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Tanya's Compact, Glowing Kitchen




Philadelphia, Pennsylvania



Square Feet:


How many people live in home:

One-ish: One adult human (me) and one adult cat (Oopie).

What makes your small kitchen so cool?

Space, function, color! The opened-up kitchen feels spacious and part of the house now, making it easy to chat with friends while fixing a meal or just having a drink. I often sit and work at the counter because it’s such a comfortable space. At night I especially love to cook by the glow of the undercabinet LEDs bouncing off the cobalt glass tiles. The compact appliances suit the small space and leave a bit of floor space for Oopie. The curved peninsula sits atop a cabinet with drawers facing the dining room, making use of otherwise unreachable space next to the stove. In winter I love cozying up to the radiator.

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

My kitchen was a tiny enclosed thing – literally an afterthought to an 1890s row house. The openings were my major challenges. The door out to the tiny yard opened only 45 degrees, and the room itself was cut off from the dining room and felt claustrophobic. For ideas I toured as many open-house row houses as possible. I decided to close up the exterior door entirely and convert the adjacent dining room window into a door. This enabled me to fill the kitchen with cabinets. I pushed the kitchen out a little into the dining room by using a shallow base cabinet and putting a curve on the overhanging countertop. This gave me a deep countertop with adequate space to walk around it.

Favorite Meal to Cook in Kitchen

Every one of them! Whether I’m making iced coffee or sauteeing veggies – or just putting together a boring breakfast, I feel like I’m making something exciting because of the space.

Favoriting and voting have ended.

Comments (9)

Very pleasant: looks like you could eat right off the counters!

posted by JRoberts99 on July 23, 2011 at 4:50pm
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Elegant and functional! Working with Tanya on this kitchen was a delight.

posted by Lblau on July 22, 2011 at 10:51am
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I love the color combination of the backsplash, the cabinet, and the yellow walls... and you have a very cute cat.

posted by annaminnie on July 22, 2011 at 10:00am
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I've seen the before and after on this one, and Tanya's use of space is nothing short of incredible!

posted by Linda from Philly on July 22, 2011 at 12:24pm
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Wonderful European style: small and narrow appliances, elegant simplicity powered by bold color and distributed task lighting. These are the kinds of smart and functional kitchens you find in Stockholm apartments.

posted by jmarieyogi on July 22, 2011 at 1:45pm
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Great use of space! Love the bold colors too.

posted by mashley on July 22, 2011 at 4:19pm
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i love the kitchen! the color combos are great!
what refrigerator is that?

posted by purseho on July 23, 2011 at 1:12pm
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To Everyone: Thanks so much for your positive comments!

@purseho: Thank you! The refrigerator is from Summit (known more for their coolers) and I'm very happy with it. It's about half the cost of the Lieb-Herr fridge and is about the same size.

posted by tanya67 on July 23, 2011 at 1:47pm
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A few details about the materials and other items:

The floor is re-milled heart of pine and matches the rest of the floors in the house; the backsplash tile is made from recycled glass; the cherry wood is from nearby in Pennsylvania; the Icestone is from Brooklyn; and the radiator I bought off craigslist and had it stripped and powder coated. The old kitchen cabinets would not have fit into the new configuration so they are now in my basement serving as my workbench and organizing my tools. The renovation was initially about improving the kitchen, but it became a critical effort to stabilize the withering foundation, fix the rotting exterior walls, and build a new ceiling so the bathroom above would not fall into it.

posted by tanya67 on July 25, 2011 at 12:23pm
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