Text by: Tiffany Carboni, editorial contributor
A small kitchen most always poses design challenges. But for architects Ili Nilsson and Luly Melarti, both masters of space management, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as figuring out creative solutions for a space-challenged situation.
This tiny kitchen in Decatur, GA was no exception. The design team's first move was to remove a wall separating the kitchen from a formerly enclosed porch-turned-breakfast room. By taking out this one small (but significant) barrier, they were able to create an efficiently-crafted galley kitchen with enough space for a custom laundry cabinet.
To make the most of a small space, cabinets have to work harder. The architects used custom cabinets built by Greenwalt and Sons Custom Cabinetry painted in Sherwin Williams’ Pavestone. Made with inset doors and full extension pullout shelves, the cabinets are easy to navigate and keep organized. “We kept the palette of colors and materials light and low key to make the space feel bigger,” explains Nilsson. Translucent waffle glass panels create a vintage apothecary look while reflecting the light from the Kichler chandeliers and pulley sconce from Architects & Heroes Interiors. “The homeowner inherited a number of heirlooms from his family’s farm that are sprinkled throughout the house,” notes Nilsson. “It was important to him that the kitchen’s details emulate those pieces even if they’re new.”
The island is a perfect example. Made of pine and finished in dark mahogany, the new piece looks like it could have been in the family for generations. A flush inset granite top serves as a food prep station while internal hardwiring accommodates a hidden microwave that would otherwise take up space on the much-needed countertops.
White Cashmere granite provides clean, no-fuss counters that work well for the single man of the house. “We gave the room all the comforts of a family kitchen, although with harder, more masculine lines but without any austerity,” points out Nilsson.
As for the laundry, Nilsson and Melarti were able to establish a more convenient (not to mention more attractive!) spot in the house for the stacked washer/dryer by removing the wall separating the kitchen from what is now the breakfast room. The perforated metal doors safely retract when the laundry’s in use or close off the machines from view when done.
Just as the cabinets need to store as much as possible, so too do the breakfast nook’s built-in bench. In addition to providing a sizeable seat, both the top and bottom of the bench create additional storage areas. Directly across from the bench/laundry wall, an old bricked-in window was repurposed as a food pantry. To give the illusion of a larger space, bead board adorns the wall horizontally.