This San Francisco Kitchen’s Clever Cabinets Hide It All, From Knives to a Step Stool
Zero countertop clutter.
Published Jan 11, 2024 1:45 AM
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Most kitchens amass clutter naturally and quickly. But in this San Francisco home, it’s actually hard to make a mess, all thanks to the cabinet layout Allie Allen and Sasha White, the cofounders and designers behind Shiny Shed Collective, devised for a family of four. Their motto for the project was to essentially find a hiding place for any little thing you might happen to leave out on the countertop—a knife block, toaster, salt and pepper, the usual culprits. The space is loaded with unique drawers and cupboards that keep spices tidy, spatulas standing upright, and blenders out of view. In other words, it’s incredibly organized.
“When we first walked into the space, I immediately saw this back wall with the stove and arch and thought: We could do a lot of clever cabinetry there,” says White. “It was not being used in the best possible way.” The kitchen was previously clad in linoleum, and the upper cabinets were so low that when you were chopping something at the countertop, you feared smacking your head against them. While the room’s L-shaped footprint wasn’t ideal, changing it would mean giving up the home’s central patio, so the designers chose to work with the square footage they had, bringing Classic Mill & Cabinet onto the project to construct cabinets that would take full advantage of the space. Here are five of the genius solutions they came up with.
Stove-Side Spice Racks
Tug on the knobs on either side of the cooktop and you’ll find shelves stocked with decanted spices. The idea was to provide some structure around the tiled backsplash, but it’s also incredibly functional—the homeowners don’t have to rifle through an upper cabinet or spin a lazy Susan to locate the ingredients they’re looking for. Psst: The set of matching doors above these are actually faux cabinets. “They didn’t need that extra storage, so we stuck with the two on the bottom,” notes White.
A Pullout Knife-and-Spatula Holder
If you’re not yet familiar with Rev-a-Shelf, it’s time you are. The brand makes savvy pullout systems that can go inside standard-size pantries and cabinets. Rather than sit a heavy block on the counter or dedicate two separate drawers to utensils and knives, the designers’ cabinetmaker installed this all-in-one bin right next to the oven.
A Skinny Stool Cubby
This one was a happy accident. At first, the clients requested a trash pullout underneath the sink and a separate compost bin just to the left of it. In shifting things around and getting everything centered, the designers realized they would have a small sliver of space to the right of the sink unaccounted for. “And that’s when we decided to make it a mini closet for this stool,” says White. Although the clients are both around 6 feet tall, their upper cabinets stretch all the way to the ceiling (plus they have two kids), so having quick and easy access to a step stool is game-changing.
Double Dishwasher Drawers
At the end of the stretch of green cabinets (painted in Benjamin Moore’s Backwoods), the designers installed a dual dishwasher drawer system. “It takes up the same amount of space as a standard dishwasher, but instead of being one, it’s two,” says White. The addition has been one of the happiest surprises for the clients, who can fill one while running the other, or unload one while filling the other.
A Three-Door Appliance Garage
After carving out a large arch across from the banquette, they made way for not a one-, not a two-, but a three-door appliance garage. “Making sure it was the correct height and depth played a huge role,” says White.
The designers worked with the clients during the planning process to measure all of their countertop appliances (the blender, the coffee maker, the air fryer, etc.) to ensure they would fit behind the flip-up retractable doors. What’s behind door number 1, 2, and 3? It only takes a second to find out.