McClurg's Home Remodeling Blog

Project of the Month: New Kitchen Design Adds More Storage Space

Posted by Melissa Sposato on Tue, Sep 1, 2015

One of the primary reasons homeowners decide to remodel a kitchen is to gain more storage space. New small appliances, food products, gadgets and items used for cooking and entertaining have changed storage needs over the past 30 years.

We recently worked with the owners of a Jamesville, NY home on solutions to create more storage capacity and update both the look and function of their 1980s style kitchen.

kitchen upgrade with ample storage space

New cabinetry, appliances, fixtures, quartz counter surfaces and pre-finished maple wood floors update the look and functionality of this kitchen.

Homeowners’ Objectives

The homeowners had four basic objectives:

1.  Create more storage space. Accessible storage was a priority especially in the food prep area of the kitchen that included perimeter cabinets near the range and an island with a sink and dishwasher.

BEFORE: kitchen cabinets

BEFORE: Honey oak kitchen cabinets with soffits were a trend in kitchen design during the 1980s. The soffits limited cabinet storage space in the work triangle of the kitchen. The cabinets did not have hardware.

A closet off the kitchen doubled as a pantry. The closet was unorganized and cluttered, making it difficult to view and access contents.

BEFORE: kitchen closet

BEFORE: A closet that was used as a pantry did not have adequate organized storage space and did not look like it was part of the kitchen.

2.  Upgrade the kitchen. The homeowners wanted to add new appliances to the kitchen and a deep basin under-mounted sink on the island. They also wanted to replace the laminate counter surface and update the cabinets.

3.  Work within the existing configuration of the kitchen. While the basic kitchen layout was functional there was a desk area that was seldom used. Lighting in the kitchen would need to be improved.

BEFORE: kitchen desk

BEFORE: A desk in the kitchen was a very popular trend of the 1980s. Too often the kitchen desk in many homes became a catchall area for cookbooks, bowls, trays, phones, glassware, small appliances and other items. The kneehole served no purpose if the desk was not used for sitting while organizing mail, bills or recipes.

4.  Replace the flooring in the kitchen and an adjacent living room. New flooring would enhance the look of the kitchen and unify it with the adjacent room.

McClurg’s Solutions

1.  Add more storage space.

Additional storage space was gained by: 1) removing the 30-inch cabinets with soffits and replacing them with 36-inch cabinets trimmed with crown molding and 2) removing the closet and installing two tall pantry cabinet units.

kitchen storage drawing

This drawing depicts the new cabinet configuration for the pantry and work triangle of the kitchen. Two tall cabinet units provide accessible and organized storage space. The 36-inch wall cabinets increase shelf space for storage.

2.  Upgrade features and improve functionality.

The laminate countertops were replaced with quartz surfacing. The oak cabinets were replaced with maple cabinets and new hardware.

Lighting was updated and improved by adding pendant lights over the island and dining area and under-cabinet task lights to illuminate counter work surfaces. General lighting was enhanced by replacing a pendant light fixture over the range with a recessed light.

New appliances were installed and the refrigerator was reused. A microwave vent oven was placed over the range. The kitchen was repainted.

The following products were used for this project:

kitchen food prep area

A close-up view of the food prep area shows the new products used in this kitchen remodel.

3.  Work within the existing kitchen footprint.

The dimensions of the kitchen are approximately 25-by-12 feet. The island and work triangle would be retained. The problematic desk area would be converted into a service bar for the dining area in the kitchen with three upper cabinets, two base cabinets and an undercounter refrigerator for beverages.


The floor plan for the remodeled kitchen. Major design changes include the addition of pantry cabinets, reconfiguration of the desk area and installation of 36-inch wall cabinets.

4.  Install new flooring.

The original wood flooring in the kitchen and the floor of the adjacent living room were replaced with Horizon “Bronze Maple” pre-finished hardwood flooring and registers over heat vents.

How to Plan a Kitchen Remodeling Project Guide

Topics: Kitchens, Projects of the Month

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