We use wall and base pull-out spice and tray racks that are tall and skinny and can utilize small spaces between pipe chases,” says Kravette.
Cooney finds a new need for customized storage solutions for things other than spices and pots and pans.
“With the advancement of technology, we have more and more need for storage of items such as cell phones, PDAs and the like. A concept that we use to address this need is to add a shallow hidden cabinet to store a plug strip for charging small electronics, as well as for key and mail storage,” she notes.
“A common challenge is certainly homes trending toward more open concepts, with a minimum of wall space for cabinetry and storage,” adds Cooney. “We often address this issue by making storage in base cabinets more functional by using roll-out shelves, pull-outs for corner cabinets and affording space for cooking oils and vinegars next to the range or cooktop. Peg board plate storage makes the depth of base cabinets more easily accessible.”
Kravette notes that island/peninsula spaces take on a new significance in these layouts.
“The rise of open-plan kitchens gives us an opportunity to make use of the back of an island or peninsula for additional shallow storage. We also have the opportunity for built-ins around the kitchen: Things like window benches, built-in wall units to house media, books and glassware that follow the theme of the kitchen, or vice-versa,” says the designer.
“It’s not just innovation in cabinetry that’s important to the topic; the appliance industry is addressing it, as well. Take the example of the microwave drawer that can go in any base area, and has the effect of freeing up valuable wall cabinet space in the process,” adds Kerr.
In a pinch, designers are even going against their gut, in the name of sparing space, says Laridaen. “I’ve had to commit every designer’s worst sin because it was what the kitchen and the client called for in terms of leaving enough room for storage and workable countertop space: putting the microwave over the range!”
Borrowing for Baths
In terms of tackling storage in small bath spaces, Kravette’s hometown, New York City, where spare space is at a premium, has given her much experience in the subject.
“We sometimes go into the wall where we can, which allows us to pick up anywhere from 2" to 4". We do roll-outs and drawers in vanities where possible,” she says. “Most vanities are floating now, which cuts down on storage. One interesting thing we did recently was to use four 5"-deep 12"x12" wall cabinets. We sunk them into the wall 3" so that they extended the room only be 2-3/4". By making use of the grain direction, we made these look like an art piece and not just cabinets stuck on a wall. You can store a lot of paper goods and toiletries in those little cabinets,” she says.
“Baths in most places are going to be a challenge if you can’t touch the footprint. The aim is luxury, but how much can you fit in a master bath in an older home? Just today I ordered a 33"x18" vanity, and we were having trouble accommodating even that size,” says Laridaen.
Cooney sees a rise in spa-inspired minimalism in the bath influencing the way storage is designed.
“Minimal spaces where everything needs to be tucked away and the lines need to be clean are often a problem, which we tend to address by making the interior storage more easily accessible and therefore more functional,” she says. “You have to be creative in designing and ordering custom pieces to fit in the nooks normally dismissed as unusable space.”
Again, size constraints sometimes push designers to break their own personal style rules.
“As much as I dislike putting a closed cabinet over the toilet, sometimes this is the only option. Robern has a medicine/storage cabinet in its M series that is 70"x19"x4" that can be surface mounted or recessed, and something of that size provides great storage,” says Eisenberg. “I also look to see if we can use space in a corner to add a small freestanding accessory for things like toilet tissue.”