How Two New Yorkers DIYed a Stylish, Functional Kitchen in Only 38 Square Feet

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

To share a mere 478-square-feet with another human has its challenges. But to share and successfully use only 38 square feet of kitchen space is even more impressive! There were many design dilemmas facing Ali and Chip when they purchased this small Brooklyn apartment three years ago, but none so mammoth as the task of making a teeny tiny kitchen work for two people who enjoy cooking. But they both deftly tackled the small and narrow space and have graciously shared all the details of how they did it themselves.

Not surprisingly, the most important thing the couple wanted to do with the remodel is maximize the small amount of space they did have. Here are some of things they did:

Out with the old, in with the new

First up? Taking out inefficient elements (cabinets, sink, range, and refrigerator) and replacing them with elements that would better fit the space and their needs. They installed a double oven, microwave, upper and lower cabinets, and a sink along the right side.

The narrow galley size and shape of the kitchen meant the couple couldn’t add a full-sized set of cabinets on the left side of the room, but they did add shallow (12″ deep) lower cabinets to the left side, “nearly doubling our counter and storage space.”

(Image credit: Ali McEnhill)

To open up the small room, they also removed a portion of the wall between the living/dining space and kitchen.

(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

No wasted space

“We didn’t want to waste an inch of space so we built a window box and added the tiny garden to the awkward space left between the window and the shallow cabinets.” They also added double pot racks from Wayfair on the back wall, allowing them to save precious cabinet space by storing pots out in the open.

The white metal cage to the right hides the steam pipe. (Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

Covered up stuff they couldn’t change

The ugly steam pipe that couldn’t be removed. (Image credit: Ali McEnhill)

They built a decorative wood and metal cage to disguise the steam pipe (which couldn’t be removed) and added open shelves to the left of it. “The cage is great because it doesn’t block the light from the large window and keeps the kitchen bright!”

(Image credit: Chinasa Cooper)

Custom built for beauty

(Image credit: Ali McEnhill)

They also built a custom cabinet just outside the kitchen in the living/dining area to house the refrigerator.

Not only does this help “hide” a giant appliance, it helps visually divide the kitchen from the open living room while still letting light flow throughout.