Article by: Becky Harris
"Everything tends to wind up on the kitchen counters,” says interior designer Harmony Weihs. While working on a breakfast nook in Jeff and Amy Miller’s Mercer Island, Washington, kitchen, she couldn’t help but notice all of the phones, tablets and laptops that had overtaken this couple’s kitchen counters. “They had wires everywhere, even dragged across a gas range,” Weihs says. “I said, ‘Yeah … so … this is a safety hazard!’” In addition to safety concerns and keeping the electronics sheltered from spills and grease, the designer wanted to help the couple free up their cooking and prep space. She designed a freestanding cabinet with built-in power strips that not only cleared up their countertop space but also added to it.
Photos by Holland Photography
“This is a very simple piece. It’s so function based,” says Weihs, of Design Harmony. The freestanding cabinet sits atop 3-inch stainless steel casters so it can be moved anywhere. If the couple’s needs should change or they ever move, it can roll right into a home office, a bedroom or even a closet.
However, knowing the exact place where it would fit, Weihs designated a 35-inch height, so that the top is tucked beneath the granite kitchen countertop rather than butting up against it. The cabinet has a 1¾-inch functional beech butcher block top, so it doubles as extra prep and chopping space. Matt Larson of Cabinet Connection crafted the cabinet.
The cabinet also is tucked between the kitchen and the breakfast nook. It is crafted of a paint-grade maple and was lacquered to match the millwork in this area.
Dedicated tablet and laptop drawers make the most of the space. The top three drawers are 1½ inches deep to accommodate laptops and their plugs. This dictated 3-inch-high drawer faces. Each of the top three drawers has a built-in power strip in the back. Only one cord comes out of the back of the cabinet to plug into an outlet.
“Technology and the sizes of these items are always changing, so I wanted to keep the drawers simple and versatile,” the designer says. The drawers do not have any special compartments inside. There’s room to stack two tablets.
The bottom two drawers tend to corral children’s paperwork, homework, mail — the other things that would otherwise wind up cluttering up the countertops. “Anytime you have a place to house something, you will eventually wind up putting it there,” Weihs says. Even when the electronics are not charging, the family stashes them out of the way in the cabinet.