Face Your Kitchen
Your Guide to Kitchen Cabinet Refacing

Get cabinets and drawers organized as you reface

by Susanne Clemenz
Face Your Kitchen Columnist

Sure, selecting new styles and finishes makes refacing cabinets and drawers exciting. While you're at it, explore exciting new storage capabilities as well. While kitchen cabinets are part of your home's decor, first and foremost their job is to store food-related items. And wow, do you have choices for kitchen organizers!

Three-shelf upper cabinets? No!

  1. Reachable upper shelves: Your top cabinet shelves can be as safely accessible as the lowest one with systems like Rev-A-Shelf's Pull-Down Shelving System.
  2. Hanging racks: Racks that slide out and hang mugs by their handles are made by Spectrum, who also make racks for hanging stemware upside down inside your cupboards.
  3. Use the doors: Mount shallow Rev-a-Shelf spice racks for herbs and spices inside a door to free up cabinet shelves. Mount taller shallow racks inside pantry doors for lightweight items such as cereal boxes, snacks, or your plastic leftover containers.
  4. Keep things visible: Rubbermaid's 10-inch Lazy Susan turntables, including twin-height units with ball bearings, keep everything visible and reachable. Categorize them--sauces, soups, baking supplies.

Drawers galore

Standard under-countertop kitchen design used to include cabinets and drawers, often with small drawers above tall cabinets. In truth, lower cabinets are a pain to anyone except contortionists. They are dark; they require stooping and often lifting heavy piles of bowls or pots; and they utilize space poorly.

Check out suspension-mounted pull-out rack systems adaptable to every use--utensil and spice drawer organizers, of course, but also units for pots and lids, mixing bowls and small appliances, trash and trash compactors, trays and baking pans, pull-out pantries, and Lazy Susan corner units. How about a swing-up rack that brings your heavy mixer or food processor right up to countertop level? Brands like Rev-A-Shelf and Shelves That Slide offer these systems, which are a boon for the physically-challenged.

Here are two approaches to your kitchen upgrade:

  1. Reface everything: Keep all cabinet cases and reface all existing doors and drawer fronts. Buy whatever organizers will fit inside existing upper and lower cabinets and drawers. You'll gain a lot!
  2. Reface combined with replace: Keep and reface upper and lower cabinet cases and existing upper doors. Rebuild under-the-counter cases with tiers of drawers of varying widths and depths. Choose drawer fronts to match upper doors.

Prices for organizers range from under $20 for stemware racks to over $700 for a 57-inch-tall-by-30-inch-wide complex pantry unit. Whether you set an organizer budget of $300 or $2,500, your newly refaced kitchen should provide much more than another pretty face.

About the Author

Suzanne Clemenz designed her passive solar home and remodeled two others. She worked with architects and contractors on floorplans, electrical, painting, windows, flooring installations, flood prevention walls and stonework, major drainage issues, an irrigation system and landscaping.

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