If you’re following along, you know I’ve been planning a kitchen update chez moi since 2013. But between the rising exchange rate at the time followed by a leak that made my home unlivable for nearly two years, my dream kitchen was put on hold.
That doesn’t mean I sat idle. Oh no. While I waited in hope of more favorable conditions, I went through not one, not two, not three, but four different kitchen designs with a Darty kitchen “concepteur,” and spent countless hours researching kitchen features and appliances. I weighed every option, priced out every solution—cross-checked, comparison-shopped, crowd-sourced. Because if there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s chewing on an idea until it’s mush.
But by February, I was pretty sure I’d settled on a design that was the perfect combination of affordability and fabulousness, and by turning the orientation of the kitchen against the longer wall in my apartment, I could finally fit an oven and a four-burner stovetop. Christmas turkey was now possible!
Then the estimate from my contractor came in. The prep work to move all the plumbing and bring in additional electric for the oven was going to add another 3000 euros to the cost of the kitchen. Ouch. Would it be worth the investment for a few more feet of counter space and an oven? While I stood in my apartment pondering, I decided to tape out the kitchen to visualize it. And it all became very clear: added cost aside, this was a bad idea.
With the kitchen in its new location, I’d be losing 24 inches of surface from the width of my apartment—that’s two precious feet of an already tiny studio (258 square feet). And with tall, heavy cabinets looming overhead, I was going to visually reduce that space even more. Nope, very bad idea, indeed.
There was a reason the kitchen had been installed on the shorter wall: it didn’t intrude there. And we’d designed my closet to align with it, creating a proper entry hallway. The space was defined, with a perfect dining nook.
With the proposed kitchen, the space would be opened up into the entryway, blurring the lines between the spaces—but not in a good way. The hall closet would become part of the kitchen; the kitchen table would be pushed farther out into the room, giving diners a view of the closet and the front door. I was pretty sure that was a feng shui no-no.
Nope, the kitchen had to go back to the wall from whence it came, and that meant going back to two burners, zero ovens, and minimal counter space. After three years of designs and redesigns, I was going to end up with same efficiency kitchen, a just newer version. [Cue: heavy sigh.] The only consolation was the price: around 4000 euros total, including plumbing and electric.
But that’s not where the story ends, because there was a fifth design on the horizon. Before I could say “hello crappy small kitchen,” my architect Daniela Busarello came to the rescue, whipping up a modified “L” design that solved every problem: it kept the space open but didn’t sacrifice counters or storage. The extended “L” on the long wall would be only about as deep as the shelving unit that was currently there, yet had cabinets and drawers.
The result? Behold the new design, below! A gorgeous new kitchen that’s airy and open. I invested a little extra into hidden handles and an integrated extractor fan, making the look super minimal. I had to make a few concessions—for example, the refrigerator is woefully small, and I still have no oven, but I gain a four-burner stovetop, a large sink, and enough counter space to run an all-you-can-eat buffet.
Installation date: June 15th. Stay tuned for photos and video of the real thing. It’s been a saga, indeed, but I’d be lying if I said it hasn’t been a heap of fun. And I’m convinced that after five designs and three years of shopping around, I finally have the perfect kitchen. Convinced. Convinced I tells ya!