Tool, Utensil and Crockery Storage

Here we discuss how to store kitchen tools, utensils and crockery in a period-style kitchen, such as one in a Victorian home.

The dresser, or more explicitly the 'Welsh dresser' is the key piece of furniture in a traditional kitchen. Combining a cupboard below and shelves above, perhaps also with drawers, the dresser can be used to store cooking pans, cutlery and tools in the drawers, and crockery in the shelves above. The shelf section may be open or protected with glazed doors.

The term 'Welsh dresser' has arisen because many of the finest examples were made in Wales; similar pieces of combination furniture were made elsewhere. The best quality dressers may well have been placed in a more public room than the kitchen; the finest oak together with the most decorative crockery demonstrated a family's affluence.

The kitchen table was the main work surface but may also have provided tool storage in drawers underneath.

Most suppliers of traditionally-styled kitchens offer a variety of dressers, wall and floor units. Original 'working' rather than 'decorative' furniture would have been scrubbed regularly; bare pine or a painted finish would have been typical.

With the dresser, cupboards and drawer units, you can choose either a fitted or unfitted kitchen.

If you choose fitted units, make sure that they include the following specification:

  • the wood in the carcase must be 18mm thick (not 15mm)
  • drawer runners must be in steel rather than plastic
  • the bottoms of drawers must be plywood rather than hardboard
  • drawer fronts and doors should be in solid wood

Be aware that many sources of these units sub-contract fitting. You may prefer to buy the units and then choose a fitter recommended by a friend.

In any case, make sure that drawers move easily and doors can be opened and shut with no effort; the major benefit of modern drawer fittings it that a light push can close a drawer; a kitchen drawer in frequent use that requires two hands and has intricate handles that collect greasy dirt is not fit for purpose.