Saturday, 2 January 2016

Good kitchen design (5)

Continuing my occasional series…

Image from here:

Today's topic is "doors or drawers" and which of those makes stuff easier to find. Clearly, for the eye level cabinets, you want doors or just shelves.

But for the cabinets under the work surface, you are far better off with drawers (the picture shows both). If you have doors, then you have to bend down and rummage around; they are not very well lit; and if there is something at the back, you have to remove the stuff from the front first.

Traditionally, you have a couple of drawers under the work surface for cutlery and gadgets, but the logic applies to everything else - ingredients and pots and pans etc. In the previous house we lived in, they had two large drawers next to the oven for storing pans, and although it seemed unusual at first, actually, it is a much better way of doing it.


Woodsy42 said...

No, it isn't always a better way. Drawers are definitely underused in kitchen design - mabe price comes into it? - but too many drawers can be restrictive and inflexible.
Examples: Mrs w42 stores her main saucepan set in a russian doll type stack, one inside the other. The stack won't go in a drawer and storing them all separately and as empty containers would fill a number of drawers. The steamer base would not fit a standard drawer.
I would like to see how you can hide the rubbish bin in a set of drawers (ours lives in a cupboard and pulls forward on runners), oddly you never see rubbish bins in brochures.
And one cheap and cheerful idea for you to consider: use square plastic storage containers, those folding ones are ideal, and put it/them in the cupboard(s) as loose lay drawers. On the base or on the shelf of the cupboard or both. Need something from the back? pull the box forward with one hand, extract the item with hand no 2, then slide it back. OK, some care needed not to pull them right out and drop them, but this has most of the convenience of a drawer with the flexibility of height of a cupboard and easy to lift completely out if you want to reorganise.

Mark Wadsworth said...

W42, fair points but…

1. Everybody does the Russian doll thing with pans. The stack will fit in a drawer if the drawer is deep enough i.e. half the height of the under-surface cabinet. I know this because that's what they had in our previous house and it all fitted and worked surprisingly well.

2. Rubbish bin can of course have its separate cabinet, but with all this recycling into separate types of rubbish, a set of drawers with special bins. See for example here

3. Her indoors uses one of those plastic boxes, but that is just a cheap and not so cheerful drawer substitute, you need one hand to pull it out and hold it while you rummage with the other - with a proper drawer it holds itself up.

4. I didn't say drawers are always better. The key is have some units with three (or even four) shallower drawers, cutlery in the top one and tins etc in the others, some for your slide out bins and some units with two very deep drawers for pans, steamers and the like.

Woodsy42 said...

We had a half cabinet height drawer previously, but it was too flimsy and the front, only fixed onto standard sides, kept breaking free so we avoided fitting a very deep one this time around.
Our pull-out rubbish bin has 2 compartments :-) Other stuff goes straight outside.
Yup - plastic boxes do mean one handed rummaging (or use them at the bottom of cabinets and place the end on the floor) but that's still easier than fighting into the back of a cupboard. You can also get wire or plastic drawers that fit on runners and hang under a shelf inside a cupboard, that's a neat flexible solution.

Mark Wadsworth said...

W42, for pots and pans it had to be solid, obviously. You put up a good fight but no real killer arguments :-)

A K Haart said...

Our problem is too much stuff. We recently used a steamer for the first time since moving house six years ago.

Mark Wadsworth said...

AKH, lots of people have that problem. They are called 'women'. My wife cannot resist buying crap like bread makers which then get used once every two years or something.

Derek said...

I mentioned this to my personal Kitchen Design Consultant and she pointed out that you can get special designed cupboards where the shelves slide out so that you get the drawer convenience coupled with the cupboard look.

See this webpage for an example.

Mark Wadsworth said...

D, if people are busily retro-fitting quasi drawers onto shelves, that suggests to me that if you are doing a new kitchen from scratch you might as well do drawers from scratch as well, not bodge them afterwards.