I have a small kitchen with a 2-foot section wall in the middle of it which gets in the way. Unfortunately we’ve been told by trained professionals that that wall is currently holding up the roof beam. So our dreams of knocking out the wall will have to wait. In the mean time, I’ve used the wall for kitchen storage. Here is what I did to create storage space where there was no counter space.
All of these images are also in a Flickr set here.
The image above was created using this nifty little application: HGTV’s Floor Planner.
Finding wall storage for a 25 inch length of wall was a challenge. Most kitchen shelf/hook combinations are 30 to 36 inches. Also, I wanted to avoid wire. I don’t like the look of it, and I find that too many small things poke through or fall through. And I knew I wanted solid shelves to hold little things that needed a flat surface to perch on. I looked at a bunch of different storage systems and none of them did quite what I needed, so I put pieces together fron a few places.
The one thing I knew I wanted for sure was a way to store utensils – spatulas, spoons and kitchen scissors – right there for me to grab. The world is completely lacking in this ability. I didn’t want to hang them from hooks suspended from bars, the fiddliness of this combined with the imagined sound of the S-hook always falling to the floor had me frustrated already. Besides, I would have needed more than 20 hooks. I considered using the Grundtal cutlery caddies from Ikea for this, but they are just too shallow to hold long-handled utensils, they would have just tipped and fallen out.
I decided I could attached a utensil canister to one of the Ikea Gruntal bars. At first I figured that a canister with holes in it – like this one – would be easy enough to attach using some flexible wire. But first I couldn’t find the canister, and then I decided I really didn’t love the way it looked. And then I found solid stainless canisters at Storables and declared that I would find a way to attach them. The lip at the top keeps them above the bar, I just needed a way to keep them snug to the bar and I’d be set.
I spent an embarrassing amount of time in the hardware store peering at the various plastic bits with holes and bolts. Finally I wandered into the aisle with chain and discovered thin wire cable and ferrules (little bits of metal that you thread the wire through, then clamp down to create a permanent hold).
Here is how I attached the cable:
The lip of the canister against the rail is all I needed to allow me to use a length of wire cable to hold the canisters up. Getting the length of the wire cable was the only tricky part – tight enough to hold the canister in place but loose enough to allow the loops to slide along the rail.
Luckily the Gruntal bars and brackets are separate, they mount together when you put them in place. Having the bar free made figuring out the wire cables easier.
I used wire cable and ferrules from a hardware store. I don’t remember the size, but it was in the aisle with the big spools of cable you have cut to size, and it was the smallest size they have. I found it challenging to cut the wire cable using regular wire cutters, so if you decide to do something similar you might want to look into cable and ferrules at a jewelry supply shop.
First I wrapped a loop of wire cable around the bar and through both sides of a loose ferrule. I marked where the ferrule sat over the cable using a permanent marker. I made the loops pretty tight (the cable wouldn’t curve much more than that), I didn’t want the ferrule to sit against the side of the canister.
I took the wire outside and used a flat head screwdriver and a small mallet over a stone in my front stairs to clamp down the first ferrule over the marks. Place the flat head screwdriver over the crease in the ferrule and pound, this will tighten both sides of the ferrule.
Next I put a canister in place with the lip over the edge of the Grundtal bar, wrapped the wire around the canister, and repeated the looping over the bar on the other side using a loose ferrule. This was a little awkward. I needed to be sure the cable was tight enough to hold the canister in place, but had enough slack to allow me to slide the attched canister back and forth on the bar.
I marked where the ferrule would lie on the wire cable, and where I wanted to clip the end of the cable and took everything apart. I clipped the cable, and took the wire outside to clamp down the ferrule to create the second loop. I made a little hopeful gesture, and tested it. The lip of the canister holds it above the rail, the bottom of the canister sits against the wall. It works really well for my purposes.
And here is the complete wall-o-storage, hung about 8 inches above a bit of countertop:
The bars are Ikea Grundtal as are the two cutlery caddies, one of which holds napkins. The utensil canisters are from Storables, the small shelf is the stainless steel gallery ledge from Pottery Barn. I use it to hold kosher salt, sea salt, a pepper grinder and the kitchen timer.
I was hoping to find a little stainless steel shelf, but if I was unable to find one I was willing to go with a white picture ledge. You can find these everywhere and I think they would work really well for spices. I wonder if they are sturdy enough allow you to screw those little mug hooks into the bottom?
One note – I spent an obsessive amount of time comparing products from The Container Store, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Storables. I consistently found the products at Storables to be the most pleasing and didn’t end up buying from the other places. Unfortunately Storables doesn’t sell online and they only have a few stores in the PNW.
Here is the other side of the wall as seen from the perspective of the dishwasher:
I wanted to make sure that if anything on this wall were to fall into the trash can I would not cry, so we stuck with things that we use well and replace often. The Simplehuman trash bin is lovely, I never thought a really expensive trash can could make me happy. Above that, high enough to clear the swing open top of the trash can, we hung wall-mounted screws, again because loose s-hooks on a bar were too fiddly. The hooks hold kitchen towels and pot holders. Over that is a paper towel holder similar to this one. It was bought at Storables and sort of matches the Grundtal bars. It’s so easy to change the paper towels now. (Make sure you hang a bar like this with the joint on the side you expect you’ll rip the paper towels off in. The other end of the bar has a stopper, but you know. And over that another gallery ledge from Pottery Barn. This one holds splatter screens, cutting boards and baking sheets, all of which are too big to fit into my cabinets.
To further free up counter space we ditched the knife block and fit everything sharp (I tend to cut myself reaching into drawers) on one Ikea Grundtal magnetic knife strip:
I also have two under counter shelves which are narrow and deep and therefore nearly useless. I bought two slide-out shelves from Storables for them and now they are much more useful.
The shelf liner in those pictures? Previous owner.
And last I bought a lightweight, narrow step ladder which fits between the fridge and the wall:
I use a lot to reach the upper cabinets, and the storage on the top of the cabinets. I bought it from Williams-Sonoma, and they don’t appear to carry it any longer. Not pictured: I bought some Umbra collapsible rectangular baskets in natural muslin. They are shallow enough to fit on top of the cabinets but wide enough to hold larger items, and when I need to get inside all I have to do is pull down the top. I store lesser-used things up there – baking molds, ice shaver, cake stands. It’s ok for a temporary solution.
added August 7, 2007:
I needed a place to hang some kitchen utensils but I didn’t have any space in my kitchen except for the side of the cabinet next to the sink. Trouble was I couldn’t find any bars short enough for the 11-inch depth of the cabinet. I spent way too long thinking up the obvious answer: use a cabinet handle instead. (Since they attach from a screw from the inside of the cabinet* the handle would’t work as a solution for a wall.)
Note: This is obviously not something you would do to kitchen cabinets you like a lot as it will leave rather large holes. I do not love my cabinets.
I wanted to use hooks that wouldn’t fall off the bars (hooks shaped like an upside down 6 instead of an S) so I had to choose a handle the hooks could slide on to. I bought 9-inch Attest handles from Ikea and Grundtal hooks that you can find in the bath section of Ikea (they fit the Grundtal kitchen stuff as well).
The only thing I took care about was to make sure the lower bar was set high enough so that the things I hung there wouldn’t hang down past the bottom of the cabinet. We transfer dirty dishes from that side, through the sink and to the dishwasher or dish drainer on the left side of the sink and I could foresee becoming frustrated by knocking into the tips of the kitchen tongs if they hung too low. I was afraid my kitchen might look cluttered with even more stuff hanging out in the open, but so far it simply looks cheerful.
* I had to take some time to make that not sound naughty, I mean, the easiest way to say that is that they attach by a screw from behind. You know?