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14 Clever Ways to Reclaim Lost Counter Space

Apr 25, 2014 by

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counter space solutions
Zillow DigsHanging utensils from hooks and using open shelving can greatly increase your kitchen’s storage capacity.

By Tracy Anderson for BobVila.com

Counter space. No matter how big the kitchen, you hardly ever hear anyone complaining that there’s too much of it. Especially in a compact kitchen, clear counters are a precious commodity worth fighting for. Luckily, there are lots of smart storage ideas that can help you reclaim lost counter space. Here are 14 great solutions that are just begging to be a part of your kitchen expansion.

Roll me away

If you’re striving to save space, a rolling cart with a butcher-block top does double duty. Use the top for prep when you need it, and give dishes or other supplies a good home on the shelves underneath.

Get some hang time

Most kitchen utensils have a notch on the handle, perfect for perching up high. This way, you can save your limited drawer space for something else.

Source: Zillow Digs

Source: Zillow Digs

Climbing the ceiling

Similar to the elevated utensil concept, hanging your pots and pans from a ceiling-mounted rack keeps them nearby and easy to spot. Even better, the cabinet they used to occupy gets freed up, making room for items that used to live on your counter.

Sink in

When you’re chopping, you can’t be washing, so why not use your kitchen sink as a prep area? Any cutting board slightly wider than your sink will do the trick.

Slide into home

If you’re lucky enough to be in the design stages, why not sneak a few pull-out surfaces into the mix? It’s a great way to gain extra space that appears only when you need it.

Beyond the block

Let’s face it, traditional knife blocks are counter hogs. A simple solution is to store knives on the wall with a magnetic holder, but make sure you dry your knives thoroughly before storing and place them carefully on the strip.

Top-shelf idea

Open shelving — whether it’s set on the backsplash, mounted on a painted wall, or even free-hanging from the ceiling — can greatly increase your kitchen storage capabilities. Although you’ll want to choose eye-pleasing items to house there, the net result will be an increase in space down below.

Trash it

Made famous by Rachael Ray, the “garbage bowl” can help keep peels and trimmings under control as you cook. Scraps go in the bowl until they’re all ready for the trash or composting, and the counters stay free of debris.

Another way to look at it

Having a limited amount of kitchen real estate can inspire creative, and at times beautiful, solutions. Mounting a few shelves inside a window not only gains surface area for storage, but also captures a stunning backdrop for anything placed there.

Island idea

Make your kitchen island work a bit harder for you by adding shelves for books, or bars for hanging towels or utensils.

Hole in the wall

Even if your kitchen’s footprint is small, you may uncover a treasure trove of storage possibilities between the studs. In many cases, reclaiming this hidden wall space requires remodeling only this one area instead of the whole kitchen.

Corner pocket

Freestanding shelves like these from Beyond the Rack give you a clever, efficient way to use that often-neglected corner space.

Have your cake and eat it too

Use a simple cake stand to hold high-use items like salt, pepper and olive oil. If you need more room, you can easily transfer the stand to another spot in the kitchen.

Jar ingenuity

Ah, the all-purpose Mason jar. What a great idea: Affix the metal lids to the underside of a cabinet, and screw the jars on and off as you need them.

More space-saving solutions from Zillow:
11 Clever Alternatives to Kitchen Cabinets
10 Ways to Live Large in a (Very) Small Space
11 Amazing Kitchens That Defy Their Small Size

Bob Vila is the home improvement expert widely known as host of TV’s This Old House, Bob Vila’s Home Again, and Bob Vila. Today, Bob continues his mission to help people upgrade their homes and improve their lives with advice online at BobVila.com. His video-rich site offers a full range of fresh, authoritative content – practical tips, inspirational ideas, and more than 1,000 videos from Bob Vila television.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow or AOL.

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Homes Lost to Foreclosure Hit 6-year Low Last Year

Jan 19, 2014 by

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Foreclosure sign.  A sign of our times.
Alamy

By ALEX VEIGA

LOS ANGELES — The number of U.S. homes that got started on the path to foreclosure fell last year to a low not seen since before the high-flying days of the housing boom, the latest evidence that the threat of foreclosures continues to diminish.

Lenders also took back the fewest number of homes last year since 2007, at the dawn of the foreclosure crisis, foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac Inc. said Thursday.

While foreclosures remain elevated in many populous states, such as Florida, New York and California, they have been steadily declining since the U.S. housing market and economy began to rebound after years of decline.

The U.S. housing market has emerged from a deep slump, aided by rising home prices, steady job growth and fewer troubled loans dating back to the housing-bubble days. Meanwhile, more homeowners are keeping up with their mortgage payments.

That’s led to fewer homes entering the foreclosure pipeline.

Foreclosure starts totaled 747,728 last year. That’s down 33 percent from a year earlier and the lowest annual level since 2006, before the housing bubble burst.

All told, foreclosure starts fell in 37 states, including California, Arizona, Colorado and Georgia, but posted annual increases in 13 states, including Maryland, Arkansas, New Jersey, Connecticut and New York, the firm said.

Foreclosure starts are a leading indicator that we’re getting back to normal, and those are back to normal, back to 2006 levels,” said Daren Blomquist, a vice president at RealtyTrac.

While also down sharply, completed foreclosures — when a home ends up repossessed by a lender — have further to go before returning to normal levels, Blomquist added.

Banks took back 462,970 U.S. homes last year, down 31 percent from 2012 and the lowest level since 2007, RealtyTrac said. Foreclosures peaked in 2010 at 1.05 million and have been declining ever since.

Completed foreclosures declined on an annual basis in 38 states, including California, Texas, Arizona, Georgia and Michigan. They increased in a dozen states, including Maryland, Arkansas, Washington, New York and Oklahoma.

As of December, more than 1.2 million properties nationwide were in some stage of the foreclosure process or owned by banks, but not yet sold. That’s a decline of 19 percent from a year earlier and 44 percent below their peak of more than 2.2 million homes in December 2010, the firm said.

Most of the homes in some stage of foreclosure are tied to mortgages that were taken out between 2004 and 2008.

As 2013 drew to a close, Florida remained the nation’s foreclosure hotbed. The state had 306,018 homes in some stage of foreclosure or owned by banks in December. That amounts to a quarter of the national total.


 

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