Make a tiny kitchen functional, pleasant Design: Think vertical, use every square inch and plan for everything, and you can enjoy cooking even in a very small apartment.

December 15, 1996|By Rita St. Clair | Rita St. Clair,LOS ANGELES TIMES SYNDICATE

Regular readers of this column must know that I'm smitten with kitchens. Probably because I love to cook -- and owing also to my enjoyment of hanging out at home with friends and family -- no other room makes me feel more contented than an airy, efficient and comfortable kitchen.

I'm fortunate to have just such a space. But I realize that not everyone is so blessed, especially those city dwellers who must cope with truly minuscule areas allocated for food preparation and storage.

While it's often difficult and frustrating to work in that kind of kitchen, this need not be a permanent condition. With some careful planning and a bit of design creativity, even a kitchen the size of a walk-in closet can become a functional and pleasant setting.

Kimberley Fiterman suggests how to perform such a feat through the model she created for the Ansonia Condominium Showcase in Manhattan. As the photo shows, this New York-based interior designer transformed a cramped galley-type kitchen into an electronic wonderland that not only looks sleekly contemporary but actually functions at high efficiency.

Black appliances are set against stainless-steel cabinets and granite counters to give the space a cool, industrial-style appearance. Because of the shortage of square footage, the layout here is rectangular rather than the triangular arrangement favored by most kitchen planners. But since this setup works well in this particular situation, why not go with what's practical and convenient?

In tight quarters, vertical space has to be used just as effectively as the horizontal. The microwave oven was therefore installed directly above the range. Similarly, the cabinets extend right up to the ceiling to maximize storage capacity. And note that a small stool, suitable for either sitting or climbing upon, is included among the equipment stowed in that vertical corner cabinet.

The pie-shaped shelves above the stool hold electronic work and entertainment gear, since -- remember -- this is a New York apartment and space really is at a premium. Every square inch has to be made usable, including those in the corners. Specially hinged doors have thus been installed to permit easy access despite awkward angles.

No designer could ever make this the kind of kitchen where guests can chat at their leisure. That's one of the prices paid for living in an exciting urban environment, where much of one's life is oriented away from the home, anyway. But when this particular New Yorker does decide to cook for a dinner party, she'll find the task infinitely easier than would have been the case before this smart redesign.

Pub Date: 12/15/96

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