How to Lose Some of Your Upper Kitchen Cabinets
I’ve never forgotten this gem Clements dropped during an interview, and I repeat it all the time. We’ve been trained to think we need to fill every bit of wall space in the kitchen with cabinetry because that’s the way we’ve always done it. But after seeing so many kitchens on Houzz break the typical “put an upper cabinet wherever you can fit one” rule, I’ve been giving certain upper cabinets in my kitchen the side eye and letting them know their days are numbered.
If you’re considering some upper cabinet removal, here is how to get by without them and some compelling reasons to do it.
Shallow open shelves and a hardworking island provide the storage she needs. She thought carefully about how each would function. For example, she sized large bin drawers along the bottom of the island to fit things like jumbo cartons of Goldfish within her kids’ reach.
A very small pantry (not shown) makes up for the rest. “Having a pantry that size means you can find storage for brooms, recycling bins and other things that tend to hijack the kitchen,” she says. She also stashes a library stool in there for hard-to-reach items on the high shelves in the kitchen.
Island paint: Castilian Gold, Pratt & Lambert; hardware: a mix of pieces from Rejuvenation and salvaged pieces; sink, counters: soapstone
When planning for open shelves, she advises figuring out everything you’ll want to fit on them and measuring first. For instance, she wishes hers were 9 inches deep instead of 8, so she could place wine glasses two deep, one in front of the other, rather than having to stagger them.
On the highest shelves, she displays sentimental items like a beloved bird pitcher she received as a wedding gift. She stashes items like vases, flower frogs, candles and incense in the cabinets below. There’s also a liquor cabinet underneath the barware.
1. If it’s something you use at least every other day, leave it out in the open. For example, everyday coffee cups, bowls and plates.
2. If it’s something you use once a week or less, have it in the kitchen but not taking up prime real estate in the most accessible areas.
3. If it’s something you use once a month, stash it in the pantry.
4. If you use it two times a year or less (turkey roaster, fondue pot, breadmaker), keep it in a storage area like the basement.
5. If you rarely use it and you don’t love it, donate it.
Now that you have some ideas about how to make up for the lost storage space, you may be wondering why you’d ever want to chuck some upper cabinets in the first place. What follows is a handful of kitchens that make me want to rip out some of mine, and why.
Cabinet paint: Stiffkey Blue, Farrow & Ball
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Vent hood and range: BlueStar; backsplash tile: Waterworks
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