All About the Mountain Fixer Kitchen Cabinet Interior Functionality
If you really want to put Brian Henderson to sleep, ask him to weigh in on where the spoons or cereal bowls should live in the mountain cabin. And yet, you obviously need them to be somewhere that makes sense for your everyday cereal consumption. Having everything you need in a place that makes sense takes small annoyances out of your every day. I say this knowing that we chose to put the fridge on the other side of the island, but listen, some of us prioritize natural light and the assurance that our coffee mugs are close to the coffee maker high in life. So today’s post is bringing you INSIDE the kitchen cabinets to show you the interior function and where everything goes with hopes that if you are renovating your kitchen soon, you can glean some information (or at least learn from the comments). As a reminder, here is the overhead plan so you can see where everything lives:
Grace took the lead on this and she got INTO it. The kitchen cabinetry has been her baby and she is caring for it like most first parents. At one point, I saw her Googling average size of a butter knife to ensure that she was designing the flatware drawer to maximize the space. She also considered the tallest cereal box possible and the average size of canned soup. These are things you don’t know you are going to obsess about in the field while in design school, but hopefully she did so you don’t have to.
First up, the cooktop counter:
The cooktop wall is full of cooking supplies: pots, pans, utensils, spices and the more important “junk drawer/charging station.” My fantasy is that our phones will just stay in there all the time while up there, especially at night and that I’ll no longer have an iPad or laptop on the counter charging, but instead inside a drawer, hidden away. The “junk” portion of the drawer is one that I’m very excited about as it’s the first drawer you run into from the kitchen door (where we’ll most likely be entering and exiting the most) and instead of having a tray or a “bowl of anxiety,” I’d like to have a drawer of it so I can hide that anxiety until later. The “anxiety” part (at least in my home) is induced by unopened mail from the IRS and random receipts of things that surely need returning. But up there, I don’t foresee too much of this so it’s mostly for keys, phones and loose change.
The peninsula is otherwise known as “the bar.” It’s the part that separates the living room from the kitchen.
I’m so excited about these fridge drawers (we partnered with Build.com for all the appliances) because the bottom drawer will house kids’ snacks and fruit, and the top one will be mixers and beer for grownups. Also, not having to run and get ice maybe ever again up there seems unbelievable (the closest store is 10 minutes away, which is certainly not far, but there and back is a half hour trip).
For the drawers, we have flatware on top (perfectly measured for the height of average knife, fork, etc…thanks Grace), our plates and bowls in the middle and the bottom drawer houses the kids’ stuff so that they can get their own plates to set the table and when they unload the dishwasher, they can put their own stuff away. We have this now in our kitchen and it makes it easy and it works. Also, they recently started unloading the dishwasher and while the first time took a good 40 minutes, they do it rather mindlessly now, almost like we do. FYI my “chore nagging strategy” mostly consists of me saying a version of these phrases over and over: “so helpful,” that “we need your help,” “the whole family helps out,” “you are good at helping,” “I have a fun job and you are old enough to have some jobs, too”, etc. Charlie even tried to repeat my “many hands make light work” phrase to Birdie that he’s heard me say one million times. His version was “lots of hands make it go fast” and I was like, “yah, bud. Exactly’.”
Anyway, this drawer will ensure that I won’t have to nag them to set the table or unload the dishwasher ever again.
On the island, we have the sink, dishwasher and the garbage receptacle.
These were all pretty standard but we are building this pull-out, two-tiered tray for cleaning supplies, dishwasher soap, and the top tray is reserved for sponges. In all my life I have never thought I’d have a designated sponge area. What eye-sore can I possibly put next to my sink now??
Time for the full-height cabinets, which were a beast to figure out.
We are doing two retractable cabinets doors for the appliance pantry and the dry bar which I am very excited about. Let it be known that you lose a good four to five inches of interior space with the hardware and the additional box you have to build to hide the hardware. You basically use the same hardware as you would a TV cabinet and it’s pretty big and ugly. We decided that it was worth losing the space since we won’t be there 24/7, but if this were our main house, I’m not sure we would have made the same choice.
The idea/fantasy of leaving the door to the coffee maker open every morning for two hours without a door in the way trumped the space we were losing.
Here, you can see the skeleton of what goes on inside the cabinets. You’ll see that the pull out shelves in the food pantry and the dry bar are designed specifically for short things on top (cans of food, bar supplies) and tall things on the bottom (cereal or mixers/larger bottles of alcohol).
Grace did such a great job making sure that the appliance cabinet counter had enough space for a coffee maker and toaster, that your hand had enough space to reach in and grab the toast, that the cereal bowls and mugs fit in a way that was the most space efficient. Same with the dry bar. That rendering gave you all the dimensions that we are working off of, but why stare at that when you can see how pretty it is going to be, here:
Now, I will tell you that we haven’t finalized the interior finishes and will likely do some sort of treatment on the back wall of the dry bar and appliance pantry. This post was more for people who like to nerd out about the hyper specifics of kitchen fuctionality (or need it to get them out of the headache of figuring out ideas for their own renovation).
Of course, little things might change, but I go to bed with such peace knowing that when we get up there, we won’t have to think about where things go. I hopefully won’t regret shelving height (although they will likely be adjustable) or feel like we missed something. This very second, I don’t know where the Tupperware will go, but don’t worry, I’ll be sure to ask Brian to weigh in on this. I’ll do this first thing in the morning before he’s had his coffee. There is nothing he loves more than me bombarding him with esoteric design decisions at 6:40 am.
So for all you kitchen pros out there—either designers or expert home-makers—what are we missing and should anything change? The cabinet boxes are almost done, but I don’t think things like the flatware drawer is finished yet, I don’t know how much we can actually change, but I’d love to hear your ideas and if nothing else then others reading along can learn from your advice.
Need a little refresher on the mountain fixer kitchen? Here are some posts we’ve done so far: