Do you remember when deep drawers replaced cupboards in the kitchen? It changed our lives, because suddenly we could find the right Tupperware container, see what was lurking in the back of the pantry, and retrieve a saucepan without doing a complete reshuffle. Hardware technology has continued to grow, as manufacturers expand the scope and usability of drawers and pull-outs with various types of electronic operation and automation. Designers are also constantly finding new ways of putting these innovations to work in the kitchen. The result? Rooms that are easier to work in, a snap to clean, able to store more items, and generally save time and effort. Here are 10 great examples of technological and design wizardry that put the fun into functional.
1. No More Crumby Benchtops
Here’s a pull-out idea that’s better than sliced bread: a perforated breadboard with an integrated crumb-catching tray. You’ll save hours wiping crumbs off the bench and sweeping up the floor. And best of all, when you’ve finished making lunch, just push the board away out of sight. Does your computer always find its way into the kitchen? Imagine how great it would be to have a clear, crumb-free section of bench space where you can look up recipes, pay bills, and supervise homework. A pull-out study nook at the island bench creates a dedicated space for the computer, right where you need it. Make sure the pull-out is set low enough that you can push it away, laptop and all, when it’s not in use.
2. Storage Heaven
Stacking containers in a cupboard or drawer typically has you wasting time searching for a matching lid, and stacking containers with lids attached wastes valuable space. Varying the depths of the shelves in pull-out cabinets allows easy access to both.
3. Practical Magic
Who wants daggy and damp tea towels messing up their beautiful kitchen? That’s right, no-one. To maintain the visual perfection of a kitchen, install a slimline pull out rack behind a cupboard rack.
4. Instant Bench Space
To solve the problem of limited bench space, you can install electronically operated appliance cupboards – complete with benchtops and internal drawers – that pop out from either side of the kitchen’s central joinery. The bench and storage unit simply slide back into the cabinetry, freeing up floor space in this small area.
5. No More Lifting Heavy Appliances
An electronically operated appliance storage unit, which is large and sturdy enough to hold a number of heavy appliances, pots and pans, emerges from the bench when needed, and completely disappears when prep’s done leaving a clear, uncluttered work space. Purpose-built pull-out shelves can also be used to take the hard work out of using heavy appliances.
6. Power Charge
Is your kitchen overflowing with appliances? Almost every meal or snack involves the use of an electric appliance these days, and in my house there’s often a queue of iPads and phones waiting their turn for charging. Electric sockets are prized real estate. Pop-up power points will solve your kitchen power dilemmas. Install one on your island or prep zone for all the power you need, when you need it. These towers include several electric sockets as well as USB ports. So you can whizz up afternoon smoothies, froth milk for the coffee and charge the phones all at once. Sorted.
7. Range Hood Rethink
Cooking is a messy business and a powerful range hood is essential to draw steam, odours and fats away from the kitchen. Fortunately for all, technology has come to the party in the form of in-bench downdraft range hoods. These fabulously streamlined units pop up out of the bench to suck away steam and smells while you’re cooking. Compact and essentially invisible when not in use, downdraft vents provide added design flexibility, allowing you to position the cooktop and range hood within an island without losing visual flow.
8. Ouch-free Overhead Cupboards
Electronically operated cupboards glide open and shut at the touch of a button. Lever arms open the door in an out-and-up motion, allowing clear access to the entire contents of the cupboard. This system also keeps the space in front of the cupboards clear, so you can keep them open during prep and move about freely without having to dodge intrusive doors. The open-close operation button can be discreetly installed at the base of the cabinet.
9. Under-Sink Cleverness
Despite being an area that’s generally dedicated to cleaning products, the under-sink cupboard is often the messiest part of the kitchen, with plumbing and pipes and the sink bowl itself negating any functionality. Damp dishcloths and paper towels tangle with plastic bags; bottles of detergent and insect spray tumble about, and you can never quite put your hand on the item you actually need. Overcome these issues and restore order with a purpose-designed drawer unit that neatly fits around the sink and pipes, allowing you full access to the remaining space. Another way to organise the under-sink area is to install sliding racks on either side of the space. No more reaching into the dark depths of the cupboard to find those little-used cleaning products. This also frees up the base of the cupboard for larger items such as a bin and dustpan.
10. Saucy Solution
Are you constantly clearing bottles of olive oil, vinegar and spice jars away from the bench? Many chefs have a habit of taking these cooking essentials from the pantry during prep and leaving them to clutter the benchtop until the next mealtime. Save everyone time and save your own sanity by installing a small drawer beside the cooktop to stash your everyday ingredients such as vinegar, oil, soy sauce, salt, pepper and other condiments. All the chef needs to do is keep the drawer open while cooking for easy access to everything, and slide it shut when they’re done. Easy.
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For more tips & tricks from the Houzz experts, visit Houzz.com.au