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Sunset Magazine: Kitchen Storage Strategy

PROBLEM. The original kitchen in Greg & Wendy Murphy's San Francisco house felt like an afterthought. Hidden in the rear far from the main living area, it had inadequate counter space and too few cabinets, all of which made for a cramped space that didn't fit the open informal way they wanted to live.

SOLUTION. By relocating the kitchen to part of a double parlor located in the front of the residence and by using clever, cost-saving cabinet tactics, architect Michael Connell turned what had been at best a cameo appearance into a leading role. And it was done in only 150 square feet.

The Murphys wanted to have more counter space, an eating area, and a desk. Budget restrictions didn't allow for custom cabinetry, so creative shoehorning was the answer. Connell used standard overhead cabinets- typically 12 inches deep- below the counter in some areas instead of standard floor cabinets. This allowed him to fit in a dining peninsula, a shallow storage area, and a narrow desk without taking space away from circulation and seating.

Storage needs dictated a row of cabinets stretching between the living room and kitchen. Connell put glass doors on both sides of the cabinets, allowing the space to remain visually open.

DESIGN: Michael Connell Architect, San Francisco (415/640-4905)