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Denver-based interior designer Kate Bendewald has a thing for hidden storage. So when she came across a photo of a secret spice cabinet somewhere on the Internet, the idea was burned into her memory. “Once I see something, it gets embedded in my cerebral hard drive,” says Bendewald, whose total recall came in handy during the recent redesign of an 1880s bungalow kitchen. Her clients, Tracy Talbot and Meghan King, loved the idea as much as she did. “All we had to do was figure out how to build the dang thing,” says the designer. 

Some pondering (and some prodding by her contractor, Bill Kalin of Kalin Construction) led her to the backsplash, or more specifically, behind it. “It’s the last place anyone would ever think to look,” Bendewald notes—especially if it’s covered by a piece of stone. The designer used Taj Mahal quartzite for both the wall and the spice cabinet doors.

“Given the weight of the slabs, the idea at first seemed improbable, and we briefly considered switching to porcelain, but Bill had a eureka moment when he figured out a solution with track-and-steel bearings,” recalls Bendewald. “It was a renovation story miracle!” The hardy metal contraption allows the two 3-centimeter-thick stone fronts flanking the range to effortlessly glide behind the cooktop backsplash.

Asked if she would have done anything differently, Bendewald points to the circular door pulls on the cabinet. “They look better than they feel,” she confesses. “Given the weight of the stone, the roundness doesn’t allow for a firm finger grip, so if I could go back, I’d probably choose a different shape.” The storage may be a secret, but what’s not is Talbot and King’s love of it. “It’s our favorite kitchen feature of all,” says Talbot. The couple, who loves to entertain, enjoys showing it off to friends during get-togethers. “It’s like finding hidden treasure each time,” adds King.