tips & tricks
SMALL KITCHEN, BIG IDEAS
Inspiring, organizing, and remodeling a small kitchen for beauty and functionality.
WRITTEN BY MADISON LISLE
PHOTOS BY RUDY MEYERS PHOTOGRAPHY
Alexandra Goedrich organizes each kitchen to the
individual, making cooking and meal prepping a breeze.
Small is big right now. With minimalism on the rise and housing prices through the roof, many home cooks find themselves in small, compact kitchens — full of stuff and out of ideas. A small kitchen, when functional and beautiful, can be ideal for a home cook. With everything at an arm’s distance, big ideas and meaningful changes are within reach.
A moveable feast
Flour Dust Pizza Co. chef and owner Mano Vrapi spends most days in his tiny mobile kitchen, a food truck serving the Greater Sacramento area. He started out by making pizzas in his backyard and later went to cooking school in Italy to hone his skills. Originally from Albania, Vrapi has been living in California for 17 years.
His advice? “Put it on wheels.”
Short of putting your entire kitchen on wheels, like Vrapi has, he suggests creating room to move around surfaces so other spaces in your kitchen are more accessible. Opt for a rolling island or side table on wheels that can double as storage and a moveable work surface.
Although most of Vrapi’s food prep is done off site in a professional kitchen, all cooking, baking, and assembling are done inside the tiny kitchen on wheels. The kitchen even includes a pizza oven as well as three refrigerators, boxes of tools and materials, and catering equipment.
Goedrich makes functional items beautiful in her kitchen, including using fruits and vegetables to brighten her windowsill.
“Great cooking starts with an organized kitchen,” says Alexandra Goedrich, the multitalented mind behind Inspired Kitchen Organization in East Sacramento. “Or, rather, it starts with a functional kitchen.”
Goedrich, a classically trained French cook, creates recipes daily in her 70-square-foot kitchen, so she is familiar with complex cooking in a small area. Goedrich specializes in compact kitchens and uses what clients already have to create practical and beautiful spaces.
“First you have to determine your triangle, between your fridge, stove, and sink. Just make sure whatever section you’re in, everything you need is within arm’s reach,” she says.
She says the first thing she asks clients is, “What is your ultimate goal; What do you want to achieve?”
She also asks who’s doing the cooking, how tall is the cook, when does he or she cook, and more. Goedrich likes to get to know her clients before she begins so she can make the best-designed kitchen possible for each individual.
“I like to decorate with functional items. Buy something with a purpose that also can add to the décor,” Goedrich says.
For example, she uses a three-tiered dessert stand to store her fresh fruits and vegetables on her windowsill.
“It increased my space, it looks pretty, and I don’t forget that I have that stuff; it doesn’t rot in the back of the fridge,” she says.
Inspiration? Check. Organization? Check. If a remodel or redesign is what your kitchen needs, then Renee Jordan, the interior designer behind Precision Cabinetry & Design in Rancho Cordova, can help. She started her business in Santa Cruz, hand-making cabinets for clients. Now after 29 years of interior design and cabinetry creation, she knows a thing or two when it comes to small kitchen problems.
“Small spaces are super efficient. It’s about maximizing every inch from the floor to the ceiling,” Jordan says. “Think about what you need and actually use, and plan accordingly.”
She describes a kitchen remodel done for a client who ate a raw diet; the client had no need for a stovetop, oven, or microwave. This enabled Jordan and her team to get creative with the space and not have to plan around superfluous appliances.
“Choose what works for you and run with it,” she says.
When it comes to designing or remodeling a kitchen, she says, “We encourage each client to bring in what makes them happy. We help their space reflect them but also make it aesthetically pleasing.”
She has her clients find images in magazines and online of what they like and what they want in a space. Getting inspired and doing the research help clients find ideas without getting overwhelmed.
“The cabinetry is the bones; they’re the structure. If the bones are good, then everything else can be swapped out later,” she says.
Jordan recommends frameless construction in cabinets for a small kitchen to maximize space, so not even an inch is lost.
Ready-made countertops are a good way to freshen a space while saving money. Jordan says they cost half the price of custom countertops.
“If you can do the cabinets and then you do ready-made, it’s easy to swap out countertops later,” Jordan says. “It’s impossible if you put really nice countertops on your cabinets and replace those later.”
Jordan says when it comes to working with smaller spaces, “It’s a puzzle. There always are surprises.”
Madison Lisle is nothing if not a reluctant minimalist — naturally small kitchens are a draw for her. She is a journalist and adventurer who believes great things come in small packages. See more of her work and talk to her on Citrusandsugar.com.
Inspired Kitchen Organization
Shop for kitchen organization products, find tips on Alexandra Goedrich’s blog, or download her eGuide on the website.
916-993-5497 • Inspiredkitchenorganization.com
Precision Cabinetry & Design
2690 Sunrise Blvd., Ste. 300, Rancho Cordova • 916-854-7300 • Sackitchens.com