Project Tiny Kitchen

One of the bigger projects in my house is/will be tackling the kitchen, so I figured I might as well introduce it. When I first looked at the house, my realtor and I just had to laugh at it. You could barely open the oven door without hitting the adjacent cabinets. It seems the kitchen was just tacked on during some earlier renovation, hence the weird sloping roof. I had wondered about knocking the wall out and making it bigger, but then a tiny kitchen fits the tiny house and the cost would have been too crazy to factor in. My plan is to just utilize the given space in the most effective way possible. Thankfully, the hard and messy work is over – removing the left-side cabinets and patching up the wall.

My projects planned are to have 1. Lots of storage  2. Open shelves over the main counter  3. Backspash? Also what's up with that 4inch thick window trim? 4. Replace main floor cabinets, new counter, single basin sink, apt-sized cooktop/built in oven. Needless to say, I will be tackling the cheaper stuff first – the main counter and appliance purchase will be the priciest portion.

First task in this kitchen project series is to create more storage. I thought about making a pantry over that whole back wall, but then decided it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more counter too. I didn’t want to close the galley back in again, so it would have to be a very shallow setup. I went to the wonderful, inexpensive, cabinet-wonderland that is IKEA, and scoped out the sizes of their cabinets. I went with upper cabinets, which were only 12 inches deep, and 24 inches tall, so they would be floating. In fact, I remembered Anna did something similar in her apartment too. The layout was super clean, and as a bonus - super cheap. Three cabinets, doors, hinges and pulls was all under $180.

Installation was a little challenging, just because that wall curves out at the last 12 inches. WONKY OLD HOUSE! I shimmed the main bracket so it was somewhat straight to the tile lines and once it was all installed, it turned out mostly plumb and straight. For a counter, I had thought about just using some of the IKEA butcher block, but wasn’t completely sold with the idea. Too easy. I needed something more ambitious, right?

Enter my good friend Ben – an amazing cabinetmaker and craftsman. Ben’s built some amazing creations, including my credenza, and as soon as I thought of him, I was ASHAMED at myself for even thinking of anything else. Now, I understand that having a master cabinetmaker in your friend bucket isn’t that likely... but the overall cost was quite reasonable when I considered how amazing it turned out. By the way, you should check out Ben’s work at Phloem Studio. I chose Western Walnut, and Ben ordered the boards from a local mill. After building it, he introduced me to a finish called Osmo, which is an eco-friendly finish that is also really beautiful on wood. Like oil finishes, it soaks into the wood, so you get great protection and the wood still looks natural and amazing – not plastic-wrapped like polyurethane.

So there you have it... the first steps in my kitchen renovation. Next step will be the open shelving above the main counters, and I’ll be sure to document that when I begin.