Modern Kitchen Backsplash Accessories

Written By Kelly:

With the floorplan for my kitchen renovation decided upon in terms of work flow and lifestyle considerations, it was time to take a close look at an important functional aspect of the entire design - countertop prep space.

My old kitchen countertop with all the charming kitchen objects in place, allowing, maybe 9-10" of prep space front to back!

While, to me, my kitchen is a decent size having come from shoebox apartment kitchens in Manhattan, at 190 square feet, it is still small for suburbia. It was very important to both me and my mom/Susan/kitchen designer (all in one) to design in efficient countertop prep space; otherwise, really, what's the point? We immediately thought of Kessebohmer - a German brand we were familiar with that offers clever storage solutions as beautiful to look at as they are to use.

Since our main goal was freeing up counter space, I surveyed my counters in their current (read: cluttered) state and took stock of which elements would be most beneficial to our lifestyle and space and which could be moved off the counter. The Kessebohmer Linero collection became a quick answer to countertop clutter.

Linero is a classic modern rail system that is at once practical and extremely versatile. In fact, its beauty lies in its versatility. The simplistic design consists of a variable length horizontal rail that can be customized with any number of smart attachments.

As Kessebohmer's collection is so intuitive, we arrived upon more accessories than I had space along my backsplash where the main rail would be positioned. How to choose? We elected to get each accessory that I thought I would use under different lifestyle situations, and change them out as needed.

This concept has since evolved into many different, and FUN, iterations, and has given us a tremendous amount of flexibility - which is THE keyword for my kitchen. Here are the elements we chose, and how they've been incorporated into our multi-functional kitchen:

Spice Rack - This accessory houses my most-used spices, kept conveniently at arms length for when I need them, literally, in a pinch! Positioned at the far end of the rail, it is situated a safe distance from the heat of the cooktop so as to not spoil the spices.

Multi-Purpose Shelf - Simply one, clean, stainless shelf. I use this to hold a few frequently used oils, or a decorative plate and ceramic bowl.

Wine Rack - Holds up to 3 wine bottles. We don't keep this up all the time, but trot it out when we're entertaining and want to take the kitchen from "cook's kitchen" to "Napa dining room" as it lends a very chic, festive feel to the unit.

Cookbook/iPad holder - Utilizing a second simple shelf on the rail for another use, I love this accessory purely for its functionality as previously noted. Having previously cracked my iPad screen with a falling spice jar (true story), this piece keeps your cookbook or ipad out of harm's reach. And, it's an excellent conversation piece as well - guests love it!

Kelly's using the ipad just before a dinner party

Single Utensil Jar - Raise your hand if your counters are currently housing the ubiquitous, cumbersome jar of utensils? Not mine! Previously the bane of my existence, my utensil jar is now conveniently suspended along my backsplash in close proximity to my cooktop for a quick grab of a wooden spoon or pasta ladle. More space to spread out the pizza dough on the countertop.

Knife block - It was, perhaps, most satisfying to rid our counters of the clunky, ill-shaped knife block that came with our knife set. This sleek element keeps knives safely shielded in a natural wood sheath, and behind a pane of glass. What I love most about this is the ability to quickly grab your exact intended knife, instead of playing a guessing game with knife handles.

Utensil Hooks - This is a beautifully simplistic row of 6 hooks intended for hanging utensils. Of course, I ran out and purchased a crisp, matching set of Chrome utensils with holes in the handles, but the collection has evolved into an eclectic hodge-podge of trinkets (such as my beloved Danish bottle opener) and novelty utensils from Anthropologie. And I quite like it that way.

Three-Cup Utensil Holder - This is another accessory that we don't keep out every day, but when we're expecting guests, I'll fill it with fresh flowers, or other decorative objects.

Paper-Towel Holder - My husband has an unearthly affinity for paper towels. This storage solution is much more favorable than an on-counter dispenser. We positioned it as the solo attachment on a short rail alongside the sink for quick, easy access.

One of the most valuable lessons I've learned from renovating my kitchen speaks to the benefits of having an open mind. Many elements that were designed and decided upon were based more on trusting my designer and a "sure, let's do it" attitude than an actual previously recorded need or desire. For example, I didn't truly know to what extent the Linero rail system would solve multiple cooking and lifestyle issues in the kitchen until it was installed, and as soon as I hung up those attachments, I knew there was no going back. The convenience and efficiency is remarkable, and the flexibility adds an exciting element of evolution and versatility to our kitchen.


Stay tuned for a later post where we show you a few different "outfits" for our Linero system. Linero does holidays, it does dinner parties, and most importantly, it puts the "fun" in function!


Thank you to partners: Kohler, Silestone, Bosch, Hafele, Kessebohmer, autokitchen and Kravet who donated products or services and who had the vision to know this renovation would use their products in interesting and creative ways!

IMM Cologne Living Kitchen - Germany, January 2011

A simple post with images to share of the Living Kitchen show in Germany. I am not able to elaborate more at this moment as time does not permit, but surely you can ooh and ahh at the images, no? I am here courtesy of Blanco America. I visited the factory and headquarters today. How do you say "7 patents" in German? I was beyond impressed AND inspired. Look at Blanco. SO-Just for you...

Lechner Countertops - Made of Glass - Trend Alert: sinks in rectilinear "boxes" sit atop countertops Another example of concealed ovens and I will be showing you others Love this cooktop and its grates - by Smeg Gaggenau's awesome booth - a factory type grunge look going on simple, elegant, and note the thin countertopos Clever storage, simple, clean lines, restorative neutrals And last, but possibly my "Best of Show for 2011": Last but not least, the cooktop that I BELIEVE will change cooking forever: Gaggenau's cooktop - put your pot WHERE YOU WANT...anywhere on the cooktop and the cooktop will respond. Image shows the pots at each side of the cooktop to illustrate the burner-less glass

Small Kitchen Storage Tips

I'm thinking today about small kitchens as we're in the city for the weekend, in our little piece of New York City! I'm also thinking about small kitchens since my daughter is moving to another apartment and is absolutely wild about her new kitchen, also in New York. I can't wait to share that kitchen with you, but that will not be for another month, when they move, assuming the deal goes through, you never know, fingers crossed.

So, as I sit in the living area and look toward the kitchen, it appears to me that it's actually a very good sized kitchen for most any cook. When I'm here, I feel, what more does one need?

When I think of what I REALLY use in my good-sized kitchen on Long Island with the important disclaimer that I am probably an average cook, average being defined as a GOOD cook (of course!) and one who enjoys cooking, but perhaps not one who cooks with abandon on a frequent basis, needing a batterie de cuisine at my disposal at any given moment, it is helpful to get perspective on what one THINKS one needs, which may be different than every-day habits. That was a run-on sentence if I've ever seen one....yeeesh!

Point being...some back to basics thoughts for small kitchen storage planning:

1. Be honest with yourself...what do you really need, what will you really use in regard to cooking equipment?

2. If you want the bread maker and the rice cooker, can they be stored elsewhere in the apartment/home if there is no room in the immediate kitchen area? I don't want you to do without it, but consider alternative storage under the bed or in a closet if you need to.

3. Counter space rules in a small kitchen. It sounds obvious but bears repeating: Put as much away or on shelves as possible to keep your countertops clear. I think all of us are surprised at how quickly we get used to items accumulating on our countertops.

4. If possible, put the paper towel holder on the sink cabinet door as well as a basket for the liquid soap and sponge. A pull out towel rack can be fitted in a very small space in the sink cabinet as well.

5. Periodically, every few months, take stock of your pantry items and organize them. You will be more likely to use those items which previously could not be seen and not buy duplicates. Organize them as to size or type, whatever works.

6. Do the same for the refrigerator. You are less likely to buy those extra condiments if the refrigerator is well organized. Organize by size or type. 

7. Think about removing pantry food items and storing them the new old-fashioned way to save on storage space - in Tupperware type containers. Also check out Rubbermaid, and the Container Store. 

8. Everything should have a home. Again, it seems obvious, but the home for all items and categories of items should be clear and obvious so accessibility is quick and efficient.

9. Have a nearby closet? Use the inside door as a spice rack, hanging spot for pots on a wire grid, flat pans, or other tools for easy access.

10. Organize pots on this handy item, the Pantree. Use roll out shelves were possible in base cabinets. A Pantree on a roll out shelf sounds great to me!

This is not meant to encourage you to pack in all the storage you can in your kitchen. Just as in any size kitchen, I want you to carefully consider, probably more so than one would in a large kitchen, the equal importance of aesthetics. If a bit of storage needs to be sacrificed for a decorative item like a painting or shelf with a few items for display, make that sacrifice, please! I want you to be surrounded with a meaningful and aesthetically pleasing kitchen interior. I cannot overstate my opinion on this. A small kitchen should not be solely utilitarian....just because it is space challeneged. You deserve both, aesthetics in regard to personal decoration AND function!

Tell me about your small kitchen and what organizational tips work for you...