Spoon rack. Jason Thigpen made this rack to store a variety of handmade spoons. The pegs for the spoons are made of white oak shaped by hand with a block plane, then installed using the tapered mortise-and-tenon tooling from Lee Valley. The 3/8” tapered tenon tool is used in this case and the pegs are angled upwards by about 5° to help the spoons stay on. (Jason says that if he built another spoon rack in the future, he would probably increase that to about 10°.) The base of the spoon rack is pecan harvested from a dead tree Jason felled just outside of his family’s yard. The spoon rack is mounted by means of keyhole slots in the back. Jason Thigpen, Texas Heritage Woodworks
The following is excerpted from Nancy R. Hiller‘s “Kitchen Think” – a book I’ve been consulting almost daily as I work on the plans/design/dreams for the pantry and kitchen in my 1905 house. But every time I look at it, I tear up a bit. I am still reeling from the fact that I can’t just send a few pictures Nancy’s way and ask for her opinion and advice. But I’m far sorrier that I can’t just sit down with her for a drink and a good gab about our gardens, pets and other seemingly inconsequential things that mean so much. I miss her singular and joyous laugh – and everything else Nancy.
No book titled “Kitchen Think” would be complete without a variety of miscellaneous objects the inspiration for that title connotes. Here’s a smattering of suggestions for details that are practical and fun.
Adaptation of an adaptation. Megan Fitzpatrick built this tiger maple plate rack based on adaptations to an original design by Johnny Grey that had been developed by Nancy Hiller and Kelly Mehler in the course of planning the kitchen Kelly shares with his wife, Teri. It’s made to fit Megan’s dinnerware; the depth and central shelf heights accommodate her various plates, and the racks are removable, which makes the unit flexible for other uses. The top shelves in the two side sections are adjustable. Al Parrish, courtesy ofActive Interest Media
Homage to my first employer. In our former kitchen, I built a plate rack inspired by the kitchen dressers I made for Roy Griffiths at Crosskeys Joinery in the early 1980s. This one is made in cypress. The built-in cabinets are ash with salvaged hardware. The counter is green-black soapstone. Spectrum Creative Group
Possibly the world’s most influential plate rack. Johnny Grey designed this plate rack for the kitchen in his family’s home. The sides are cherry, but the rails and dowels are teak. If you’re planning to use a plate rack for its historical purpose, to drain dishes, it’s important to use a water-resistant species for all parts that will regularly get wet. Benedict Grey Photography
Utensil rack & knife holder. Jenni Wilkinson mounted a tool bar over her stove to keep cooking utensils handy.
Second sink. If you have enough room, a second sink can be very handy. These clients added a small second sink between the main part of their kitchen and the dining room. Spectrum Creative Group
Wine column. My clients and I planned this wall of cabinetry around an awkward structural element. Along with the fridge and microwave, it houses a trash pullout. With just a few inches of width to spare, the clients suggested incorporating a set of shelves for wine. Spectrum Creative Group
Pet feeding station. Instead of buying a generic feeding station for her dog, Beau, Lynette Breton made one that goes with her kitchen. She laminated two layers of 1/2″ Baltic birch plywood for the substrate, then glued the same Wilsonart Boomerang laminate she used for her counters to the top and underside for stability, using a vacuum press with Titebond glue. The chrome tubing was left over from a custom towel rack commission; she made the station with three legs, adding white cane-tip protectors found at her local hardware store. The shape of the top was inspired by the boomerang pattern on the laminate. Margaret Stevens-Becksvoort
No dull edges. The MagBlok by Benchcrafted holds knives safely with a powerful magnet concealed behind wood. Unlike commercial magnetic holders, which have metal on their faces, the MagBlok won’t dull a sharp edge when hastily removed. Father John Abraham
Pull-out cutting board. True to her mid-century inspiration, Lynette Breton incorporated a pull-out cutting board in her cabinets. The board is made of maple with a breadboard front; curved edges overlap the cabinet face. Margaret Stevens-Becksvoort
Road food. Narayan Nayar, an avid cook and woodworker, wanted to equip his travel trailer’s galley with some nice cooking knives for an extended road trip. He wanted the knives to be readily accessible, in addition to well-protected. He designed this knife tray, which sits on runners at the top of a drawer, along the lines of the drawers in which he stores his lathe tools. Knives are separated by two holders — one that secures the handle and one the blade. The tray is bottomless to prevent the accumulation of detritus; this feature also keeps the contents below the tray visible. The tray is made from a leftover beech countertop sink cutout and holds the four knives he wanted to have for 100 days on the road: paring, boning/fillet, 7″ santoku and bread. Narayan Nayar
For two decades, Nancy made a living by turning limitations into creative, lively and livable kitchens for her clients. “ Kitchen Think” is an invitation to learn from both her completed kitchen designs (plus kitchens from a few others) and from the way she worked in her Bloomington, Ind., workshop.
Unlike most kitchen design books, “ Kitchen Think” is a woodworker’s guide to designing and furnishing the kitchen, from a down-to-the-studs renovation to refacing existing cabinets. And Nancy shows you how it can be done without spending a fortune or adding significantly to your local landfill.
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4 thoughts on “A Few ‘Extras’ for Kitchen Consideration”
Nancy had a way and she is surely missed. Seeing her name and stories flash by in print brings both joy and sadness. Since she lives so strongly in her books that surround you there, I am sure you experience daily waves of this.
A wonderful collection from the wonderful Kitchen Think book. A place where we can hang out with her. And maybe have refreshments while reading.
She was the best, kind and thoughtful, always a good gab. I imagine you shed a few tears putting this blog post together. It did me just reading it.
I purchased Kitchen Think for my daughter when we started building her new kitchen together. It was such a page turner, that I sent Nancy a bit of fan mail about her book, and to my delight, she answered me back, asking for pictures and to keep her posted on our progress. She was so encouraging, and sweet. My daughter’s comment to her incredulous friends, “well first, my dad and I bought a tree..” cracked her up. I only wish that I could have gotten to know her better, but, I think of her everyday, as my daughter and I work together to complete her kitchen.
Wow. I’ll be getting this book now too. I’ve seen the title in passing and the description in the LAP store but really didn’t know what was between the covers. The plate racks really hooked me . Thanks for the glimpse inside.
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