Kitchen & Bath Design News

JUN 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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"Another way to add a feeling of openness in a small kitchen is with windows," Stephens continues. "Most of our projects start out with a small window over the sink. Enlarging the width, increasing the height and installing it closer to the countertop creates better daylight and connec- tion to the outside." Pentic adds that she likes to add a skylight if the budget and construction allows. "It makes the space feel a little bit taller and lets some more natural light in, which helps the space feel bigger." The designer is also a fan of two-tone kitchens in smaller spaces. "If a space is kind of narrow and doesn't have a lot of natural light and the client really likes wood, I might suggest doing the lowers and the tall cabinets in wood but the uppers in a white or light gray, or maybe glass-front doors," she ex- plains. "Breaking things up tends to make it feel a little more opened up." "Glass doors on wall cabinets visually increases the size of a kitchen by a foot because the eye continues into the cabinet, rather than stopping at the face, and the items inside provide a point of interest," adds Feld. She also favors lighter countertops and cabinets to help the space feel more open, because the palette helps the eye continue from the floor to the ceiling. "The trend of the 90s, with lighter cabinets topped with a dark countertop, automatically cut the space horizontally in half," she explains. Remodeling of those spaces now includes removing the dark countertop and replac- ing it with white and gray and pale colors. "It makes the kitchen feel larger without increasing the footprint," she concludes. ▪ Designers also agree that incorporating trash and recycling receptacles into the cabinetry is key to keeping a space open and clean looking. "I allow at least 13" for a trash pullout, be- cause people forget about it and try to maximize the space, and then the trash bin ends up randomly placed somewhere on the floor, getting in the way," notes Pentic. Roos also looks to less predictable places for storage, in- cluding toe kicks, cabinetry above doorways and open shelv- ing. "I've added magnetic stainless steel to unused walls for pots and pans or spices. I have created spice storage in shal- low, often unused areas," she remarks. "And, when it works, I have added very useful pantry space by adding a shallow cabinet perpendicular to the end of a run of cabinetry." Newer to the U.S. market is the idea of using the back- splash as storage – whether it's a railing to hang items, metal backing to hold things in place or sliding doors for invisible storage. "Americans don't use their backsplash storage nearly as much as they could," stresses Pentic. "Sometimes, when I'm short on counter space, I introduce rails and hooks for storage, and sometimes even recessed storage like you would in a shower, where you create a ledge inside your wall that holds all of your spices." Elaborate storage systems aren't always the answer, though, warns Feld. She notes that, when considering all of the interesting accessories and storage products for cabinets, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of giving up the space for the unit or mechanism in return for the added benefit. "Swing-out spice racks, pegboard drawer divider systems, pantries with deep roll-out shelves and pop-up mixer inserts all look 'cool,' but the space that has to be given up for a mech- anism, for clearance, or for the gaps created between stored items can dramatically cut into space that would be much better utilized and maximized by less flash and more simple and practical storage solutions," she emphasizes. VISUAL CUES Smart design for smaller spaces goes beyond storage amenities and counter surface area, however. Designers use a range of visual cues and other elements to provide the illusion of space. While many designers have taken down walls between kitchens and adjoining living spaces to provide a more open design and allow light to pass through, when walls can't come down, there are alternatives. "Opening the doorways between the dining room, kitchen and hall from 30" to 36" or 42" surprises clients with a bigger impact than they expected by creating more visual connection with the adjoining spaces," notes Stephens. "And, of course, it reduces the inevitable bottlenecks. Kate Roos, of Kate Roos Design, opened this bunga- low kitchen to the adjoining dining space, adding a larger window for natural light, a peninsula for more storage and counter space, a 24" refrigerator and magnetic wall for hanging pots and pans. Photos: Andrea Rugg Photography June 2019 • 51

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