I’m not a kitchen designer, but I play one on my blog diywithadd.  I’m excited to guest post on brooklynlimestone because Stefanie’s blog was an inspiration to me when I was planning my own renovation, especially the photos of her gorgeous kitchen.  Like many a would-be Renovationista, my kitchen dreams were constrained by some serious space and budget realities.  Design compromises were made, but in the end (hallelujah, we made it to the end!) my husband, Scott, and I love cooking in our cozy new kitchen.   What follows are some small kitchen design ideas that worked for us and I’d love to hear what has worked for you.

Because we opted not to move the 75 sq. ft. galley kitchen in our Brooklyn brownstone apartment, it didn’t get much bigger.  But it did get taller when we raised the ceiling and built our cabinets sky high for extra storage. And it got cleaner when we opted to paint the shaker cabinets white and to keep the overall color palette muted.   It’s definitely brighter since we swapped out the old door to our deck for a single pane glass one.  It even feels wider because we replaced a chunky old clunker of a fridge with a sleek counter-depth model.

I designed our kitchen around a few relaxed and retro elements that Scott and I both knew we wanted, like a fireclay apron front sink, bracketed shelving, a satin nickel bridge faucet and cleft slate countertops.  I took a “less is more” approach with the rest of the design so that these key pieces could stand out in the small space.

Our cabinets and hardware, for example, are deliberately simple. We chose custom panels for our appliances so that they would disappear into the cabinet wall.  We took a pass on the professional hood trend (which I think can look great in larger kitchens) and instead installed a discreet but powerful exhaust fan in the ceiling above our new range.  We even tucked the microwave under the counter in order to keep the eye level lines clean and unbroken.

Of course, a tight budget informed some of our decisions. Custom paneled appliances were a splurge that didn’t leave money left over for fancy tile work, so we painted the century-old brick exterior wall rather than adding a backsplash.  The flooring is the same vintage wide-plank pine that we installed throughout our apartment.

You can click to see our kitchen floor plan and to get links to the appliances that (thankfully!) work really well in our small space.   Our simple, efficient and compact kitchen design suits us, but I’m curious about what has worked well for other kitchen remodelers.  A friend just asked me to redesign her Brooklyn kitchen, so I’ll be blogging more small space ideas soon on diywithadd.