Monthly Archives: March 2016
Focus on Function
A small kitchen cannot accommodate homework, mail storage, laundry duties and recipe hunting. Unless you don’t cook at all, the small kitchen’s main chore is meal prep. So focus first on function, making sure you have the appliances and work areas you need. You may be able to save a bit of space by using scaled-down or innovative appliances, including refrigerator and freezer drawers and pint-sized microwaves, stoves (some with just two burners) and single sinks. If workspace is at a premium, consider a small-scale island or a counter-topped cart that can be rolled into a closet when not in use.
Go for Glass
One of the easiest ways to visually expand a kitchen is to incorporate glass. Try a glass counter or tabletop, tile, door cabinets or kitchen doors that lead to the outside world or to the next room. Mirrors, in a backsplash or strategically placed around a room, or pass-through windows into the next room, also lighten up the look.
Visually Expand With Lighting
A small kitchen requires a combination of task and atmospheric lighting. To counteract the bluish cast of fluorescent lighting and add drama, install pendant lights in the eating area, incandescent lighting underneath upper cabinets and incandescent spot lighting above cabinetry. Lighting can also be installed under base cabinetry so it shines down onto the toe plate.
Invest in Flooring
Where does the eye go when one walks into a room? Often it goes down — right to that dust bunny or scuffed floor. That’s why flooring in a small kitchen is so important. Linoleum in a checkerboard pattern can be really eye-catching and relatively inexpensive. Since square footage is small, you may be able to afford a beautiful tumbled marble. Marble tends to be cold and hard underfoot, but the impact may be worth it. Or try cork, a beautiful and eco-friendly choice.
Go Bold With Color
The color of walls, appliances, counters, stools — even the dishtowels — can change the atmosphere and perceived size of the kitchen. Pastels or light colors, with good doses of white, reflect light and draw the eye up, making ceilings appear higher. Bold colorations can be very effective in smaller kitchens. How about some Porsche red metal cabinets with celery green walls and a banana-colored concrete countertop?
Embrace the Space
Rather than using tricks to visually enlarge the space, consider embracing your kitchen as-is. Instead of going light or sleek, opt for country cozy. Make sure there is a little nook where you can sit with a visitor knee-to-knee. Or choose a rich dark color that creates a sophisticated feeling — and use accessories that emphasize that look. The kitchen is small, yes, but it sure is inviting.
In an effort to maintain the period look of this 1932 Cape Cod remodel, close attention was paid to details like the intricate bracketed molding and drawer pulls. It is the robin’s-egg-blue cabinets, though, that really grab attention and create the illusion of space in the small room.
The old cabinet doors that were once in this galley kitchen couldn’t take another coat of paint, so the homeowners brought in a design pro for a complete overhaul. The new layout called for the removal of a wall between the small kitchen and family room to open up the space. Scraped maple floors and simple cabinetry with river-stone hardware give the room a clean, uncluttered vibe. The glass-tile mosaic backsplash twinkling beneath undercabinet lighting is a bold focal point that draws the eye.
Light and Bright
This kitchen packs every homeowner’s most-wanted features into a small space: a storage-filled island with seating, double wall ovens, pendant lights, and a beautiful mosaic backsplash. Light English sycamore and dark maple trim play nicely in the custom cabinetry, creating a striking but natural balance. Recessed lighting and open shelving above the cabinets create a perfect home for collectibles.
The owners of this American bungalow wanted to make their small kitchen more exotic. Dark cabinets with brown-and-black tiger striping makes for a sleek, contemporary look, while the pale solid-surface backsplash creates a bold contrast. The design makes the most of very little countertop space with a wenge butcher block that slides over the sink. A dining table on casters allows an eight-seater to slide under the island when not in use.
Open Up Cupboards
Tiny kitchens can feel claustrophobic when cabinets are towering overhead. Many cooks can’t reach what’s in them and the overall feeling is boxy and closed in. Get organized and trade the top cupboards for open storage. Consider shelving, pot racks and magnetic knife or spice holders instead. Your kitchen will look more spacious and serve up display space for your favorite dishes, shiny pots and pans, or artwork.
Mix Up the Materials
Because your kitchen may be short on interesting architectural details, it’s up to you to add the all-important style via compelling countertop surfaces, cabinetry, fixtures, flooring, lighting and color. To ensure a cohesive look, create a mix board with samples and swatches of materials under consideration. One tip: Using the same color and style of fixtures and cabinet pulls can help unify a look.
The wall between tiny kitchen and an adjacent living space was removed to make room for more storage. Visual separation between the rooms was maintained with an island-breakfast bar. Placing the sink in the corner of the room made for more food prep space, while brushed and polished stainless tile forms a standout backsplash.
Designer: Areti Tanya Rentzos, Andros Kitchen & Bath Designs, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Room for Two
Small kitchen boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that flood the place with natural light, opening up the space, so the design of the once-cluttered kitchen—in which the refrigerator door hit the dishwasher or stove when it opened—was planned around them.
Reorganization of the footprint and a few clever island design tweaks allowed for counter-height seating. Rich, stained cabinets and dark granite counters form a bold contrast with light porcelain floors.
This homeowner, a top Realtor in the area, wanted a unique small space to show off to her clients. That’s just what she got with the dark shoji-style cabinets and custom round butcher-block table on casters. The cooking range is flanked by floating shelves, which help to open up the tiny kitchen.
This 1800s Federal style home features a contemporary white kitchen. The smallness of the room allowed the homeowners to splurge on luxurious materials. Crystal cabinet pulls and knobs, a Turkish marble subway tile backsplash, and taupe silk wall coverings make for a classic, indulgent space.
Space-Smart and Sleek
Though her old home is old as well as tiny and traditional, this homeowner requested a contemporary cooking space. The clean design makes the perfect backdrop for collectibles. Mother of pearl granite countertops and frosted-glass tile contrast with dark cabinets, while a custom-built, space-saving table on casters nests into the back of the island when not in use.
This hardworking small kitchen features two space-smart pull-out pantry units and hidden stepladder storage for upper cabinets. The use of butternut wood, copper, hickory, and antiqued bronze give the room warmth, while a rich blue beadboard backsplash delivers a shot of color.
Along with getting a great return on your investment, making the space work for your needs is important when considering a kitchen remodel. The most beautiful kitchen will only create stress for a homeowner if it isn’t designed properly. Consider these tips for a kitchen remodel that will simplify your daily routines.
Probably the busiest room in the house, a kitchen can serve a multitude of functions these days: cooking, eating, entertaining, and family gathering place.
1. Remodel by the work triangle.
Designers have been using the kitchen work triangle to create efficient kitchens for many decades. The work triangle refers to the arrangement of the three basic work areas: the refrigerator, sink, and stove. You don’t want these to be too far apart or you will spend a good deal of time running back and forth. Click this link to read more about work triangles.
2. Don’t waste space.
Install cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling add baskets and shelving inside to maximize storage space. Add a hanging rack for pots and pans to free up some cabinet space.
3. Consolidate kitchen contents with a pantry.
Walk-in pantries have become very popular as they allow a homeowner to quickly take in the kitchen’s contents without having to search through the cupboards. If you’re tight on space a pull-out pantry can be installed into areas as small as a few inches wide. A kitchen pantry is a great way to keep the kitchen traffic localized to one area, so that you can cook without interruption.
5. Let appliances do some of the dirty work.
A dishwasher with a third rack can cut down on the number of times you have to load that dishwasher. Self-cleaning ovens are everywhere today. If you are in the market for energy efficient appliances, consider a dishwasher or even a refrigerator with the Energy Star rating. Click this link to read more about Energy Star Appliances.
5. Create areas for your kids.
A couple of stools at the kitchen counter create an easy, informal place for kids to eat. Also, consider keeping your kids’ snacks and beverages on lower shelves where they can easily access them.
There are a wide variety of improvements and upgrades that can bring beauty, value, and performance to your home. From low-budget to high efficiency eco-friendly updating, just about every homeowner will find a project that will fit not only his or her wallet but lifestyle and aesthetic taste as well.
Energy-Efficient Kitchen Upgrades
In many cases, energy efficient kitchen upgrades are focused almost entirely on replacing older appliances with new, eco-friendly models. This, of course, can add up to a very sizable investment. Thankfully, most eco-friendly kitchen upgrades are also money-savers in the long run. That old electric stove, dishwasher, and refrigerator are literally costing you money every day in the form of utility bills. Though buying new ones (preferably ones that carry the government’s Energy Star label) is going to set you back initially. Much of the additional costs can be made up in lowered monthly bills though.
Along with electric stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers are some of the biggest drains of electricity in the house. While an environmentally conscious kitchen update is certainly a good start, don’t forget that upgrading these other appliances can also lead to large savings and reduce the amount of energy your household wastes. While you’re at it, don’t forget your lighting! Not only is replacing your old bulbs with new, compact fluorescent ones easy, it is also one of the cheapest and most effective energy savers on the market.
Don’t live with an old kitchen! Use this link and hire local for a custom
Low-Budget Kitchen Updates
Let’s face it: many of us are simply not able to spend a ton of money on high-end kitchen remodel upgrades. Fortunately, there are many small, inexpensive projects that can make a world of difference in just about any kitchen space! If you have tile counters, floors, or backsplashes, a simple re-grouting job can go a long way for a very meager investment. Another popular low-budget kitchen upgrade is painting or staining cabinetry. While it won’t do wonders for how your kitchen functions, a little sanding and a fresh coat of stain or paint can breathe new life into nearly any kitchen!
Low-cost kitchen upgrading is, of course, a bit limited in nature, but by choosing small projects wisely, you can get a lot of bang for your remodeling buck in this versatile, unique room. Remember, the biggest costs in kitchen remodels are often avoided by keeping all of your projects focused on surface features. Moving the sink area, running new wiring, and changing the layout of islands, counters, and cabinetry are costly endeavors. By keeping everything in the same spot and changing only surface appearances, you can have a kitchen that looks brand new at the fraction of the cost of a typical kitchen remodel!
High-End Kitchen Updating
While most of us are very careful about stretching each and every dollar we spend on a home improvement project to its fullest extent, if ever there was a place to splurge, it’s your kitchen. Though there are certainly no guarantees that any one item will be worth more than the cost of its installation, much of the data and many expert opinions suggest that kitchens are the place where higher-end materials are likely to bring the best resale values.
Of course, if the rest of your house is strictly mid-range, installing a built-in refrigerator, a professional cooktop, and finishing the room off with marble floors is probably going to look out of place and do more harm than good if your house goes on the market. However, when placed a little higher than the price range of the materials in the rest of the house, your cabinetry, counters, and flooring will hardly seem out of place and will do wonders for appearances, performance, and resale value should your home ever go on the market!