Kitchen and Dining


Kitchens of modest size can be one of the most challenging rooms in the house to modify to accommodate different users. Changing storage heights, work surface heights and creating knee space can require major remodeling. Part of that challenge can be addressed by creating a simple, modular or moveable system for hanging cabinets and counters on walls, allowing simpler alterations over time.

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Drawer base cabinets can be purchased at home products retailers as well as from kitchen design businesses with a wide range of pricing and options. Open upper shelving can be purchased from some retailers as well, but may end up being custom products based on project needs.  Note, casework can add up quickly. Adhering to a modular dimensional layout can be incredibly helpful for sticking to standard casework sizes and ease of future reconfiguration, thereby potentially reducing costs and effort required.  Some systems will likely be a custom solution, requiring additional planning and development time.

How-to tip

When possible, strive to use standard casework dimensions to reduce the need for modification / customization, thereby reducing project costs. Create attractive and strong shelving by adding a decorative/structural edging and using multiple support brackets. The wall supporting the shelving will most likely require additional reinforcement through plywood blocking - be sure to consider the maximum possible weights that will need to be supported. Full extension drawer hardware allows all stored items to be seen and reached. Be sure to provide for a secure method of attaching cabinets to the wall including wood blocking. Consider using a french cleat system where applicable for ease of installation and reconfiguration. Movable base cabinet units are largely specialty or custom items, although it may be possible to retrofit off-the-shelf casework with castor wheels and a finished top surface. Countertops above mobile casework will need to be able to stand freely, which will require additional supports and material thickness.

The adjustability of a combo storage/surface system and the torque imposed by users requires that the installation be exceedingly sturdy, which will affect cabinet construction, hardware and work surface. Be sure to attach casework to wall behind for stability, and plan for additional support for any combination work surface.