Expert Advice: 7 Oft-Neglected Storage Needs to Consider Before Remodeling Your Kitchen

A couple weeks ago, Margot wrote about the joys of visiting her old friend Laura Jones in her beautifully renovated home in England. (See Kitchen of the Week: A ‘Dreamiest Dream Kitchen’ in Yorkshire, England for the must-read.) Laura’s Regency-style house is large—and fittingly, so is the kitchen she and her husband, Richard, designed for their family. But despite the generous size (the kitchen alone could quite possibly fit the entirety of the NYC apartment Margot and Laura once shared as twentysomethings), the couple still had to be clever and thoughtful in planning their kitchen storage needs.
Above: When you have extra-tall cabinets, consider having a ladder handy for when you need to grab something from the upper storage areas (a.k.a., land of the forgotten toys). “Things like Richard’s fish poacher go in the upper cabinets,” says Laura.
“Just as we were about to approve the final design, after which no changes could be made, and write our last nonrefundable check, I looked at the plans and realized I hadn’t fully thought about our storage needs,” she told Margot. “For instance, on close examination, none of the shelves in the pantry had enough height to fit our vast cereal collection.”

Here are seven storage needs you may not have thought to consider—but should (including those pesky cereal boxes).

Photography courtesy of deVOL.
1. Kitchen Towels
Find a dedicated spot for kitchen towels, and you’ll be far more likely to use them. “I just didn’t want to hang my grubby tea towels on my pretty Lacanche,” says Laura. “Also, we needed them near the espresso machine. Margot clued me in to Labour and Wait, and when I saw the rack there I was delighted. It’s great because not only does it fold neatly out of the way, but helps wet towels dry quickly.”
Above: Laura bought her Iris Hantverk Oak Wood Towel Dryer from Labour & Wait; it’s no longer stocked there, but we found it on Amazon for $72.99.2. Infrequently Used Small Appliances
“We’re really lucky to have generous deep storage for all of our small appliances, which keeps them out of sight but always easy to get to. We gave deVol all the specs in advance so they could accommodate for height,” says Laura. Tip: Consider counter-height shelves for storing the heavier machines; hauling out a KitchenAid, for instance, from a top shelf is no easy task.
Above: “We installed outlets at the backs of the shelves so technically we could use them inside the cupboard, but, apart from the microwave, never have because it just seems like it would make a big mess,” reports Laura. “If I were to do it again I would omit the outlets, except for the one for the microwave.”3. Bulky or Tall Food Packages
Do a mental checklist of what’s in your pantry. Are there any extra-bulky items or super-tall boxes? If so, make sure the shelves can accommodate them. “Cereal boxes can be very tall and are also quite wide, so if you’re storing them in a pantry they’ll need deeper shelves than the ones you put your canned and other dry storage on,” says Laura. Ditto for pet food: “We made sure there was enough height for the dog food underneath the pantry shelves.”
Above: This entire “pantry run” arrived in one piece. To the left of the deep pantry is the cabinet for small appliances, and to the right is the refrigerator.4. A Coffee Station
“We already had the espresso maker and grinder when we started the kitchen design process so were able to put a lot of thought into the coffee and tea area,” explains Laura. “Coffee-making can create a mess, but the nearby butler’s sink helps contain it.” As do the kitchen towels hanging from the towel rack right next to the machines.
Above: The couple really thought through this corner of their kitchen. Just under the espresso maker, inside the small single-door base cupboard, “is an interior drawer that holds an assortment of teas, tea strainers and coffee accoutrements, with plenty of room below it for the extra large water bottles we use to make the coffee,” says Laura.5. Cutting Boards
Yes, you could simply rest your cutting boards on the counter against a wall, but there’s something so satisfying about a little slot in your cabinetry that’s meant just for them. “Just make sure your kitchen designer has the measurements for any large cutting boards. When I told our designer at deVol that we had an 18-by-24-inch cutting board, he had to slightly redesign the whole ‘run’ to accommodate it,” says Laura.
Above: Notice the pleasing built-in slot for cutting boards, just to the left of the butler’s sink.6. Knives
Make sure to figure out if you want your collection of knives hidden away or on display. Knives, which can be expensive, should be properly stored. Laura and her husband opted to have a horizontal knife block inside a cutlery drawer.
Above: Aside from knife storage, also think about whether you want your cooking utensils hanging on the wall, tucked away inside a drawer, or contained on the counter (Laura has hers in antique confit jars from Violet Grey).7. Cookbooks
Got a sizable cookbook collection? Make room for it in the kitchen, where you’re most likely to need them. Laura keeps hers on the bottom shelf of a glass-fronted cupboard. “I like to be able to see them.”
Above: The couple’s cookbooks are on the bottom shelf, where it can take the most weight.
Make sure to check out the entire kitchen tour: Kitchen of the Week: A ‘Dreamiest Dream Kitchen’ in Yorkshire, England.

N.B.: This post is an update; it was first published on November 2, 2018.

And for more kitchen storage advice, see:
10 Outstanding Organization Ideas to Steal from Emily Henderson’s Mountain House In Plain English: 8 Storage Ideas to Steal from the UK-Based Kitchen Design Firm 7 Artful Storage Ideas to Steal from Chef David Tanis’s Low-Cost Kitchen Outside the Box: 7 Unexpected Open Storage Strategies for the Kitchen #ExpertAdvice #KitchenCabinets #HomeImprovement #KitchenPantry #KitchenDesign
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