Monday, December 20, 2010

My tiny (French) kitchen

Did I mention that I have a small kitchen?  Okay, it's bigger than Jill Santopietro's tiny kitchen, but not by much.  And it isn't really French, but it reminds me so much of the small apartment kitchens in Paris, so it's fun to pretend.

I am in the process of planning a renovation, but the kitchen still has to work for me now, so I've been looking for ways to save/increase space.

I was happy to discover this over-the-sink cutting board; you can click on the pic for a better view.  Wow, what a difference it has made!  In addition to being a cutting board it's a great place to set a few dishes to dry, and it has increased my counter space. What a great find.

Have you found ways to save/stretch space in a tiny kitchen?  I would love to hear your ideas!


  1. My biggest piece of advice for those with small kitchens is to find out what items can do a double duty and get rid of the unnecessaries. For instance, we all know that the staub pot can roast a chicken, make soup, and is the perfect thing for grilled cheese, caramelizing onions and even frying bacon or a hamburger. So instantly one pot can fill the space of many.

    Also, obviously organization and loving pieces enough to leave them out. I don't ever put my tea kettle up, I have a olive wood tasting spoon that stays on my counter on it's rest, and the staub pot will more than likely stay on the stove (after all, I plan to use it so much it might as well settle in). And I have a crock for my most used utensils (wooden spoons, silicone spatulas, and whisks) that takes up very little room (much less than if they were in a drawer.

    Oh, and have you considered open shelving? I think it can make smaller kitchens look larger and friendlier. Although there is a faux kitchen at IKEA that is pretty small, but with white cabinets that edge the room it looks perfectly sized.

  2. ....not exactly a space saver, but Michael Robert's "Parisian Home Cooking" is based on what Parisians really cook in tiny Parisian kitchens. A wonderful book, not well enough known.

  3. Kalee, I agree with your suggestion of open shelving and am considering it when I reno my kitchen. And I was thinking about putting some utensils on the counter, but I have so little counter space and was trying to keep those surfaces free of anything extra.

    Marion, I have never heard of "Parisian Home Cooking" but can't wait to find a copy!

  4. I second the utensil crock, nestled right by the stove. I keep a tea kettle and large le creuset dutch oven on my stove at all times for storage. I use upper cabinets for storage of my staub braiser and I nest casserole dishes inside the next biggest one, also kept in the upper cabinet (glass front). I used to be afraid of all my glass front upper cabinets and would keep it very uncluttered and only decorative, however, I've since started using it for functional items like the pots, cookbooks etc and I like the way it looks. it would be similar to open shelving. I keep my kitchen aid mixer in an armoire in the living room. I don't use it every day so it's better that it's not in the kitchen all the time. Same goes for my food processor. I installed coat hooks on the inside walls of my lower cabinets and I hang saute pans from them. They nest up against the inside wall of the cabinet and if you get one with two hooks, you can hang two pans. It gets them off the base of the cabinet and frees a ton of room. I also hang potholders, a strainer, large tongs, etc, like this.

    Consider using lazy susans purchased from discount stores inside your cabinets for spices. I have an odd shaped corner upper cabinet and I have four lazy susans with spices for savory, sweet, even medicine and kitchen matches are stored there. It's easy to turn them and find what you need. I have a big lazy susan in my refrigerator for condiments for the same reason, no reaching far back. I will put things on top of my refrigerator. Right now it's extra Pellegrino water and a carafe. But I've even had the Staub braiser up there and a French market basket (in which you can store things too). I keep serving pieces in a separate storage area and I place smaller platters propped up behind where my plates are in the upper cabinets. it provides a backdrop and a place to store them. I don't have a pantry and use a double lower cabinet for that so it's small and I never have it overloaded. I will take things out of their boxes and store them more compactly in the pantry if I can.

    Some things I would like solutions for that I think are bulky...a salad spinner, my toaster, which I keep in a lower cabinet, and the microwave.

    Oh, and mirrors! I hang vintage mirrors all over the place and it bounces light around and makes it look a lot bigger.

  5. Steph, thanks for sharing all of this. I never even thought of hanging anything on the inside of cabinet doors--what a fabulous space-stretching idea. Yes, I will definitely do that. And I do store a large roasting pan in the oven, but never thought of using the microwave for storage, especially since I rarely use it.

    I discovered the mirror idea back in the fall, when my house was staged for sale--thanks for reminding me. Maybe I'll hang a mirror behind the sink-stove to use as a kind of temporary backsplash; I think it will help to visually expand the space.

    All great ideas--thanks so much!

  6. That cutting board looks great. Being over the sink makes it easy to slide trash,etc. right down the drain. I don't have any good tips. I did/need to do again, keep a list of all the pantry items I had on stock. It was organized by type of food and them alphabetical.