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I have recently moved into a newly built house and after initially putting things in places I'm now going through and reorganising and finding the snags etc.

Come to my disaster of a cabinet under the kitchen sink... Now this isn't a slander of the workmen that did the job or the quality of their work. Everything works great, no leaks etc. But... the way in which they have installed pipes and cut holes for electrical cables doesn't leave much room for me to store my cleaning supplies.

Now this is a double width cabinet with the main plumbing in the initial opening, taking up the majority of the space and an entirely empty full height space to the right. The unfortunate thing here is that the plumbing makes it difficult to actually access the big space next to it. Double-whammy.

So my question here is... Can anybody suggest how to improve this layout in such a way that I might be able to actually use the space?

Photos (click to see larger):

enter image description here enter image description here

How it's currently being used (don't judge me!)

enter image description here [enter image description here][8]

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    If you were to completely replumb it so the trap was directly below the left bowl instead of the right bowl, you'd have more room on the right, but that's rather drastic. Maybe drastic is what you're after. TBH, though, this feels off-topic, but I can't pin why, so I won't VtC.
    – FreeMan
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:32
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    @crip659 I added another photo to give more context to the layout
    – physicsboy
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:40
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    @FreeMan I was thinking that I might have to go down the drastic route... I might just flag as a snag to my developer and see if they will re-plumb it for me (for free). Also, where would you suggest I post instead?
    – physicsboy
    Aug 18, 2022 at 11:41
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    lifehacks.stackexchange.com might have better ideas. They deal with organizing stuff. It is the far end of the cupboard that makes life difficult, if you want to use it.
    – crip659
    Aug 18, 2022 at 12:31
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    @DarrelHoffman laundry appliances in the kitchen is a UK thing, where basically no home has a separate laundry room. People generally dont realise how cramped UK homes are until they physically visit one…. Rarely a usable attic space with direct access (ie not via a ladder) and almost never a cellar/basement, and laundry rooms are unheard of.
    – Moo
    Aug 19, 2022 at 3:20

6 Answers 6

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All the supply and drain plumbing for your entire kitchen is in one easily accessible space where it can all be maintained without tools! This is actually pretty cool. Worth sacrificing an under-sink space. There should be a name for this and it should cost extra.

The only thing I don't like is the relatively small drain being shared by so many fixtures.

Gaining back cupboard space

Corner Cabinet: For starters, you can gain back the whole corner area easily by clipping the dishwasher drain hose and power cord to the bottom of the countertop instead of running them along the floor. Just make a new hole in the far side wall near the top. Anyway the drain hose is supposed to make a high loop before its exit so just running it along the bottom of the counter will achieve both. You may need to buy longer hose and cable.

Main Cabinet: Waiting for more info on your venting and what's under the floor but pending that, my general direction is to split the five fixtures across TWO higher-level traps instead of the existing one, move the trap exits to the back of the cabinet, and transition from those intto a new larger 2-inch pipe that you route more conveniently.

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Building on Ecnerwal's answer. Put something like this in the dead space so it slides to the left. Put the stuff you access frequently in a basket in front of the pipes. Take the basket out and slide organizer to the left.

enter image description here

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    Or add shelves to the door, instead of using a basket. That way the door shelves are automatically out of the way of this sliding shelf system. Aug 18, 2022 at 21:16
  • may require upgrading the hinges, but still a good idea.
    – Jasen
    Aug 19, 2022 at 2:01
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This isn't the utilities' fault. This is a bad design that created a lot of dead space.

The keystone problem is the dead corner.

Whenever a kitchen countertop rounds a corner, you have a problem with what to put underneath the corner. In every kitchen I've ever lived in, they put a rotating shelf aka lazy susan there.

enter image description here

Also available with notches, to allow a squared-off door.

However they had a problem with that, because they chose to put the dishwasher around the corner, and you can't very well run dishwasher lines through a lazy susan (the pipes will knock over things on the shelf when you spin it).

Since they wanted to have two draining appliances (dishwasher and clothes washer) abreast of the sink, their other option would've been a corner sink. They even make kitchen sinks just for that. (the pictured one isn't, but the site has several ideas).

enter image description here src

However, the presence of the washers forces the countertops to be quite deep, and corner sinks really work better when the countertops are shallow (so you don't create a huge dead space behind the sink). Also, aesthetically, it's strongly preferred to have a window over the sink.

One solution to the "deep appliances" problem is to push the appliances away from the sink, so there is 1 or 2 tranches of ordinary drawers or shelves between appliances and sink. Then, use that space to "ramp down" to a narrower countertop, like this.

enter image description here

When also folded into a corner, it creates virtually a "cubby hole" of a workstation for the person at the sink. Now you can have wide countertops over the two washers, yet narrow down as you approach the sink so the corner sink isn't impossibly deep.

Obviously things are getting a little bit bespoke at this point, and this isn't something you get by default from cheap-minded builders because it doesn't pay. Nobody buys houses on details like this, people buy on location, location, location, features and price. The builder's job is to cram those features in, not make them usable.

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Put a shelf in at whatever level you require. Using a piece of card, cut out appropriate slots in it, so it will go to the back of the unit, then use it as a template to cut out from a piece of shelving material.

It's hardly worth recalling the plumber, or re-configuring the pipework, since it all functions well, as you state. Let sleeping dogs lie, and find a different solution, provided here!

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  • Agreed, this doesn't look like a disaster to me. It all works, so leave it alone. If you are intent on changing it, you'll spend a ton of money on a plumber for a tiny amount of additional storage. I agree with Tim, put a shelf there and call it a day. Aug 18, 2022 at 12:43
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In my aunt's kitchen, what they have is a double hinge corner door. A set of hinges holding two small(~a foot wide each) doors together and another set mounted on the frame to open both doors.

Your dishwasher seems to be about a foot away from the corner(guessing from the picture). So it might be possible to add a small door there.

If you replace the door under the sink with a half door, can probably add a corner door in the corner and have better access to far end.

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You could have two baskets (or whatever with the same function) where one is "the stuff right in front of the door" (that you can lift out as a whole) and one can be slid into that space from the right once the first one is out of the way. Might even be able to manage three, with the third to the right and back (pull out both of the others to slide it out.)

The way-back space is inconvenient to access (pull out both baskets and crawl in after it) so use it for storing things you use once or twice a year, or only in one season. Such as holiday-specific items, preserving/canning, ice cream maker, etc.

This is a common issue with corner cabinet spaces. At least they didn't simply block the corner dead space off to become a mouse palace (I've seen that done, and I hates it, I does.)

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