Clever storage solutions and simplified design add up to a terrific place to cook.
Sleek, Modern Kitchen
Credit: Laurey W. Glenn / Styling:  Cari South

Measuring 13 x 14 feet, this sleek kitchen takes advantage of every possible nook and cranny. "Even though the kitchen has a definite streamlined appearance, we designed it to reflect our home's original 1930s character, such as using painted white, recessed-panel cabinets," says homeowner and architect Tom Bauer of Nashville.

He and wife Mary Beth, an interior designer, configured the primary appliance wall into two towers--one contains a stainless steel refrigerator, and the other holds an oven, microwave, and television. Granite forms the countertops, backsplash, and central bar surface. At the bar's end, a vertical piece of the same granite supports and protects the cabinet's edge.

Divide and Conquer
This storage area and side countertop give smaller appliances and cooking items their own spot. "We divided the upper shelves into incremental cubes, starting with space for cookbooks and ending with spice cubbies located conveniently at arm's reach," says Tom. Doors slide out and unfold to conceal this workspace.

Hold the Phone
Rather than hogging valuable counterspace, the family's cordless and cell phones occupy a handy nook. The recess not only makes use of typical void space between the wall framing, but it is also reminiscent of phone nooks found in other homes of the same era. The ledge and wood skirt hide the outlet and telephone jack too.

If you like this idea for your kitchen, make sure you double-check that you have hollow wallspace and that no pipes or wiring will be affected.

A Perfect Fit for Your TV
Instead of buying an expensive flat screen television, the Bauers fit a standard TV into an open cabinet. Next, they added a touch-latch cabinet door wrapped in stainless steel. Replacing the recessed panel, a sheet of black/smoke glass allows the TV to been seen when on (and to be operated by remote control) yet obscured when off. (Tom and Mary Beth's choice of a black TV monitor was very important, because a white or metallic one would be visible behind the glass.)

"Great Ideas, One Kitchen" is from the April 2006 issue of Southern Living.