CKRY's Micro Kitchen Renovation

Before & After

Name & Profession: CKRY, architects
Location: Brooklyn Heights
Size: 400 square foot 1-bedroom in an 1870's co-op — owned

When we moved into our apartment four years ago, the kitchen was at the top of our list of things to tackle. Its dated appliances (c. 1980) were too big for the space and the kitchen was enclosed behind cumbersome doors. The intent of this monstrosity, we guessed, was to hide the kitchen since it was located in the main living space. But the enclosure wasn't fooling anyone — it was anything but discreet:

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This pic was taken shortly before we moved - the shelves are uncharacteristically empty.

Enter Mini Kitchen Tour

We've since moved out of the apartment, but that tiny kitchen reno is still a fond memory. My husband and I tackled the old kitchen the first chance we got after moving in (i.e. day one). We already had a new and simple design planned, but getting the old kitchen out was the first obstacle. We gave away the old appliances on Craigslist. We tore the old kitchen enclosure out (it didn't go without a fight), pulled all the nails from the wood, and gave the materials to the building manager, who was eager to stockpile it in the basement for future projects. And we tore up the floor, which was a 2" raised platform of thick-set clay tile over the beautiful original oak parquet floor.

Our solution was to replace the old eyesore with something no-nonsense and unapologetic. Instead of hiding it behind an anything-but-demure enclosure, we attempted to make the new kitchen openly and quietly functional in the corner of the main living space. The layout wasn't ideal and we would obviously prefer a separate kitchen but space didn't allow for it. The next best thing, we determined, was to make this mini kitchen as functional and benign as possible (on a strict budget) within the apartment's main living space.

APARTMENT THERAPY SURVEY:

My/Our style: Good traditional bones with sensible modern tweaks

Inspiration: Peter Zumthor, Renzo Piano, farmhouse modern style

Favorite Element: the old building

Biggest Challenge: Storage. We created additional kitchen storage by carving a pantry out of an adjacent coat closet. It provided more than enough space for food storage, the microwave, and additional serving dishes.

What Friends Say: "We can't believe you cook so much in this tiny kitchen."
 
Biggest Embarrassment: kitchen in the living room

Proudest DIY: designing and building the backsplash out of off-the-shelf hardware store parts

Biggest Indulgence: the undercounter fridge

Best advice: hire a good plumber!


RESOURCES OF NOTE:

Stainless counter and integrated sink: custom by Monroe Kitchens in Rochester (585.235.3310)

Faucet: Moen, reused from old kitchen

Tiles: 3x6 honed Carrara marble from Bella Tile

Backsplash lighting: Super-Sleek T5 from Brodwax

Cabinets: AlanCraft

Undercounter refrigerator: 30" Marvel refrigerator/freezer (its 8 cubic feet of storage was plenty for us since we lived near lots of markets)

Range: Summit 20" professional gas range from Compact Appliance

Shelving: IKEA's GRUNDTAL

RELATED POST: Look!: Backlit Backsplash

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Style, Architecture, Kitchen

Regina is an architect who lives with her husband and son in Lawrence, KS. As a LEED Accredited Professional and longtime contributor to Apartment Therapy and The Kitchn, her focus is on healthy, sustainable living through design.

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