Tuesday, December 20, 2011

TKO Tuesday: Mini Zone - Coffee/Tea Center

We have not been huge coffee or tea drinkers around here, so I didn't consider a special area for the accouterments of making and serving either when planning our kitchen.  I just thought the coffee maker would just be one of those little things we'd 'find a place for' when the kitchen was finished.

Our interest has grown, though, and do like a bit in milky, hot drinks, smoothies, or recipes.  We also have friends and family who are drink a lot of coffee.  Having it at all means needing space for the ingredients and equipment.

The first place the coffee maker landed was on the counterspace under the microwave.  The good part was its proximity to the prep sink, fridge, and microwave.  (We often warm 2/3 cup of soymilk in the microwave, then add the hot coffee.) The fist negative I noticed was the steam produced under the upper cabinet.  I pulled the coffee maker out from under the cabinet every time we made coffee.  Not everyone did.

The other problem was a problem with the lack of proximity to cups, spoons, syrups, etc.  The spoons and cups lived in the hutch, kiddy-corner across the room, and around the island.  The coffee grinder, filters, and coffee were stored out of reach in the 2nd shelf of the cabinet above.  We moved the syrups (and teas) around and around the kitchen, trying to find a space that 'made sense.' 

What made sense, ultimately, was to swap the coffee maker where we'd been keeping the fruit bowls... left of the main sink, so we just use that as the coffee-maker water source.  With no uppers above, the steam is never a problem.  We moved the oft-used cookbooks to the shelves above the fridge-freezer set with the rest, and then, had room for coffee mugs, coffees, grinder, filters, syrups, and teas in the corner's inset shelves

That enabled us to have the mugs handy to the coffee, which gave us more room in the hutch, while keeping the mugs still close to the dishwashers and in the dish storage area.  It's a walk to get milks or use the microwave, but we gained more, with the ability to store so many of the related needs together, than we lost.

This corner storage shelf caught the eye of an editor at HouseLogic.com, a site run by the Nat'l Assoc. of Realtors, and a photo from my blog was recently featured in 10 Ideas to Squeeze in More Kitchen Storage (picture #6).  They portrayed it as a way to utilize unused space in an older home by using an abandoned air duct chase... Not really our situation, since our house is new and I planned that area specifically.  But it's nice for the idea to be recognized, and also nice if people can utilize the solution without building their own home to get it.  ;-)

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