Browsing at The Home Depot recently for kitchen cabinets, I saw a kiosk for InnerMost™ Cabinets. Their display caught my attention because, for one, it was smartly presented. In-store displays from kitchen cabinet companies usually don't do much to sell you: they're just there. But InnerMost's display emphasized that their cabinets carved out more room than other cabinets. To prove it, they had Plexiglass-fronted cabinets and drawers, showing the inner workings of these magic storage spaces.
At first, InnerMost looked like a revolutionary idea--a bold departure from the staid world of cabinets. Or is it?
On the Creation of More Cabinet SpaceIn its product literature, InnerMost says that it has "literally created 'more space inside.'"
That's a dubious enough claim, since you really cannot "create space." The space is already there; it's a matter of shaving away extraneous cabinet materials so that kitchen-related things (food, utensils, pans, etc.) can occupy that space.
But let's just call that poetic license. We know what they're getting at. This is advertising, after all. InnerMost uses the familiar 10'x10' standard-of-comparison to come up with its space-creation claims. Because you need to compare apples with apples, the 10'x10' is an industry standard for communicating the relative price of cabinetry.
In a 10'x10' kitchen, InnerMost says that their cabinets give you up to 8,790 more cubic inches (about 5 cubic feet).
Assuming that their calculation is correct, five extra cubic feet--within the space of a kitchen--is fairly significant. They say this works out to be about six more bags of groceries.
In even more concrete terms, they note that this works out to 60% more drawer space and room in a 13 inch (deep) cabinet for one more row of glasses or oversized rather than regular-sized dishes.
Wow! How is this possible?
Framed vs. Frameless CabinetsThe fine print: InnerMost's space creation is the result of frameless cabinet construction.
You have probably seen both cabinet styles (and your kitchen has one or the other). Framed kitchen cabinets have a frame of stiles and rails. You can quickly identify framed cabinets because they have spaces between the cabinet doors.
Frameless cabinets do away with that front "face." Just look at the double doors of a frameless cabinet and see how the doors nearly touch? That's possible because there is no intervening vertical stile.
One type is not inherently better than the other type; they are simply different. Framed cabinets are not "old style," by any means. Homeowners choose framed cabinets because they have a certain traditional look and tend to be strong. But they do compromise space. Unframed cabinets are sleeker and better are maximizing space.
So, InnerMost's claim of creating more space is likely true. But it's true of any frameless cabinet.
For instance: your utensil drawer. By eliminating that top rail, a drawer in a frameless base can squeeze in an upper-tier slider drawer, giving you double-decker utensils.
Neat? You bet. Exclusive to InnerMost?
No. Most major cabinet manufacturers offer this.
Styles, FinishesThat said, frameless doesn't necessarily translate to contemporary style. InnerMost's offerings--similar to those of other frameless cabinet makers--show that it is possible to bring a traditional look to frameless.
InnerMost has a decent number of door styles. And by choosing a door with certain bevels or rails and stiles, you can have frameless cabinets that look classic (note: doors can can rails and stiles, too; see this image of a 6-panel entry door, which shares stile/rail elements with some cabinet doors).
I was attracted to InnerMost's premium veneer finishes--quartersawn maple and cherry, in particular. Of the exotics, their bamboo in natural finish imbues the cabinetry with a fresh, Midcentury look.
Who Is InnerMost?It's hard to say. Elkay owns InnerMost. If that name sounds familiar, you've probably seen it on sinks. Since 1920, Elkay ("L" from the phonetic "El" of Ellif Robard and the "K" from Leopold Katz to come up with Elkay) has made high-quality stainless steel sinks.
Beginning in the 1990s, Elkay began purchasing cabinet companies. Elkay calls itself the "fourth largest cabinetry group" in the world, by virtue of its ownership collectively of Medallion, Schuler, Mastercraft, and Yorktowne.
But InnerMost is an enigma. It provides no contact information, nothing about corporate offices or manufacturing facilities. My theory is that these cabinets come out of one of the four manufacturers listed above--likely Medallion--but just go under this different InnerMost sticker.
If true, this means InnerMost is more a marketing effort than a real company. Nevertheless, InnerMost does come with a full lifetime warranty comparable to other cabinet warranties. So, even if the InnerMost brand folds within the next few years, the warranty should presumably still be good through Elkay Wood Products Co.