Material Witness


Cabinetry by Smallbone of Devizes
Cabinetry by Smallbone of Devizes -
You’ve done your initial due diligence by identifying the pluses and minuses of your kitchen set-up and have given some thought to your style preferences. Next you have to…

Get Real

This means you can’t guess about dimensions to get the right quantity and/or size of any new materials or products.

Measure your kitchen and everything in it, and then map it out to scale on graph paper. You want to accurately show the location of each door and which way it swings, and the size and placement of windows and skylights if any. Mark off the location of electrical outlets, appliances, plumbing fixtures and cabinets. Now, plan in hand, you can start to sketch your ideas to move things around to make the best possible use of the space you have.

Detail-obsessive though it may seem, it’s very smart to measure appliances, cookware, and supplies to make sure that not only do you have a place for everything, but also that everything fits perfectly in its place.

While thinking about the improvements you’d like to make, the notion that bigger is always better is questionable here. What you want is maximum efficiency flow. Think through your typical food prep steps. For example, you would take designated items from refrigerator, to the counter/cutting board, to stove/oven, to sink, to trash, to recyclables. You want fluid movement with no backtracking.

Attend to any details that will make time spent in the kitchen easier.

Case in point: Julia Child was wonderful to watch on TV in her day, not only because of her brilliant cooking lessons, but because her clumsy awkwardness (and subsequent graceful recoveries) was so human and relatable. In her own kitchen she was swanlike, due to the customization of the countertops, cabinets and hanging storage areas to accommodate her six-foot, two-inch height.

Here are some other ideas to throw into your “Think Tank”:

  • Generous counters allow you to spread out when you cook instead of wasting time hunting for places to put all the ingredients you will need for a particular recipe. You will have room should you want to roll out dough and a great place to set up a drinks station at party time.
  • How about rollout under-counter containers for sorting the recyclables? Or, if the cupboards are deep, fit them with pullout shelves so it’s easier to reach the stuff in the back of the cabinet.
  • Deep wide drawers with special heavyweight gliders on the bottom can hold a lot of items you might otherwise have to leave on the countertop. Expanses of clean cleared space are a wonderful thing.
  • Lights installed under the upper cabinets and operated with a separate switch are a great idea. This provides not only useful task lighting but is a lovely option at night rather than turning on the overhead light upon entering the kitchen.
  • Make sure you have electrical outlets where you need them, mounted low in the backsplash so you don’t see dangling cords.
  • If you like to cook for large numbers of people, you’ll be using big pots and roasting pans. Big deep sinks are a must to accommodate the pots and pans at clean up time.

Here is your opportunity to customize your kitchen for the fabulous cooking experience you deserve. Go for it!

Guest post by Cindy Lee Bergersen for


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