• Small kitchens

MUKILTEO GEM: before & after


For those who love to cook and bake, small kitchens can be just as comfortable and functional as the roomiest spaces. As an example, look at this recent project of ours. This particular home has a beautiful, unique architectural detailing with a killer view of Puget Sound. However, the kitchen lacked even the basic necessities. It was dark, gloomy and had insufficient counter space. Needless to say, it was time for Team Popov to step in.

The peninsula technically had a breakfast space for two, but it was facing an oversized cooktop, which left the homeowners very little counter and prep space around it. Above the cooktop was a pot and pan rack which made the already small kitchen feel cluttered and top heavy. Another major problem was the double sink that occupied a corner of the kitchen. Tit was a very awkward spot to stand while doing the dishes and loading the dishwasher. The dishwasher occupied some of the space where the person should be standing, so our clients had to step aside and bend down to be able to rinse and load the dishwasher. Imagine doing that three times a day!

On the main kitchen wall, the center spot was occupied by a tall double oven tower. Oven towers are typically 30” wide, which meant that 30” of counter space was lost. The biggest stretch of continued countertop was on the right-hand side of the oven, which happened to be on the opposite side of the main cooking/prep area. This made the space mainly usable for storage purposes. Another big pet peeve of the homeowners were the upper cabinets. When opening the upper cabinet doors, they would shoot straight up to the ceiling, so even a tall person had to use a step stool to close the cabinet.

While thinking about the kitchen, the homeowners decided to update their laundry room as well. The laundry room is a narrow, long room with a closet and pantry in it. The sliding closet doors would only open up a third of the storage space at a time and the built-in pantry with wire shelving had drywall framed around it, taking up valuable storage space. It was clear that this plain, boring, outdated room needed an upgrade as well!

First things first, we needed to give the homeowners a comfortable, casual dining space on the peninsula. We ensured to remove all services from the peninsula to allow for a clean, plain countertop space that the homeowners can enjoy while looking out at the water. In the old kitchen, the homeowner complained about the lack of storage for her cookbook collection, so we’ve added an open bookshelf that is easily accessible and a safe spot to store the books. We’ve relocated the sink to the center of the window wall to ensure plenty of counter space on either side. By doing so, we’ve eliminated the ergonomic issues around the sink. With a view like this, dishwashing does not feel like a chore anymore!

Anyone who’s designed a kitchen before knows how tricky corner cabinets can be. This small kitchen had two corners that we had to address. In this case, we used special blind corner pullout shelves in both corners to maximize the ease of access to the otherwise inaccessible storage. We gave our baking loving clients a powerful freestanding oven as well as a clean stainless-steel hood. Getting rid of the oven tower allowed a full continues run of countertop on either side of the stove, much to our client’s delight.

Before we finalize a kitchen design, we like to know where everything will be stored. To be able to do that, we take a detailed inventory of all the kitchen gadgets, dishes, pots and pans… pretty much everything that will be stored in the kitchen. While designing the cabinets, we’ve allocated space for all those items ahead of time. For example, take a look at the spice/utensil pullout, which are on each side of the stove, and the appliance garage with the pullout shelf. These solutions are not only great for keeping everything hidden but ensures ease of access when in use.

To maximize storage, we’ve created a fully built-in wall with tall cabinets and a built-in fridge. Here we have a pantry, speed oven, pullout shelves, and an ample of storage space. In order to maximize storage space, we’ve designed a custom, suspended shelf system. These shelves provide an elegant display for the homeowner’s beautiful dishes without blocking the natural light and the view. This is our favorite part of the kitchen!

Sometimes simplicity is the answer. For the laundry room we’ve demolished the long closet and pantry and gave the homeowners custom made tall storage units. The pantry was expanded to almost double in size and the closet now has a million shelves, storage for cleaning supplies, and even a designated spot for their vacuum. Looking at the laundry room, you would never guess how much real life is hidden behind those closed doors!

kitchen photo credit goes to: John Granen Photography

We're excited to share that our Mukilteo Gem was featured on Houzz.com as kitchen of the week! Click here to check out the full article.


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13343 NE Bel-Red Road Building C Suite 230, Bellevue, WA 98005

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