Library ladder kitchens borrow a luxe feature from another room to solve a practical problem.
Two library ladder kitchens, each stunning but very different in style, solve the upper cabinet accessibility problem in the same unique way: a rolling library ladder installed on a track so that soffit cabinets are just a few steps up. High ceilings in old houses pose upper cabinet problems for kitchen renovations. Often, kitchen designers recommend two tiers of cabinets with the higher ones (called soffit cabinets) stacked on top of the regular “uppers.” This is a feature of Victorian-era kitchens often used in older houses. It’s practical provided you don’t mind a climb to get into cupboards seven feet above the floor.
In a 950-square foot Boston brownstone apartment, an architectural designer remodeled a mid-80’s kitchen that closed in the small space.
To gain much-needed storage in the new open plan, he stacked a tier of short white Ikea slab-front cabinets above pantry cabinets all long the main wall — but with space in between. Under-cabinet lighting transforms the space gap into a distinctive decorative feature.
Library ladders require hefty (and costly) hardware as well as solid anchoring points. This one was found at a salvage shop and repainted. Tall spice jars were added for color — bad for the spices, great for the look – and the owner admits they are not often used.
In a larger, more lavish kitchen there are multiple wow factors – most notably marble backsplashes that extend from counters to the ceiling. A library ladder was installed on the range wall though it could be argued that it’s more a style statement here than a necessity, particularly in light of glass-front cabinets that are “see-through” — backed by windows all the way up! (There is a similar cabinet in the pantry of our favorite Cherry and Onyx kitchen.) Still, it’s a droolworthy combination.
Personally, I have issues with a rolling ladder in the kitchen this close to the range (I know I’d trip over the wheels) and presumably, it slides neatly away from the drawers. As costly as some major appliances, library ladders can be customized. A venerable New York supplier, the Putnam Rolling Ladder Co., has a handy online widget for getting a quick price quote, and a browse provides potential buyers with options for materials, hardware and wheel styles as well.
(Source: dwell.com, Steve Giannetti)
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