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Maximizing kitchen space
Too often, kitchens and clutter go hand in hand. How to make the most of every nook and cranny.
September 21, 2004: 2:57 PM EDT
by Heather Smith MacIsaac, This Old House

NEW YORK (This Old House) - Just a few months ago, every inch in Margot and Chris Sieracki's kitchen in Edgecombe, Maine, was covered with appliances, spice jars, potholders, papers, and cookbooks.

"It was a nightmare," says Jean Sharratt, the space planner and interior designer who helped them remodel the space. Her design solutions more than doubled the kitchen's storage capacity and turned it into a cheerful, well-ordered oasis.

Here's how they did it.

A storage-packed island. A large central island is the workhorse of the Sierackis' 400-square-foot kitchen.

With all of the elements that Margot wanted it to house a cooktop with downdraft venting, a prep sink, a microwave, a breakfast bar, and lots of storage compartments it grew very big very fast. But Sharratt cleverly broke down the massive unit (9 feet long and just over 5 feet wide), into four smaller parts that help define the different areas of the kitchen.

On entering the house from the kitchen door, guests encounter a welcoming L-shaped breakfast bar 6 inches lower than the 36-inch height of the rest of the island.

The side facing the main sink, dedicated to food prep, is furnished with an additional sink, a pull-out towel rack, and wicker drawers for root vegetables.

A below-counter microwave and a gas cooktop anchor the side opposite the refrigerator. That side also contains a special spice drawer and a stainless steel trough for vinegars and cooking oils that was built into the countertop.

The final face of the island houses a deep divided drawer for pot storage.

Details that encourage tidiness. Elsewhere in the kitchen, to the right of the main sink, is a baking area. It is defined by a countertop that's dropped down to 30 inches an ideal level for rolling out dough.

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Below are spacious drawers for bowls and cookie sheets; the cabinet above holds dry goods as well as a row of small drawers for measuring cups, cookie cutters, and spices.

A built-in bench adjacent to the baking area invites Margot's young son to join in; its hinged top lifts open to reveal hidden storage.

Sharratt even drafted a structural post to storage duty by adding a twin and wrapping both with custom-made wrought-iron pot racks.

"Jean left no stone unturned," says Margot. "I finally have a place for everything."  Top of page




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Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.