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Finding storage in an open-concept kitchen

Award-winning interior designer Patricia Davis Brown walks you through designing a built-in kitchen hutch and how to avoid the mistakes many people make when they design one.

The open kitchen design concept has surpassed its competition - the walled-in kitchens of yesteryear - in terms of popularity. The kitchen is the heart of the home, the gathering spot, the place where homework is done and memories are made, so having a design that opens up to the rest of the home just brings everyone closer. However, the challenge with this type of design is the lack of walls to put cabinetry on. Not to fear, my DIYers, Patricia is here with some design tips for a kitchen lacking in walls.

off-white kitchen hutch storage

The best antidote to this conundrum is built-in storage, like a built-in kitchen hutch. A hutch can be the control center for organizing your open floor plan by providing ample storage for everything from dishes to cookbooks. To use it effectively, the first thing to decide is what is going to be stored in the hutch - and I mean before the hutch is built. Without a proper plan, you won't get the storage you want.

Kitchen hutch storage

Once you know what's going to live in the hutch, you can design accordingly. For example, if you want to store your plates here, measure your dishes first. Many plates today are larger than what you might inherit from your grandparents, so be sure your hutch will accommodate them. Bigger plates could increase the depth of the cabinetry from 12 inches to 15 inches. That extra depth will also give the unit some presence so it's standing proud to the adjacent cabinetry. If you really want the hutch to be the focal point of your kitchen, you can even jack up the height for a truly stately piece. While you're deciding on height and width, remember to consider the projection of the crown molding of the adjacent cabinetry. It'll need to die into the side of your hutch, so you'll want to make sure the hutch's depth accomodates the molding projection.

built-in hutch

If you are all about a clutter-free kitchen and want to hide your small appliances, then the hutch is your best friend. First determine which appliances will be stored in your hutch, then measure height, width, and depth (including the depth of the appliance plugged in). If you want to keep an appliance like the microwave behind closed doors, you'll need an electrician to install an 110V outlet. I recommend a recessed flush outlet to decrease your needed depth for this application.

Whatever style of hutch you choose for your open kitchen, remember that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. As such, it's always my recommendation to consult a professional for the best results!