The Kitchen Designer

Thanks for stopping by! I'm Susan Serra, certified kitchen designer, and my mission is to take kitchen design style, function and analysis to a higher level. Here's why the kitchen has the most honored place in the home - all five senses reside in the kitchen.  Best...Susan  Contact: susan@susanserraassociates.com

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« Kitchen Trends 2008 - What's To Come? | Main | Everyone Ends Up In The Kitchen - Why? »

NYC Kitchen Design - My Apartment

My husband and I are vacationing in the city this week. We've been here since Thursday, and we're coming back home on Tuesday. We are loving being here! Our apartment is on the upper west side, such a beautiful area, a real neighborhood feeling to it. Lots of history, charm, great restaurants, and, truth be told, a world class movie theatre!

I LOVE movies, but don't go as oftenas I'd like. So far, we've seen two...The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and I Am Legend (in IMAX...amazing-not the movie (I am Legend), the screen...also $32 for two!) Do you know Rotten Tomatoes? I don't see a movie without it! For the rest of our visit, we just had brunch with our daughter/son-in-law today, I made a random purchase of tickets, yesterday, for a Broadway play ("Is He Dead?") on New Year's Eve at 2 pm on 45th Street, and we'll be milling amongst congregating Times Square revelers (only after the play lets out) and maybe another movie on Tuesday. Mostly, we're enjoying the city!


Being relaxed, and being in the apartment, helps me think about the kitchen renovation we're planning. I have a very different idea for storage, which I have not yet found a solution for. Something I have not seen done anywhere before, either. Perhaps my solution will be a first!

I do believe this design idea could catch on! It's something I first thought of a couple of months back, and, you heard it here first (just remember, NYC kitchens are tiny!) Mine is about 7' × 7' total! Yet, for me, aesthetics must be on an equal level with function, not an after thought.

The image below is of one wall in the kitchen. The opposite wall will be opened up to the living area. 

See the refrigerator on the left? Imagine a line on the right side of the refrigerator continuing from the right edge, up to the ceiling. There, that's the way I should have drawn it, as that entire section is 24" in depth. Disregard those arrows in the image that point toward the refrigerator.

For the section to the right of the refrigerator, I want to visually elongate that area in terms of width. Disregard the note on the image that says that area will be 20" deep. It will be 13" deep. I'll install a slide out vent above the cooktop, and all you will see is a 1" bar x about 30" wide. The front door is to the right of the wall next to the oven.

metal%202.jpgThere will be a facade all across this section, 13" off the wall. The facade may be changeable. it could be a distressed piece of metal. It could be a faux treatment on a removable board. It could be rustic barn siding, constrasting with sleek cabinetry. It could be a quiet color or shade, perhaps with a small beam situated at the bottom of the facade to serve as a shelf for artwork or objects.


I want to design or find something that can gently be lowered, perhaps a wire shelving accessory of some sort, to lower close to the countertop, have a shelf or two, for storage, and then be designed to be pushed gently up again into position within the front facade, invisible, yet functional. Any ideas? Let me know...I'm thinking too...much more to come!


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Reader Comments (8)

First of all, LOVE Rotten Tomatoes!! Invaluable for sorting out the loser movies.

Regarding your storage hideaway idea...made me think of a humble little gadget that I'm told is widely used throughout Europe. It's a laundry room drying rack, usually made of wooden slats and suspended from the ceiling. It can be lowered with its own pulley system to add or remove clothing for drying (hot air rises). Maybe there is some good looking hybrid that could be designed...a chrome rack that moves up or down as needed. Electric? Pulleys? Window shade cord? Hmmm... Couldn't interfere with overhead lighting, nor create looming feeling of something crashing on your head. Soffit-hidden? Looking forward to hearing your plans for your apt kitchen. Cheers!

January 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterWendy

forever inspiring and insightful, i just adore your blog so much! i hope you have a very prosperous and joyous 2008!

January 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterstudio wellspring

Can't wait to see more of your apartment kitchen ideas! In thinking about your storage, I looked for pull-down shelving options online for use in accessible kitchens and found several, so that may be a good place to start. I've also seen some pull-down shelving units for garage storage, but they may be too big. Good luck!

January 2, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

Wendy, thank you for your comment! Yes, you're on the right track...and it's definitely something with a track! It will go just up and down, situated behind the facade. I'm still thinking...

SW, oh, thank you so much, and I'm also always on yours as well. Have a wonderful 2008! Will definitely see you around.

Carrie...thanks! I may know about the options you found. I'm wondering if they are the ones that pull forward first and then down. This would have to go just up and down in place, and that, I haven't see at all, strangely. You're giving me some ideas, and I'll be looking. Thanks!

My husband got motivated and removed the mirror that was on an entire wall last weekend. First he said, I don't have time, we have to get someone to do the work, then, he got motivated. Whenever he's motivated, I stop what I'm doing, and let him do his thing, because that's progress! And cheap labor too! We actually emptied all the upper cabinets on the sink wall too, over the weekend, and put the contents in a pantry just outside the kitchen. I guess the wall is coming down soon!

January 3, 2008 | Registered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

In searching "accessible shelving" I saw some shelving units that run straight up and down, but they were motorized and therefore $$$. I'll let you know if I find anything that is run on tension wire, hydraulics, etc (as I'm looking for options for Grandma who has severe arthritis).

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarrie

I looked for a couple of minutes and didn't see much, I'll have to look more thoroughly, and if you have a link, I'd love it.

Oh, $$$? I just got a quote today for some sort of motorized piece. The quote was $3700.00! I'll let you know if I find out anything as well. Thanks for checking back, appreciate it.

January 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Serra, CKD

Hi Susan, I've just spent some time on your blog, and would like to contribute something as well, although these solutions probably are too late and too expensive. Do you know Peka Systems of Switzerland? I believe they innovate and patent many of the technologies that are applied in kitchens of all brands.Lots of goodies there, maybe something like Pegasus or Lift would work for you. Here's their URL:

Another thing I recently saw that fits in with your idea (and probably cocts even more money!) is Alno's niche system with rails. Click on the second row, third photo to see what I'm talking about:

Hello design lover! Thank you for your comment. I did look at Peka Systems. What I am looking for is something that goes directly up and down. I did not see that on the website. I don't see anything like what I am asking for, although it should not be impossible to create and is a good idea, I think. Thanks so much for your links, I enjoyed looking at them.

March 23, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

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