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The 8 Key Kitchen Storage Zones in the 2020 Whole Home Concept House

Most kitchen designers think of three major storage zones in the kitchen: prep, cooking, and cleanup. But I like to break this multifunctional space down into eight areas that I find better reflect the way people use their kitchens.

I put all those ideas to use in the kitchen I designed for the 2020 House Beautiful Whole Home Concept House in Colorado. Seeing how I approached storage for each area just may help you as you take on designing or remodeling your kitchen. 


Sink with pullouts for cleaning and trash
All photos by Adam Kane Macchia for Studio Dearborn

The main kitchen sink is where most of the cleanup action happens, so I made sure to include pullout cabinets for storing cleaning supplies such as sponges, towels, soap, scrubbing pads, as well as garbage bags. The trash, recycling, and compost station are separate, but in another pullout near the sink in most of my kitchens. I also like to include a space for neatly keeping all those paper and plastic shopping bags you have on hand.


Range with pullouts for utensils

The cooking zone includes the range, oven, vent hood, plus refrigerator, and microwave if you have one. Pullouts for cooking oils and utensils flank the range, while storage for pots, pans, and lids is conveniently nearby too. And I also included a shallow drawer for oven mitts and kitchen towels, to keep the area as neat as possible.

Breakfast Bar

Breakfast bar with coffee and tea storage

Breakfast bars started showing up consistently in my kitchens a couple of years ago. Now these dedicated areas for all the small appliances, bowls, cups, and glassware for breakfast are a must for most of my clients. It just makes sense to have tea, coffee, and cereal, plus protein powder and maybe a small refrigerator for creamer and juice in one convenient spot.


Deep drawers with plate and bowl storage

Where and how you store dishes depends on your kitchen layout and your taste. If you have open shelving, it’s nice to store matching glassware, plates, and bowls you use often where they’re easy to grab. Other people like a more buttoned-down look, so everything is hidden away in cabinets. In this kitchen, I opted for a little of everything. There were open shelves for distinctive serve ware, plus concealed cabinets and deep drawers for storing plates, bowls, and platters. Low storage makes it easily accessible for people at every stage of life or ability level. 


Custom drawer with sections for utensils

A kitchen this size has all sorts of work areas to prep food. The main work station is the central island, and it’s tricked out with all sorts of hidden storage. Drawers with sections for everything from toppings to measuring spoons keep everything tidy.

Pantry + Food Storage

Preservation pantry

A pantry or larder is one of those old-school kitchen features that’s taken on new importance during the pandemic. This development is focused on sustainability and self-sufficiency, so it has a community garden and an orchard. So I designed the kitchen with two pantries. The larger is hidden behind a wall of white beadboard doors. But most of the action happens in a colorful second pantry focused on preserving and storing foods. Special features include a second dishwater and sink, a sous vide machine, plus shelves for staples, and bins for onions and potatoes.


Tech charging and key drawer

Who knew the corner desk in the kitchen was going to be such an important feature this year? A compact desk like this is now one of the most popular kitchen features of 2021. It’s easy to add one at the end of the island, with a few shelves for storing books, paperwork, and a charging drawer.

Pet Zone

Kitchen Pet station with dog

More than 85 million of us have pets. So I knew this concept kitchen needed a dedicated place for taking care of them. I created a station with a faucet for water dishes and food bowls, plus storage for leashes and food. Waterfall islands are beautiful, but you do sacrifice some useable storage space. I think practicality was the right call here, and this furry guy agrees.

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