It is no secret that one of my guilty pleasures is reality television. Yes, I realize that these shows are often low-quality and staged. However, I cannot help but enjoy the mindless entertainment that they provide. Plus, as tacky as some of them may be, I still manage to find tiny nuggets of information to inspire me in my own work.

My latest token of inspiration came from the Bravo show Million Dollar Listing: New York. Although one might argue that Honolulu is vastly different from the city of New York, I have found one glaring similarity: small spaces. Square footage comes at a premium in these two cities, and it is no wonder that on this show, the characters are constantly looking for efficient uses of space. In keeping with the theme this month, I asked the experts about how to maximize square footage in the kitchen, starting with the cabinets.



Bonnie Oda of Graham Builders suggested asking your cabinet designer to create space specifically for large items like cookie sheets and cutting boards. Having a bookshelf-type space dedicated to these oversized items will not only help them to stay more organized, but it will also save prime space in your other cabinets.


An expert-installed pegboard will allow you to use the vertical space in your kitchen while getting items up and out of cabinets and off of countertops. Having an expert help you will ensure that the board (and your walls) can handle the weight of heavier objects like pots and pans or even receptacles for utensils and other knick-knacks.


The item that remains a constant on my dream-kitchen wish list is Rev-a-Shelf pull-down shelving.


This allows you to pull your entire shelf from inside your upper cabinets down to counter level, maximizing your space by making it all usable and accessible.


Opt for deeper counters to give yourself more room for lower cabinets on both sides. “These will double the storage and allow for massive space to line up those potluck trays,” Oda said. “In this photo, the cabinets facing the living room were dressed up with obscured glass, and the cabinets facing the kitchen were finished with glossy white doors.”


Build storage into adjacent walls by carving out some space inside and adding doors. Depending on the depth you have available, you can create a built-in pantry or just some easy-access, shallow storage for smaller items like spices or other kitchen essentials. (Think medicine-cabinet depth but on a larger scale.)


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