Wednesday, December 21

Case Study: Little Kitchen with Big Style

I recently had a disabled client come in and she had a match box sized kitchen, but wanted every feature I could manage to shoehorn in there.  I stared doing some research and realized, there are some great products out there for a small kitchen that make the space usable.

First off, this particular client only had room for three wall cabinets, and with the possibility of being in a wheel chair in the next year, it worried her about how to access the wall cabinets once she was in a seated position.  I suggested, and she went with the Rev-A-Shelf Cabinet Pull Down Shelving System.  At approximately $300, this unit makes any wall cabinet accessible, and is easy to install.

The next hurdle for this customer.  She wanted double ovens, but barely had enough wall space for a refrigerator, much less two wall ovens at an easy to reach height.  I went a little off in the realm of "accessible" by going with a double oven range.  Since the range had to be placed in a peninsula, I went with the GE Cafe Double Oven Range with five burners, and best of all, no pesky back splash.  For this client, all she will typically use is the upper oven, which is at just the right height, and the smaller size makes it great for her meals for two.  A smaller oven means quicker preheating times, and less energy waste.  The lower oven is great for when her kids are home visiting during the holidays, when she will have help with the cooking.  The five burners, including the griddle, is more than sufficient for her typical cooking routine.  The customer originally wanted a downdraft range, but wasn't willing to part with her second oven, so I found a great glass island mounted hood to go above.  With the glass canopy, her view of the adjacent living room wouldn't be obstructed while sitting and cooking.

The next amazing product for this customer, was a Tall Pantry Pull-Out, available through Kraftmaid Cabinetry.  Since the small pantry was squeezed between a wall and the refrigerator, I decided this was a great accessory to easily organize her pantry storage, as well as bump the fridge away from the wall so she can open the door more than ninety degrees.  There wasn't much room for a pantry, but due to the small size of the kitchen, and lack of storage, it was a necessity for this client.

The door style we went with was a wide rail shaker from Kraftmaid.  This door style is simple, and easy to keep clean, and we went with a lightly stained maple, to keep the color pallet light and open.  Since the kitchen is so small, the client was very worried about using too dark of finishes, and closing in the space.  Since resale was a large factor also, she wanted to go with neutral finishes to appeal to the majority of buyers.

For the countertops, the customer had her heart set on marble, but knew that many future buyers, and guest cooks, might damage it.  I suggested a new color from Silestone called Lyra, which is very similar to Carara Marble, yet requires no sealing, maintenance, and is about the same price.  The backsplash is a white subway tile with a glass mosaic liner for added color and interest.

This kitchen is in the process of being installed, and pictures will be uploaded as soon as I have them available.  When doing a small kitchen, it is very important to know what the customer wants, what they need, and what products are available to make their dream kitchen a reality.  It's also good to have a good Kitchen Designer on your side that knows what you are looking for and understands what your needs are.  The customer told me in our first meeting that I was the third designer she had talked to, that everyone told her that her wants and needs list was impossible in the space she had.  She didn't want to take no for an answer, and when I started showing her multiple appliance options and interior cabinet options, she was able to get nearly everything she wanted, and have everything she needed.