Hideaway Drawer Remodeler Ken Badalamenti was nearing the finishing stages of a full kitchen remodel of this Pepper Pike, Ohio, Colonial-style home when the homeowners came to him with an unusual request. They wanted additional storage space for a small collection of exotic liqueurs that they didn't want on display but that had to be within easy reach when entertaining guests.

In response, Badalamenti, of Riviera Construction in Solon, Ohio, came up with the idea for a hidden paneled drawer built into the base of an existing column on the outer edges of the kitchen. “The frame of the column base was already built,” he says. “We just had to rework the interior.” With the raised-panel front already in the plans, all the contractor needed to do was to build a drawer box — which he did on site — and fasten the drawer slides and heavy duty touch-latch.

The 12-inch-deep drawer provides roughly 2 cubic feet of space and is “just big enough to hold the liqueur bottles,” Badalamenti says. It was also relatively inexpensive; the total additional cost to the client was just under $400.

A Real Shoe-In In this mudroom addition, Michael Anschel had to accommodate the hefty storage needs of the homeowners and their four children. To avoid the clutter of shoes and toys that inevitably arises in such spaces, Anschel, of Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build in Minneapolis, developed a series of maple cubbyholes set back into unused crawl space, creating storage space that is both functional and discreet.

The cubbies, which are each about 20 inches deep and 14 inches tall, retreat into the bases of three of the room's walls. “This allows the family to separate the parents' shoes from the kids' shoes,” Anschel says.

The only challenge in implementing the design was protecting the wood against the moisture from wet shoes and melting snow. To ensure against damage, Anschel sealed the wood with extra layers of urethane.

Though this is the first time he has installed shoe cubbyholes, the contractor notes that recessed storage is a tool he often employs to de-clutter spaces. The addition of the cubbyholes was “very practical and very inexpensive,” he says. “I would definitely offer them to future clients who have similar needs.”

Look Out Below When Peggy Fisher, design director of the Fisher Group in Annandale, Va., decided to renovate her own home, she says her goal with the kitchen remodel was “to maximize the usefulness of the space.”

She relocated the furnace and knocked out the dining room wall and part of the living room wall — adding 25% more floor space to the kitchen. But with the removal of the dining room wall, Fisher lost an entire row of cabinets and lots of valuable storage space.

To remedy this situation, she designed drawers for the toe space of her cabinetry, a “place where occasionally used items such as serving platters or dishes could be stored and accessed as needed.”

Although the drawers were the perfect solution to her storage dilemma, the remodeler wouldn't recommend installing them unless a homeowner is fighting for every quarter inch of space. “The process was more time-consuming and expensive than we had originally thought,” Fisher says.