Recipes for Saving Space; Clever Kitchen Designers Are Coming Up with Ingenious Storage Solutions for Modern Kitchens

The Evening Standard (London, England), November 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Recipes for Saving Space; Clever Kitchen Designers Are Coming Up with Ingenious Storage Solutions for Modern Kitchens


Byline: FAY SWEET

Top drawer THERE is a universal law that applies to kitchen storage: no matter how much of it you have, you will always need more. Kitchen designers know this well and have come up with a new generation of ingenious space-saving and storage ideas.

"The demand for storage space in our kitchens is huge, and it is growing," says Robert Laurie, of kitchen-maker Poggenpohl. "With the kitchen at the heart of the home, we need to store everything from food, pots and pans, crockery and dishes, to DIY tools and - because there's no longer a cupboard under the stairs - the vacuum cleaner.

"All this creates the need for clever solutions."

Among the latest and best ideas in smart storage is Poggenpohl's Dimension 75 system, based on kitchen cupboards that are 75cm deep instead of the usual 60cm. Laurie continues: "It works well, even in small rooms, and instantly provides an additional 25 per cent of space."

The system comes with clever countertop storage, too. "We are seeing the end of the traditional work triangle as the kitchen breaks down into different work stations - one for cooking, one for food preparation and a wet area for washing - so it makes sense to have everything you need close to hand, in that one place."

Along with improving movement around the kitchen, there is a great deal of attention on making the most of every scrap of space.

"How we store and retrieve things is very important," says Nick Heron of Nolte, which has produced impressive ideas for drawers, especially at the base of units. "We want to be able to find things quickly and easily," he says, adding that new designs target previously underused space. "The kickboard space, for example, has been ignored or underused for years, but whether you have a large or small kitchen, this can be a valuable extra storage area."

Kitchen drawers have undergone a major transformation in recent years.

Not only are they more solidly built than in the past, made to run smoothly and close quietly, they are also offered in a range of widths and depths. On top of all that, manufacturers make all sorts of inserts and drawer dividers to create order where once we would rummage at our peril.

"Drawers are where a huge amount of design effort is concentrated at the moment," says designer Stephen Morley, of the kitchen-maker Paula Rosa. "With the popularity of a horizontal style of kitchen, storage is focused below the counter, and it is a great deal easier to store and find things in drawers than it is to hunt around in cupboards." He adds that well-designed drawer storage can make a kitchen operate more smoothly, too. "With good planning, it's been demonstrated that where someone might have spent around two hours a day in the kitchen, that can be reduced to one hour and 40 minutes."

Along with making it easy to find things, drawer dividers can also help to make the best use of previously dead space. Some manufacturers, Poggenpohl and Nolte, for example, now offer drawers that fit round the sink. Others, such as Miele, Nicholas Anthony and Paula Rosa, offer a huge choice of drawer dividers and storage trays to create a second tier of space.

Meanwhile, although plinth drawers, set into the kickboard, have been around for a while, the designers at Nolte have made great strides in making clever use of this floor-level space. Shallow drawers at the base of units are ideal for DIY tools, baking tins or, perhaps, shoe-cleaning materials. In addition, some designs incorporate the kickboard with the cabinet's lower drawer to make an extra-deep drawer, ideal for heavy items such as crates of beer or packs of bottled water. Heavy weights are easily handled by the Nolte designs; the company claims that its drawers can take the weight of an adult.

A chilly corner THE trickiest parts of any kitchen design are its corners.

Dark, and difficult to reach into, they tend to have a magnetic attraction for old carrier bags, sprouting spuds and discarded gadgets. …

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