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When Quelcy Kogel first saw her Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, apartment, it had been listed for rent as a handyman special. “It was cheap. There was a lot of space, and barring anything structural, I could do whatever I wanted to it. It also meant there were a lot of ‘quirks’ that most renters probably would not touch with a 10-foot pole,” laughs Kogel, author of The Gluten-Free Grains Cookbook and the blogger behind With the Grains.
But Kogel fell in love with the rental’s tall ceilings, natural light, and window views. “I ripped out carpets and ceiling tiles, chipped away layers of paint to reveal original wood and tile, painted every other surface, and made it truly my own,” she says.
Although Kogel’s kitchen has a rather large footprint, it lacks built-in storage and work space. She embraced the vintage cabinets and the old fixtures, and figured out how to display her kitschy finds while also storing all her kitchen must-haves. She also managed to turn the room into a cute, practical cook space. We were so inspired, we decided to call out some of her most brilliant storage solutions. Let’s take a look!
1. Turn windows into storage space.
If you’re tight on storage space, take a tip from Kogel, who dedicates one window in her kitchen to hanging her frying pans, pots, and kitchen tools on hooks. (This is especially smart if, say, you don’t have the best view or your neighbors are a touch too close!) She uses this space to hang cookware, tools, and even some go-to ingredients.
2. Store condiments in hanging baskets.
Those ingredients we mentioned? Kogel adds them to her pot rails with a hanging basket. And we think it’s a downright brilliant move! Wire baskets are an affordable and easy solution that will help you group together random items, like sauces and cooking oils — especially in a kitchen lacking pantry space. Tip: Find a sturdy basket that has enough depth to hold tall bottles.
3. Display decorative items above your cabinets.
One glance into Kogel’s thoughtfully designed home and any guest can see she has collected quite a few vintage pieces as a professional food and prop stylist. “My home very much feels like a reflection of me, and I love watching new guests take in my collections and see what sparks their curiosity,” Kogel says. By storing eclectic collectibles above her kitchen cabinets — like her working vintage mixer, cake tins, and toy oven sets — the statement pieces add charm without creating clutter.
4. Line up smaller shelf racks to make one bigger storage space.
Kogel uses wall space to make spices easily accessible and utilizes a number of wall-mounted shelves to keep bottles displayed neatly. By keeping spice jars lined on shelves, it’s easy to keep track of the inventory you have on hand and reduce the number of duplicates.
5. Arrange cutting boards so that they’re standing up.
With her eye for detail, Kogel knows how to showcase her beautiful kitchen tools rather than keep them hidden. And this includes her wooden cutting boards. Propping them securely upright with her stand mixer, Kogel conveniently displays the gorgeous, rich woods of her cutting boards, organizing them by size. This way, they’re easy to grab and they’re fun to look at!
No drawer space? The solution is simple: Store wooden spoons, spatulas, and ladles in a large utensil caddy. Kogel uses a stainless steel caddy to keep her cooking utensils within easy reach. Tip: Buy a caddy that rotates, so finding the right tool will be that much easier!
7. Add stand-alone workspace.
As a creative solution, a vintage wooden table serves as additional workspace in Kogel’s kitchen. Whether it’s used as a breakfast nook or a small buffet counter for entertaining guests, Kogel makes the most of this versatile work surface. “I love styling my table differently every time, and I love the connections that have emerged around my weathered, wooden table,” she says. An additional workspace, such as a refurbished kitchen cart, doesn’t have to be costly; Kogel found both the table and chairs at the flea market.
Inspired by these kitchen storage ideas? Tell us about it in the comments below.