Hardworking Small Kitchen Redo
Rethinking the layout of Features Editor Jessica Thuston’s cramped kitchen resulted in a space that’s as good-looking as it is hardworking. Here are her tips for kitchen remodeling.
Create an Illusion of Space
Jessica cleared the back wall of the kitchen and created an opening into the dining room. “This change, hands down, had the most impact in transforming our room," she says. "The whole area feels bigger and has a nice traffic flow, and I can now keep one eye on the stove and another on Tripp as he plays in the next room.”
All white walls, cabinets, and countertops also make the space seem bigger. “To keep the room from feeling too flat, I added color and texture with accessories such as curtains and a jute rug,” Jessica says. She reinforced the vintage look of the house with a new tongue-and-groove wood-plank ceiling and a trio of oversize globe lights, a splurge item.
Wall, ceiling, and trim paint: White Dove (OC-17) by Benjamin Moore; benjaminmoore.com.
Jessica created a galley layout with the range, sink, and dishwasher on one side and a wall of floor-to-ceiling cabinetry around the fridge on the other. “My favorite feature is a tall cabinet equipped with sliding drawers that hold all of our small appliances―saving precious countertop space," she says. I even had the electrician add an outlet inside the cabinet so I can use the toaster in place.”
Here, Jessica and her son, Tripp, enjoy reclaimed space achieved by removing a tall cabinet.
Range: Architect Series freestanding gas range by KitchenAid; kitchenaid.com.
Hood: K41 30" Stainless Chimney Hood (K4130SS) from Best by Broan; bestbybroan.com.
Stool: Kartell Charles Ghost Stool by Philippe Starck from The Conran Shop; conranusa.com.
Save Money with Stock Cabinetry
To stay on budget, Jessica used stock cabinetry. “It has come a long way!” she says. “You can find well-made, attractive cabinets with storage options galore (called ‘semicustom cabinets’) at most home-improvement centers.” She recommends opting for “solid wood cabinet doors to withstand wear and tear.” She also found hardware similar to a pricey version she liked for only $1.
Having saved on the cabinets, she chose to splurge on Alabama white marble countertops. Friends had warned her that they were impractical, but she has found that the few small rings on the marble add to the room’s “timeless character.”
Her hardworking stock cabinetry features this slide-out cutting board.
Alternative Cabinet for Glassware
In lieu of wall-hung cabinets on part of the wall, Jessica uses this freestanding lime-wood piece for storing plates, bowls, and glassware.
Cabinetry features, such as this 8-inch wide pullout pantry, provide a designated spot for everything in the kitchen.
Cabinetry: Montgomery Maple cabinets in Pearl from Diamond Cabinetry; diamondcabinets.com.
Front and Stainless Appliance Mix
Unlike a stainless model, this cabinet-front dishwasher is hidden from view and blends with décor.
Jessica did use stainless for her other appliances, but she says that you don’t have to buy a “suite” of them. “Stainless steel matches no matter what brand it is,” she says.
Countertops: honed Alabama white marble from MasonryArts; masonryarts.com.
Details Make a Difference
Narrow, 6-inch deep shelves turn an empty wall next to the sink into a coffee niche.
Jessica also found an InSinkErator disposal controlled with a countertop button while searching for kitchen gadgets online. “It’s my ultimate must-have,” she says.
Wall shelves: Wedge Wall Shelf in White from CB2; cb2.com.
Curtain fabric: Cranley in Aqua Nutmeg (BP100554) by GP & J Baker through Lee Jofa (leejofa.com), available through DCOTA Design Services; 954-921-7575.
Sink: Dickinson Apron-front, Undercounter Kitchen Sink (K-6546-4U) by Kohler; kohler.com.
Faucet: HiRise Deck Mount Bridge Kitchen Faucet (K-7337-4-BS) and Sidespray with Valve (K-7344-BS) in Brushed Stainless, also by Kohler.
Jessica’s Kitchen Remodeling Tips
- Eating out is expensive and gets old. Set up a mini-kitchen (ours was in a living room corner) with a dorm fridge, toaster, microwave, and coffeemaker.
- Before mapping out your cabinet plan, make a list of every single item in your kitchen. It sounds laborious (and it is), but doing so ensures that everything you own has a home.
- Hiring a general contractor is worth it. When surprises and problems arise (and they will!), it’s best to have a person in charge with experience and knowledge to make smart decisions.
- It is possible to have a renovation be on budget and on time, but only if you do your homework on the front end. Changes midstream cost time and money, so commit to a plan at the beginning and stay the course!