At our firm, one of our key design principles is to never compromise on style or functionality on any project. As a designer I believe that our environments often affect our mood, our productivity and general well being. When I’m presented with small kitchen renovations, my primary objective is to carve out as much space as possible from any nook and cranny for added function for the space, while still keeping the aesthetics as the main priority. The kitchen we designed here lives in the rear area of a typical two storey Toronto home which is narrow and somewhat dark. We decided to open the space to the dining room which allowed for us to continue the wood floor from the living area right to the back for a seamless look. The back wall houses cabinets from floor to ceiling; this area was originally wasted space with only twelve inches of wall on either side. Designing shallow cabinets with adjustable shelves inside provides the homeowner with a huge amount of space for dry goods. We selected a crisp white satin finish for these cabinets to allow a seamless transition from wall to cabinet while the shaker doors gave the illusion of paneling.
Often an island is a very useful addition to any kitchen; here I chose to accentuate the island with a beautiful deep grayish blue colour. Though it is relatively small at about 40″ × 60″, its colour looks great against the wood floor and there is plenty of added prep space. The fourteen inch overhang opposite the sink allows for shallow stools to make this area a great place for a quick meal or entertaining. Choosing a dark colour for the base cabinets creates the illusion of more space because it visually recedes and your eye is carried to the white cabinets above. Open shelves are a real benefit in any small kitchen. Especially in a tight area, the absence of doors allows for easier access.
Not compromising on the quality of appliances makes any kitchen, no matter how small, more fun to use. Purchasing a range that has a double oven will certainly give you added functionality. We did not have space in this kitchen for a microwave, so we came up with a creative solution — we simply repeated the luxurious colour in a cabinet which was built around a post on the dining room side of the kitchen (inset photo above). It houses the microwave as well as ample space for glasses, platters and other items for dining.
Small spaces can often provide a challenging journey in the design process, however with clever and creative solutions, you don’t have to compromise style or functionality. Investing in the expertise of a professional who has knowledge and experience in the design process will provide you with personalized solutions which suit your needs.
More tips for small kitchens:
• Choose the same cabinet pull or knob on all the doors; this keeps the area from being visually busy.
• Upgrade your lighting with pot lights, under cabinet lighting, in-cabinet lighting, and hanging lights, and always use dimmers to create various moods.
• Add decorative details such as crown or posts to the cabinets to add a more customized look.
• Paint your walls similar to the upper cabinets for a more expansive look.
• Consider purchasing smaller appliances which now are not only stylish but offer better cooking efficiency options.
— Evelyn Eshun
Evelyn Eshun • Toronto-based accredited award winning interior designer, Principal of Evelyn Eshun Design. For almost two decades Evelyn has concentrated on and known for her custom designed residential projects throughout the GTA. Known for making your space showcase and bring out the best in you.