Milwaukee/NARI’s Nine Kitchen Storage Solutions

May 21, 2013

Even a smaller kitchen doesn’t need to be cluttered and disorganized according to members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 51 years.

How can all the cookware, tableware, food, and other kitchen accessories be stored, yet also organized and accessible? “‘Invisible’ is a word that comes to mind,” said Designer Jill Ross, AKBD, CKBR, of AB&K Bath and Kitchen in Greenfield. “A critical goal in remodeling is to make the space do double duty.” To make that happen, Milwaukee/NARI members offered ideas for maximizing space and accessibility in nine areas of the kitchen.

1. Base Cabinets. Ross knows many ways to maximize not only the space, but also the convenience of base cabinets in kitchens. “Full extension, soft close large drawers are my favorite base storage,” she said. Tiered storage is available, as well as dividers for effectively storing pots and pans. She also recommends dish storage with adjustable pegs to hold dishes in place, utensil dividers, bread box drawers, spice and bottle pullouts, and base pullouts with baskets.

2. Wall Cabinets. Many traditional kitchens feature dead space by the ceiling, often used for knick-knacks and faux plants. “Maximize space by installing cabinets to the ceiling,” said Kim Temkin-Taylor of Mequon’s Temkin-Taylor Design. To continue maximizing space in these cabinets, “Pull down tambour doors or ‘garage style’ cabinets can disguise small appliances.”

3. Corners. According to Temkin-Taylor, swivel shelf pullouts will maximize corner space. Ross said, “No more bending low or crawling on your hands and knees to find items in corner base cabinets. Corner drawer units, rotating trays fixed on shelves without a center pole, and wire shelves that pull out of the corner with ease are all good options.”

4. Appliances. Temkin-Taylor recommends using under counter space for some appliances. “A microwave drawer, second oven, or refrigerator unit can be installed under cabinets or in kitchen islands.” Ross added that beverage refrigerators, freezer drawers, and dishwasher drawers are becoming more popular under the counter. “The base mixer lift shelf is not popular because of the weight of the mixer. Appliances are more convenient to use if they are close to countertop height. If space is available, it’s good to hide appliances and provide appliance centers.”

5. Under the Sink. Racks or shelves mounted on the doors will hold bottles and cleaning supplies in sink base cabinets. A rollout tray mounted on the floor also allows for easy access to the items in the back, according to Ross. “Shelving around plumbing pipes, tilt-down bins, and pullout towel racks are popular,” she said. A good place for a tilt-down bin holding sponges and scrub brushes is the often “fake” top drawer by the sink.

6. Food Storage. Ross said it’s ideal to have a tall pantry or large drawers with divided storage for food items. “Spices need to be organized and easy to find and reach,” she said. “Tiered dividers in drawers, shelves on doors, or adjustable pullout wall cabinets are most popular for spice storage.”

7. Backsplash Wall Space. Another place that’s often underutilized is the space between the countertop and the upper cabinet—the backsplash. Temkin-Taylor said, “Use open shelving, a floating shelf, or a recessed niche around the cooktop area to keep cooking oils and spices.” She added that bars can be installed in the backsplash area to hang utensils and magnetic strips can be installed to hang knives.

8. Seating. Instead of the traditional dining room table and chairs set, homeowners can choose a seating option that creates more storage. Ross said, “Bench style seating with a lift-hinged seat or large pullout drawer below the seat can create some great storage.”

9. Message Center. Both Temkin-Taylor and Ross have seen “message centers” rising in popularity as a way to keep kitchen areas neat and organized. “Message centers provide drop space for paperwork and outlets for charging stations for electronics,” Ross explained. Temkin-Taylor suggested, “Create a cabinet that serves as a family communication or message center. This can include a calendar, cork or chalk board, space for mail for each family member, and a charging area.”

The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI—the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 725 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.

For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet “Milwaukee/NARI's Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at

This site uses Facebook comments to make it easier for you to contribute. If you see a comment you would like to flag for spam or abuse, click the "x" in the upper right of it. By posting, you agree to our Terms of Use.

Suburban News Roundup

E-mail Newsletter

Your link to the biggest stories in the suburbs delivered Thursday mornings.

Enter your e-mail address above and click "Sign Up Now!" to begin receiving your e-mail newsletter
Get the Newsletter!

Login or Register to manage all your newsletter preferences.

Community Watch

» 10-year-old girl dies after freeway crash in Dane County 11/25

» Wauwatosa unveils convenient, affordable water online water bill payment options 11/25

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team uses big second half to beat Wisconsin Lutheran 11/25

» Plenty of positives in Wauwatosa West girls' basketball loss to Kettle Moraine 11/25

» Wauwatosa East boys basketball team could battle for GMC title 11/25

» Wauwatosa West swimming team has bright future with talented underclassmen on the rise 11/25

» MacGillis, Barkow share Wauwatosa West boys volleyball MVP honors 11/25

» Wauwatosa West boys basketball team looks for improvement 11/25

» Sports Notes: Nov. 26, 2015 11/25

» Wauwatosa East volleyball season has solid season despite just missing another trip to state 11/25

» Wauwatosa Hurricanes return three state qualifiers — Danny Larson, Cal Hartt, Avery Weishoff 11/25

» Milwaukee County Zoo celebrates first birthday of young gorilla 11/24

» Wauwatosa stores set Thanksgiving, Black Friday hours 11/23

» Tosa's city health department earns national accreditation 11/23

» Free screening of 'Most Likely to Succeed' held Dec. 1 11/23

» Wauwatosa stores launch Small Business Saturday event 11/20

» Updated state championship game rankings of area prep football teams and players 11/19

» Wauwatosa dealership taking 'extra precautions' after four vehicles were stolen Updated:  11/19

» Wauwatosa East girls basketball team has plenty of experience returning 11/18

» Wauwatosa East's Potter earns two team cross-country awards 11/18

» Wauwatosa West girls to field experienced basketball team 11/18

» Wauwatosa East's Ripple ends career with impressive showing at state swimming meet 11/18

» Wauwatosa West freshman Julia Larson does well at state swimming championships 11/17

» Wauwatosa West's Alicia Picard, Alyssa Piek, Nicole Mystrow earn top tennis honors 11/17

» Christian Laettner hoops camps at Wauwatosa East successful 11/17

View All Posts Got a tip? Welcome rss



Hidden Tosa


"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.


Local Business Directory