A place for everything and everything in its place? Well, I can take care of the “place for everything” part!

Designing cabinet solutions for a client is largely a matter of gathering details about day-to-day functions. Getting to know you, in other words. Just some of the prying questions I’ll ask when consulting about cabinetry needs:

What needs to be kept in your kitchen? I’ll write down every item. Remember, I promised a place for every. single. thing. I’ll measure articles to make sure they’ll fit in the drawers or shelving, and I’ll take weight into account, too. Maybe you’ll need stronger hinges on a drawer that’s full of heavy items, or maybe I’ll need to provide more space between shelves to house that towering olive oil bottle.

Are you right- or left-handed? Yup, it matters. For a recent client who is left-handed, I placed the phone area on the right and a space for jotting down notes on the left, for example. How tall are you? Do you have any physical challenges? We want to make sure you can easily reach what you need without having to climb shelving or haul in a ladder!

Do you often throw parties? Are they small, intimate affairs or big, party-animal gatherings? How much liquor is involved? Do you regularly enjoy wine (at parties or while cooking or with daily dinner, maybe)? A liquor cabinet near where guests gather or a wine cupboard—that provides for easy access and proper storage, with corks down, of course—might be great adds to your kitchen.

How much do you cook? What kinds of food do you cook? Are you a natural-foods enthusiast who covets storage for bulk grains and beans, or are you a foodie who enjoys experimenting with ethnic foods—including a vast lineup of spices that will need to be housed within arm’s reach? Maybe your dinner comes from the freezer most nights (no judgment here!) and so you need a large appliance with options for organizing.

What counter appliances do you use? I’ll want to include plenty of outlets for them in appropriate places. If you like, I can use cabinetry to perform a disappearing act when they’re not in use, too.

Do you have items you’d like in clear view? For a client with beautiful wares, I designed glass-front kitchen cupboards with glass shelves and display lighting to highlight her treasures.

I’ll take all these details—and more—and use painter’s tape to show where everything will go. Then, using a master plan, I’ll work with great craftsmen who can make our wildest (cabinetry) dreams come true!


What do you wish you had a better place for in your kitchen?