Small Kitchen Design

Matthew North shows off some examples of effective small kitchen designs.

  • Srdan Nagy

    Matthew,Great to see some projects that are on scale of something I am used to on this side of Atlantic.As you know, Europe is “single sided kitchen continent” :) because they are great for the small space as you mentioned.There are few things I would like to add regarding the single sided kitchens:_The first example you shown is a maximum length for single sided kitchen to be practical, if it is too long you will spend most of the time running from one end to the other._going along that, appliances should be positioned in line that follows “line” of preparing food, fridge-sink-cooktop.I love the third example you shown, that island looks great, I love how the detail of overhang. Usually you get a piece of granite sticking beyond the cabinet, but this one looks great…. :)SN

  • Jesse S.

    Those backsplash windows are detailed beautifully, a small element that has a huge impact.  In the second example it seems the fridge has an inconvenient door swing for the layout?  I wonder why it wasn’t changed to a right hand swing?

  • Konkinsa

    Good morning Matthew!
    I too have a small kitchen and am dreaming about, one day, making slow.  

    In the first laneway example of a small kitchen it makes slow home sense that you need the counter space in between each appliance.  But then in the bigger laneway example there was the fringe right up against the ovens.  No counter space.  You do need a counter to put the stuff that you just took out of the fringe.  And I do agree with Jesse S.  about the door swing of the fringe.  

    I’m excited about this topic of small kitchens.  

  • Terri

    I noticed that awkward fridge door-swing against the wall too!
     I’ve found in years past that it’s sometimes it can be hard to get the left-hand swing on factory-built fridges–they’re special order. But you can change the handle, which is actually more time-consuming than you’d think. If that’s not the reason for this awkward configuration, then perhaps it was designed so one person could squeeze the fridge door open a bit to grab something quickly while another is opening the oven door? Or perhaps the thought was that it’s not great to stand in front of a wall oven to get into the fridge?

    Now I’m curious what the designer thought.
    (BTW, I like the tight-space design challenges too!)

  • Oscar B. Morales

    Hello Matthew;
    In response to the three previous comments and I believe that it might be a, which came first, the chicken or the egg? question, without second guessing the designers to much, it could be that the kitchen cabinetry and appliances where placed after the location of the windows where set which forced the designers to put the sink under the window, thus making compromises as to where to put appliances.
    My choice would be refrigerator, sink, stove, with appropriate clearances in between each and the walls.
    In second example picture where the fridge door is in the wrong direction, they probably finished the kitchen in time for the photo shoot, I am certain that since most if not all refrigerator doors are reversible that given a couple of days of working with the door like that it will be changed.
    I would also swap the location of the stove for the fridge and here again it is a compromise, is it better to have the counter to put things out of the oven or the fridge? Without knowing if on the other side there is a cook top alone or a range I would eliminate the wall stove or put an under counter oven or warming drawer to the left of the refrigerator, this way have a counter on either side of the fridge and a place to unload the stove.

  • Matthew North

    Hello SN! Nice to hear from you today!I really appreciate your comments considering that small space kitchens are the normal scale in Europe. I also think your point about organizing the appliance “line” in the sequence of preparation make perfect sense – in fact I want to add that as a Slow Home design principle for single sided kitchens. I would also like your feed back on what you think is the maximum/ minimum dimensions of counter between the fridge/ sink/ cook top in a single sided kitchen. We are all going to need this information as we start our design project on Friday which will include a small space kitchen.

  • Matthew North

    Jesse S. – you have a very good eye – I missed the door swing of the fridge entirely – you are correct – it should go the other way! I wonder if those narrow style fridges have handles that can be switched from side to side? I know that this is possible with under counter and bar type fridges. The backsplash detail with the slot window is great because the trim accounts for the thickness of the tile and makes for a very clean joint.

  • Matthew North

    Hi Konkinsa! – Thanks for posting a comment! I think in the second laneway house example the fridge and wall ovens are next to each other because the way the ceiling slopes it makes sense to open up the kitchen in the corner and have the high section of the kitchen in the tallest part of the room. As another idea, they could have put the fridge where the wall oven is (change the door swing of course!) – move the wall oven to be under-counter and then put a full height pantry storage cupboard to the left of the fridge.

    I hope you participate in the small space design project that we will be starting on Friday – it will run for a week or so!

  • Matthew North

    Hi Terri – sounds like you’ve had first hand experience changing a fridge handle before? Am I correct? :) 

    I guess we could forward this question to Bryn and ask him what the rationale was behind this kitchen design? 

    I’m looking forward to you participating in the design project this week!

  • Matthew North

    Oscar……your comments are great! I totally agree with you and thought through the same rationale. I would trade a wall oven for having the fridge next to the counter and for having some full height pantry storage next to the fridge that is deep and great for both food and dishes. While drawers and upper cabinets are good, there is nothing like having one bank of floor to ceiling deep storage with pullouts – even in a small space, a two or three foot wide pantry cabinet can make really increase the functionality of the kitchen .

  • Srdan Nagy

    Matthew,Thanks for the comment,I think there should be 1 standard cabinet (60cm) width between the appliances, a 30cm or 40cm wide cabinet is great between cooktop and sink. The reason for this is that I find really practical to have sink near cooktop because you use them constantly. Think of cooking pasta, you don’t want to carry large pot across the whole kitchen just to drain the pasta, and imagine kids running around the kitchen… not a great combination. Those narrower cabinets can be  odd, but for that position between sink and cooktop there is a great pull out cabinet where you can store spices, oil… and all those small things that you need for cooking.For the small kitchen it is important to have one large work surface at least 60cm wide (around 2′) 90 cm (3′) would be better, so when i am drawing kitchens I like to make distance between appliances more narrow to save some space, and use it to create one large work surface.SN

  • Terri

    Matthew, You’re giving us some great ideas for that small kitchen design project in your last comment to Oscar! And yes, our fridge door needed the handle switched and I recall a lot of complaining.;)

    Lots of good discussion about kitchen appliances and the necessary counter space between and next. SN’s specific dimensions are especially great! I’m sure he’ll be wowing us with a design or two this week.

  • אר קיי אינטראקטיב

    Small kitchens can be warm and comfortable right? That’s especially true
    when small kitchen designs incorporate plans for family friendly
    spaces. After all, kitchens are normally the family’s gathering spot
    There is a new company thath designs small kitchens –