The good thing about European-style cabinets is the crisp lines of the frameless box and full-overlay doors. The bad thing is that this design makes it hard to conceal undercabinet lighting. When I custom-build Euro-style cabinets, I add a 2-in.-deep tray under the upper units to hide wires and transformers. However, one customer rejected that idea because she thought she would need the extra space and wouldn’t need lights. A few years later, she called back a little sheepishly and said she had changed her mind. After being in the kitchen, she realized she needed the lighting. To keep down costs, we decided to find an option that wouldn’t require the work of an electrician.
I wanted to keep the cabinet lines as clean as I could and didn’t want to disturb the glass-tile backsplash, so I chose not to add anything under the cabinet. Instead, I found some xenon puck lights that fit the bill. These models from American Lighting (www.americanlighting.com
; about $15 each) are line voltage and don’t require bulky transformers. All I had to do was install an outlet inside the cabinet and then somehow conceal the wires. I routed a wire chase in the bottom of the cabinet and covered it with a false bottom panel made of the same melamine. All that’s visible is a cabinet edge thickened by 3/4 in.
As tempting as it was, running a new outlet from one of the nearby outlets above the counter is not allowed by the electrical code. After cutting a hole in the cabinet back, I pulled a new circuit from the panel and installed the outlet.
In a different scenario, I might have had an electrician hardwire fixtures to remote transformers and/or the panel, eliminating the outlet and the plugs. But I would still conceal the wiring with this method.