Full Wall Kitchen Cabinets: An Expanding Trend

by Kate Marsanico

This tall kitchen cabinet trend is great for extra storage, aesthetics, and concealing appliances

The search for kitchen storage solutions has been an everlasting quest. Coming in all forms from pull-out shelves and corner cabinets to toe-kick drawers. To unify the look of the cook space, maximize square footage, and portray a modern aesthetic, full wall kitchen cabinets are quickly becoming the kitchen’s handy helper.

More and more homeowners have come to Sweeten, a free platform that matches homeowners with licensed general contractors and tracks their projects, to incorporate full kitchen wall cabinets in their kitchen designs. Read on for some inspiration as you plan your next renovation. 

Modern cabinet style: A wrap-around wall pantry

wall of cabinetsWhen Nadia and Stephen were looking to move out of their rental and buy their own place, their search was centered around finding a home suited for their multigenerational family. They found a good fit in a 2,030-square-foot brick house in Brooklyn. However, like most homes built in the early 1900s, it needed work. They turned to Sweeten to find a contractor that would transform their three-story home, starting with the kitchen. The existing kitchen was an L-shape with very little counter space, which was a problem for the family who loves to cook. They ended up shifting the main components of the kitchen—dishwasher, wall oven, sink—to one wall. This opened up space for an island and wrap-around pantry with full wall kitchen cabinet doors. 

“It’s amazing how much the wrap-around pantry holds,” exclaims Nadia. It acts as the other main kitchen wall. It can only fit cabinets up to 15 inches deep so they decided to install full-height, 15-inch upper cabinets. This allowed them to store copious amounts of pantry items and serving ware. 

Modern cabinet style: A pantry tower

Sally and Ross waited five years to fix up their two-bedroom apartment in Jackson Heights, Queens. They wanted to live in it for a while in order to make the best renovation plan. The couple was tired of trading off who got to cook in the kitchen. Two people couldn’t fit in the kitchen at once and the layout wasn’t functional. When the dishwasher was open, it blocked the fridge. Plus, storage was lacking. Sally had to get down on her hands and knees to search with a flashlight to find what was hiding in the lower cabinets.

Sally and Ross turned to a contractor from Sweeten’s network for help. Together, they devised a plan to increase the functionality of the space, leaving their galley kitchen partially open to the living area. “I found myself gravitating toward kitchens that banked all the tall pantries with the fridges to one side,” says Sally. So, they moved the refrigerator outside the main cooking area, flanking it by tall pantries and kitchen wall cabinets. Inside they “hid” cleaning supplies as well as other everyday essentials.

Modern cabinet style: A wall of cabinets, literally!

For one homeowner in Manhattan, his compact 860-square-foot apartment left much to be desired. The kitchen had a small sink in a strange location and the stove and refrigerator were right next to each other. Aesthetically, it needed work as well. The pine cabinets were behind the times as were the flooring and countertops. 

So the homeowner turned to Sweeten to find a contractor that specialized in renovating small spaces. The main objective was to remove the dividing wall between the kitchen and family room to make the space feel larger and more modern. However, storage was also a priority. They replaced the dividing wall with a custom cabinet unit that had storage on both sides. On the kitchen side, it houses an integrated refrigerator and on the other side, pantry items. This was a nice compromise.

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Modern cabinet style: An entry wall of kitchen cabinets

multiuse Japanese full wall cabinets in kitchen Joseph, an immigration lawyer and painter, and Sunghee, a curator, rented their Clinton Hills co-op in Brooklyn for several years before buying it. The couple wanted it to reflect their Japanese sensibility now that it was all their own even though it had updated kitchens and bathrooms.

With Sweeten’s help, they found a contractor that was able to fulfill the couple’s main objectives: Open up the closed-off kitchen to double the storage space. To fix the lack-of-storage problem, their architect designed a wall of book-matched white oak cabinets. Each cabinet looks identical but is used for very different purposes. One cabinet stores shoes, a vacuum, and microwave; another is a place to conceal a refrigerator; and then a double cabinet has a modular shelving unit. All in all, the couple was able to maximize their small space to its fullest potential. 

Modern cabinet style: Hallway cabinets turned kitchen pantry

Janet and Jerry bought an investment property on a quiet street in the desirable Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. They knew turning it into a multi-unit dwelling would require a gut renovation that they would have to do in installments. But that didn’t stop them. They had a vision.

The units would feature bigger, brighter apartments that were more streamlined and modern. To do so, they converted each floor from a two- into a one-bedroom unit and opened up the kitchens. Typically, when you change to an open-concept format, you lose storage space—something Janet and Jerry wanted to avoid. They relocated the kitchen, moving it forward in the apartment. This opened up what had formerly been a hallway with an inset wall of cabinets, which their Sweeten contractor restored. “We are very happy with the restoration of the cabinets,” Jerry said. “It’s a great feature for the apartment—it adds so much storage space.”

Modern cabinet style: A wall to conceal appliances

With the impending arrival of their baby,  Tara and Brian turned to Sweeten to help find the right contractor to renovate their two-bedroom co-op in Park Slope, Brooklyn. It was a tall order, but Sweeten matched them with the perfect professional to get the job done. Tara and Brian asked their contractor to modernize their space, rework the clunky layout, add a kitchen island—and do it all before the baby was born.

concealed tile full wall cabinets

The contractor suggested a good workaround for the refrigerator. The solution was to conceal the refrigerator in the existing closets directly across from the main kitchen.  They matched those closets to the other cabinets in the kitchen for a cohesive look. In addition, there was wall space that wasn’t serving a purpose. To fix this, the couple’s contractor turned it into a small pantry in keeping with the “concealed” theme of the kitchen design. (When shut, it looks like a tiled wall but when open, a 10-inch deep cabinet is revealed.)

white lacquer full wall kitchen cabinetsMelissa and Russ loved their new two-bedroom co-op in a historic brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn, but like many properties in the area, it needed updating. But unlike a lot of homeowners, they wanted to keep their kitchen separate from the rest of the living area. So they turned to designers Casey and Kumar—and a Sweeten contractor—for help. To make the kitchen feel separate, Casey and Kumar suggested building a partial wall. To carve out more storage space, they added white lacquer, full wall kitchen cabinets. Not only were they able to conceal a washer/dryer combo, but also a refrigerator. In addition, their Sweeten contractor built a custom pantry pull-out in the narrow space between these two appliances. You can never go wrong with more storage!

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The kitchen island and peninsula can take on a lot of storage needs. Click here for the pros and cons and what can work for your space.

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, scope, and style. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation with Sweeten.

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