Moving From a Big to a Small Kitchen

We've lived in our new (not newly built) home 2 weeks now. Two weeks of moving around boxes and clearing them out little by little. I would imagine that we have about 50 boxes left, maybe less. Plus, we still need to relocate some furniture into other rooms, and way too much stuff to put away, including clothing, as the boxes are unpacked. But, we LOVE the house and the location we're at. We could not be happier with those decisions.

My husband called me a hoarder last night, as he was moving boxes around. He doesn't know what he's talking about. 

We're adjusting quite well to moving from 4000 square feet of living space (not including unfinished basement/garage)  and being in that space for a LONG time, to approximately 1600 square feet of living space (same exclusions). The previous kitchen/eating area was 440 square feet, and the eating area was within the work space. The new kitchen is less than half that size, including the separate but adjacent, eating area. The work area, alone, is probably 120 square feet.

So far so good. I've had near zero anxiety about moving into a smaller kitchen. In fact, something very strange has been happening. I've been cooking every night since we moved in, except for one night. In the old house, we did far more take-out than cooking, and my husband and I shared cooking, together or separately, when we cooked. I USED to cook a LOT in years past, but, somehow that changed. Last night, I actually got in my car at 6 pm to seek out 3 ingredients and went to 3 stores until I found them! I'd NEVER do that before, at that hour of the day on a weeknight in the cold winter! I'm very much amused at this development and am just shrugging my shoulders and smiling. And this town we're in has FAR above average take-out opportunities too, in fact, it's a restaurant town!

Maybe I'm nesting?

Here's what I like about a smaller kitchen and this one in particular:

  • it's efficient - "Efficient" is an important word. Being efficient saves steps, saves time, saves energy. Efficiency is a good thing overall
  • it's good looking - It probably helps that the kitchen is good looking in general, although it definitely needs to be redone as finishes are wearing
  • it has decent appliances - high end for their time. I believe the whole kitchen is 18 years old.
  • it's efficient - in terms of the cooking and cleaning processes, specifically
  • it's small, yet wide open to the living area beyond - the cook is part of the social scene, yet the mess is completely concealed 
  • it's small, yet wide open to the living area beyond - when alone in the kitchen, it's also lovely to be in a multi functional environment.
  • the architecture - there are vaulted ceilings, light painted walls and lots of windows, significantly enlarging the feeling of the space. This is huge, and I cannot overstate the importance of these features.
  • tv and fireplace - for me, that's really heaven, to have both of these in view, while cooking.
  • Bottom line - I LOVE the efficiency!

All is not perfect in Pleasantville, however! I do have storage issues. Which immediately brought back one of the questions that I've asked my clients over the years..."Do you store kitchen items elsewhere in the house that you'd like to move into the new kitchen?" I think I'll be storing some lesser used items outside of the kitchen. Because we are in a split level home, the stairs are about 6 steps each to 3 levels, so it's one short staircase to the next lower level, which is my office area, above the basement, below the main floor. Maybe I'll design some concealed kitchen storage on this level, 6 steps down from the kitchen. That will work and would be the equivalent steps as if my kitchen were large, so I think it's important not to think of removed storage as an unfortunate solution. Whatever works for the owner, that's the right answer.

We moved by choice to a smaller home, so maybe that's part of the relative ease of adjusting. I'm also pretty much a positive person, so my focus seems to be on what's good rather than what isn't. And, I really enjoy looking at and finding alternative solutions to challenges, so it's all good. relocated storage now forgotten storage later? I'll find out.

And, with the kids grown, we've become a family of multiple cooks when we get together, so how will that work? Did I make a mistake getting this size kitchen? A big mistake? Granted, this kitchen is not as small as many, but it's a LOT smaller than the one I came from!

But, kitchen design is what I do for a living. I've asked myself, why didn't I look for a home with the biggest kitchen possible in our price range? I could have found a bigger kitchen. I'm going to talk about that soon, what was and was not in "the big picture" of our house search.

How about you? What size kitchen do you have and how do you feel about it? Here are some shots I took the day of the house inspection in mid November. There is another room on the other side of the kitchen, a good sized living room. More about that soon!



Posted on January 13, 2009 .