

When you refer to 'vertical' storage, do you mean sheet pans and cutting boards? Would you consider a narrow cabinet on each side, maybe one for sheet pans, and the other for cutting boards, for the sake of symmetry?

Or, one narrow cabinet with a door, for sheet pans/cutting boards, and the other with a pull-out for spices, oils, etc.

Because I re-used some vintage cabinets that had no drawers, I added several all-drawer bases, and I love them.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 7:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I did mean sheet pans and such. I have considered a narrow cabinet but I don't think I would like how it would look. I really want symmetry for my farmhouse sink, the queen of the kitchen. I really like the proportions of the plan I made.

I have good space for the pans above the refrigerator and DH whipped out a few dividers so I can live with them there starting now to be sure I am okay with having my cookie sheets a few feet further away from my baking center.

The storage above the fridge is right next to the oven, so it is very convenient for cooling racks.

Thanks for taking the time to help me.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a couple of suggestions that may help.

To keep the drawer symmetry that's important to you, could you make one side of the drawers look like two but actually be one deep drawer, allowing you to have the vertical storage? I don't know if it will be as easy to get long pans out compared to a cupboard, but might be worth investigating.

Have you considered cupboards with rollouts on one side? The rollouts will give you the convenience of drawers, though you actually get more space because you don't have full drawer sides within the cupboard that decreases usable space. The other side could be vertical storage, or perhaps even half vertical/half rollout storage. If you prefer the look of drawers, though, this may not work for you.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 11:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Frankly I think the drawers look better than the all-door layout. The reason is that the Craftsman windows are long and tall, the upper doors are long and tall, but the lower doors are shorter and fatter. (The doors under the sink are OK, because their width dimension is not as pronounced.)

I'd widen the pull-outs as they are v. useful.

Also, perhaps it's just a function of the drawing but at the top of the upper cabs and the top of the window opening you have what I call a near-miss of horizontal lines. Ideally you would have a line that runs from the top of one of those elements across to a significant and on a a level point on the next feature all around the room. Sometimes this doesn't work out (or can't for various reasons). In that case then make sure that there is some propotional difference between these obvious strong lines so that they don't appear to be accidentally nearly even, but not..

Please forgive any typos, I am under attack by the wretched CLICK-IT black box which is occupying most of my screen and I can't see what I've written and it won;t go away. Hope what i wrote makes sense. I'm outta here whenever that thing starts.


    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am one of the few on this forum that does not like a lot of drawers; I prefer the look, versatility, and durability of base cabinet with doors.
What will be on the perpendicular run of your cabinets?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 10:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

repac, those are exactly the things I have been struggling with. My plan, in the cupboard drawing, was to have pullouts behind the doors. Some people don't like doors with pullouts but I have some and like them very much. I like that I can open the door and see what all is in the cabinet and then pull out the shelf for easy access.

This past summer we finished our island and it is all drawers (24 of them). I like the drawers in many ways but I do not like a feeling of banks of everything being the same. I wanted doors in my here so I tried it that way first; I have had several iterations of my sink cab design with various numbers of doors. The one I showed was the latest one.

But then, I decided to see how it looks with drawers, which I had not tried. I agree with A2gemini that the drawers look better. I didn't expect that I would.

Putting drawers there compromises my storage, both because of the pan storage and because I did have a plan to access the blind corner.

But, I decided aesthetics trump function. I don't really need that blind corner storage and I can put my pans somewhere else.

It does bother me to waste the blind corner. Maybe I will make a time capsule to put in there.

You might notice there is also no dishwasher. We have one now and use it about twice a year. I've never liked dishwashers. I don't like loading and unloading them. I have a lot of hand made and antique stuff that I couldn't put in the dishwasher without causing damage.

Right now the DW is wasting prime real estate. And it would really destroy my symmetry and ruin the look of the queen (the sink).

I am pretty sure this will be my last kitchen and everything we are doing is for us with not even a nod at how it might affect resale value. Boy does that feel good.

My DH is custom building the cabinets and so we can have anything we want. When we disagree, it's not pretty.

If you are interested in how the kitchen looks, follow the link.

Here is a link that might be useful: my kitchen

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 11:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I agree that it looks better with the drawers. I very much appreciate the points you are bringing up because they are at the heart of the aesthetic issues. I have struggled with the line. And it is hard because some of those lines will be more or less pronounced in reality. I think the strongest lines will be where the wall color is next to the trim color and where the glass is next to the trim color.

Since there will be three dimensions, that also makes a difference.

There will be a crown molding above the cabinets, though it is very crudely drawn.


I like cabinet doors, too. I think there is a bit of drawer mania going on right now. They have their points, but so do doors.

I think you mean what will happen on the left corner, where there will be another set of double door upper cabinets and a set of all lower drawers, and another pullout. The pullouts are important to me since they will be at my prep space. I am 5 feet, DH is six feet, we both cook. I pretty much work in that corner and DH works at the island. My temporary baking space is there (it's that old oak piece). I am trying to mock things up as best I can so I can see how it will all work. Drawings just don't tell me how things function.

Note: this photo was taken before the island was repainted because we had a problem with paint color.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"make one side of the drawers look like two but actually be one deep drawer, allowing you to have the vertical storage?"

this. a number of people have done this. You could do it on both sides - 1 for the cookie sheet type stuff and cutting boards and 1 for big pots/pans.

what is 'behind' the 'wall' on the left of your sink run? can your 'blind corner' storage area open there? I've had the blind corner open into the dining area in 2 homes. It was great storage! That's where I kept things like flashlights, candles, place mats, extra napkins etc

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


I'll talk to my DH about your idea. See what he says. I have a feeling it will be a pitched battle (it isn't all good having your DH as your cabinet builder). We have these standoffs where he says "I won't build that" and I say "if I can't have what I want, I am keeping the old ugly cabinets because they are better than what you are willing to do."

The other side of my wall is the dining room with nice original wainscotting I wouldn't want to ruin.

I do appreciate having some thoughts from all of you.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 12:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mama goose_gw zn6OH

donaleen, your kitchen is beautiful, before and after! I think I might have seen a pic or two on the old house forum, but the whole thing is stunning. I love the style, colors and flow. After seeing all the drawer space you have elsewhere, I think doors on the sink wall would be fine, especially if you prefer them.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 1:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you, mama_goose. I do like my kitchen. It's very comfy. In some ways I would like more of 1920's look, which is the time period of my house. But there wasn't anything left of the old kitchen and it would have been very expensive to go back to that and probably not as practical, let alone how DH felt about that idea.

Some things took a bit of acceptance on my part: needing an island instead of a table because of the cooktop, not as much light as I would like in the table area, and the hulking vent a hood are probably the main ones.

My taste seems a bit out of step here so it is nice to find kindred spirits like you.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:05PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not familiar with the rest of your kitchen, but I am assuming you might have other places for vertical storage -- above the fridge, above ovens, beside a range, at another corner. Mine are above the ovens and above the narrow utility cabinet that has our stepstool, dog leashes, key holder, etc.

I would encourage you to find a way to access that otherwise dead space. I hate wasted space, so I'd find some way to use it -- and it doesn't have to mean an entire cabinet. A little framing and a door. Maybe a little framing and a beverage/wine fridge? Maybe a set of shallow drawers for storing table linens?

    Bookmark   October 20, 2012 at 2:08PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Moen Motionsense faucets
Hello! I just installed a Moen Motionsense kitchen...
Does this butler pantry addition add or detract from my kitchen?
My midcentury home has a very open plan and lots of...
White on White & other (mis) Matched Kitchens
I was at a friend's house, an artist, last week showing...
Carrie B
Reviews for 'Steel' Ascot freestanding ovens
Hi, does anyone have the above Italian made range in...
Strategies for washing dishes in a large single sink vs double sink
Hi all, We have in our plans to get a large (33 inch)...
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™