Out in San Francisco, a couple of enterprising folks have created an entirely different kind of kitchen. The rustic-modern Gypsy Kitchen has a sink, a two burner cooktop, a convection oven/toaster, and an undercounter drawer fridge — everything you would expect in a small studio kitchen. But because the Gypsy is portable, and entirely one piece, it's almost like a piece of furniture, which presents a whole range of new and interesting possibilities.
The Gypsy Kitchen is the brainchild of editor and writer Jennifer Nix, and was created in collaboration with sculptor Jeff Smith. Jennifer was inspired to create the Gypsy when she needed a short-term solution for cooking in her Sausalito cottage. She thought of Europe, where people often move with their entire kitchen, and started looking for attractive mobile solutions. When she couldn't find one that was available in the States, she decided to create her own.
Jennifer's Gypsy is built from a mixture of salvaged materials, including a small marble slab, butcherblock left over from a previous project, and overstock Heath Ceramic tiles. All the appliances are energy efficient, and the kitchen can be configured to use a greywater system designed with the help of author/activist Laura Allen of Greywater Action and local craftsman Kurt Norstad.
The best thing about the Gypsy is that it's cheaper and easier to install than a built-in kitchenette — since it's considered a piece of furniture, there's no permit needed to build it. This means it could be used to turn extra rooms into livable apartments, or anywhere you might find yourself needing a little kitchen: outdoors for entertaining, in a backyard guesthouse, or even in a small shop or office. (The Gypsy does require a water line in and out, just like a typical sink; outdoors, you can hook it up to a hose and use a bucket to collect the waste water.)
Jennifer has created a website for people interested in DIYing a portable kitchen similar to the Gypsy, or for those interested in purchasing their own. You can check it all out at ModNomadStudio.