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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Successful Accessories

Within 5 minutes of a showroom tour the client will inevitably ask about the latest “cool accessories” for their kitchen. Next to countertops, it’s all about the gizmos. I suppose I should be happy about that; I am a self-professed function-junkie after all. If a cabinet has good storage, then a cabinet with a good accessory is even better.

Each client will have different accessory needs based on how they use their kitchen. But what about the basics? Are there any “must-have” accessories for the kitchen? Well for me, I consider no kitchen complete unless I’ve addressed the following storage issues: food, utensils and waste.

Food:  The kitchen is all about food. Sometimes storing food is simply about using the wall cabinets closest to the fridge. But what about longer term items? The pantry or larder is more common in the kitchens I do thanks to bulk buying and warehouse stores.

In order to make a deep, wide pantry more useful I include at least a couple roll-out shelves. Instead of reaching way back into the pantry, the shelves can be pulled out for easy access. There are many other, more elaborate pantry systems on the market like the Kessebohmer Tandem Depot, but these are more costly and require a more technical installation.

Another area of food storage I like to address is spices. Many spice cabinets become and unusable jumble of jars and bags. But with a little planning and an inexpensive inserts your spices can be organized and easy to find.

I use the "spice steps" pictured here at home.  They take a single shelf's worth of spices and spread them out so they're easier to see.  No more pulling out 10 jars to find the basil!  A similar insert is available for your drawers.  I'm not as big a fan because it restricts you to the size of spice jars you can use.  But if you have the "correct" sized jars, it works quite well.

Utensils:  So why utensils? Why not place settings as well? Most plates and bowls are easily stacked by design, and fit easily into any cabinet. Cutlery and other utensils on the other hand can easily become a tangled mess if not handled properly.  The insert pictured here handles not only the client's cooking utensils (right) but their knives as well.  Organized utensils means an efficiency in the kitchen.

The best thing about utensil accessories is that they are relatively inexpensive. Most situations just call for a single cutlery insert. For smaller kitchens where storage is at a premium I use a double-tiered cutlery tray like the one shown here.  This accessory is made by our shop, but others are available from the same people who make the regular cutlery inserts.  Check with your local designer.

The lower tray comes out when the drawer is opened, and top layer is accessed with a touch latch mechanism.  Whether you use the top layer for your good cutlery or extra chopsticks (like I do) you get twice as much storage in the same amount of space.

Richelieu.com
Waste:  Dealing with waste and recycling is not the most glamorous part of kitchen design, which is why it's often left to a bucket inside the sink cabinet. I prefer to apply the same techniques I use in food storage and bring the task to the user rather than having the user climb inside a cabinet.

Choose your waste storage based on how much waste your kitchen produces, but keep in mind that the larger the waste bin, the more likely you’ll be dealing with the smell of garbage.  The swing-out unit shown here is 20 litres in volume.  A family of four will need to empty is about once every other day.

I am not a fan of keeping the recycling in the kitchen, simply because of how much room it takes up. There are however many instances where it’s required. Some pull-outs can combine waste and recycling, and even composting into one unit. Be sure that the baskets and bins are removable for taking outside and cleaning.

Keep in mind, these are the accessories I consider essential.  There are many other accessories out there I use quite often.  If you click on the "Accessories" category over in the right column you can see some I've already discussed.  If there's one you like, or would like to know more about, leave me a comment below and I'll address it in a future post.

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