6 Design Solutions For a Busy Kitchen
Katie Raffetto’s 108-year-old Mill Valley, California, kitchen posed some common design and organizational challenges: a tight pantry, open shelving, high traffic. Luckily, Katie has the uncommon advantage of both being a designer (she’s the owner and principal designer of Katie Raffetto Interior Design) and having a pro organizer on speed dial: frequent collaborator Lisa Ruff, owner of Neat Method San Francisco. The two joined forces to put the finishing touches on Katie’s cook-space update and offered Real Simple a tour to show solutions anyone can implement. Take a look at their result: a stylish room you can actually cook (and eat) in. What a concept.
Organize Spices By Use
Lisa’s go-to strategy for spices: Store them in a drawer to keep them all visible at a glance and prevent them from getting lost in the back of a cabinet or pantry. Decant spices into uniform, labeled containers. Place those you reach for most often toward the front of the drawer.
To buy: Custom modern pantry labels (round), $12 for 22; ethnicpantry.etsy.com.
Stock Open Shelves for Form and Function
What you put on open shelving needs to be pretty, but it also needs to be practical. Since Katie’s kitchen has a small pantry, the duo brought shelf-stable items out into the open alongside everyday dishware. “Group items according to how you use them,” says Lisa. Situate grains and pasta near the stove and baking essentials by the counter with the most prep space. Reserve higher shelves for decorative items and seasonal serving pieces.
Create An Out-of-The-Way Coffee Station
“The kitchen is a zone with lots of activity,” says Lisa, “so create a coffee station that’s separate from the rest of the space to avoid a traffic jam.” Here, the setup lives opposite the sink.
Make Room For Everyone
Katie’s kitchen barstools back up into a practical, family-focused entry area with bookshelves that offer additional storage and character. The shelf nearest the front entrance (bottom right) acts as a drop zone, with one basket for each family member’s belongings. And a pint-size table gives the kids a play space that is visible from the kitchen.
Contain Kid Crafts
Below the shelves, closed cabinets house art supplies to keep Katie’s children entertained when she and her husband are busy in the kitchen. Magazine file boxes contain coloring books and notepads for doodling.
To buy: Knuff magazine file, $10 for 2; ikea.com.
Put Favorite Items on Display
The neutral walls allowed Katie to be a bit playful with how she decorated the shelves. Among groupings of cookbooks, design books, and her husband’s National Geographic collection, she incorporated family photos, found items from their travels, and kids’ artwork.