If there is one common complaint that we hear about kitchens in modern builds, it is that the kitchen is small. Many people pine after a huge farmhouse kitchen, but don't want to hand over the cash for a period building in order to get one! You may feel like you are settling for your small kitchen, but we think that with a clever design, a smaller kitchen can work out just great! Have you ever heard the saying 'small but perfectly formed' ? We asked a few experts in the construction industry to discuss the pros and cons of smaller kitchens.
Bill Brackmann from Brackmann Construction Inc believes that a “small kitchen can actually be easier to make functional, they just are not as comfortable, may not accommodate all of the amenities desired and will not accommodate all of the guests hanging out in the kitchen.” Darla Duncan from M.E.M. Remodeling & More says that a kitchen can be functional regardless of their size as long as they are designed with a triangle scheme. “The kitchen needs a triangular scheme to really be functional. I see that many galley kitchens lack a true triangle for the cook to work within. Galley style kitchens are also created for a single cook and can be quite cramped spaces for two to tango. However, the best way to accessories a small cooking space is to use as many under mount cabinet appliances as possible to free up as much counter top space for preparation,” says Darla.
Steve Warr from Just Windows took some time out to discuss small kitchens with us in greater detail, explaining how space has become so much more valuable and offering some ways to make the most of it by embracing the current trend for extending rooms out into our outdoor spaces. “I think that the traditional view of what the kitchen space represents has become blurred in the last few years. With land costs at record highs, space is at a premium, but the kitchen doesn’t have to be constrained by the walls that surround it. Patio and decking areas can be constructed outside the kitchen and can link to the house with large sliding-folding doors. The only limiting factor is the imagination of the designer, and unfortunately I have seen lots of kitchens with a large floor areas that feel small due to poor natural light, and lack of access to the garden. Conversely, I can also think of many small urban kitchens which appear much more spacious because they were designed to maximize natural light and use the garden and patio areas as a functioning part of the kitchen,” said Steve. “If thought is given to the kitchen and garden merging together, then a large kitchen “space” can be created which costs less than the same space using traditional construction methods. As an example, we recently introduced sliding folding doors to a small kitchen. These could then be opened to give a 3 meter opening into a decked patio area. A glass canopy system was then installed over the doors, which provided a covered area of decking, on which the client installed a gas barbeque. This provided a dining space and cooking area that could be used year round, and wasn’t reliant on a “BBQ” summer!”
Leroy Johnson from Four Brothers Carpentry says that small kitchens are really nothing new! “Yes. Many modern homes have small kitchens, but many historic homes do as well. The number one challenge in a small kitchen is creating enough storage space. In a small kitchen, think about each cabinet, and how to use it best. Usually, with some creativity, you can make the space work for you,” says Leroy. Imperial Kitchen & Bath say that it is more challenging working in a smaller space, but thanks to modern European designs there are plenty of “extremely user friendly custom options as well as unique wasted space storage solutions.”
Speaking of these European designs, we ask our designers and construction professionals what they thought about the European style frameless cabinetry we have available at 27estore.com. Leroy Johnson told us that “Frameless cabinetry not only maximizes storage, but also often looks the best. We [Four Brothers LLC) rarely recommend anything else.” Darla Duncan added that in addition to choosing frameless cabinetry, it was also useful to incorporate organizational drawers and cabinetry inserts. “It is much easier to find that one spice on a rotating lazy Susan than sifting through them on stationary cabinet,” said Darla.
Finally, we asked what the most important thing to look for in kitchen cabinetry was, and the answers were pretty much unanimous – quality! Imperial Kitchen & Bath cites sturdy hardware and high quality finishes such as lacquer, wood veneer, and laminate as important things to seek out. The company also adds that they look for, “a solid company to stand behind the product just as much as we stand behind our design.” Leroy Johnson of Four Brothers Carpentry recommended looking for a solid box construction, and high quality hinges and drawer slides. “Also, make sure the finish is durable, and the drawer boxes are a good quality,” said Leroy. For Darla Duncan at M.E.M. Remodeling & More brand names are the way to go. “I have seen too many times that an unknown business or brand cannot be found for replacement parts or such. This is especially important in faucets and appliances. I also believe that every kitchen needs at least one large pantry cabinet or closet,” said Darla.
Having a small kitchen need not mean cramped cooking, take on board the advice offered by our designers and construction experts and you are sure to come up with plenty of great ideas.
We extend our thanks to our expert contributors for sharing their time and expertise with us in this article. Contributors include Bill Brackmann of Brackmann Construction Inc, Darla Duncan of M.E.M. Remodeling & More, Imperial Kitchen & Bath, Steve Warr from Just Windows and Leroy Johnson of Four Brothers Carpentry.