Country Living's House of the Year: Kitchen Cottage
Big Ideas for Small Spaces
Look inside our killer 250-square-foot kitchen cottage that takes "cooking out" to exhilarating new heights. Here, 10 tips to create the same in your own backyard.
1. Go with the grain. "I like a kitchen with personality," says Marcus Samuelsson, "rather than some sterile white box." Ruard Veltman introduced character—not clutter—by cladding the walls in reclaimed barn wood from Tall Cotton Supply. "The layout of this small kitchen is very spare, but reclaimed barnwood warms things up," says Veltman. A vintage sign from Repop contributes an extra dose of folksy charm.
2. Keep it on the down-low. Instead of overwhelming the cottage with cabinetry, Veltman limited himself to lower units, and an island by Cornell Cabinets & Millwork. And though he sited the Whirlpool cooktop and Porcher farmhouse sink here—both set into Silestonecountertops—bulkier appliances find shelter in an alcove. The architect even tucked a dishwasher, also by Whirlpool, into the back side of the island, which is painted Kendall Charcoal by Benjamin Moore.
3. Preserve the view. Since a typical pendant lamp would block the windows, Veltman crafted an almost invisible fixture of cloth-clovered electrical cords, ceramic bases, and filament bulbs. "It's intended to look like its parts," he says. "And that's elegant."
Bright Idea: A trash chute cut into the island gets rid of food-prep trimmings fast.
4. Forget the work triangle. In a space this tight, it's not like point A is ever that far from point B. So Veltman moved the Whirlpool refrigerator and double ovens off to one side, behind abbreviated walls that lend a sense of separation but refuse to chop up the room.
5. That open shelving isn't just for show. "In such narrow confines," Veltman says, "you want as few swinging cabinet doors as possible."
Out in the Open
6. Why hide the ingredients you use most? "My spices don't sit in a cabinet—they hang out on the counter," says Samuelsson. These glass containers satisfy his desire to have essentials at hand, in an aesthetically pleasing way, while the kitchen scale is from Etsy.
7. All hail the pocket pantry! Those abbreviated walls posses a secret: Their back sides stockpile dry and canned goods on shelves that are accessible yet out of sight. Attractive whiteware and wineglasses line the shelves that face the island.
Dining Al Fresco
8. Expand your horizons. Weathered barn doors from Tall Cotton Supply slide wide open and "allow the indoors to merge with the outdoors, so the cook doesn't feel isolated," explains Samuelsson. Veltman further blurred the boundaries with a dining area shaded by an awning of Sunbrella fabric and furnished with a Grandin Road picnic table and benches.
Veltman divided the cottage into three areas, with the heart of the kitchen in the middle. On one side, the walls come out only 28 inches, visually setting off the zone that contains the shelves, the fridge, and two ovens. On the other side, there's a powder room with its own separate mudroom entrance—all cleverly hidden from the kitchen by a barn-wood door that disappears into the wall.
Kitchen Design Team
Architect Ruard Veltman, who runs his own firm in Charlotte, North Carolina, is known for working sophisticated wonders with salvage.
The 2010 winner of Top Chef Masters, Marcus Samuelsson, is also the author of three cookbooks. His New York City restaurant, Red Rooster, has sparked a latter-day Harlem renaissance.