Common House kitchen cabinets--glass doors or open shelves?
From: Joani Blank (
Date: Tue, 20 Jan 2004 15:47:24 -0700 (MST)
Mike Swettenam of Oak Creek Commons (Paso Robles, CA) posed this question to me and I suggested he ask the rest of you the same question. Since he's not yet a subscriber to this list, I'm posting his hello and question and a copy of my initial response to the listserv on his behalf.

Joani Blank
Swan's Market Cohousing.

Greetings All,

I was wondering if any of you could spare a few words of wisdom regarding your experiences with the kitchen cabinets in your common house.

We are considering having glass doors on our upper cabinets in the common house kitchen. The idea is to keep the contents clean while providing visibility as to what is in the cabinet without having to open doors.

Does anyone have upper cabinets with glass doors in their common house kitchen?  If so, how do they work for you? 

Are there any advantages to having open shelving for upper cabinets (no doors)? 

Any sage advice of what to do or not to do when it comes to common house cabinets?

Decision time is near -- so your help would be much appreciated!

Mike Swettenam
Oak Creek Commons Cohousing
mikesw [at]

on 12/6/03 5:30 PM, Joani Blank at joani [at] wrote:

> Hi Mike
> I'm a big fan of completely open shelves on upper and pull out shelves for
> lower in common kitchens.  I think  Pleasant Hill (and I know Bellingham)
> has pull out drawers/shelves (lower cabinets) that just have a little lip at the front and
> are otherwise open and they are cool.
> We had glass doors on upper cabinets at Doyle Street, and at Swan's Market we have completely open
> upper shelves. The glass doors at Doyle were mostly there for aesthetics
> because the kitchen/dining area there is so small that when you are seated
> in the dining area, you are looking right into the upper cabinets of the
> kitchen. Swan's is even dirtier/dustier than Doyle Street, being just a few
> short blocks from two, count em two, freeways, but our dishes don't get
> particularly dirty even on completely open shelves because they're used
> regularly.
> Also, the inconvenience of an occasionally dusty dish or serving plate or
> bowl--and you shouldn't even have this being as out-in-the-country as you
> are--is insignifcant compared to the inconvenience of opening and
> closing cabinet doors many times every day. Finally, although you can see
> through glass doors, people still open and close the doors a lot to "look"
> inside. In your kitchen at home you don't notice how much you open and
> close kitchen cabinets doors even though you know where everything is. In your
> common kitchen, since so many different people cook there, and since not
> everyone always remembers to put everything they use back in the place they
> got it, the more visibility and the fewer doors the better.
> Joani
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