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Design Dilemma: Embracing the Tiny Kitchen

San Francisco Kitchen Redux

Sometimes, all it takes is a vacation to reach an epiphany. For many of us, summer is that opportunity. We take camping trips, rent a beach house, take an RV out on the open road, or shack up with friends and family by the lake. And more often than not, we’re confronted with tight and tiny little kitchens that require we cook and clean communally.  For some of us, it is a grand revelation of something we had never believed to be true until we experienced it: cooking in a tiny kitchen can actually be easier and more fun than cooking in one the size of a soccer field.  So as a paen to the small kitchen, we thought we’d take a look at a few of the most efficient designs we’ve run across.

San Francisco is home to many a tiny kitchen, and below, we’ve stumbled across one (above and below) that still manages to feel airy and modern. The 1912 kitchen reimagined by Steve Justrich manages to pack in style and efficiency in just 90 square feet. Justrich managed to get everything in by implementing a few tricks: 1) Above, he keeps the refrigerator flush mounted to open up floor space. 2) Below, a tiny dishwasher cleans up a day’s worth of dishes. 3) He also designed a built-in cutting board and strainer which expands counterspace.

Kitchen Remodel

Part of the design includes deep, pull-out drawers that are deep enough to hold pantry items.

Kitchen Remodel

 

Keeping shelves wide open helps create the illusion of spaciousness.

San Francisco

Even smaller than the kitchen above is this little kitchenette situated in a 260 square foot Spanish apartment. The “kitchen” hidden behind panels in the wall is built to integrate with the rest of the apartment and is smartly efficient when in use, and good-looking too.

Barcelona House

Believe it or not, this kitchen includes a dishwasher, electric stovetop, a fridge and freezer, a sink and a microwave all on one small wall. After meals, everything gets put right back into its hidden panel. Check out the hidden refrigerator:

Barcelona House

Finally, a Bratislava kitchen below shows that small can be beautiful, not just utilitarian.

Bratislava Apartment

An electric bright blue provides a fresh feeling without feeling overdone. Things are kept efficient with an electric stove top and an oven set flush into the cabinetry. Here’s more:

Bratislava Apartment

Everything that’s needed is within hands reach, and the whitewashed brick, wooden open shelving unit and beamed ceiling provide character and Old World charm.

Bratislava Apartment

Next up, this New York kitchen proves that you can have slick polish in a tiny space too. Appliances are high end, countertops are kept clear, and details like the sliding red panel add just a bit of snap.

Unfolding Apartment

So what’s the takeaway if you’re considering designing a small kitchen?

  • Utilize compact built-ins that are high on style but use less space.
  • Keep all appliances flush-mounted when possible, and choose smaller styles.
  • Consider open shelving to help a small space feel open.
  • Keep countertops clutter free for an airy feel.
  • Use color in unexpected ways. It will help provide focus and a pulled-together feel.
  • If you can afford to, go high-end on appliances. What your kitchen lacks in space it will make up for in quality.

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Design Dilemma: Moving Away from Minimalist White

Vår lägenhet

When we think of clean, modern style, it seems that white always plays a starring role. White walls have been seen as classic and bright, the perfect way to lighten up any drab interior. But lately, the stranglehold that white has had on minimal, modernist interiors is beginning to loosen. Even in Scandinavia, the land of white minimalism, color is now coming back into vogue.

Is it possible to put a color on a wall when the effect you’re after is one of lightness, modernity, architectural purity? We think so. Let’s explore!

Craftsman Charm

Pastels push out white

The Scandinavians know a thing or two about keeping things airy and bright and simple. But lately, even they have embraced the idea of more color on their walls. The colors they are choosing are often pastels, which manage to act almost as neutrals, allowing other aspects of the room to stand out. The living room below is one example, where a salmon pink nicely balances a deep gray paneling.

Colours

And here, another minimal pink:

Portfolio

Very pale blues, grays and  greens can also serve as perfect backdrops to a modern interior.

all

Above, a color between lavender and gray adds an unexpected backdrop to a simple interior. And below, a soft cloud gray allows elements, such as the pendant lamp and decorative wall hangings to take center stage:

1217 Western Lake Santa Rosa Beach, FL

The interior below is simple and modern. What’s unusual is its lavish use of color, not only the blue on the walls, but the pops of color via lamps, the desk, and pillows. This is what they call happy modern!

Bosthlm Realestate 2

Deep jewel tones in simple spaces

But don’t get us wrong. Pastels are not mandatory. Check out below, the home of Scandinavian interior designer and architect Daniel Heckscher of Note Design Studio in Stockholm painted his home the surpising colors of turquoise, orange, pink, blue-green and bright yellow.

Portfolio - Nya Rum

 

Special paint treatments

One interesting way to bring in a whole new dimension into simple modern interiors is to have fun with special painting treatments. Below, by painting stripes that seem to fade out from deep peacock blue to white, a fun, optical “fade-out” look is achieved.

My Houzz: Fun and Happy Colors for a Northern California Home

Here’s a closer look. The owner requested that the paint shop add 10 percent white to principal cyan color for each subsequent stripe, continuing the gradation for an ombré effect.

My Houzz: Fun and Happy Colors for a Northern California Home

And below, in the same home in a living room, geometric colored cut out shapes define the space in a bold way that doesn’t disturb.

My Houzz: Fun and Happy Colors for a Northern California Home

>Designers have come to label colorful, modern interiors as “happy modern” and it’s clear where the term comes from. In the past, minimalism connoted a certain righteous purity that was always serious. But who says simplicity has to be serious?

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A Getaway Cabin in Normandy Saves Money by Thinking Outside the Box

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The tiny F House by Amaud Lacoste and Jerome Vincon of Lode Architecture in Normandy, France is all about creative ways to maximise usage in a very small space.

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Rather than miniaturise everything to fit, the architects have boldly remade the rules.

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For example, a luxurious soaking bathtub, lit by LEDs from underneath takes pride of place in the main living space in front of a roaring fire. 

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This way, the bather also overlooks the scenery in the countryside from one end of the barn.

The most economical materials are used, just unfinished plywood.

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What appears to be the entrance for horses is the bathroom/living room window.

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Similarly, the kitchen is simply a narrow passageway, but because the entire wall is glazed and opens onto the terrace, is not confining.

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Almost no furniture uses up space in the young family’s plain dining room overlooking the peaceful scenery.

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Bunk beds surround the stairwell, both above low windows to one side and set into the wall on the other side.

A safety net acts as a balustrade.

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The windows under the bunks can be seen as clerestory windows above the entrance to the kitchen off of the large deck.

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The result is a tiny retreat that embraces the simple life while not breaking the bank, so a young family can relax and unwind as they leave the hustle and bustle of their Monday to Friday city life behind.