Renovation & Design

Hidden in plain sight

Concealment a sneaky solution for kitchen pull-out

A deep drawer was manufactured and installed within the cabinet between the stove and built-in pantry.

This deep drawer now accommodates two large capacity garbage bins.

Photos by Marc LaBossiere / Winnipeg Free Press

Although the cupboard now serves as a pull-out drawer, it still mimics the old cabinets in appearance.

A kitchen cannot go without a garbage receptacle of some sort. Although some homeowners aren’t all that concerned about a visible bin that is large and accessible, others would rather the garbage be always hidden, which usually equates to much smaller capacity. At a recent kitchen facelift, an attempt at combining large capacity with concealment proved successful, and here’s how we did it.

During the kitchen remodel, the hip-high, large capacity stainless steel garbage bin was often in the way. It was positioned on the far side of the island, across from the stove. To facilitate access throughout the area, the bin was relocated near the dining table while work was being done, to eliminate stumbling into it and possibly denting the decorative stainless-steel sheathing. At some point during the week-long process, the homeowner mentioned that although they had preferred the garbage be tucked away beneath the sink cabinet, a garbage can of adequate size could not fit within the allowable space under the sink. And although the large stainless bin was functional, having it always visible was not optimal. As such, the possibility of introducing a garbage pull-out was suggested.

There were a few areas along their lower cabinets that could easily support a lower garbage pull-out drawer. However, the homeowner did not believe a lower drawer could support a bin large enough to warrant the effort, nor did he relish the idea of having garbage aroma loft upwards and into the higher drawer above. What could be done?

If this kitchen involved a new cupboards installation, the design would have easily accommodated a full-height garbage pull-out somewhere along the lower cabinets, either next to the sink area or along the island. In that these cupboards were simply being rejuvenated, I suggested that the sole 18-inch wide cabinet beside the stove adjacent the built-in pantry was a prime candidate. After explaining how the cupboard could be easily modified at a very low cost, the homeowner elected to proceed.

To achieve our goals, a deep drawer was ordered via Cabinet Corner. This drawer would cater to the width of the existing cupboard, with eight-inch sides and a front face of 21 inches — the front face must be tall enough to accommodate both the existing lower cabinet door front, as well as the drawer front above it — the drawer and door fronts would be mounted on to the front face of the new deep drawer in the same arrangement to mimic the existing look of the lower cabinet, even though the higher drawer and lower shelves would be abandoned, replaced with the deep drawer as the new singular function of this cupboard. As such, the old high drawer front face was removed from the old drawer. The hinges and brackets were then removed from the lower cabinet door, and along the cabinet respectively. With the drawer front and door front freed from their previous assignments, the handles were then removed from both.

Next came the installation of the deep-drawer glide mechanisms, easily fastened along the bottom at each inner vertical, with a seven-eighths set-back. The deep drawer then simply dropped and locked into place. The drawer’s gliding action was carefully tested to open and closed until the soft-touch reeled the drawer into its resting closed position, which is flush with the adjacent cupboard walls as prescribed by the pre-determined set-back factor. With the new deep drawer functional, it was time to add the decorative face, recycled from the old drawer and lower door.

The top drawer was aligned along the extended front face of the new deep drawer, so that the old drawer front is fastened at the same elevation as the existing top drawers throughout the kitchen. Once the elevation is properly established, the drawer front is secured using one-and-a-quarter inch particle board screw from the back side of the extended front face of the new deep drawer, through to the old drawer front. The handle holes were then drilled through the extended front face behind the drawer front, using the existing holes as the guide. The lower door was then secured to the extended front face of the new deep drawer in much the same manner, first aligning the upper edge of the door with the same gap below the drawer front to mimic the appearance throughout the kitchen of functional upper drawers with cabinet doors below. With the particle board screws fastened and the handle mounted, this lower cupboard maintains it appearance, while updating its functionality to accommodate two garbage bins of similar size to the free-standing stainless steel bin, that can now be retired.

With minimal effort at negligeable cost, the homeowner attained the ultimate kitchen garbage bin scenario — a slyly concealed garbage pull-out with twice the capacity, by repurposing features of the existing kitchen cabinetry. Moreover, the kitchen cupboards appear as they always have, despite this glorious imporovement. Although dinner guests will be none the wiser, I’m quite certain the homeowners won’t “refuse” to discuss this little pull-out enhancement at their next dinner party.


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