Why do we need smaller kitchens?

alvmusickOctober 13, 2012

I have not been active on the forum lately - perhaps because my kitchen renovation is complete. But I LOVE looking at kitchens and learn so much from the discussions so I am back!

I thought since there was a recent discussion "Why do we need larger kitchens?" I would pose a counterpoint since I don't relate to the needing of a large kitchen. In fact, we considered knocking down walls and expanding our kitchen (an many owners in our building do), but opted against it for a number of personal reasons. Below are my reasons for a smaller kitchen - curious about what others think!

I have a small kitchen because...

(1) Smaller is more efficient and cosy - everything in within reach.

(2) We don't need more stuff.

(3) There is a smaller footprint (energy and space).

(4) We can afford it.

(5) We could use our budget for upgrades instead of more items.

(6) The space matches our two-working-parents/urban lifestyle of buying food fresh and frequently and cooking simple meals from scratch daily.

(7) We want to eat/relax/entertain in a different space than we cook.

(8) This is OUR kitchen. I am not worried about the next owners or what others have to say.

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modern life interiors

I also like my small galley kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:21PM
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I forgot one:

(9) Less to clean!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:27PM
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Yup, all good reasons.

We seriously considered the possibilities for expanding our kitchen space. In the end, none were practical or even more desirable than what we already had. We used the same (small) footprint, made it more efficient, and couldn't be happier with the result.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:36PM
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Hear, hear!
I especially appreciate "less to clean" and "everything within reach."

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:43PM
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I took down a wall, but didn't expand the kitchen. I did, however, expand the dining room a bit, because before it was a pass thru from the front door to the actual, used living space.

Now it's off set, with that wall moved back. One comes into a foyer, hub-type area instead.

But a bigger kitchen? We didn't need it and now, living on my own? I sure don't. I barely cook. For one isn't much incentive to do so.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:44PM
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Before I started planning this kitchen renovation, I thought I needed a bigger kitchen. But on a whim one day, I cleared out a cabinet and got rid of all the pots and pans I never use. What an eyeopener! I followed up by going through my whole kitchen, weeding out and reorganizing, and I realized that my kitchen is not only plenty big enough, but also highly efficient. I love a step-and-pivot style kitchen!

brooklyngalley -- your kitchen was one of the first finished kitchens I saw after discovering GW. I loved it then and I love it now!

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 12:56PM
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I had a fairly large kit in my previous home. Here I have a galley kitchen now and I love working in it. Very efficient, everything is within steps. I did save a part in the gathering part of the L shaped room so I could have a large pantry but we find we don't need it. Now thinking a wood stove.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 1:17PM
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We also opted to keep our kitchen in its small footprint during renovation. Having less to clean and care for was a big one for us.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 2:06PM
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I really like and am enjoying my 13x13 kitchen (plus social/table area), with its long L counter and nice island, but I also know my next kitchen will be smaller.

By today's standards this isn't a large one, but DH and I still manage to mess up approximately 30' of counter each day. I didn't imagine this could be possible before we lived with it, but yes. Apparently for the same reason people climb Everest--because it's there. He makes his lunch on the refrigerator side of the island and his toast on the 4' to the left of the stove. I prep on the stove side of the island, then turn and mess up the right stove counter. Then there's the cleanup counter, which itself has two areas--3' left of the sink, 3' to the right.

!!!!!!, one for each of the 6 areas, any one of which would make a nice prep area in a smaller kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 2:34PM
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Just returned from North and South Carolina - visited Biltmore -now that is one large kitchen - well several kitchens and pantries. I would never be able to find anything!!!
I like my smaller kitchen - maybe larger than some but definitely not as large as many. 3 steps across the kitchen - no island (thought I wanted one but not wide enough) - and nothing to trip over.
11 feet wide and a bit longer than wide.
Just finished our kitchen - just need to take final pictures.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 3:36PM
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If I could take what I have and make it into a galley or u shape, allowing another drawer stadk, I could actually decrease the footprint a little. But as it is, I'm a little stuck due to doors, and it's the only place for a table.

In my sometime in the future home we are going to build, I'd like a smallish efficient kitchen with a breakfast nook full of windows and a small, but walk in size pantry.

Definitely like the less to clean aspect. That's what keeps me from covetng all the gorgeous kitchens and baths on this place! They are fantastic, but I wouldn't want to clean them! I'm too lazy.

Brooklyngalley's kitchen is one of my absolute favorite before/after kitchens ever. Having never lived in a city I would feel a bit crowded and want another foot or so in each direction, but I'm sure if I was accustomed to city life it would be perfect! And the planning/efficiency is inspiring.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:05PM
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Like Christine, we removed 2 walls, but kept the same footprint. The kitchen size per se did not change, but it seems so much larger because it is open to the dining room area now. And it is SO much more efficient than the old floorplan. I find that the increased efficiency also makes the kitchen seem larger.
So for us, anything larger would probably be superfluous.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:32PM
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I have a small U. After bringing the cabinets up to the ceiling and adding a 12 inch pull-out pantry for canned and boxed food, I have several empty shelves in my new cabinets. I don't know what I'd do with a bigger kitchen.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:49PM
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We did make our kitchen bigger but it still isn't very big. We could have gone bigger but then I would have had to clean more mess and I have an aversion to that. A well-planned small kitchen is so much nicer and more functional than a poorly-planned big kitchen. And a big kitchen - well a big kitchen is just a big kitchen and I would rather devote the space to a roomy eating area or a convivial visiting area.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 4:52PM
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I posted this in the previous thread on larger kitchens, but it perhaps is even more relvant here. I have a book from 1935 on home remodeling and repair. The section on kitchens is titled "The Efficient Kitchen." It starts off with a list of questions for the homeowner to consider in assessing his or her present kitchen. Here is an excerpt. I am starting with the FIRST question:

Is your kitchen too large? Can it be reduced in size and some other use made of the space that is gained?
Is the present equipment grouped so that the minimum number of steps required to move from one working center to another?

Then, after some expository material, there is another relevant section:

The average kitchen in the older house, even one that is fifteen or twenty years old, is larger than is required to meet the needs of today. It may have been laid out when domestic labor was plentiful and wages low. It may have been planned to measure up tot he needs of a larger family.

Generally, all large kitchens are less efficient than smaller ones. Home economics experts and household engineers are agreed on the finding that a kitchen floor space of from 90 to 100 square feet is ample for the average family living in a house of six or seven rooms. [Emphasis in original.]

So, there you have it. The 1935 view is that it is for efficiency!

My kitchen is 8x14. I used to think it was quite small. With a good layout, it seems to me to be a good size. If I had my 'druthers, I think I would make it just a bit bigger. The only thing I would like that I really had no room for was a second sink.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 6:42PM
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my small kitchen suits my vintage 1942 cottage style house. removing walls would have ruined the feel of the house. with the tips from this site my kitchen has loads of storage and is super functional, do not need anything larger!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:50AM
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What is the average kitchen size today? When we started the remodel planning for our 1940s adobe ranch, we really thought we would build a new addition for the kitchen. In the end we ended up staying within the old kitchen layout.. Which gave us a 18x10 galley with 2 doors and an additional 7x10 area for a small kitchen table.. It feels big enough in theory.. Will know more in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:48AM
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What is considered small? I am coming from a 6x7 kitchen...so all of these are large by comparison.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 8:25AM
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We're downsizing from a 2200+ sq ft.,4 BR house that (I can't keep up with and am not particularly interested in trying to anymore) to a 1200 sq ft. house with an 11x15 kitchen. Our whole idea is to be able to spend more of our time (and money) doing things other than 'housekeeping'. Seems that the 'bigger and bigger' boom is waning and I'm glad to be downsizing soon. I walk so much in my current, inefficient kitchen and am really, really looking forward to my next GW planned efficient, smaller kitchen and house. On a related note, anyone that has spent time in an RV knows about how much kitchen you 'need', lol.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Brooklyn, can you post a link to your kitchen? Would love to see it. I love a galley kitchen or U shape. Love the efficiency of it and also the step/turn and everything close at hand. No island to walk around. I also cleaned out my cabinets, got rid of pots and pans never used at the advice of a poster here and mounds of tupperware type containers, collected plastic cups and mugs. What a relief getting rid of all that stuff. Also duplicate blenders and small appliances and saved boxes from cell phones etc. Sheesh! That stuff can really pile up.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 9:57AM
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Here's a link to brooklyngalley's reveal. Love it!

Here is a link that might be useful: Brooklyngalley's kitchen

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 12:30PM
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Plus a million to justmakeit's post above. The "kitchen cure" at the Apartment Therapy site kick-started a series of improvements that have changed my cooking forever, by making me much happier with the kitchen I have.

Moving out the equipment and utensils I never used and re-organizing so that the things I do use are close at hand made the kitchen feel more spacious and more intimate at the same time.

That paved the way for further improvements in work flow inspired by reading this forum. [One example: reversing the hinges on the fridge, so that it opens toward a worktable/landing area. Who knew?] The effect was to concentrate the prep and cooking areas into a smaller area of the room and open up the non-cooking end of the room -- once again, more intimate and more spacious at the same time.

Discovering that I didn't really need more storage or workspace helped me see that the most serious productivity bottleneck of the kitchen was the sink. The Kitchen forum opened my eyes to the many possibilities in that sector, but even more crucially provided discussion of members' real-life experiences that enabled me to decide which choices made the most sense for me.

Only four years ago the kitchen felt cramped and unwieldy despite its size (14 x 17). Now it's a more comfortable and functional space in every way -- without any structural changes.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:33PM
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ellabee, that sounds great. Photos please.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 1:36PM
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It's not just a matter of affording it when you build . . . A small kitchen allows you to make a change later on (say updating the countertops or replacing a floor that's wearing out) without breaking the bank. In contrast, making any change in my current kitchen costs a fortune.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 2:46PM
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Love this thread: I too would love to see photos of your smaller kitchens!

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:24PM
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My kitchen is a 10x10 G-shape in my 1200 sq.ft. house. Everything's at my fingertips. Got a nice big window and good light. I even removed a run of upper cabs and soffit over my peninsula and don't miss the lost storage space. Actually, I had them hang the old cabinets in my garage filled with rarely used stuff.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 3:47PM
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wow deedles... you sound exactly like me. I don't know that my kitchen is all that much smaller then the one in my larger house but I am over the moon that the house is half the size.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2012 at 4:28PM
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