My Small Awkward Kitchen

CurbedEnthusiasmNovember 20, 2011

Hello all! I'm new to the forum and would love your advice on how to make my small, awkward kitchen more functional. Currently, the kitchen is in a single line layout, except for a small corner cabinet and a fridge on an adjacent wall (so, basically a cross between a single line and an L-shape). The kitchen is immediately parallel to my front door/entry way, and there is a dividing wall between the two spaces with a small pass-through to let in a little more light. The current layout suffers from apartment-sized appliances, cabinetry that does not maximize the height of the room, and just feels very dark and closed-in.

Here are a variety of issues that I am pondering:

1) I could take down most of the diving wall between the entry and the kitchen and really open up the space, but I like defined spaces, and don't think it would feel right to walk right into a kitchen. However, that's the only way to really add more space.

2) There is enough width to have a regular sized dishwasher and stove, but that means losing all bottom cabinetry (except for a lazy susan on the corner). I've never had a kitchen where I didn't have drawers. If I added more upper cabinetry to make up for the lost space, do you think that would make up for losing the drawers, or would that be awkward to get cutlery from an upper cabinet - and would it turn off future buyers?

3) One final idea is to turn the kitchen into a u-shaped design by putting in a corner cabinet where the stove is, and then installing the stove on the perpendicular wall. However, that would only leave a 5'x4' space in the middle of the u-shape - is that going to be enough room, or will it feel cramped?

If anyone has any input, or other ideas, I would love to hear them. I'm feeling overwhelmed, and the difficult design is killing my love of cooking, so any and all ideas are welcomed. Thanks in advance.

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Can you draw a rough layout?
How big is the entry?
How many people live with you?
Is it a one cook kitchen?
Are you looking to rip out and re-do?
How much is budgeted for the project?
Is there somewhere nearby that you could put the micro?

Some initial ideas:
For starters, I'd stay with the apartment size stove and dw if possible. You would just need to run the dw daily rather than less often. The oven may be small but you can get a convection oven to use when more oven space is needed and stash it elsewhere most of the time. The alternative would be to get a large size OTR micro that has a convection feature as well. If you can do without the dw, then I'd get a full size stove. I don't see you going full size on the dw without giving up too much. You could possibly get a dishdrawer, but that won't give you much more capacity than you have now.
I'd want upper cabs that went to the ceiling. I'd get the micro off the counter somehow wither by using an OTR unit or putting it nearby. You need to preserve counter space.
I really need to see the layout you have now including the entry to see what is possible about laying it out with a new configuration.
I'd look into a rail system for the open wall to the right of the stove for hanging pots, pans, utensils, etc... It would take some of what you would put in cabs out of the equation. Check out Ikea for some good storage ideas.
If you still want your entry, I'd consider using wall cabs stacked to make a wall with a cover panel on the back instead of the dividing wall you have now. That does not waste as much space as sheetrock/beams and will give you pantry storage. They can face into the entry where the fridge is, and the rest can face into the kitchen. I used tall wall cabs for the back of our island and they open away from the kitchen. The more you can keep out of your kitchen cabs, the more you can make use of what little cab space you do have.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 10:57PM
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This is a layout of my apartment that I made myself, so it's not to scale. There was no corner cabinet function with the rudimentary software I used, so you'll have to envision to corner cabinet connecting to where to refrigerator is.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:12PM
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Now that is one small kitchen! I agree with using the wall as much as you can to clear the stuff off your counters. IKEA does have some great ideas for this. Get a magnetic strip to mount on the wall to put your knives on, and get them off the counter. You can hang skillets and pans, and some utensils on the wall. And clear the utensil crock off the counter. IKEA has those rods with hooks that you can hang things on, and inexpensive stainless shelving that you can hang hooks on too. Also, IKEA has these small tables that you can mount on the wall, and them fold them down when you don't need them. Try to find a place for the microwave too. You can buy mounting shelves for those too. Use your wall. That's what I had to do in my tiny kitchen, and it opened up tons of storage. Have fun!

    Bookmark   November 20, 2011 at 11:39PM
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I am no designer, but I can't imagIne that if I were a buyer I'd prefer a narrow entryway to a functional kitchen.
"small space design" is so trendy right now that I think you ought to be able to find some really cool ideas, though most of it is Modern (as hawked by Dwell magazine-- they've showcased some tiny kitchens)
I'll try to find some of the things I've loved.
Check out pics of houseboats for inspiration. Some especially elegant ones in Seattle.
What is the space just outside the bathroom? Closet? It looks like perhaps some valuable space is going unused right there.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 12:57AM
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Sounds like you have gotten some good ideas already...
My 2 cents: Any chance of being able to spring for a counter-depth refrigerator? It seems that would help the whole floor space issue, too.
Summit makes a 24" W x 24" deep x 79" tall fridge for about a thousand, shipped.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:29AM
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If you did the u-shaped kitchen, would you remove most of the wall that separates the entry door from the kitchen? If you did that I think you might have a more functional space. And if you're concerned about people walking into the apartment (and feeling like they walked straight into the kitchen) you could consider a pocket door that would allow you to conceal the kitchen. My big concern with this is that you'd always have your back to the door & living room when cooking. I really dislike that, personally.

Taking the cabinets to the ceiling was already suggested, and it's a very good idea.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:19AM
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Can you add the room dimensions to your layout? Is that a pass through or shelf on the left side of the first picture? You may also want to post on the small house forum. I'm trying to visualize if you got rid of the entry way wall if you could utilize the kitchen wall on the other side of the bathroom. Going to Ikea is a great idea if there is one in your area. They have actual models of small scaled apartments-with complete kitchens. I've had very small kitchens in apartments and found the U shape fine for a one person at a time kitchen. Easy to access everything.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 8:04AM
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Can you steal space from the closet that leads to the bathroom?

Here's an idea with the frig recessed into the closet.

You'd get a glimpse of the frig as you enter the apartment, but the wall still defines the space. You have space for a full sized DW with dish storage above. I'd think an 18"DW would be better, but if you'd like a full size there's no reason not to get one. There's 30" of prep space then a full sized range. Followed by tray space and a voided corner(you could put a blind cab there, but there's plenty of storage without it. The wall of tall cabs is shallow pantry space + over the counter you can place an appliance garage for your toaster.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 9:27AM
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I'd remove the small closet in dining zone-use it for beverage/wine frig or microwave /coffee station-then downsize to 24 wide/deep frig-use lax super's location if possible.You have wall space on the entry hall-how about some chunky,artistic coat pegs/hooks-maybe cubbies or shelves installed high up if you need a space for coats/umbrellas/hats, etc. Personally, I would create a 2nd opening into kitchen on the lower third of that entry wall, put hooks/cubbies on the current frig wall in kitchen, close to entry door, and do a corner sink in that lower left corner.For some reason, my guess is you don't want to open up that entry wall any more, but that lower opening near the door would make the whole space more dynamic.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:49AM
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I like lax's idea a lot, but I'd not wrap the corner and instead would put shallow open shelves (12" deep or less) and/or a rail system on the wall opposite the stove. If you want, you can put your kitchen electrics on the shelf wall (with outlets for the toaster and coffee maker) to get them off the counters.
A flat pot rack on the dead end wall up high would also be a good idea.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:06AM
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I also was going to suggest recessing the frig into the closet. And perhaps taking over even more closet space if you can afford it for pantry and or recycling/garbage. I just recessed my frig through the wall of my small galley kitchen and I can't believe how grand the space now feels!

Making the wall between the entry hall and kitchen into a 1/2 wall would make the kitchen feel more open and still allow for defined entry space. You could even find a way to fill that space with pretty glass jars containing grains/beans/spices/pastas which could be both functional and still delineate the use of the two spaces. Or rebuild the wall as dual-use cabinetry - mud room on one side, kitchen storage on the other.

Go vertical for sure - everywhere you can without clutter.

If your budget allows, consider a smooth glass electric or induction cooktop. Especially induction if you can as it is always cool and can be used for counter space when not cooking on it. I gained 36" counterspace using induction.

If the frig is short enough, you could put microwave above it. If you can afford it, a microwave/convection oven might be enough oven for you, depending on how you use an oven.
Look at Suskana's book series "The not so big house." Most of her houses are larger than yours, but she has beautiful ideas for maximizing space/utility/beauty while using and having less. Check out from your library. You may see some really neat ideas of how to deal with the entry/kitchen/closet area.

Also see if you can visit a RV sale lot. Check out how mini-motorhomes fit in full kitchens (My family lived in one when I was young and it's amazing how efficiently the space is used!)

**Get rid** of as much as you can. Have just a little bit of stuff so you can feel like your entire space is open and tidy and loved. You'll have lots of space to breathe and not need to maintain so much.

Find out from good design minded people (if you are not so inclined yourself) what colors will make things feel most open, and get good lighting in there and in closet/pantry/shelves. Sparkily and open! Stainless steel easy to clean sheet on wall and hang as much as you can there.

Very much looking forward to what you decide to do. It's a crazy challenge, and you'll feel really good about what you accomplish!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 1:35PM
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I would do the cabinets all the way to the ceiling too-- but remember to plan a place for your stepladder so that it's very handy.

You don't give a budget, so I'm not sure how many walls you're comfortable rearranging. If it's a low budget, you should definitely explore Ikea-- they have so many great ways to make a little space go further. (Their rail systems for the backsplash alone could buy you tons of counter space.) If a higher budget, I agree about stealing from the closet.

Take your time to play with it. Even in a small space, look at the Sweeby test and the zones concept in the FAQs, so you can think about where you'll be standing when you do various things in the kitchen-- arranging a tiny space well goes a long way. I bet you're going to be able to improve your kitchen experience hugely.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 2:53PM
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I like herbflavor's suggestion to turn that closet in the dining area into an entertaining bar with maybe a mini-fridge, snacks, etc. That would keep snackers away from the cook.

I'd also like to see the pass through made larger by dropping it down to counter height and placing a ledge that overhangs the foyer side by a couple of inches and the kitchen side maybe 6-8" (plus the width of the wall) for a 14-16" counter height ledge that you could use as a buffet station for entertaining. The trash could tuck under on the kitchen side. The cook would just need to pivot to serve crowds.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:03PM
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in the space available, there is not much that can be changed.

Your wall cabinetry can be made face-frame, all in one unit, so you have no partitions inside. Inside this single wall unit, your shelving of glass

When you buy standard modular cabinet boxes it's great for holding drawer glides for drawers in base cabinets, but standard modular cabinet boxes are not an advantage in an Upper cabinet.


They make tall 24"width fridges that hold a lot. It can be easier to put this into a recess than a 30"w fridge. Another option is to shrink the tub.

Here is a link that might be useful: Smaller tub = more space for fridge

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:24PM
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The wall can be rebuilt as a slim wall.
You can shrink the aisle by getting deeper drawers on longer drawer glides.

A dishdrawer (single drawer or pair of drawers) makes more sense than a single 24"w dishwasher.

You can have drawers under a sink too.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:27PM
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I have a different question. Does taking down walls and redoing a bathroom to get bigger kitchen make sense here? Economically?

How long do you plan to live here? Is this the norm for where you live?

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 3:40PM
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No matter what, changing the order of stations in that kitchen will be a help. Keep the fridge and sink near the door, so that the range is protected. Right now it would be impossible to cook with people running to the fridge for ice or drinks or whatever. The basic order of laxsupermom's layout is a good one, as is the idea of invading the closet a bit.

Another thing you could do is move the door and enlarge it. Put it in the center of the kitchen with a double pocket door. This way you could close it off from the entry--either completely, or only halfway--so you don't feel like you are walking into the kitchen. However, a wide opening in the center would allow you to create a U-shaped kitchen without feeling cramped. In this case you could put the range in a couple of different places.

Also make sure you outfit that DR closet for maximum storage.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:10PM
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Don't forget toekick storage drawers as an option.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:36PM
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Not knowing the dimensions of the kitchen, could a one wall kitchen with a 15"/18" deep counter high cabinet on the opposite side work? There would still be a definition of space when you walk in the door. Assumptions were: 6' * 9.5', can't change plumbing, use of small appliances, don't want to change area outside kitchen. You'd only have 30" between sink/stove, but some prep area on 15" counter. See the link for calypsochick's kitchen, but instead of wall/window next to the sink, you'd have a true counter depth frig.

Here is a link that might be useful: calypsochick's galley

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:53PM
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ditto marcolo, whose door suggestion implied the wall was staying. Keep the wall. Otherwise you have too much view onto too much, much like living in a box shaped space where you can see all four corners all the time from anywhere in the space.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 4:59PM
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Hi everyone! I promise I'll log on this evening and reply to some of your individual questions, but I just want to thank everyone in advance for all your kind words and input. I really appreciate it so much.

Unfortunately, my floor plan was not drawn to scale because I had to make it myself, so the closet doesn't actually touch the kitchen. Even if it did, I have so little storage that I could not manage to lose any closet space. So unfortunately the fridge can't go there. Somebody else suggested cutting into the bathroom, but the bathroom is very small to begin with.

I'll reply this evening with some dimensions and further info. Once again thanks so much for all your input - I really appreciate it!!!

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:03PM
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Here's the u-shape plan with double pocket doors with a buffet/beverage center cab in the DR closet that others have suggested (hopefully I interpreted their suggestions correctly). Red lines indicate upper cabs.

I placed the fridge so that it extends just beyond the pocket door opening. That way you can get a fridge with a right hand door swing (hinges on right) making it easier to take items out and set them on the counter to the left (you will need to have the pocket door open to open the fridge).

Given your small space, I'd stick with an 18" wide DW. I think it's the Miele that is reported to have as much capacity as some of the 24" wide American brands. And yes, I placed it between sink and range but I wanted to give you as much counter between sink and range as possible and this seemed the only way to do that.

I like laxsupermom's idea, too. I'd be tempted to reverse the entry's door swing, if you can, so that guests coming to your home would view art work on your right hand wall before they see the fridge door.

How big is the kitchen? If you gave us dimensions for the space, I missed it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:18PM
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lisa, what about swapping fridge and range in your layout? Only if we think a range is nicer to look at than a fridge! Although in this case I imagine an OTR micro would be needed, so those aren't as lovely as a nice vent hood.

This would be a good application for a paneled fridge, but the cost may not be worth it.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 6:41PM
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Love that lisa_a !

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 10:12PM
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Hi, I have not read all the replies in detail (stuffy head) and I'm not sure if it would make sense money wise...But, if you took out or repositioned the wall in the kitchen/hall and made the kitchen a dining area and the dining area the kitchen you would have all sorts of room.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:02PM
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Thanks, cluelessincolorado, but I have to give credit to others (marcolo for one) for the idea. I just drew it up.

    Bookmark   November 21, 2011 at 11:09PM
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Hello all! Once again, thank you so much for everyone's input. This is my first time living in an urban home (Washington DC), so getting used to these tiny spaces is quite the challenge.

The dimensions of the space are approx. 10 ft. x 6 ft. The parallel entry way is about 12 ft. x 3 ft.

To try and answer a few questions...

In terms of budget, I would love to get everything done for $10,000 MAX (and ideally a lot less). I'm going to try to keep the cost down by doing some of the work myself by hopefully hiring an in-law with contracting experience who can work with me on the project.

I don't anticipate staying here for more than 5 years, so my primary motivation for this work is to have a functional space while I'm living here - and also to boost my resale potential.

I love the idea of swapping the kitchen with the dining room, but moving plumbing, electrics etc. is probably too expensive to consider.

I think my best bet is to go for a U-shaped layout. That would not only give me much needed counter space, but also additional upper and lower cabinets.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:03AM
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10 x 6 ... so here's a possibility (starting with range wall, bottom right corner):
6" spice pull-out
30" range
36" corner Susan
18" DW
24" sink cab
6" silverware pull-out cab (see image below)
36" corner Susan
9" cab - pull-out for pantry goods, perhaps
27" wide fridge

You probably won't need as much silverware storage as the image shows (I certainly don't) but you could also store spatulas and other kitchen tools.

If you want more counter between sink and range, swap silverware pull-out and sink.

I would definitely take the uppers to the ceiling. I'd also definitely do frameless cabs. You need every bit of storage capacity as you can squeeze out of the space.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:45AM
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CurbedEnthusiasm, it's all a trade-off, one way or the other. The thing to do with a small space is to optimize not maximize. I'll give you some blunt direction here now: be specific about reality. You are indulging in dreamy thinking. How do I "know" this? Here are clues I have: 1 is that you didn't post measurements or money in your OP; 2 is that you just posted that the "entry way is about 12 ft. x 3 ft." (you approximated instead of measuring it); 3 is that you are gradually trending toward a budget and a vision.

There are a few participants in this forum who know how to optimize small spaces. You may get good input from them. Before you can expect any guidance from anyone, you must have dimensions, you must post them, and you must force other people to read the dimensions and think about them.

Your "approx. 10 ft. x 6 ft." space can have more storage by making the aisle a titch smaller and by expanding the base cabinet (drawers) correspondingly.

You can have many shallow drawers. You can have shallow drawers inside biger drawers.

Here are some ideas for a one-bedroom urban space.
Tall 24" wide fridge. They have a lot of shelves. Order additional door bins.
Any combo cooking appliance.
18"w Miele dishwasher. Get flat plates.
Two dishdrawers is a good option too: each dishdrawer is run independently. One drawer can be a holding pen while the other drawer is active.

If you begin by using Ikea software and Ikea cabinet products (Ikea drawers) as a starting point, it will be a good comparison point enabling you to justify the increased price of any other choice or choosing not to spend any more. Ikea's kitchen drawers are the same as you will see on Blum's web site ( web search Tandembox). Many very high end kitchens are made with Blum Tandembox drawers. Sometimes the Tandembox drawers are rebranded and morphed a little bit, so you might not recognize them immediately when you go showroom hopping for the first time in your life. Hope this is clear. Ikea's kitchen drawers are the same or 99% the same as those you will see in high end showrooms that sell you kitchens costing multiples more. Hope this is something you will see and confirm. Ikea's cabinets are frameless and strong. Hope you go see this and confirm.

You can expand a little bit from the inside by making the hallway wall much slimmer or by reducing some of the other walls' cladding. A wall doesn't require massive wood studs. A wall may be built slim. One can use steel instead of wood and rebuild a wall to be thin. (*yes, then one must use only small picture hanging hooks if one hangs art on the wall).

I'll guess this space is in a condo building.
You must know what the physical possibilities are.
Electricity (how many amperes comes into your space).
Plumbing (where the DWV vent is).
Ventilation (where fresh air shall come from, where exhausted effluent shall be ducted to).
and more.
Before dreamizing, take stock of reality.
Sooner or later someone will measure the dimensions of your space.
If you wait until someone you've hired does it for you, you will be certain to blow a ton of money, wasting it.
Measuring your space is a good thing to do.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 11:00AM
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I remodeled a kitchen in a DC co-op in Adams Morgan so I have experience at this. I highly recommend you do it, as those old kitchens are seriously depressing to live with. But reality is an essential start, as Davidro1 has so astutely pointed out.

For example, condo/coop rules and/or the DC housing code will prevent you from moving your sink at all and will restrict moving your stove far. I recommend hiring a knowledgeable contractor instead of doing it yourself with an in-law, given the permits you'll need to pull & comply with. The DC housing code is complicated & you MUST follow it.

I suggest you ask around and find someone in your building or a similar building who has remodeled a kitchen & learn from them generally what the rules are & what his/her experience & recommendations are. (Folks LOVE talking about their kitchen remodeling.) In other words, learn about what you're getting into sooner rather than later. Then find a contractor (or 2 or 3) who has/have experience in your building, similar buildings or the neighborhood (in DC) and ask them to check it out and price it out. Be sure to be present when the contractors visit & be ready to have a detailed conversation about what will/could be involved in the remodeling & what everything will cost. Ask for recommendations to keep costs down.

You can still decide to DIY after this, of course. Just a cosmetic change out of everything -- cabinets, appliance, countertops & flooring -- would be a huge improvement, after all, and probably wouldn't require a building permit. My kitchen remodel was done on a relative shoestring and it turned out great, so it definitely can be done.


    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:04PM
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Good advice, David and Allie! I thought about, then forgot to mention checking condo rules. I remember them being very strict in S. Fla, too, but it's been a long time since I had to deal with anything like that.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 12:23PM
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I have posted these pictures kinda ad nauseum but my kitchen is roughly 11x5 which is similar. The fridge is outide this dimension, however, there is a stack W\D inside the kitchen and that spot could accomodate a fridge.

The pocket doors do not close, they screen, giving the illusion that they can close. This replicates a sleeping alcove or dressing alcove that may have been in the area based upon some forensic evidence during demolition.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:07PM
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If stealing closet space isn't an option, the U that lisa a drew up could work well depending on what your room measurements are. We'll need more exact room measurements to work up a more accurate layout.

Definitely check the condo/co-op rules to find out what you can or can't do.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 3:52PM
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palimpsest -
as one new to this forum -- WOW WOW WOW!
Your kitchen, the colors, design, small details. Breathtaking. I'm off to look for more photos. So glad you posted those here!

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:18PM
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I love the archway kitchen. Very pretty and original. If only you could move the front door to the left of that little closet in the living room, you could have such a nice sized kitchen. Is it in a highrise?

I came up with a similar idea to the "U" shaped kitchen someone else posted, but have the range close to the original as I don't know if the gas line can be moved. The little piece of wall left to the right of the entrance gives you a place to hang things.

Can you make all the structural changes you want to the apt.?

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 5:20PM
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Floor plans aside, take the cabinets all the way to the ceiling - right to the top.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 7:13PM
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OK, I LOVE playing with floorplans. Have no idea if you have the space as your plan wasn't to scale, or budget to do this but if you do I would totally reconfigure your apt. It opens it all up and gives you the feeling of more space. It's the exact same space as the original. Looks cleaner and more modern too. If this is a co-op or condo it will really increase the value.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 7:54PM
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They cannot make structural changes.
I think I've seen twice in this thread.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:47AM
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Lots of creativity, but I think some of the posters have never owned a condo. :). Usually condo bylaws prohibit anything beyond the most minor of changes.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 8:01AM
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Not true.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 8:29AM
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The OP mentions in her original post that she was able to take down the dividing wall between the hall and the kitchen so maybe she can make changes. That's a shame if she can't as this really gives a much nicer layout without the cramped kitchen and opens up the whole apt. Would be costly though to do but really increase resale if the other elements are right. As I mentioned I love playing with space.

In a condo you own the actual unit so I don't see why you can't make changes as long as they are structurally sound, and you don't move a load bearing wall. Mine are just moving small walls and a water line. Don't know if the kitchen in that location would be able to use the plumbing from the bathroom. You can use an electric stove if the gas line can't be moved.

Would love for the OP to see it anyway.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:35AM
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I think if you eliminate the wall between the kitchen and entry a wall of shallow cabs can be made in its place. That would involve no wall framing, so it would maximize space. It would also take away less aisle width inside the kitchen than making the U as has been suggested. Do the kitchen as a galley instead.

If you look at the back of our island (rough mock up from early on in our process), it can give you an idea. If you just did the back part and took it up higher (ours is an inch or 2 below my chin IRL), that would give you a lot of storage. You don't even have to go full height all the way as that can make the kitchen feel more open without people immediately seeing your kitchen counters, sink and stove.

You can face the wall of cabs into the kitchen or towards the entry. If you faced into the kitchen, you could have all that storage right there. If you faced it out, it would be like stepping over to a pantry and you could put a rail system on the back for more storage.

Personally, I'd put half facing out (where you can put a fridge on the other side, within the kitchen) at full height and half facing inward as a full wall of pantry items or dishes which can be as high as you want.

In either case, it would be thicker than the current wall but give you a lot more function without cramping your space.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:53AM
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Dianalo, I don't think there's enough width to do a galley. I don't know how accurate those dimensions shown are, but as shown it would cut too much into the hallway if you left enough distance between the rows of cabinetry. The hall already has an awkward right angle bend in it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 11:08AM
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A lot could be done without changing the essential kitchen at all. If the range is gas, the gas line can usually be extended easily within the confines of the kitchen itself. Same with sink drain, to some extent. My kitchen involved Minimal plumbing and gas line changes, all accomplished within the kitchen itself, but it Looks completely different.

However the rules very greatly according to the individual association documents. I know of a co-op (slightly different situation) where you have to get permission to make cosmetic changes to the cabinets or change hardware. It's so restrictive I can't imagine how they enforce it.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 11:14AM
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Someone above mentioned using IKEA's software. Even if you don't use their cabinets, the program is really easy to use. Just pop in your kitchen type and dimensions and start designing.

Here is one side of my kitchen using IKEA. From fridge to end of cabinet measures just slightly over 9 ft. I do have a wall of pantry cabs that you can't see, just to the right. They are only 12" deep and in my eat in dining area. My entire kitchen was around $13,900, but I have $6,100 in the appliances. My big splurge!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:41PM
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Plumbing (drain) is the reason why the kitchen has to stay where it is. This is for blondelle and others with good thoughts, ideas, dreams. So reality is once again a limiting factor. It's a condo, so no one can "just install a drain" as one might do, in a house. The condo association board is not the factor.

2. Also, since the OP has posted about a low budget, I would not want to see anyone justifying their ideas as good-to-see. It's the OP's thread, it's their place, and they are renovating virgins. They might get intimidated by all these ideas. First-timers are sometimes so virginal they cannot stand it when ideas go in directions they wouldn't have thought of.

Summary: reality says the kitchen cannot go over to the other side. And forum participant newbies don't want wild ideas. When they post about their budget, and when I remind you about it, it's an idea to retract.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 2:19PM
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Geez David! Go back to sleep and get up on the other side of the bed! I haven't participated on this board in a long time. I used to try and help out using my Photoshop skills to help people see how their kitchen and baths could look. It breaks my heart when someone dream kitchen or bath doesn't turn out like they thought and I try to help them envision changes to fix what they don't like to make them happy again with their choices.

Now I remember why I stopped doing that. I redid a gals paint and island paint choices 4 times with nary a thank you and now you lay into me for trying to help. I did it for myself as a challenge as I said I love to play with space. Since it was done why not post it for her to see. If it could be done or was worth doing maybe the funds could be found some how.

I see them move things around so many times on all the decorating shows. I'm in a 47 story co-op building and someone moved their kitchen to another area of their apt.

I'm done here! Not going to waste my time or skills trying to help any more. Half the time the OP never even returns to read the responses to the thread they started. It's not worth it to help and then get upset after doing so.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 4:10PM
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and they are renovating virgins.

How do you do that, exactly? I thought that was a one-time thing....

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 5:50PM
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LOL, Angie!!!!

What a lovely kitchen you created, caligirl!

blondelle, helping someone dream big is gladly accepted by many here but the OP did post that the budget for this project is quite limited. And judging by the OP's statement of hiring an in-law with contracting experience help with the reno, I also made the assumption that he or she hasn't renovated a kitchen before.

In terms of budget, I would love to get everything done for $10,000 MAX (and ideally a lot less). I'm going to try to keep the cost down by doing some of the work myself by hopefully hiring an in-law with contracting experience who can work with me on the project.

The best help we can give the OP to achieve a kitchen that makes him or her happy and want to cook again is to work within these parameters.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 6:34PM
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Although Marcolo's spot on in some ways, this forum is most special and alive--and valuable--when the ideas fly. That happens when people are turned on by possibilities.

Our OP may hesitate to wade in too deep yet, but that hasn't kept a lot of people from having creative fun here and others from generously offering valuable experience. If OP never adopts a single idea, some among the many coming by for inspiration and information will.

Blondelle, I'm happy to see you pop up again and hope you'll stick around and have a lot more fun addressing the challenges posted. That still has to be enough, of course. :)

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 8:55PM
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Guess, I missed the low budget part, but as I said I enjoyed doing it and playing with the space. In my next life I'm coming back as an interior designer, or a kitchen and bath designer...LOL! After playing with it I wanted post my handiwork. I guess I was looking for feed back here on the changes I made, more than thinking it was a viable option. I had hoped the OP would have seen it though just in case. So many of you here have taken the time to post photos and try to help the OP, and they are no where to be found. That has happened countless times. Maybe we did overwhelm the OP with choices. We also rarely get to see the finished result of our input.

As to the renovation virgin part, I hear that's an undocumented use for Gorilla Glue...LOL!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:04PM
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Blondelle I agree with those who hope you won't go away.

Even if the OP can't use your suggestions many folks read these posts and your suggestion for revising the organization of the space was great. Helps me to think about space in a different way. And it may help the OP and others to do likewise - even if the OP can't make the changes now who knows what it will lead to later.

From reading these forums for a while it has become clear to me that to participate regularly (especially on the appliance form and this one) a very think skin in necessary.

Sometimes makes me think of the Darleks saying in unison "extinguish, extinguish, extinguish". The best way to extinguish unwanted behavior is often to ignore it and respond to other behaviors.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:15PM
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Sometimes makes me think of the Darleks saying in unison "extinguish, extinguish, extinguish".

Another Doctor Who fan! How great!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 9:20PM
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There're more Doctor Who fans here than you might suspect.....

Back to the kitchen
Reminds me of the kitchen in my first apartment.
I think the U-shaped plans are the best option. Cabinets up to the ceiling to maximize storage, microwave over the stove to clear up some counter space. Can you get a non-venting fan in an above range microwave?
I was thrilled to see someone attach a link to calypsochick's kitchen. It's one of my all time fav's and I couldn't find it when I searched last week. I think her use of a very unified color palette and elegant finishes is perfect for a small kitchen. If it ain't be big, it should at least be gorgeous. I'll attach that link again for anyone who missed it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Calypsochick's tiny perfect kitchen

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 2:01AM
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Lisa0527, calypsochick's is one of my all time favorites too. I always have to google it to find it. Too old for gardenweb's engine maybe?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Calypso's is a galley, not a U. If you do a galley, you just do shallow wall cabs on the storage side and normal depth cabs with a counter on the cooking side.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:54AM
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dianalo - That's where I was trying to go with my layout and link to Calypso's kitchen. I wasn't sure about the one wall layout, but if it's 10' instead of 9.5', there'd be a bit more room between the sink and fridge. Just how deep do cabs need to be to have truly useful counter space on top?

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 2:06PM
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Hi, CluelessInCO. I've never been there, but I'd want a shallow counter to hold a dinner plate at minimum, so about 11"? Each inch over that would be a wonderful gift, of course.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 7:57PM
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I had figured one side of the galley for real depth counters & appliances and the other side for a wall made of storage. The wall cabs we have on the back of our island are 11.75" deep inside. I suppose one could use some as lowers and put a 12.5" counter on the top of those and then uppers above to make it hutch-like. You could do that as a pony wall of cabs on the bottom and floating cabs up top if you don't want a backsplash for it.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2011 at 10:14PM
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CurbedEnthusiasm, may I ask what type of light fixtures you have on top of your cabinets? I'm looking to put something on top of a tall cabinet in a room with little natural light.

    Bookmark   November 25, 2011 at 9:19AM
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CurbedEnthusiasm, your current cabinets are framed and this makes drawers very small inside. Measure the inside. Compare to the inside of an Ikea drawer that fits in a cabinet of the same width. Secondly, you have a lot of doors (not drawers) so it is hard to reach most of your stuff down there. Think of mega deep drawers of the same width as your current doors. Deep drawers hold a lot of pots and pans, make it easy to get at them.


    Bookmark   January 6, 2012 at 1:19PM
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Hello all. I'm sorry that I have never replied to all of your wonderful posts. I'll try not to get too personal as this is a kitchen remodeling forum, but days after I posted this thread, I had a devastating death in my family. Thus, any kitchen planning is on hold, and priorities have had to change.

I'm writing this because I don't want anyone to think that I was wasting their time. I deeply apologize if anyone felt that way. Thank you so much for all your wonderful input and ideas. I sure hope that I can make some of them a reality when things get back to normal. Wishing you all the best.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Curbed, I was just wondering what was happening with your project and am very sorry to find your sad loss instead. Please do come back when "frivolous" details become fun again.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 5:22PM
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Curbed...I am so very sorry for your loss. I just now saw this thread from the beginning & found it very interesting. I hope you are able to come back soon & visit. You will be in my thoughts.

Take care!

    Bookmark   February 25, 2012 at 6:16PM
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I just read this thread for the first time, and wanted to add my condolences for your great loss. I hope you are doing well.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2012 at 9:12AM
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