Due to my foot being sliced open about a month ago, I’m still largely benched when it comes to helping out with our ongoing remodel. (Recovery definitely progressing, but slower than some of the optimistic estimates, sadly.) Nonetheless, I did help Mr PoP hold a measuring tape this weekend, though. Twice! So yay for progress!
While I’m in no shape to be helping Mr PoP lift or flip our countertop – definitely a two-person job since it’s heavy solid wood over 1.5″ thick, I have been trying to use the time I’ve been spending sitting on my butt thinking through some of the remaining decisions we need to make. There’s one decision that I can’t seem to come up with a solution to, though. So while I absolutely HATE when people offer unsolicited design advice, today it’s completely solicited. At least with the caveat that I offer no guarantees that I will like what I hear or follow any of your suggestions. =P
Today’s Problem: The Broom Closet
First, though, a little history. The corner of our kitchen (between the stove and the door to the garage) has always been somewhat of a cluster in our house. Pre-remodel, it was the case that 3 doors (the refrigerator, the garage, and a bifold pantry door) all opened in the exact same roughly 3 ft x 3 ft area. This drove Mr PoP and I insane for years, so fixing it (we actually ended up moving all three – the pantry, the garage door, and the fridge!) was a top priority when we re-worked our floor plan.
Eventually, we came up with a plan that would leave all doors accessible, while also maximizing storage space. I wrote about that plan to solve our otherworldly problem here. So, I went ahead and built everything based on the plan. Then we installed the cabinets and I started building and installing doors on said cabinets. And here is where we run into the today’s problem.
As you can see in the picture above, the broom closet is the cabinet that is 2ft deep and 6 feet tall that is between the fridge and the wall. It’s not terribly wide, just 14″. But that’s enough of a space that the fridge doors have no issues hitting the wall when we open them up wide (which was most of the reasoning behind designing a cabinet like this for this location in the first place), and the door to the spice cabinet doesn’t come anywhere near the fridge either.
But it’s a little deep for a relatively thin cabinet, so to prevent having to reach ALL THE WAY to the back for items, I designed a giant pull-out that fits in inside the broom closet. The idea being that we could install hooks in this pull out for items like our step stool, the broom, dustpan, etc.
This is what the pull out looks like. There aren’t any hooks yet installed, but the idea is that inside the “cage”, the stepstool we don’t use frequently would hang nearest to the solid wood panel, and we’d hang smaller hooks from the top for smaller more frequently used items like the broom and dustpan. This darned pullout is REALLY sturdily built. And it’s designed to be supported by 4 complete sets of 100lb-rated drawer slides. So the only reason it hasn’t yet been finished and put *into* the cabinet is that once it’s in and the slides have locked, I don’t see a reasonable way to get it out. So I want to be REALLY sure before putting it in. =/
I designed a smaller version of this kind of pull out for the small cabinet on top of the broom closet (it’s the same depth and width as the one below), and it’s been so ridiculously useful. So useful in fact that despite Mr PoP’s original assertions that pull-outs were for short lazy weenies with T-Rex arms (I might be putting some words in his mouth there…), he has decided that this single cabinet is his favorite of the entire lot, and he uses it to store his beverages so he can have them nearby and keep the fridge stocked with just one or two at any given time.
So with that experience, it seems like putting the pull-out in would be a no-brainer. But there’s another small (literally, small) problem…
It’s Clearance, Clarence
In my desire to wring every inch of available space out of our kitchen, I cut the clearance along this wall a little too close. I accounted for a little less than 1/4″ of planned space to go between the sliders and the door to the spice cabinet that is on the wall perpendicular to the broom closet. But what I forgot was that the hinges for the doors prevent the doors from being totally flush. So the hinges on the spice cabinet door eat up about 1/8″ of that space.
That’d be okay if that were the only issue (as it is for the pull-out above on Mr PoP’s favorite cabinet). But the dummies that installed the drywall (i.e. us) actually ended up causing a tiny bit of bowing in the wall that starts to eat into that (now reduced to <1/8″) clearance between the broom closet pull-out slides and the spice cabinet door. My gut says it’s from taping the drywall seams, but we’re also not drywall experts and it really is a very small amount of bowing (but *just* enough to be a pain in the rear).
So these slides end up nicking the spice cabinet door when they are pulled out. A slight bump to the pull-out, which you can imagine could easily happen when hanging up the stool after using it, could easily cause a ding to the spice cabinet door.
Something’s Got to Go
Since the broom closet pull out doesn’t work with the spice cabinet door, one of them has got to go.
Option #1 – Get rid of the broom closet pull out. This is pretty much how we’ve been using the space up until now. Items fit in, but it ends up not being all that organized and stuff ends up falling to the bottom or the back. So it’s usable, just not ideal. The thing is, I really freaking like this pull-out. I was so proud when I built it that I lined up the grains of the pieces of plywood to match.
It’s also so freaking solidly built that Mr PoP has joked that it (among a few other cabinets) would be both an excellent hiding spot for hide-and-seek, as well as a very sturdy emergency shelter in the case of a hurricane. (Mostly joking about the hurricane, but these freaking cabinets are SOLID!)
So the idea of dismantling it and throwing it away is tough. Although I suppose this is the way I’ve been leaning, I’ve been wishy-washy enough on it that this giant pull-out has been sitting in our bedroom for months while I ponder its fate. Even today I still don’t know it.
Option #2 – Get rid of the spice cabinet door. Before the spice cabinet had a door, friends commented on how neat it was that we could see all of our spices all the time, so we have considered this. But there are a couple things that make me hesitate.
(1) Mr PoP would want me to put our spices in little matchy containers to make it look more uniform if the spice cabinet didn’t have a door. On the surface, this sounds fairly reasonable. Pretty little containers can be had for not too much money. Though I’d have to buy extras since I’d have to account for both breakage and possible expansion in the variety of spices currently available in my spice cabinet. Annoying, but doable. What I think Mr PoP doesn’t think about though, is that I’m the one that uses the spices, and the primary reason that our containers are not uniformly sized or shaped is because we (okay, I) use them in different ways and at different rates. The whole purpose of having a spice cabinet like this was to make finding and using my spices easier (since before I had to dig through a traditional upper cabinet to find a spice). The idea of having to constantly be refilling tiny jars and storing larger containers of some spices (I literally buy cinnamon by the lb because I use so much of it!) elsewhere seems to contradict my dream of an easy to use spice cabinet.
(2) The wood inside the spice cabinet is currently birch plywood with a few coats of spar-urethane, the coloring of which will NOT AT ALL match the cherry countertops that will (my left foot willing…) be installed soon. While it’s definitely possible to strip/sand and paint the interior of the darned thing, it’s neither going to be easy or pleasant to do that, much less undo it and get it back the way it was should we change our minds. So I want to be sure before going that route. Not to mention, the question of what color would we paint the inside of it? The walls are a light blue called “Seaside”, the cabinet frames and doors are all a dark white/light grey called “Simple White”, the trim is a bright white called “Clean White” (which would show every spec of spilled spice!), and (though Mr PoP doesn’t know it yet) I’m secretly dreaming of painting the door to the garage a brighter, more saturated blue or teal. Just for a little pop of fun color. =) So I honestly don’t know what color I would aim to paint the inside of the spice cabinet.
Imagine the spice cabinet door gone, and the door to the garage possibly teal-ish. What color would you envision the inside of the spice cabinet being?
Honestly, I was ready to give up on the pull-out this weekend. I was about ready to hobble* to the garage to grab the drill to start the dismantling process when I ran my plan past Mr PoP and he asked if I was sure. Turned out, I wasn’t sure. But I’ve literally been going back and forth on this for at least a couple of months now and am nowhere closer to a solution.
Internet – can you help!?! What would you do if this were your kitchen?
*hobble = “walking” very very slowly without crutches over short distances. I’m still using a crutch occasionally as, well, a crutch, when we attempt evening walks of ~1/2 mile. But getting a little better almost every day!