The nature of the kitchen in small houses varies as much as the wants and desires of the number of people who have small kitchens. Some people want large appliances for a gourmet experience, some require little space, preferring simplicity and efficiency. The configurations for kitchens in tiny houses are also widely varied with modular kitchenette to custom cabinetry and individually purchased devices.
The complete kitchen unit, as shown in this image, has advantages over custom-built kitchens. Not only does one know the exact dimensions of the unit, but also the entire features as well as cost. Such a unit should generally cost between 1200-1300 and 2200 dollars. Any sort of complicated or time-consuming carpentry is negated. Plus, many companies offer a considerable number of designs and sizes and styles. Gas or electric, installation usually takes little time and the models are not particularly heavy.
Although the modular kitchen is usually complete, it does have the draw back of a lack of customization. The appliances are well set and a larger refrigerator or bigger stove is not always possible. A unique construction allows, of course, for an almost infinite variety of configurations, depending on the space. The materials and finishes on either type will determine cost. However, customization allows for a wide consideration of the materials used. Even used appliances, unique materials, and reclaimed objects reduce prices. Conversely, expensive materials can be used if the budget permits.
Tiny house DIYers have long known that picking things up at thrift stores and garage sales and transforming pieces of furniture or objects into something else, combines the notion of pre-made and customization. For instance, a mid-century modern credenza can be reworked into a sink and counter for the kitchen or bathroom.
The great thing about using free-standing furniture in fitting out a kitchen is that everything is movable. Rearranging or remodeling involves less tearing down and cleaning up. Besides accommodating unique problems in a space, the ability to adjust and reorganize also allows one to change the nature of the space such as in the definition between living and dining rooms. A piece can act as a room divider, for instance. Since many found objects don’t usually garner great expenditures, plowing right into a transformation doesn’t create much anxiety, either. Depending on the creativity of the designer, the results can offer great satisfaction. Using a credenza as a bathroom vanity as in this image, only alludes to the great number of possibilities involved in re-purposing items.
Not only do people redo used furniture, but inexpensive shelving and other pieces from Ikea or other stores indulge the creative impulses of “hackers” who turn these pieces into all sorts of items without spending a lot of money.
Some ideas don’t require elaborate planning and execution. Many times a bit of paint or adding some legs are all that is necessary in creating a one of a kind design. However, with modern ideas, by keeping things simple, one can never go wrong.
A tiny house kitchen needn’t perform inefficiently or not provide enough space. As is mentioned over and over again regarding tiny houses, vertical space affords a great deal of organizing solutions. Pegboards or hooks will handle utensils, pans and spice racks to name a few, for example. Cabinets and shelving that go all the way to the ceiling, with access by step stool, will ease storage shortages. Yet storage should not be limited to the particular area. Nothing is wrong with placing non-kitchen items in excess space, regardless of the traditional notions concerning functions. In a small house, nothing is too far away.
Central to the whole concept of any kitchen the single most important question arises, “What do I actually use a kitchen for?” Many people have more kitchen than they really need simply because they have an image in their mind of occasions that may not actually happen all that often, if at all. Thinking carefully and objectively about how one uses a kitchen is essential for the proper kitchen. Too much kitchen eats up valuable room and upsets the free flow of space, consuming budgets and time. If in anticipation of preparing a meal for a major holiday once a year inflates the size of a kitchen, a good hard look at what one truly wants becomes necessary. Better yet, be creative and include in the design a way to expand the kitchen and dining areas temporarily, while keeping the kitchen an appropriate size for the rest of the time. For those of us lucky enough to live in a balmy climate, of course, the outdoors can furnish plenty of cooking, eating and entertaining space.
One of the greatest things about modern design is that nothing is fixed to tradition or period style. A modern kitchen includes what one wants without regard to what preconceived notions one has about what a kitchen should be. Not all functions of a kitchen need be in one place, for example. The kitchen can fold up or hide or flow outdoors. So many modern designers from the 20th century through the present have created amazing, magical ideas for kitchen design, that with a little research, one can find a solution to any problem or desire.