As I mentioned last week, it feels funny to call this a “kitchen tour” since it takes, like, three steps to walk through our kitchen. :)
I tried my best to get the camera settings right - but the kitchen is windowless, so I apologize for the slightly skewed colours!
This space is 9’ by almost 7’. Yup, it’s small - but it was a fun challenge to design.
First, let me show you the before:
Hey, is that a dark little hallway with a fridge in it? No. That is the entire kitchen.
The pictures don’t accurately show how scungy this place was. Ew.
Sean measuring. Measurements were key in planning this small space.
Our condo was a rental apartment for years and the kitchen was original, neglected, and nasty. It had ugly old cupboards, big old appliances, a whole lotta’ ugly. And dirty. (The whole apartment was filthy when we got it… good thing we were gutting it!)
The cabinetry is from Ikea - Adele cabinets in birch. I probably did 15 different mockups on the IKEA kitchen planner to find a plan that fit the small space, was most efficient, and cost effective.
Originally I planned the kitchen in the white Adele cabinets, and planned to use the same pretty Woodlawn Blue (Benjamin Moore) that went throughout the dining and living room area. I was 8 months pregnant with Little M when we made the 8 hour trip to the nearest IKEA (in Calgary).
Upon arrival the “IKEA kitchen expert” let us know that the white Adele cabinets were special order and we could pick them up in three weeks. Ummmm… not gonna’ happen. So right there in store we had to revamp our plan - picking another door front and changing every single piece in our order over to the birch colour. It was on the drive home that I decided to change the paint colour too, opting for a dark navy (Newburyport Blue from Benjamin Moore). I knew it was a little risky to use such a dark colour, especially in a windowless space. But I figured the cabinetry was light, and the space was small, so we could give it a shot. And I love it. the kitchen looks modern and sharp, unexpected, and completely different than it did before.
The layout is also highly efficient for the space (the most efficient layout and most storage I’ve had in my adult life). The “Big 3” (fridge, stove, sink) are pretty close to their original places (a key to saving money), but the appliances are narrower and the sink is pushed over to the wall, because a long stretch of counter space was a major priority for me.
Having the sink and the stove so close to walls is not ideal (because of splatter), but it’s worth it to have the counter space. This does, however stress the value of a backsplash, which I skipped for a number of reasons. (We didn’t want to spend the money on it - our condo is really about renovating to look great, but not sink too much money into it considering our potential return when we sell it. Also, in such a small space I didn’t want another element to chop up the visual space. And finally, my husband and I were rookie renovators who didn’t feel that installing tile was a job we were up to.) But in our next house? There will be a backsplash tile. A scrubbable one.
Before I began planning the layout I really considered our needs and how I work in a kitchen. Thinking through how I work and what we had was really valuable (“So when I’m cooking I want to have a drawer for large utensils and a spot for spices nearby…” or “I need a deep cabinet to store all our big platters we got for our wedding…”, or “I need shelves for dishes and drawers for utensils near the dishwasher, but I also want them close to the dining room for setting the table…”) Considering how you live is key to an efficient kitchen.
A few other things we did to maximize efficiency and storage: we opted for the taller 39” upper cabinets (hard for me to reach, sure, but we just put lesser-used stuff up there), deep drawers on the bottom are awesome (wish we’d put them on both sides, actually), and the adjustable shelves within the cabinet are great to customize the space to our stuff.
The countertop was a happy happenstance. It matches the dark blue walls perfectly (the countertop is a blueish charcoal grey). It looks great and was the cheapest in-stock countertop at Rona. Of course I would have loved a stone or solid surface, but it didn’t fit with our frugal restraints, so it was nice to find a laminate that looked good in the space. And it was nice that the counters blended with the wall colour to keep things from getting visually “busy”.
I really wanted to include a fun light fixture in the space (I was thinking of spray painting a secondhand chandelier apple green to match my Kitchenaid mixer and the tea towels), but two things kiboshed that: the clearance of the upper cabinet doors when opened into the narrow kitchen, and my stick-in-the-mud husband (whom I love dearly, by the way.) ;) But he’s right - the bright green chandy may not have been the best thing for resale. So we opted for a small track fixture which gives us some good task lighting.
And that’s my kitchen! It was a great experience to design it, I learned a lot, and for such a small space I really really like it.