Reader Rehab: An NYC Restaurateur’s DIY Pegboard for His Compact Kitchen

“Since I installed my pegboard, I’ve never been more organized in my kitchen,” reports Remodelista reader Jay Strauss. The founder of Westville, a group of “vegetable-forward” casual restaurants that have become New York City institutions (the first opened in 2003 and the eighth location debuts later this year), Jay was overhauling his apartment kitchen in the East Village when he came across our 13 Favorite Pegboard Storage Organizers.

Looking for ways to keep cooking essentials on hand and orderly without taking up a lot of space, he decided to go with a catchall pegboard himself. Though he had hired a carpenter to build the cabinets, Jay took a DIY approach to what has become the focal point of his new setup. He shared photos of his results and filled us in on his challenges and solutions.

Photography by Jay Strauss.

Above: Jay’s eat-in kitchen occupies a former storefront; it’s 250 square feet—”not tiny by NYC standards.”

Furniture maker Sam Moyer built the cabinets to Jay’s specs and SMC Stone fabricated and installed the honed Carrara backsplash and returns. Accustomed to the restaurant kitchen approach of keeping key tools within reach, Jay decided a pegboard, Julia Child’s famous approach, would work well here.  diy kitchen pegboard detail in restaurant owner jay strauss small nyc apt. 15Above: The Pegboard Panel is two 42-by-24-inch pieces of powder-coated steel purchased from Grainger for $110.80. 

Jay tells us: “Pegboard sourcing took a minute; there are options out there. One company custom makes single metal panels in any color with round holes, but is crazy expensive, especially with shipping. I much prefer square holes, so went with Grainger’s two-piece set. For fit, I had one panel cut to size by Advance Steel on Meeker Avenue in Brooklyn.”

jay installed the panels himself: “i had to line up anchors in the  16
Above: Jay installed the panels himself: “I had to line up anchors in the Sheetrock to adhere the pegboard, which was slightly challenging working solo. The second, smaller piece had to be perfectly aligned so the holes matched the joining piece.”

“I also had to carefully line up the metal knife strip to screw the base through the pegboard holes,” he notes. “It had to be absolutely secure because it’s heavy and holds very sharp knives.” Jay finished the installation by building a wooden frame around the pegboard—”not terribly challenging. The fun part was installing the hooks in an efficient layout.”

jay hangs everything on his pegboard, from his most used pots to his vegetable  17
Above: Jay hangs everything on his pegboard, from his most used pots to his vegetable peeler. The roll of blue tape is a standard restaurant kitchen item for labeling food containers.

an easy alternative is great jones modular pegboard set, $50, which includes a 18
Above: An easy alternative is Great Jones modular Pegboard Set, $50, which includes a 20-by-20-inch powder-coated steel pegboard, hooks, magnets, and hanging hardware. It’s designed to hold heavy cookware, comes in five colors, and the squares can easily be combined.

More pegboard ideas:

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