Over the past several decades, efficient kitchen design has become more mainstream. Accessibility, the work triangle, and ergonomics have changed the way we look at designing cabinets in the most-used room in the home. Americans and Europeans have had a different approach to cabinetry, and we in America might do well to learn from our counterparts across the pond when it comes to efficient kitchen design.
Where the debate between faceframe and European (frameless) cabinetry is mainly one of personal preference and style, the Europeans have long been ahead of us in terms of making more efficient use of base cabinets, more particularly, drawers.
In order to keep costs down, a standard base cabinet typically has a top drawer with two doors below and a shelf behind. We’ve all enjoyed the bliss of digging into the back of a cabinet trying to find that lost lid to the saucepan. In efficient kitchen design, anything beyond the first twelve inches of depth is, for all practical purposes, wasted space. This goes for pot and pan storage, as well as pantry cabinets for food storage.
Enter the roll-out! Roll-out shelves have become the great new addition to solve all of your ‘buried treasure’ kitchen woes. They offer a way to bring the entire content of the shelf out to a visible place, making that depth usable. Wait, that sounds a lot like… a drawer.
In our effort to improve the unusable shelf, we’ve just designed in a roll-out, but with a door in front of it. In a pantry cabinet, it’s understandable that you wouldn’t want to see six drawers stacked on top of each other. In a standard base cabinet, however, why do we want open the doors to access a roll-out that could have been a drawer in the first place? On a recent trip to Germany, I toured several large kitchen manufacturing plants and their enormous showrooms. To find a door on a base cabinet was rare.
In a well-designed kitchen, an abundant use of drawers is the most efficient use of space. When coupled with the innovative drawer insert
options now available, every bit of space can be utilized in ways you never thought possible. Even your sink cabinet can be turned into a great storage cabinet!
While designing your base cabinets, skip the doors and roll-outs, and go straight to drawers.