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Having trouble finding a parking spot? There’s an app for that. Too tired to turn out your lights after a long day? There’s a remote for that. Too short to reach the tippy-top of your kitchen cabinets? There’s a—wait for it—ladder for that. If you feel like you’re losing precious storage space due to über-tall cabinetry that soars to the ceiling, we suggest you get on board with this solution stat—but make it stylish, of course. 

New Yorker Nicolette Starnella says that “without a kitchen ladder [my husband and I] would not be able to function as seamlessly on a daily basis.” Fortunately for Starnella, the old-fashioned-feeling feature was already there when they moved into their rental apartment. Despite its coincidental inclusion, her love for the design detail is clear, as the dark walnut ladder was even featured in the couple’s engagement photos. 

But doesn’t it get in the way more than it gets you to where you’re going, you might be asking yourself. In Starnella’s case, the structure doesn’t just move side to side, it pulls in and out, which helps when you want a little bit less of a steep climb. “Or you can push it all the way up to be next to the counters so it leaves more walking room if you are hosting a dinner party,” she notes. When not in use, it lives by their dishwasher, while on chore day it’s ideal for deep cleaning tricky spots like the range hood or watering the plants located on top of the pair’s refrigerator.

Before. Photography by Silka Weiss
Design process. Photography by Silka Weiss

For the down-low on costs, installation, and design, we reached out to seasoned designer Silka Weiss, who, while renovating a Crown Heights, Brooklyn, brownstone, killed two birds with one stone for her 5-foot-3 client. By adding an industrial-looking ladder with elements of steel and bronze, Weiss brought “a great deal of art to the space,” while also allowing the homeowner to easily access her ever-expanding cookware and small appliance collection, regardless of her height. Weiss recalls that the price of the custom ladder was $12,710, making it a splurge, but a worthy one at the end of the day given the home boasts 14-foot-high ceilings. 

Installing a ladder is no easy feat. After months of refining the design, down to the screws, it was especially tricky to find a seamless way to attach it to the Italian cabinetry. In the end, they opted for a hidden track that felt in line with the kitchen’s otherwise minimal aesthetic. Weiss thought ahead, too. She made sure that the ladder was detachable in case her client ultimately decides to relocate. BYOL is the new BYOB.