Entryways: Beyond the Boot Bench

As a first impression, I see a turn-of-the-century gem in this delightful adjoining room to the expansive kitchen Gail discussed last week. It strikes me with an old-world appeal from almost every direction!

Historic details

This space is so reminiscent of the butler’s pantries of yesteryear when cabinets were called “cupboards” and there were iceboxes instead of refrigerators. So charming are the shallow base cabinets and decorative hutch-style vertical panels that create the three cubbies. The simple addition of profiled molding on the front edge of each shelf also caught my eye and the bead-board-like panel on the wall that extends from the counter to the bottom of the wall cabinets. Notice how this section of wall cabinets are shorter? What a clever way to create something more special than ordinary storage! (Don’t forget the matching bottom for an expert finished arrangement!)

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone
Three simple parts: Arts & Crafts hutch panels at the end and between each wall cabinet, a single shelf and beadboard back panel add up to create a little something more in this storage pantry.

Remember those brackets Gail was so fond of on the corners of the island top from last week’s article? Well, here they are again, turned on end to support the charming shelves that dress-up the wall cabinet end. And here we see the beaded panel once again to complement the beadboard panel. The attention given to add unique details such as this makes for a well-executed design, and one cannot help but take notice.

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone
By using a finished bottom you create a look that truly feels custom. (Search “PCF” and “PNLF” in your Medallion Gold 2020 catalog to add to your design!)

Thoughtful function

The addition of a sink brings this room’s usefulness to a new level since it can double as a potting station for houseplants, a hand-washing station from the garage entry or even an overflow prep area as it is conveniently located next to the kitchen. We can all appreciate over-crowded kitchens when entertaining! This little retreat provides an out-of-the-way area to empty recyclables, prep an appetizer, and keep the messier messes out of the kitchen! Moreover, don’t we all sometimes need lost little “alone moments” when entertaining a houseful of guests?

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone

ILR3322L_LKEC2031AS_A_sm
Elkay’s unique single bowl sink with integrated drainboard makes for the perfect prep station. You can find it here: ILR3322L.

Make a storage plan

The other benefit of using cabinetry in a bonus space like this is the combination of a tidy look and organized usable space, one thing we all need a little more of! Thinking through how a client will use the space and what they need to store early in the design process is a great service to our clients, instead of squeezing in accessories as an afterthought. After all, who doesn’t want the perfect place for storing everything?

Having well-organized, easy-to-grab cleaning supplies makes the task seem less mundane (for me anyway!). This built-in pull-out organizer is the Installed Sink Caddy, definitely a design favorite around here. The bottom right portion lifts up and out as a cleaning supply basket you can take with you to the mess and slide back in afterward.

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone

CupDESIGN TIP

These sturdy plastic caddies not only catch drips from cleaning solutions and sponges, but all three can also be removed and tossed in the dishwasher for the ultimate in cleanliness!

As we all know, drawers can be so much more than just a drawer these days! Drawer dividers come in many shapes and sizes; in this adjustable divider, some partitions are stationary, some slide. Divvying up drawers as shown here eliminates digging into the abyss and messing the contents up even more! And in combination with the sink and plenty of counter space, this corner is the perfect staging zone for an avid gardener or crafter!

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone

We all wish for ways to relieve the stresses and strife in our life, but are we selling these simplifying solutions to the people that need them?  We all need a better and easier way for our every day!

A final flourish

The perfect finishing touch to this space is the boot-bench, a cozy little area that says “welcome home.” I envision coming in through the back door from a day of work or walking the dog. The open area between the bench’s bottom drawers allow you to quickly kick off boots, but its openness makes it low maintenance and easy to clean (especially with a handy boot tray).

York Reverse Raised (RR) maple Smoke, Flat Panel (FP) maple Irish Creme Classic; Mission Flat Panel (FP) quartersawn oak Greystone

Abundant storage above and below creates a dedicated space to tuck away scarves and mittens (which seem to have a tendency to multiply into a huge woolen pile otherwise). Or hide away other essentials…pet food, extra shopping bags, spare sunglasses, all those things you need right at the door but would prefer not to see all the time.

And while the symmetrically spaced coat hooks might be expected, using shiplap to hang the hooks on (instead of a blank space) adds dimensional and visual interest.  It also ties back to the classic linear details in the beadboard panel on the opposite wall. And using the Greystone finish for the primary finish of the bench complements its high contrast counterparts in the kitchen.

Continuity of elements throughout a home is a key principle in great design!

And finally, capturing the bench area, are the same Arts-and-Crafts hutch panels as were used on the opposite side storage area. They tie the area together beautifully and repeat that slight nod to a historic butler’s pantry. A fantastic space to come into the home, take off your coat and shoes…..and stay awhile!

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