When it’s time to make dinner, you want to find what you need in your kitchen. For many reasons – time, distance to the store, economy and fear of shopping (that’s a new experience due to the pandemic) – having a well-stocked pantry has come back into fashion again. New homes and renovated kitchens are keeping Island contractors busy, and the biggest request is to create more storage. John Meade of Coastal Creations Kitchen and Bath (pictured above), an Island design firm, is getting more calls for kitchen renovation.

“There are a lot of people who have moved here in the last six months, or they had a second home here and are now spending more time on Island. They see Martha’s Vineyard as a safe haven,” says John.

“Their kitchen may have worked fine when they were just coming for a visit, but now that they are here more often, they feel they really need a better kitchen.”

When the task is to make a kitchen more efficient, more comfortable and user-friendly, John relies on a simple process of listening to what the homeowners desire and what they’re envisioning, and on his own analysis of what is possible in the existing space.

“I look at what they want to create, and I look at the parameters,” he says. “Sometimes there has to be a compromise.”

Occasionally, a family will want to expand the kitchen space, allowing for a total renovation with everything on the wish list possible: a new traffic flow, a kitchen island, a laundry area (!), a pantry with a window and a desk, or an exterior door. This will involve contractors and will certainly take longer.

More often, the budget requires making the existing space work, and improving efficiency and storage on a smaller scale. (See project photos below.) In these cases, John starts with a plan that shows what is possible and works with the client until they are satisfied. He steers people to his website to find inspiration in some of his past projects, or connects people with other clients who have completed projects.

John’s nearly 30 years of work experience on the Island have allowed him to develop the skills – good organization and communication – to keep a project on track.

A native of Cape Cod, John moved to the Vineyard in 1987 and started working at Carpet Barn. The business grew successfully under his management as John learned to make estimates and co

ordinate installation, holding together the needs of homeowners and subcontractors. He left to run the kitchen and design department at H.N. Hinckley and Sons and was able to expand his education through in-person trade seminars. He refers to an “incremental building process of skills” that gives him many feasible answers to the design questions he encounters.

To meet the demands for more storage without major disruption to the most used room in one’s home, there are quick solutions that can be installed through Coastal Creations in a short time frame. Most commonly, John relies on roll-out shelves, deep drawers and pantry cabinets to add organized storage to an older kitchen.

“Roll-out trays give you access to what is in the back of a cabinet, so they really do add more space,” says John. “Another nice solution is a narrow pantry cabinet that rolls out from below and can be accessed from both sides.” He describes a kitchen with a narrow space between the refrigerator and the stove, just big enough to put in a pantry cabinet. “The husband, who does most of the cooking, was delighted,” he says.

A popular trend lately, says John, is to have a cooktop and a wall oven rather than a range. With a gas, electric or inductive cooktop, you can build in ample storage in rolling trays or drawers below. The wall oven can be located outside of the traffic flow. As John points out, drawers below the cooktop for storage of pots and pans free up other cabinet space for more food.

“It's amazing what we can create in a kitchen space now, using what is available at this time,” says John. "People have specific ideas about what they want in a kitchen, and it becomes a puzzle to balance function and aesthetics.”

Just as the Vineyard is seen as a safe haven, many people envision their kitchen as a soothing and comfortable space. John says the trend in kitchens lately is for a clean, uncluttered look. “Most of the kitchens we do are white, and if there is an island, it will be a splash of color.”

For awhile wall cabinets were out of style (in favor of open shelves), and now sleek cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling are back in fashion. They offer simple strong lines and a lot of storage.

With improvements to add storage, the kitchen can be reorganized to function better. Now there will be plenty of room for supplies, and you can always find what you need, in its rightful place.

Visit coastalcreationskb.com for 
inspiration and to contact John Meade.

Emily Meegan lives in Chilmark and works at the West Tisbury Public Library.



Kitchen Storage Solutions: Finding Space in All the Right Places


A shallow cabinet is perfect for dish storage – nothing can get lost. Attractive and functional, the pull-out trash and recycling center is on everyone's list. Ceiling-height cabinets provide extra storage in this fresh kitchen built by Paul Adler.

Photos courtesy John Meade.



In this renovation by Sullivan + Associates, built by Ray Bilodeau, a combination of storage solutions contributes to a clean, fresh look. Ceiling- height cabinet storage means open shelves are just for everyday dishes; a slim roll-out cabinet next to the range stores spices; utensils get deep, divided drawers.

Photos courtesy John Meade.