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The Rational Remodel - Part Three (Kitchen Metrics)

To give our client quantitative data to assist in making her remodel decision, we are examining the gains that can be made in actual and usable storage by changing from the current framed cabinetry (production level) to a frameless design (semi-custom).

At the micro level, let’s look at two specific cabinets.

The current island contains two identical base cabinets (B36), 36 inches in width. (See photo below)


The two top drawers have interior dimensions of 12.875 wide by 17.5 deep. The useable (user-friendly) area is only 12.5” deep because the drawer glides do not provide full extension and therefore leave 29% of the drawer space not visible and also hard to get at. This translates into 450.63 square inches of actual drawer storage and 319.94 square inches of useable storage.

The lower part of this cabinet has an interior dimension of 34.5 inches in width and 22.5 inches in depth. The partial depth shelf is 34.5 inches wide and 10.5 inches deep. The total actual storage area is 1138.50 square inches. The only useable storage area is the front quarter of the cabinet and even that excludes the area directly behind the fixed 3” vertical cabinet stile. This area is 378 square inches.

Now compare this to the space available by using a semi-custom line of cabinetry that has a full-width drawer above and two full-width rollout shelves below. (Because the drawer and roll-out glides will be full-extension, there will be no difference between actual and usable storage.)

The inside drawer dimension is 32.5 inches in width by 18.75 inches in depth. That is 609.38 square inches. (because there are no horizontal rails the drawer will be 1” deeper than that of the production cabinet.

In summary, here is the comparison:

The semi-custom line provides 35% more drawer storage and 90% more useable drawer storage. In cabinet storage below the drawer(s), the semi-custom cabinet provides 7% more actual storage and 222% more useable storage.

Because the rollouts in the semi-custom line are fully adjustable in height, this client can benefit by specifying 3 rollouts (the top rollout is place near the top of the cabinet and stores items with less depth). With this change, the semi-custom cabinet has 61% more actual storage and 385% more usable storage.

The same kind of comparison can be made for the upper cabinets because the center stile disappears and the height increase from 30 to 39 inches easily allows for the addition of one or more additional shelves.

What is important for the client is the net gain to be had by changing the design as well as the type of cabinet. The existing and proposed floor plans are shown below.

Existing Plan.jpg


Proposed Layout.jpg


You will see that, while the new design uses the same footprint, it benefits from the use of taller upper cabinets and there is a small amount of counter space on the far left of the range that is traded out for cabinet storage (a tall pantry cabinet). That section of counter only served to collect clutter and had no functional use for cooking activities. The new design provides more useable storage by getting rid of the blind corner cabinets and by using frameless cabinetry with rollouts and full-extension glides.

I am only going to summarize the change in usable storage, but the increase to be had by the client is nothing less than astounding! Here are the metrics ( in square inches):


Drawer Storage 1,856.24 3,206.26 73%

Base and Tall Cabinet Storage 2,495.88 8,866.90 255%

Wall Cabinet Storage 4,966.50 8,216.94 65%

The takeaway here is that before making a decision it is essential to run the numbers in order to quantify what is possible. In Part Four, we will examine the costs of the remodel with those normally associated with a "kitchen tune-up" where the existing cabinetry is enhanced to give it greater function and durability.

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