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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 ½ 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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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices 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.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.