When done right, open kitchen shelving is a storage approach that's both visually attractive and highly functional—favorite pieces and tools are elevated to display status, and everything is within easy reach. When done wrong, an open storage plan can quickly make for a cluttered mess. The trick is all in the clever use of space. Here, six kitchens with open shelving solutions that work.
In the Bernier Residence, vintage kettles and a wide-ranging assortment of pots and pans sit above kitchen cabinets from IKEA. The brightly colored pieces are balanced by the cool blue wall and stainless steel backplash. Industrial shelving brings order and utility. (Formerly a restaurant, punk rock night club, and furniture warehouse, the Berniers’ loft in Chinatown is anything but boring.)
In the Dolce and Burnham Residence, the renovated kitchen features sleek appliances and a limited assortment of utensils and vessels. The consistent use of steel helps keep the space streamlined - the space appears colorblocked with stripes of red, gray, white, and brown.
In the 141 Spring Street project, resident Josh Nissenboim prepares food in the kitchen. The countertop is Carrera marble, chosen because for its lightness and ability to wear in naturally. He and his wife, Helen, keep cooking staples within easy reach on simple shelving. By sticking with the most basic essentials, the shelves are open and spacious rather than overly stacked.
For the kitchen of the Corkellis house, the owner hired David Restorick, a furniture maker and friend, to build an island for storage and to wrap Ikea cabinets with oak for a customized look. He also built a staircase that doubles as display space for the owner’s vast collection of colorful cookware by the likes of Finel, Copco, Cathrineholm, Jens Quistgaard, and Stig Lindberg. About her collection of cookware, she comments: “I use accessories as the color in spaces so these items are an integral part of the overall design."
The Park Street renovation nearly doubled the size of a tired Victorian; the kitchen now benefits from a high ceiling and an opened up south-facing wall. There's plenty of room for storage, which ensures the open shelves won't become too crowded.