Last post I talked about our switch from (closed) vintage metal cabinets to an all-open shelving look for our kitchen lowers.
the basic idea
I’m wanting a really simple and straightforward look, like these in the Gaines’ laundry room. We particularly like the slats on the bottom of the shelves and will probably do that.
I’m leaning towards going white for the shelves–after months of agonizing over a color for those cabinets. But wood shelves can be repainted–those metal cabinets were a one-time deal. I haven’t totally made up my mind, but I don’t think we’ll leave them wood, that’s for sure. We already have a lot of wood in that room, between floor and ceiling and live edge shelves. Maybe I’ll paint ’em pink. Who knows? (So, in other words, I’m still agonizing over colors.)
what goes where
I can say that there won’t be any plates or glasses on these bottom shelves–that’s what the upper shelves are for. (Although having them lower and more accessible would help a lot for when the kids set the table…hmm.) I’m thinking more of larger items like mixing bowls, pots (fortunately my years-old set from IKEA is very nice to look at) and maybe wire baskets for vegetables that need to be set out.
I don’t own any plastic food containers anymore, so I’m not concerned with where to hide the tupperware drawer or anything like that–although baskets (like in the pin above last) would come in really handy for that sort of thing.
I’ve also spent the last several years in small kitchen without much storage, so I don’t have a lot of kitchen “stuff.” These shelves will be much more space than I’ve ever had, so I can spread stuff out, and hopefully avoid things looking too cluttered.
To the left of the main sink, where one metal cabinet was supposed to go, we’re planning on making the home of bins for trash and one for compost. This is a relief, since to date we haven’t been able to figure out where to put those.
The back of the kitchen island–where the small appliances are going to live so I don’t have to look at them–was always going to be some kind of shelving, and I always wondered how exactly I was going to cover them up. I’m still mostly in the same predicament–so the design change hasn’t messed things up to badly in that department.
The microwave will still be under the counter, too.
an alternative to drawers
We’ve got an idea, though, for things that need to be kept corralled in drawers, or things I’d like to be hidden (like the appliances in the island, or boxes of foil or parchment paper.) Our first thought was of the stacks of vintage soda crates we saw at an antique store recently. They’re the same general size as kitchen drawers–why not fit a few on rails so they could be pulled in and out? Or even better, why not make our own (since we can make boxes, now, like the ones on the wall) and paint or stamp them with the name “Janderhil”?
I’m hoping the small kitchen machines can be put into deeper boxes, or at least boxes with taller fronts, so they’re not easily seen.
Hmm, let’s see, what else?
a note on open shelves and small children
One of the scariest things about having things out and in the open is the reality that you can’t lock things away from any prying toddler hands.
I’ll be honest, I’ve never put cabinet locks on anything, with the exception of a wooden spoon through the handles of the bathroom cabinet that has our cleaning supplies in it. This is mostly because my first three children weren’t interested in the kitchen or bathroom cabinets at all. They never came in there to open stuff. Elvie was a smidge more interested, but not much.
Eldore is another child, though. He loves to open things, take things out, all of that typical toddler behavior. (He is especially fond of the drawer he knows Grandmaggie keeps Tootsie Roll Pops in.)
At first I played the you’re-the-fifth-child-and-I’m-going-to-look-away-unless-you-have-something-dangerous game, which didn’t turn out well except to create messes which I then had to clean up. Then I tried the spoon-through-the-handles trick, which lasted approximately two minutes until he discovered how to take it out. So I resorted to the good, old-fashioned NO (said in a scary voice) and picking him up and moving him someplace else. That seems to have done the trick, though it does take more attention on my part.
Anyway, all this to say that I have already found closed cabinets to be completely non-deterring to prying toddler hands, so I am not convinced that open shelves will be too much worse. And since any dangerous things like cleaning supplies or whatnot will still be under the sink, which will remain in its (closed) buffet-cabinet, the main concern will be mixing bowls and pots and (perhaps) making sure no one swipes a potato and takes a bite out of it.
I am going to have to think about what I make accessible to the other children, though, because I rely on them for getting the table ready, and if everything is up on a shelf where they can’t reach it, that doesn’t help anyone. We’ve spent the last several months with (glass and porcelain) cups and bowls and plates in an armoire and low drawer, respectively, so that they kids can access them, and it has worked very well. I’m going to have to think over that.
I think that’s everything I have to say at the moment–of course until we get the building really underway…which I’m not entirely sure when we will…
Would you put open lower shelves in a kitchen?
Anything you’re wondering about that I missed?
Kutova Kika says
Oh all these look so gorgeous, I’d love to have that kind of rustic and vintage feeling in our kitchen too. But, I think it will havet o wait until the next place we move as I don’t think our land lord would appreciate us doing a whole re decoration of his kitchen at this time! 😀
Darn landlords, always ruining things! Haha Thanks for stopping by!
Love the idea Erin!! And you can always hang vintage looking curtains on spring rods to cover some of the lower open shelving. I love that look!
I LOVE this. Especially the box drawers. My bottom cabinet doors are coming off one by one and I am just about OVER trying to put them back on. I was thinking of maybe putting curtains up? Or just not doing anything at all. Eh. But all of your ideas are very very pretty – and I love your bedroom painting.
Oh, and one thing I think I failed to really VISUALIZE ten years ago when we were planning our house is that short children so quickly become TALL children and then the need for things being lower is largely over. But then they reach things off of high shelves for you! That’s a plus!
The great thing about the openness is the ability to move stuff around as needed! 😀 So things that need to be low now can be higher later and vice versa. Plus it gives the opportunity to rearrange stuff, which I love! Haha
Are your bottom cabinet doors falling off or have you taken them off for some reason? Let me know if you decide to leave them off!
I think in theory, it sounds awesome. But the only thing I would really have to consider, is… is my stuff I’m storing esthetically pleasing? Like do I have all white dish ware? Are my bowls for mixing pretty? So then I would end up buying all new stuff so it looked good on the shelves. My favorite idea is the wooden crates as drawers to hide stuff. LOVE THIS IDEA and It makes me want to do it somewhere in my house!!! I love the idea of bringing in soda crates in fun hues, which will give you the color you want plus a lot of function. I can’t wait to see it all!
Who says non-white dishes aren’t aesthetically pleasing?? Haha But really, in our last house we had open upper shelves and all my mismatched stuff was out there on display. It all depends on your aesthetic. BUT I am trying to devise a way to get rid of any ugly frying pans. This seems like a good time to switch to all cast iron!