Inspiration: Small Kitchens

This post was originally posted in January 2011 on the giftable designs blog

It seems that outside of NYC, most people don’t know what small kitchens are. Having lived here my whole life, I find large kitchens daunting– running back and forth from prep space to stove and needing to clean a very messy 100+ sq ft space after cooking a big meal don’t really appeal to me. I grew up with a galley kitchen that only one person could stand in at a time, but it was easy to reach from one counter, season and grab the Thanksgiving turkey, make a 180, and pop it in the oven without taking a step. It wasn’t until I visited my now-husband’s mother’s suburban home in Virginia that I saw a “normal” kitchen, complete with double-oven, full sized dishwasher, double bowl sink, and two fridges.

Although these kitchens look great in magazines, I think I’ll stick with my closet-sized NYC kitchens for now. Our new kitchen measures a whopping 6’x7′, or 42 square feet for those who are bad at math. We are going to attempt to remove a wall and bring the cabinets out about two feet, and then convert the entry coat closet into a pantry. We would still be working with a narrow space, but would have enough counter space to prepare a real meal, and enough of a footprint to use full-sized appliances. Win!

[Stephanie Stokes via House Beautiful]
[Brooklyn Kitchen via DIY with ADD]
[Blue and White Kitchen via DecorPad]
[Modern Kitchen via DecorPad]

There is something to be said about all-white small kitchens. White cabinets do make spaces look brighter and larger, which is why we installed them in the kitchen at our current apartment [here and here— please note these photos are super old]. They usually look clean and airy, too, but I think we’re looking to switch it up and do something a little more home-y and warm in this new space.

[Fagerland cabinets via IKEA]

When we began looking at kitchens for inspiration, I found a lot of white, a lot of birch, and a lot of walnut/mahogany. Mike talks about our current kitchen being too sterile with the white cabs, and I think birch looks kind of unfinished, no offense to those who love it. Dark woods are out because the space is so dark and small on its own, although they are beautiful for larger kitchens. I was about to give up and opt for white until I saw the antique wood Fagerland by IKEA. I was sold. They don’t look like the junk I would expect from IKEA (we’ve had a lot of particleboard disasters) and they are super inexpensive and customizable!

So our current plan is: IKEA Fagerland cabs, gray/black slate floor, brown/black granite countertop, sleek stainless appliances, bright backsplash (yellow? teal?), and lots of lights everywhere. I was hoping we’re not going too dark here, but hopefully it will look cozy and not creepy.

So I was busy browsing AT one day and saw Felicia and Douglas’ House Tour— it was like someone had created my dream kitchen. Of course, their kitchen is way bigger than ours, but it at least gave me the confidence that I am not insane for putting this combination together.

[Felicia & Douglas’ Kitchen via Apartment Therapy]

My idea is a little brighter, but it’s so close I couldn’t resist posting a pic– it’s inspiring to know other people are having the same ideas as you when it comes to home design. When I think of something and nobody else is doing it, it’s usually because it’s a bad idea (example: using open bookshelves as clothing storage. It looks messy no matter what and it’s impossible to find anything. No matter how inexpensive bookshelves are, next time we’re buying a dresser!)

So that’s as far as I’ve gotten in the kitchen. Ill leave you with a pretty photo I have since lost the source for. Not only is teal my go-to color right now, but all the different textures and shades make me so happy! Cheers!

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