Small Kitchen - Two Cooks!

Small kitchen - two cooks - recipe for disaster?

In olden days, the woman of the house was in charge of the kitchen.

"Get out! I'm cooking in here!"

But today everybody likes to be the, pitches in, I mean.

This is a subject dear to my heart. My husband and I like to prepare meals together. I am a natural-born klutz, so he's in constant danger anyway.

When we remodeled our small kitchen, setting up a layout that SAFELY works for two was a priority!

Ways to share workspace in a small kitchen

  1. Buy two of everyday use items like scissors and paper towel holders for each side of the room.
  2. Agree ahead of time who's doing what for this particular meal.
  3. Divide the kitchen into workstations - one for food preparation, one for clean-up - with a neutral zone like an island or adjacent counter between the two of you.
  4. If you can, add a bar sink to the food prep area.
  5. The fridge and trash container work best when both cooks have separate access.


Here's our kitchen layout before.

The only real space was the area in the middle...plenty of room to crash into one another!

What had to change:

  • A corner base cabinet so deep and mysterious a small stowaway could have lived there and we never would have known.
  • Waiting in line to take turns at the sink.
  • Three doors and through-traffic going every which way.
  • Sharp corners everywhere to crash into.
  • A fridge that stuck out into the room right at the back door...adding to the obstacle course feel of the kitchen.
  • Stove with no counter on one side.
  • Jailhouse size window over the sink.
  • The hideous cabinets, flooring, wallpaper, etc. the previous owners of the house left us.

Check out these horrendous B4 pix:

Don't you just LOVE the bare light bulb over the sink? Peeling wallpaper? Blue Formica cabinets?


Ahhh...MUCH better!

The house's original wood wall cabinets on each side of the window were under all that blue Formica!

We plan to add glass doors one day.

What we did:

  • Opened up the room with a peephole to the living room, a pass-through to the dining room, and a larger window.
  • Added a bar sink near the stove, with a convenient second paper towel holder.
  • Got rid of the corner and thus the corner cabinet.
  • Added an island. Placed it against the wall, with a shelf above for the microwave, breadbox, etc. Because it's free-standing, it can be moved out if we ever want to change things a bit - rearrange the furniture.
  • Bought a slim 24" deep refrigerator - and made it a built-in! Wider and taller than the typical model, the fridge's shallow depth makes it easier to walk in the door. Front panels to match the wall beadboard make it almost disappear.My dad came to visit after the remodel, looked around and asked, "Where's the fridge?"
  • Carved a shallow pantry out of the wall next to the fridge. The original kitchen had a tall pantry near the stove...where we desperately needed more counterspace.
  • Changed the typical skinny windowsill to a long custom-shaped one to keep small cluttery things off the countertop.
  • Installed a larger, energy efficient window.
  • Created a hanging BBQ tool rack - for utensils too big to store.

My husband made all the cabinetry from scratch!

Note the cool wrapping station on the end of the island (he used band saw blades for saw-tooth cut-off edges).

We re-used a few things - like the cutting board countertop from an old cabinet.

We squeezed that little brown corner cabinet next to the fridge for pet food, plastic bags and other miscellany.

Can you find the fridge in this picture??

Kitchen Plans for Small Spaces

Design Ideas for Compact Kitchens

Kitchen Storage Ideas

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Thinking of remodeling?

Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.

Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.

Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.

See our DIY section...

...for how-to on kitchen remodeling - including
How To Tile a Backsplash.