Chef-tastic kitchen cabinet upgrades
by Karl Fendelander
Face Your Kitchen Columnist
Gourmet cooking at home isn't always easy. If you're considering refacing your kitchen cabinetry, you've got a perfect opportunity to add in some upgrades to make your life as a home chef a lot easier. After all, cooking should be a meditative experience, not an infuriating one.
- Cutting boards: Cooking involves a lot of chopping, slicing, dicing, cubing and cutting -- especially when you don't have your own personal sous chef to do it for you. If you add in a few pull-out cutting boards, not only will you have more places to get your prep work done, you'll also have instant extra counter space for setting things down while you're creating. Take things even further, and replace part of your countertop with butcher block for the giant cutting board of your dreams.
- Warming drawers: One of the most difficult parts about cooking is making sure everything that needs to be is warm when it hits the table, something that's even more difficult in a residential kitchen. Solution: warming drawers. Like little ovens, these handy, built-in appliances do the job that you shouldn't be using your microwave for.
- Integrated trash and compost cans: Rather than making myriad little trips to the trash (or compost) while chopping up ingredients, consider putting a hole in your counter that leads straight to it. With one quick sweep into the hole, those extra bits and pieces of veggies and meat won't clutter your work space anymore. Put the can(s) on drawer pulls in their hidden cabinet for easy emptying.
- Kitchen island: A kitchen, like any good workshop, should have plenty of space to get things done without feeling cramped. A great solution for too little counter space is the addition of a kitchen island, whether on wheels or built in. Talk to your contractor about making it match the look of your new cabinetry.
- Open shelving: We've all tried to use various parts of the kitchen with our elbows when our hands are covered with food while cooking -- and operating tiny cabinet knobs this way is very rarely successful. Consider tearing the doors off the cabinets directly above your cooking area for easy, quick access to pots, pans, colanders, and other kitchen utensils.
- Lighting: When you're waving around an extremely sharp knife, it's nice to be able to see what you're doing clearly. Under cabinet lighting is the perfect solution for shedding some extra light on your chopping and other prep work.
With a few of these upgrades done during the refacing process, your kitchen is sure to look great and function even better than before.
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