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Richard's Bright, Well-Lit Kitchen




New York, New York



Square Feet:


How many people live in home:

Two: my wife (and a baby on the way) and I

What makes your small kitchen so cool?

Light, space, and sound. We chose neutral colors and a combination of lighting to make it easy to focus on food preparation. The open design and super-quiet dishwasher and refrigerator makes it easy to interact with friends (and watch future kids).

One challenge you overcame in your small kitchen, or a good resource you've found.

We redesigned our kitchen as a part of a renovation to make the whole apartment more convenient for talking, moving around, and cleaning. Our kitchen was originally a galley layout connecting the entry/hallway and the dining alcove, with about 10 square feet of counter space. In the renovation, we removed the wall separating the kitchen from the living room and created an island, nearly doubling the counter area. To make up for the lost cabinets previously on the removed wall, we added a pantry and used taller cabinets on the remaining wall. NYC building code requires kitchenettes to be enclosed with walls or dropped smoke soffits. We installed recessed halogen spots over the island to provide task lighting while satisfying the soffit requirement. We found inspiration from photos at thekitchn.com. We visited Home Depot from the initial idea stage to getting the switch plate covers. A J Madison's web site was useful for finding appliances that would fit in our space.

Favorite Meal to Cook in Kitchen

Dinner for two! We both work outside the home, and we relax by making dinner together at the end of the day. We now have enough space for both of us to be in the kitchen at the same time. Typically, I wash the vegetables and she cuts and stir-fries them.

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (15)

Wow. What a difference! You did a great job with very limited space. I love the glass-fronted cabinets and the pantry!

posted by jarobinson1 on July 13, 2011 at 3:59pm
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I immediately wonder if the soffit was a code issue.It has been handled well.Make it useful!

I'm happy you didn't mimic the fridge panel on the island.That always looks beautiful until the stools arrive,then it becomes busy.You have a dinning area and I like that the island seating takes nothing away from it.

Beautiful and well balanced.Thanks for sharing.

posted by hello123 on July 13, 2011 at 12:34pm
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Really nice! Would you please share what kind of fridge you have. It looks exactly like what I want, and I want quiet.

posted by delistyle on July 13, 2011 at 4:29pm
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where did you get the stools? I am looking for silver "industrial" looking ones for my island!

posted by LiZezette on July 13, 2011 at 9:16pm
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We are glad that you liked our new kitchen! The fridge is Blomberg BRFB1450. Stools are from Crate and Barrel.
To hello123: interesting that you mentioned the island back. We actually bought the panels but decided at last minute not to use them to keep the look simple.

posted by Richard in New York on July 13, 2011 at 10:29pm
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Fabulous! Small space; huge style.

posted by aychihuahua on July 18, 2011 at 4:45pm
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Clean, efficient, understated elegance - I love it! The green pot looks great on the stove, and your island is perfect for showcasing the colors of fresh flowers or fruit. Great job.

posted by taoflower on July 19, 2011 at 1:46am
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beautiful, clean, simple.... lovely!

posted by NLB1125 on July 19, 2011 at 12:59pm
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simple, clean, and crisp.

posted by kitchenhip on July 19, 2011 at 3:22pm
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Clean and bright and a pleasure to behold-- house tour, please!

posted by Spencer2 on July 19, 2011 at 3:35pm
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posted by wendym1 on July 20, 2011 at 11:57am
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I LOVE everything about this space. It's almost exactly what we plan to do with our kitchen -down to the same fridge.

Richard - please can you send me your contractor details

posted by clur on July 21, 2011 at 10:23pm
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How beautiful! Love the Blomberg. Could you please share brands of your dishwasher and range? Is that the LG 22" microwave? If it's under a 24" cabinet, how did you fill the 2" gap? I'm currently dealing with this issue:(

It all looks great, Richard!

posted by spayurdog on July 22, 2011 at 1:58pm
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@clur: Thanks for your note! I tried to e-mail you through your web site but the message bounced. My contact information is on my profile. We recommend: e-counters.com -> Counter Revolution (Stone Systems of New Jersey), who cut and installed the SileStone counters and back- and side-splashes.

@spayurdog: you have very sharp eyes! The dishwasher is a Miele G2183SCSFSS; the range is a Fisher Paykel OR24SDMBGX1.

Since you both mentioned the Blomberg BRFB1450 refrigerator, I thought I would give a few hints on it. It's not precisely counter-depth: while it is 24" deep without the handle, they provide 1" spacers to prevent the heat-exchanger from touching the back wall. The electrical plug is normal, not flat, so if the socket is right behind the refrigerator, you will not be able to push the unit all the way back. Finally, because the freezer drawers span the full width of the freezer, you always need to open the freezer door a full 90" to open the drawers.

When we were designing the space, I remember times when we would flip through magazines paying attention only to toekicks. The next week, we would look only at moldings. Or lighting.

I think you're at this stage with fillers --- pieces of wood painted to match and installed flush with the cabinet frame. The LG 22" microwave is hung on the back wall. There are filler pieces nailed to the next-to-wall filler, neighboring cabinet, and bottom edges to hide most of the gap. These and other fillers constituted 5% of the Kraftmaid order.

In picture #3, at the top, can you see the gap between the pantry door and the refrigerator cabinet door, and how that is much bigger than a full-overlay style would allow? That's a filler (hiding structural support needed to center the 27" cabinet over the 27.7" refrigerator).

When we looked at sample kitchens in Home Depot and IKEA, we found only a few fillers. I think this is because sample kitchens are not required to fit into any particular space, and the cut-away look doesn't need visual glue.

Good luck!

posted by Richard in New York on July 22, 2011 at 9:01pm
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where did you get the 2 metal stools? If you can provide info on sourcing, that would be great. Awesome kitchen btw!

posted by MLH1971 on September 21, 2011 at 7:02am
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