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Getting cabinets up off the floor

20110111kitchen_in_daylight_optWe're not sure who decided that base cabinets should begin four inches above the floor, but this isn't set in stone. Oh, sure, one needs enough room to stick a toe under the cabinet edge -- a fact made abundantly clear whenever we're forced to stand at a cabinet without a recessed toe-kick.  Nevertheless, we go to the gym to stretch, not the kitchen. And deep-knee bends aren't for everyone.

dishwasher_open_2_optBut anyone who hates bending down to unload the lower shelf of the average dishwasher can appreciate not only raising that appliance (as shown here) but keeping the rest of the kitchen storage higher than four inches above the floor. We found that a 10-inch toe kick not only raised the contents of lower drawers to a more comfortable reach but allowed for pull-out steps to be inserted into that toe kick that would give a person a step up to reach the second and third shelves of upper cabinets. (Some people opt for storage drawers in a raised toe kick, but that means even more bending.)

lower cabinets You don't have to build toe-kick steps, or have your cabinets custom-made in order to raise the toe-kick height. Simply order shorter lower cabinets and raise them above the floor with a second base. This will save money as well as your back.

You can also order universally designed cabinets with higher toe kicks, such as those from Aristokraft. And for those who don't want to install a raised counter for a full-size dishwasher, drawer type dishwashers, such as those from Fisher & Paykel fit easily as a single drawer or side-by-side drawers under a regular counter. (The foregoing is not an endorsement of Aristokraft or Fisher & Paykel, merely examples of what's on the market.)