While a wide variety of excellent open shelving solutions are available, we've recently become entranced with a memorable solution that adds finesse via anodized aluminum. Known as eCubes, these customizable systems can be used for all kinds of storage purposes, including open shelving, being inset within the cabinetry or even incorporated into island bases. Their appeal is almost universal, although they're most at home in contemporary spaces that emphasize clean lines.
We're excited to help designers and homeowners alike capture the beauty and practicality of the eCube. This option takes careful planning to implement, but done correctly, the effect can be impressive. The eCube proves that practical features can be luxurious — and that minimalism need not take away a design's personality.
Interested in the eCube but not quite sure if you're ready to join the open shelving movement? Keep reading to learn how these systems work — and how they can be customized to meet your unique needs.
THE MODERN APPROACH TO OPEN STORAGE
The concept behind the eCube is simple: open storage solutions should be attractive, functional, and easy to implement in a variety of spaces. The eCube delivers on all these goals with a simple, yet effective design that can be integrated into almost any interior environment imaginable.
All this is made possible by extruded aluminum tubing and a clear emphasis on the minimalist concept. Durability is also a chief concern, as evidenced by the eCube's cast aluminum components and anodized aluminum extrusion.
The eCube system consists of several standardized configurations. These are available in numerous widths and heights, ranging from 12 to 48 inches. Depth options include 12 and 15 inches. Should the standard sizes not fit your vision, you can opt for a customized approach that takes your unique preferences into account.
With standard configurations and most customized options, the number of tiers depends on the height. For example, a 12-inch eCube will only have one tier, versus two tiers for 24 inches or three for a height of 36 inches. Likewise, the number of dividers depends on the preferred width of the shelving solution. Beyond sizing, the eCube's applications include both inset and overlay cabinetry. These shelves are commonly used with framed cabinets but are also available with medley designs. Shelves can be inset; under this approach, they should rest on the profile channel for the interior shelf. Otherwise, the sizing process also allows for frame-supported shelves. Any thickness is available for this approach, whereas inset shelves are 6 mm.
The final practical consideration? Caps versus leveling feet. Both are available with the eCube. Preferences for either can easily be highlighted upon ordering.
One of the greatest benefits of the eCube? These stylish shelving systems are incredibly versatile. This can be seen not only with the numerous sizing configurations outlined above, but also, with the wide array of stylistic choices and the memorable combinations they can form.
A variety of beautiful finishes are available. These range from contemporary neutrals to luxurious options that will instantly up the sophistication factor. Top options include:
- Natural aluminum
- Bronze Matte
- Arctic Silver
These can be paired with several standard glass shelf options, such as:
- Satin (standard or low iron)
- Clear (standard or low iron)
- Grey (clear or reflective)
- Bronze (clear or reflective)
Back-painted glass shelves are also available. Most shades are offered in both gloss and matte styles. The following are especially beautiful:
HOW TO MAKE THE MOST OF THE SHELVING SYSTEMS
The versatility of the eCube approach delivers both significant opportunities and challenges. Done correctly, these units can be an integral part of a contemporary kitchen. Choosing the right look, however, can be tricky, given the sheer scope of finishes and glass shelving options available.
Beyond style, functionality must be considered. Determine early on what role eCubes will play in your space and how they can fit in with other elements. Do you primarily want an accessible storage solution that gives your kitchen an open feel? Are you interested in adding an island without sacrificing storage space? Do you need a lot of open shelving space or just a single tier on which to store knick-knacks?
How you implement eCubes will also depend on whether you plan to start fresh or add to an existing kitchen design. The versatility of eCubes allows either approach to work, but you'll have more constraints to consider if you plan to keep your current cabinets and general layout intact.
With so many considerations to keep in mind, you might not be sure where to start. Standard configurations can streamline the process, but there's still quite a bit to think about as you select the perfect eCube setup for your space. Keep the following suggestions in mind as you choose a design:
DETERMINE THE ROLE OF OPEN SHELVING
Do you want your kitchen to include open shelving in lieu of traditional cabinet frames and doors? Or would you like a mix of both styles? This core decision will determine how your entire kitchen is structured.
Should you choose to add eCubes to traditional cabinetry, you'll need to decide how they'll fit in. Shelves can be installed adjacent to traditional cabinets or mounted beneath them. They can even form the basis of a unique kitchen island.
Develop a basic idea for your preferred combination of shelves and cabinets. From there, you can work with a designer to meld the two approaches in a practical, yet attractive manner.
ADD A FUNCTIONAL KITCHEN ISLAND
The island is increasingly a must-have for the modern kitchen. When most people picture this popular feature, they think of granite counters and closed cabinets. In reality, however, open kitchen islands are a great option for expanding functional storage space. They can remain sophisticated with help from the right eCube finishes, which will instantly bring a refreshing feel to the island concept. This works well in a kitchen featuring open shelves in place of upper cabinets but can also be implemented in a space dominated by traditional cabinetry.
DON'T FORGET BACKSPLASH
eCube shelving can be used to draw attention to gorgeous backsplash designs. These provide valuable contrast to make intricate tiles pop. Open shelving systems such as eCubes are also capable of building structure and dimension into expanses of backsplash defined by ornate patterns.
If you choose to select shelving based on backsplash, think carefully about how an eCube system can complement or detract from tile designs. The selected finish for the shelves should be considered, as should the glass inserts.
Because eCubes are built with minimalism in mind, consider implementing them in a sleek space with a straightforward backsplash. They're right at home, for example, in a neutral-oriented kitchen with crisp subway tiles.
PAIR SHELVING FINISHES WITH FURNITURE OR CABINET HARDWARE
To create a cohesive look, select an eCube finish that matches key elements such as furniture or hardware. For example, the aluminum tubing that forms an eCube shelf can be finished to match bar stools situated at the kitchen island. Similarly, bronze shelving looks spectacular alongside cabinets and drawers featuring bronze hardware. The eCubes' glass inserts can also be strategically selected to tie the entire design together.
ADD CONTRAST FOR NEARBY CABINETS
If you prefer a hybrid approach that integrates shelves with framed or frameless cabinetry, make your space pop with eCubes that contrast your preferred cabinet colors. This is a great solution if you're interested in taking a risk with brightly colored cabinets. Alternatively, a bold finish or glass insert color can add dimension to a neutral-dominant kitchen featuring painted white or grey cabinets.
IMPLEMENT MODERN ÉTAGÈRES
While the eCube is notable for its modern aesthetic, it can also be used to capture the concept of the French étagère, where small, yet noteworthy items are put on display. This could be a great solution if you struggle to find a practical place to show off your favorite knick-knacks. Choose displayed objects carefully, as visual clutter can quickly detract from the minimalist appeal of the eCube.
EMBRACE ECUBE SHELVING WITH PLAIN & FANCY
At Plain & Fancy, we are pleased to provide a wide range of contemporary shelving options designed to enhance the modern kitchen environment. eCubes represent just one of several solutions we find compelling. We know what it takes to implement open shelves — and we're prepared to deliver a system that is as practical as it is attractive.
If you'd like to see our favorite open shelving solutions in action, feel free to stop by our design center or visit one of our showrooms. Otherwise, you're welcome to contact us to ask questions about our cabinets and shelving systems. We'd love to schedule a design consultation so we can get you on the path to installing a shelving solution you adore.
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