I often see kitchen designs where the movement and hardware of doors and drawers were not taken into account. Check these problem areas to make sure your cabinets will function like they’re supposed to.

1. Make sure your upper cabinets will clear the ceiling light fixture

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This ceiling fan helped keep things cool by the stove, but it prevented the upper cabinets from fully opening. Luckily, the homeowner already had a replacement in mind.

The solution? Recessed can lights are a great way to fix these situations and they can often be mounted in the same hole as the existing fixture without any messy drywall patching.

2. When turning a corner, drawers and doors need clearance!

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Doh! Cabinet doors have to clear not only adjacent doors but the door hardware!

I always allow for 3″ in corners to avoid this exact scenario. Make sure to plan for it as you layout the room. If you’re in a pickle and your cabinets are already in, there are some low-profile pulls that could help solve the problem.

Oven doors and dishwashers in corners often pose problems for adjacent cabinet pulls. I have had to shorten drawers for clients who couldn’t open them after installing a new appliance! Apron sinks or “farm sinks” come with their own clearance requirements. Plan ahead!

3. Watch out for hinge clearance on refrigerators

Here, the problem was discovered after the fact and this was the only solution: swapping 3 cabinets and an asymmetrical filler.
Here, the problem was discovered after the fact and for a number of reasons this was the only practical solution: swapping 3 cabinets and an asymmetrical filler.

There are many fancy new models of refrigerators on the market that look fantastic, but are not designed with zero clearance hinges. When these are put in place of a traditional appliance, there’s often not clearance for the door to open! Allow clearance for both the door swing and the hardware. I leave 3″ minimum when possible. This is especially common with new countertop depth, french door refrigerators.

4. Adequate venting for vent hood or microwave hood combo

There are recirculating options for venting, but nothing is quite as effective as a true vent stack in reducing smoke and grease in a well-used kitchen. There are many venting options, but often the cheapest is to vent directly out of the side of the house on the same story. If you plan for this, the vent could be hidden either on top of the cabinet or hidden within the cabinets for a cleaner look.

5. Valves and traps are already in place on sink plumbing when it’s cabinet installation time

When the valves are already installed on sink plumbing, your cabinets need to be cut significantly to allow for these services to be connected. You also risk damaging the valves or gathering sediment in the exposed supply lines during your remodel. Ask your plumber to “stub in” your supply lines and drain instead, allowing you to cleanly install plumbing fixtures with minimal damage to your brand-new cabinets. Here’s what not to do:

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Not only is this an eyesore, but it could pose a number of problems!
The plumbing was stubbed in properly here, allowing me to make the inside of the cabinet look as nice as the outside.
The plumbing was stubbed in properly here, allowing me to make the inside of the cabinet look as nice as the outside.


6. Make use of dead corners!

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In a row of kitchen cabinets that turn a corner, at each turn there is the potential to waste space, commonly referred to as a dead corner. By using “lazy susan” fixtures you can reclaim some of that dead space and make it useful. Sometimes, facing the cabinet backwards into an adjoining room can even be a solution. Once, I installed a backwards corner cabinet that the client intended to use as a hidden litter box for their cats! Rev-a-shelf offers an amazing assortment of cabinet fixtures to solve this and many other problems.

7. Top cabinet height is set without checking the ceiling and floor for level

You can run into a significant amount of additional expense fixing a wavy floor or ceiling when you’re budgeting for a cabinet install only. Trim carpenters charge a premium for “scribing molding” where they cut away parts of crown molding where it abuts a low point to create a seamless look. Wavy floors can result it abnormal toe-kick appearance or gaps over a long run of toe-kick on top of a sloping floor. Use a laser level to measure points along the run to spot any potential issues while they’re relatively easy to fix!

8. Not allowing clearance for your chosen faucet style

Many faucets are situated in front of windows with casings that may not allow free range of motion for the faucet style to rotate from hot to cold completely. While some can be adjusted, others can not! Pay close attention to your faucet style if you have traditional window casings with a stool and apron detail.

source: duoventures.blogspot
source: duoventures.blogspot

9. Covering floor registers without redirecting

Build a box that redirects the vent toward the toe kick and cut in a vent.
Build a box that redirects the vent toward the toe kick and cut in a vent.

Redirecting HVAC registers can cut down on your heating and cooling bills while keeping your living space more comfortable. Box around floor registers that are being covered and install registers in your toe kick to keep air flow at it’s peak efficiency.

10. Not hiring us to install your cabinets

This is probably the biggest mistake you could make in planning your new kitchen. Luckily, Denver is starting to catch up 😉


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