While it's true that interior designer Lynn Reddoch has some big-name clients with big spaces to fill, she truly delights in creating designs for smaller interior spaces, like those in her own home.

In Lynn's compact yet stylish, Seaside, Florida, apartment, a small kitchen called for expansive design solutions. "I had very little room, but I knew I wanted an island in my kitchen," recalls Lynn.

She found an antique pine chest in Romania to serve as the island and cooktop. To make room for the cooktop, Lynn had the three horizontal drawers cut into thirds. A panel on either side of the middle set of drawers made room for the cooktop to be dropped into place, leaving those on either side still operable. All manner of cooking utensils, dishes, and accessories fit neatly inside the drawers.

The pine bureau top makes a perfect chopping block, and stools pull up conveniently to the counter. For a decorative finish, Lynn used a piece of wood as the cooktop surround and faux finished it to look like marble.

Another bright idea hangs just above the island. Here, an iron pot rack was custom wired with a series of light fixtures. The rack allows for convenient storage, while providing task lighting. Complemented by the neutral decor, the island and pot rack make smart use of this small space.Small Space, Big Ideas
Interior designer Lynn Reddoch reveals her tips on achieving a large look in a small space.

  • Stick to light colors. Toned-down neutrals like the oil-base glaze on kitchen cabinets make the space seem larger than it is. "The finish gives the kitchen an old world look," says artis Libby Fillingim.
  • Use every bit of space possible. Here I used cabinets all the way up to the top. A convertible chair/stepladder puts pots and pans within easy reach.
  • Painted molding makes ceilings look taller. I added molding in here to call your attention up. It makes the room not seem so oppressive.
  • Don't chop up colors. A backsplash would have chopped the kitchen space up more. I used a wallpaper so your eye doesn't get cut off there.

"Island Style" is from the December 2001 issue of Southern Living