Smart Storage Solutions for Small Kitchens
Great Space Planning Provides A Spot For All The Must-Have Features
Designing a kitchen in a small cottage is like designing a space in a boat—you have to sculpt and grab every square inch to make the room high functioning. This was one of the biggest challenges faced by Kelly Smiar Interior Design and VanBerg Design + Remodeling when they crafted a new cook’s space for their La Jolla clients.
“The owners loved the beach cottage they had made their home, but the kitchen did not meet their needs,” Jeff Jertberg, Vanberg’s co-owner, says. “Many ideas were bandied about but it was eventually decided that a small addition to the house would better serve the design.”
The homeowners, Bill and Jane Smith (whose names have been changed as they did not wish to be identified), call the addition “the magic 40 feet” because that extra bit of footage made the narrow, less-than-200-square-foot kitchen feel twice its 1960 size—a time when many cook’s spaces weren’t meant to accommodate more than one chef. They lived with the dark, closed-off space for 15 years—until their stove stopped working.
“I always said that the kitchen remodel fairy came and broke their stove for them,” Kelly says, laughing.
A Thermador stove replaces the defunct JennAir, and a new SubZero fridge and freezer unit also was brought in. But it was the Miele coffeemaker that “changed my life,” Bill says. For homeowners who confess they drink coffee all morning long, the plumbed small appliance was a massive hit.
“The homeowners describe this kitchen remodel as a stove replacement project that got out of hand,” Jeff says with a smile. “But now that they have a new layout they can easily work in the kitchen at the same time without constantly bumping into one another. And the small addition was just enough to install a very functional kitchen island, which includes two hidden electrical outlets at either end.”
Adding a 4-foot-by-9-foot skylight above the island floods the space with light, and enlarging openings—one a pass-through between the kitchen and family room, the other a door to the dining room—lends the kitchen the feel of a great room.
“When you stand in our kitchen now,” Jane says, “you can see out every window and door to the dining, family and sun rooms and out to our pretty backyard garden oasis. It’s incredible—and peaceful.”
Materials and a gray-and-white color palette are in keeping with the traditional beach cottage. The low-maintenance taupe limestone flooring gives the illusion of sand and pendant lights look like tumbled beach glass.
Unlike the 1960s era, though, storage abounds with the addition of custom pullouts, shelves and two niches tucked in between the wall studs.
“The number one requirement was a place for them to put their take-out binder because they never cooked,” Kelly says. “I told them, ‘When you get this new kitchen, you are going to start cooking.’ And that’s exactly what happened. In fact, for her mom’s birthday, my client made a fabulous iced cake using a culinary torch!
“This kitchen is so beachy and bright, it just beckons you,” Kelly explains. “You want to be in there.”