{Dispatch} from a small kitchen

Editor’s Note: We are interrupting today’s normally scheduled post* to bring you the coolest rental kitchen of 2011 which happens to belong to our contributor Christine!

Do you have a teeny kitchen? Do you need inspiration on what to do with said space-challenged room? Where to place all those gadgets when you have no drawers {true story: its real life for Christine- no drawers!!} Well, Christine has some tips & tricks to share. From looking at these pictures and a whole slideshow worth over at thekitchn’s feature on her kitchen, I’d say we need to take some notes and go work some magic in our small kitchens!

If you like what you see, please consider voting for Christine’s kitchen at thekitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens Contest 2011. ( Prizes up for grabs: National prizes: The Grand Prize winner will receive: a $10,000 Wilsonart gift certificate. The 4 Division Finalists will receive: a signed book by The Kitchn’s founder Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, The Kitchn’s Managing Editor Faith Durand’s book “Not Your Mother’s Casseroles,” a copy of Gale Steves’s book “Right-Sizing Your Home,” and a Bed Bath and Beyond Gift Card valued at $100.)

Let’s work together folks and get Christine the win! -Christina

My kitchen is a smidge under 40 square feet. We have an apartment-sized stove, a full size refrigerator and no built-in drawers. Not a single one! We have an average amount of cabinet space, except one set of our cabinets begins 7 feet off the ground, with the top shelf standing over 8.5 feet high! So we keep a few spare bike parts in there and other storage items that we don’t regularly access. When you take away the space occupied by the oven, fridge & counter, we end up with around 10 square feet of walkable space. Did I mention there are two cooks in this kitchen? Fun!

I’m here to tell you that you a small kitchen is no excuse not to cook. It takes a bit of preparation and organization, but you can crank out delicious meals with the best of them. You can throw dinner parties, champagne brunches, cookie-making soirees & fondue nights, even with a wee cooking space. I promise. Here are a few tips for maximizing your petite kitchen:

Keep it tidy. In a tiny kitchen, you don’t have the luxury of letting dishes pile up or cluttering counters with junk mail. As a matter of both practicality and the preservation of your sanity, keep your kitchen clean! Nothing makes a room feel smaller than an ever-expanding stack of dirty pots and pans.

Get rid of one-use gadgets. Ok, you can keep your garlic press and lemon squeezer. But take a hard look at anything that takes up valuable counter top real estate. That electric can-opener? Probably can live without it. Unless a gadget really improves your life in some way or makes you smile just looking at it, think twice about whether it deserves a spot in your exclusive kitchen showcase.

Take advantage of vertical space. Look up. Look down. Those are potential storage spaces. We have pots and pans stored in a crate underneath our countertop. And on top of that crate? A microwave and toaster oven. Making the most of our tall ceilings, we’ve installed a three-tiered basket on a pulley system so that I can lower it when I need to grab something and then raise it up out of sight. Hang a simple pegboard from the hardware store on your wall as extra storage for pans, utensils and gadgets.

Think outside the box that you call a kitchen. Maybe you need to chop vegetables at the coffee table, or plug your blender in next to your bed. That’s ok! If there isn’t much space in your kitchen or if having two people in there at the same time causes panic attacks, spread out. Set up temporary cooking stations in other rooms of your home to combat a lack of counter space. I’ve rolled out pie crusts while watching movies in the living room and sliced carrots and onion in our entryway. I’ve never had a dinner guest storm out in protest.

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Itty bitty kitchens feel even smaller when there are more than one person in them. That doesn’t mean you have to cook all alone though. Think of it as a chance to practice your smooth dance moves as you effortlessly glide around each other during meal prep. Or if you are like us, after a few stubbed toes and banged elbows, you can trade off shifts of cooking with shifts of supervising from a safe distance with a cocktail in hand.

Now that you can’t blame your small kitchen anymore, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves, find a good recipe (the From Scratch Club archive is a good place to start) and make that tiny room work for you.


Editor’s Note #2: Just another friendly reminder- If you like what you see here please consider voting for Christine’s rental kitchen in thekitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens Contest 2011.Thanks! -Christina

* Kidding.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Traci says:

    Awesome! I went the pegboard route too, only I hung it on the side of the stacked washer/dryer (yep, THAT’s in thekitchen too) with magnets. Gor rid of a lot of stuff when we moved to this location a month ago. I’m giving it six months and see what else goes.

  2. Jennifer H says:

    I LOVE the use of vertical space here. I am rethinking how to set up my own kitchen space now. I just popped over to register and vote. Good luck!

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