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Small Kitchens for Serious Chefs
Small Kitchens for Serious Chefs
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July 9, 2024

Small Kitchens for Serious Chefs

A good chef knows that good cooking comes down to more than just the kitchen – and its size. But having the right appliances and a generous benchtop doesn’t hurt.

A good chef knows that good cooking comes down to more than just the kitchen – and its size. But having the right appliances and a generous benchtop doesn’t hurt. These small-but-mighty kitchens were designed to make big culinary dreams come true.

Kate Kolberg
Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
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Photography:
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Do You Have a Compact Kitchen but Big Culinary Ambitions?

A good chef knows that good cooking comes down to more than just the kitchen – and its size. Just because a kitchen is small does not mean it can’t deliver on all of your culinary ambitions; it just may take some careful planning and smart organisation. There is not exactly a one-size-fits-all model for how a kitchen should look. Factors like space, cooking style, and preference all come into play when a kitchen is being planned. A baker, for example, is likely to want a larger oven, while a pasta aficionado would prefer a bigger stovetop. No matter the case, the key to maximising a small kitchen begins with prioritisation and the efficient use of space. 

Small Kitchen, Big Plans

If you know you love to cook and have the luxury of mapping out your floor plan in advance, one of the simplest ways to achieve an efficient compact kitchen is by allocating some extra space to it during the design process. This is the route David Sun took with his family home in Tokyo: “I enjoy cooking a lot and, if it was possible, I definitely wanted a professional-grade kitchen”, homeowner David Sun told Never Too Small. Sun was willing to sacrifice space that could’ve gone toward a larger home office to make sure his kitchen had a professional gas stove, sink, range hood, and, of course, gelato machine: “The shelving most close to the kitchen is supported by three pillars instead of two and the primary reason for this is to store my gelato machine, which weighs about 50 kilograms”, said Sun. Architect Motoki Yasuhara of SALHAUS noted how he believes this ultimately benefited the overall design: “I think this unbalanced combination of the big kitchen and the small space is a really important character for this house”. 

Yugo Yamada of Arte-1 Architects approached his own clients’ love of cooking during the footprint-planning stage by going vertical. 6 Tsubo House, a 56sqm/603sqft home for a Tokyo family, maximised the limited space by staggering the rooms on the upper levels, allowing for extra storage space in the stairway and beneath the kitchen. Yes, you read that right, beneath. Under a narrow kitchen filled with professional-grade appliances – including a powerful oven by Viking, a gas cooktop, and a commercial range hood – an underfoot pantry is accessible by a ladder. The clients have a second fridge down there as well as additional shelving for dry goods and other kitchen items.

Storage and More Storage

For those who lack the luxury of mapping out their full floor plans or dedicating additional square footage to their kitchens in advance, there are still many interventions and ways to get creative with the space at your disposal. Architects Javier Salvador and Yago García of HEIMAT studio provide a classic model for this with the ample storage in Furniture House, a 55sqm/592sqft apartment in Seville. The kitchen’s large, floor-to-ceiling built-in birch unit offers a solid mix of pull-out drawer, closed cabinets, and open shelving that ensure every item has its place. Architect Matt Reynolds took this a step further in the kitchen of his 250sqm beach chalet by placing a glass-doored cupboard in front of a window to maximise storage and natural light. When fixed elements are not in the cards, there are a number of existing solutions as well like the clever wall-mounted rack by HAY that David Buchler and his partner Koichi use in their 59sqm/635sqft apartment to store plates and cups. 

If cooking is your thing, a small kitchen should not deter you from pursuing your culinary passions. With strategic and realistic organisation, essential tools, and a touch of creativity, there is always a way to transform a small space into a fully equipped and functional kitchen that works for you. 

Writing:
Writing:
Kate Kolberg
Photography:
Photography:
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