The biggest mistake I made in my Seattle kitchen remodel was not extending my cabinets to the ceiling. I thought it would be a waste to install inaccessible storage; but instead, the space just became a collector of dust and paper airplanes launched by my children. Why didn't I consider a library ladder in the kitchen?
Above: The high elevation kitchen storage in this Tribeca Kitchen by Fearon Hay is accessed with a steel ladder. From German manufacturer MWE, the Positionable Classic Stainless Steel Ladder does not require a rail. The stable rocker arm rubber feet allow the ladder to be safely adjusted to any tile angle; $2,402 (for the 8-foot size) at Better Building Hardware.
Above: The MWE Quattro Rolling Stainless Steel Ladder has top and bottom rollers to allow for easy rolling without any lifting. An automatic stopping device is activated by stepping onto the ladder, preventing it from moving while in use; $5,277 for the standard system with a 10-foot rail and an 8-foot ladder at Better Building Hardware.
Above: The rolling ladder at Papabubble's New York confectionery was sourced at Elephant's Trunk Country Flea Market, a seasonal monthly market in New Milford, Connecticut. A sure-bet source for something similar: The Putnam Rolling Ladder Co., a downtown New York institution since 1905. Custom rolling ladders start at $1,137.
Above: Architect Chris Greenawalt used a wood hook ladder to optimize storage in the kitchen of a small historic apartment in Charlestown, Boston. Spiral Stairs offers Rolling Wooden Ladders in red oak, maple and cherry in 8-, 9-, and 10-foot lengths; $490 to $740. Corresponding Rolling Wooden Ladder Hardware Kits are $468 to $715 depending on finish.
Above: For ultra secure footing, consider the Azkent Stainless Steel Hook Ladder with stainless steel steps (as opposed to bars); $5,912 for an 8-foot ladder and 10-foot rail system at Better Building Hardware.
Like ladders in kitchens, but don't have out of reach storage? See Sarah's DIY: Ladder as Pot Rack.