Sunday, August 16, 2009

Compact Cuisine

“Life imitates art far more than art imitates life”, according to Oscar Wilde, a famous novelist. In the case of the movie, “Julie and Julia”, those lines are somewhat blurred, as Julie Powell, a New Yorker, frustrated with her job, decides to write a blog about Julie Child and embarks on cooking all 524 recipes in Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking. Movies, while having some influence over the latest fashions or trends, may also be a reflection of current societal modes and explore our lifestyles, on the big screen. I think this movie may do a little of both. We are reconnecting with friends and family and spending more time doing so, over meals. From comments I have heard, since “Julie and Julia” was released, people are pulling out their favorite cookbooks and recipes, including Julia Child’s, and are expressing their affection for the art of cooking and for those with whom they are sharing the bounty.

Julie_and_juliaI thought it would be interesting, to also layer in another direction we are witnessing in design . . . the direction of scaling down and scaling back in our interiors. A gourmet kitchen does not have to be of the footprint where one might need a pair of skates to navigate across from one counter to the other. I would imagine, in fact, due to NYC real estate being quite precious, Julie Powell’s kitchen was of a more diminutive size. NYC chefs, being some of the best in the world, have often commented about their apartment kitchens and how they best utilize the space they have, without waxing poetic of someday cooking in a gargantuan one. They seem to revel in efficiency.

For those of you who may be thinking you need to knock out a wall to enjoy the experience of the gourmet lifestyle, please enjoy the following photos and notes. Bon Appétit!

small-kitchens-02 MLChef Manhattan Chef, Michael Lomonaco, creates his own personal best in this “right-sized” kitchen in his apartment. Nothing overly fancy, just clean lines and a cleared counter to allow for food prep to take place. Everything is stored within an arm’s reach.

two-oven Miele Miele offers several dual purpose appliances for functional efficiency. This oven is a microwave and convection oven rolled into one.

micr-brewConserving precious counter space is what this LG micro/coffee brewer is all about. You can heat up your morning muffin and keep the coffee mug full with its six-cup capacity pot.

galley-kitchens-01 - TOH Galley kitchens can be the epitome of efficiency, but that doesn’t mean they need to be lacking in style or charm. Having great lighting, via a combination of natural illumination from the windows, with recessed and under cabinet “z” strips, make for an airy view. Keeping cabinets light, with a contrasting stone sink and counter, as well as great design “bones”, prevents a small kitchen from seeming less than luxurious.

7-small-kitchens-xlg-64674546 This kitchen fools the eye with its perception of space. There is the smart U-shaped cabinet layout, the continued openness of the windows with glass door fronts and the light mosaic backsplash, which pushes the walls outward, visually. The farm table gives a great island-like work space without closing in the view to the cabinets. Everything you need, in the most modern of appliances, is here to create the best of cuisines.

small-kitchens-09 If you can’t spread out your kitchen space, go deep! So much great storage can be lost behind conventional cabinet doors. Look how much food they were able to place in a pull-out shelving unit!

small-kitchens-04 Make drawer storage count by going deeper, here, too. It’s less strain on the back to reach in for some of your heavier cookware.


This may not be a kitchen built for a huge family, but if you have a vacation cottage or a carriage house/guest house, there is no need to sacrifice function or style with a kitchen tucked under the eaves of a roofline. Refrigeration, microwaving and dishwashers are now manufactured in the form of a drawer . . . easy to tuck into the base cabinets to maximize the spaces above. - And to the right, a restaurant style cooktop/oven combo brings the “Cordon Bleu” right to your home!

slim-stove With a name like “Viking”, who would have imagined they could create a “mini-me” of their larger cooking ranges? Good things do come in small packages!

No matter the size of your current kitchen, I hope you leave with some ideas for making your culinary experience an even more pleasant one!

In memory of Julia – Cheers to You! - Wanda


1 comment:

Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

I love that microwave/coffee brewer, Wanda! Very space conscious. I also like the way cabinet storage is accomodating to what we need to store. As far as kitchen size, I am not a gourmet chef, but when I cook {as rare as that may be} I usually work in a small footprint ~ refrigerator, counter, sink, stove; and everything I need is within this footprint. I just like enough room for two people to work comfortably since a good amount of time there are two of us prepping and cooking.