Teeny Tiny NYC Kitchen

Do you have the internal battle, like I do, of small, efficient city/apartment living vs. sprawling suburban living? I go back and forth almost daily. A huge part of me wants nothing more than a giant old house to renovate and decorate, complete with a garage (*sigh*) and a lush backyard for the kids and a garden. Some days though, I think about how great it is to live in a small space that's (relatively) easy to keep clean and limits the amount of stuff/junk I can fill it with.

Am I crazy?

Anyway, I was having one of those moments yesterday when I revisited this kitchen in the House Beautiful archives.


The owner, Stephanie Stokes, an interior designer, planned out this 48 square-foot kitchen to the last quarter of an inch, literally.

The teeny tiny NYC kitchen's footprint, complete with a family coat of arms! So fancy.

She cut her marble counters half size so she could have the extra inch of vertical space!!


And here's a little interesting piece of information to file away - in the home owner's many years of designing kitchens, she has found that shelves in lower cabinets are mostly a complete waste of space. She almost always prefers to do all drawers on the lower cabinets and shelves just on the uppers. Interesting, right? I can totally see where she is coming from. My lower shelves are always disorganized and a pain to use.


Pictures like these, above and below, make my heart sing. Wouldn't there be such a feeling of organization and efficiency in a space like this? A place for everything and everything in its place.


So what do you think about the urban vs. suburban debate?
{I'd actually really like to know - my husband's graduating this year and we are trying to figure it all out...}

37 comments:

The Tiny Homestead said...

oooh great kitchen! I love practical and beautiful- the best combo.

I think it can be really hard to figure out exactly what your dream house would be. Some days I want the sprawling farm way out in the country, but I hate driving, so most of the time I'm content with our urban house. And every once in a while I get overwhelmed and crave a little apartment that I wouldn't have to maintain, but then I would miss my garden. It goes around and around! Every place has it's trade offs, you just have to find what speaks to your deepest desires.

Lindy said...

I've done both, and both have their advantages. I have to say, I love living on 15 acres outside of Atlanta the best! I am currently in the process of renovating (and residing in) my deceased grandparents former home. It's such a loabor of love; I can't imagine being or doing anything or anywhere else. I agree though, you have to do what would make you and your family the most happy. Where do you want to raise your children?

anna said...

Jennica,

There are times when I miss being able to walk out my door and head to something fun and exciting in the city. But, I have to say that I have been so, so much happier in a home. And my kids are as well. Space is such a blessing! I am shocked at how many days we just hang out at home and play in the playroom or the backyard, and don't feel the need to go anywhere! And in Boston, I felt like I had to get out of the house all the time. I wouldn't say my house is sprawling, but even having that extra bit of space has saved all of our sanity. (and it makes having dinner parties a lot easier.) That said, having lived in a tiny apartment with two kids, it has helped Clarke and me be much more conservative about home sizes. We are still very space efficient, and I think that is a good lesson to learn from living in the city :)

Good luck with the decision. I am sure it will be lovely whatever you decide to do. Maybe Michael could get a job in Texas after your year of clerking :)

Amy said...

we just moved from a small apt in the middle of the city to a bigger place in the 'burbs...it has been an adjustment and all I can say is that there are really good things about both options. For now, I'm glad that we're only 10 min from downtown but I still have a giant garage!

Em said...

I think in today's world with costs increasing, global warming, etc... it makes more sense to live closer to a city with less space. You can do like the Europeans and walk/bike to run errands, etc... It's so much more eco-friendly and fabulous.

KatyO! said...

I just moved from a small space in the city to a bigger (yet still small!) space in the suburbs. I love having green space where kids and a dog could run around in the backyard. Also, not having to put up with so much traffic is a plus. My house is still small and cozy and forces me to be efficient with all the space.

Deb said...

It is a beautiful kitchen. My husband is a student and we have lived in a lot of small spaces and I have decided that I don't want a large kitchen and home that I have to clean up. When I looked at the picture of that kitchen I thought of yesterday evening when I was trying to make dinner and my little girl was crying at my feet and my son came in kicking a ball and swinging a sword - no I don't want an apartment kitchen.

Tales from the Crib said...

Once upon a time I swore I would never inhabit the suburbs. I was a city snob, living in our tiny 2 bedroom, 1ba 1930's house. But, as they say, along came baby... We are 4 years into suburban life, and as a family, it suits us perfectly. I love our small town feel, and knowing I have friends who have my back if I need it. My kids play soccer, go to playgroup, play in the fresh air! Next week we move into a 4500 square foot house. FAR bigger than we truly need, but it is a fantastic house with a great layout and I can't wait to make it "home." We rarely go to the city anymore; we have everything we need right here. And there's something to be said about breathing room for everyone involved...

adrienne said...

I think you can find a good balance. When we bought our 2000 sf house three years ago I thought it would just be our starter home, but the more work we put into it the more I love it and want to stay forever. Not having a lot of space has really made me become more organized and a minimalist in what I keep and buy. I love having a home that has enough space for our needs but is easy to clean and organize and I love having a yard to garden and for my kids to play in.

Paige said...

I think I agree with the majority of the posters - I feel easier with a little bit of land of my own and little sky visible above me. That said, there's so much that's wonderful about living in the city. I think it's really all about tailoring where you live to the seasons of your life. Right now, I'd be looking in suburbia if I were you :)

Jennifer said...

fun discussion! when we lived in a little apartment, all I could think about was how wonderful it would be when we bought a house and had more space. now that we've done that, I find myself looking back on simple, apartment life fondly and kind of wanting to do it again. I think I've decided that the grass is just always greener on the other side!

heidikins said...

I'm all about small in the city. Admittedly, my current apartment is enormous by "city" standards, and I plan on staying here until they cart me out on a stretcher. I think there are a lot more outlets for creativity in a small space because you have to make it work.

PS--love love and double love your blog. :o)

xox

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

I've seen the main pic of this kitchen before, but never all the details. This is the most fantastic use of small space I've seen in a kitchen - and the hardware, ooooh, the hardware!!! ;)

Renee said...

Small house with a nice-sized backyard, close to public transportation that will quickly get you into the city.

That kitchen is about the size of the kitchen I'm in now, and I honestly LOVE it. It's so easy to clean, and that's huge for me. And if I ever get bored with it, or it starts looking out of date, it will be cheap and easy to renovate.

Question about this kitchen though: does she have any seating in there, or is the table somewhere else entirely?

Jenny V said...

I've been in Chicago for 9 years now and I love my easy commute to work, resturants and things to do out my door, and being close to friends. However I would argue that a small space is just as hard to maintain as a big space. I can't just put something away...I need to think and think...where should this go? How can I make it fit? I'm constantly editing things down, and it is amazing how much dust piles up in city apartments.

I look forward to having a house one day (modest in size) with a big pantry and no neighbors above or below me! Maybe a house..in the city!?

Best of luck in your decision and thanks for the daily entertainment!

Whitney said...

that kitchen made my heart happy! she is SO organized and i am personally a big fan of white so i of course loved it. reminds me of the time i organized our kitchen when we moved in...yeah, reminds me because it no longer looks that way! i blame the husband, he never knows where to put things away when they are clean! ;)

you are not weird for having that debate! i really want to live out in the country in an old house that i renovate and decorate! growing up we always lived in old houses that my mom renovated into something straight from country living magazine. i want a yard and a garage so bad! mostly a garage! sigh. but when i clean our littler apartment i always think to myself, this isn't so bad! they both have their positives!

lilah said...

i love this kitchen! I have lived in both city and country dwellings, and i currently live in the city. It's taught me a lot about organization, efficient use of space, and editing! However, I still would like to be able to sprawl a bit more...

Urban Sardines said...

By the way, there's a similarly wonderful use of lower drawers that I blogged about here:
http://urbansardines.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/some-space-saving-kitchen-gadgets/

The owner uses deep drawers to house plates and bowls!

alice said...

It definitely is more about the planning than the amount of space that makes a room great!

I love that in a smaller home you need to be more efficient and actually CAN'T collect clutter. Though I don't know I could pull it off :)

LindsB said...

I love that kitchen. While mine is not that small, I wish we owned our place everyday so I could do a complete makeover and be organized like this.

And I grew up in the country, while it was a nice place to live I LOVE city life now and hope to be able to bring my kids up in the city as well. There is just so much culture and activity all around us in the city. While I do miss some of the things like a yard and more space, I try and remind myself that a yard requires alot of work, and more space just means more to clean :)

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Love this kitchen. That crest on the floor perfect. My lovely kitchen floors have a bit mark in them due to a teething puppy. Hmm so not the same.

City vs Country...hard decision. I grew up in NYC and loved it, but then in H.S. moved to the suburbs. I don't mind it, but a part of me still itches to be in an apt in NYC, but it's since to have a yard and a home to call my own. Plus I'm only 40 mins away from Manhattan and visit often. I think it all depends on what state you are going to live in. Are you staying in Mass?

brynalexandra said...

WOW - I do the exact same thing!!! Some days I tell my husband "let's move to Brooklyn". Others, I tell him "No, I want to move to Atlanta suburbs" I thought I was the only one.

Stephanie Sabbe said...

same thing here! My husband and I are selling our cute little bungalow in Memphis and Moving to a teeny tiny apt in Boston next month. SCARY! Cute blog. Small world that I wondered upon your blog.

Terese said...

I have that inner struggle too sometimes. I love how efficient this is. You crack me up with your heart singing! So true about lower shelves. Did I ever tell you how Heather's mom went rummaging through mine for tupperware?! SO embarrassing!

Petertammenson said...

The city vs. suburb question is such a huge one. For me at least, I'm all about maximizing the amount of time that our family has together - i.e. all of us including the working husband. I absolutely refuse to live far away from where he works - so that really helps drive a lot of decision-making. He doesn't mind a long commute "I can get a lot done on the train etc." but I mind. I'm home with the kids and I obviously want him there. Now then, if you're heading back to school or are going to start recruiting clients, it seems that it would make sense for you to live nearest where you could get back to your adorable babies quickly. I love having some green space, and I don't really need much to be happy, but I really want my kids to know their dad.

Erin said...

I don't know how I ended up on your blog...but I love it :) Pretty much the only TV I watch is HGTV. I can definitely say that I like suburban living much better. I had a tinier kitchen that this and it was no fun. My apartment was way cute, which I miss. Now I'm in a larger, uglier rental house and while I hate the uglier part, it is a heck of a lot easier to cook. I need all the cabinet space I can get for my ever increasing dish collection :)

Anonymous said...

Completely different from NYC, I know, but in DC we've found a really nice balance--a SFH with a backyard that's walking distance from the town center and from a metro. And we're in MD so driving 20 to downtown DC isn't a problem (in non-rush) either. I still need to escape to the country periodically, but we have green grass and blue sky and not too much concrete. Plus, good public schools. It definitely depends on which city you're in.

kristen said...

We live in the city in a Southern city with two kids and LOVE it. We did the small town / suburban thing and I was so freaking tired of driving and traffic. We have playgroups and friends we can walk to out the wazoo (more than the burbs, honestly.) It's more about community, honestly. Moving to a neighborhood with similar families, city or suburbs, makes the most difference.

Just found your blog. Mother of two, law school wife, so I felt a connection. :)

Tristen said...

Also mom of two, one more on the way. Living in a tiny (DID I MENTION TINY???) two-bedroom apartment in downtown Berkeley, CA just out of San Francisco. Urban living can be wearing on a mom with kids at times. But I would imagine that suburban living also would be wearing. For me the decision always comes down to commute time for my husband-- if we can live close and have access to him during short, unpredictable breaks in the day (lunch, in between classes occasionally, etc...) than I say do city life. But if he's going to be swamped with work and can use that commute time as part of his work day (like on a train or other) than I guess I vote suburbia (room to park a car that fits more than two tiny people, etc...). Maybe city life for a few more years until your family grows a few more people and then make the leap to suburbia. But having daddy around makes all of the difference, at least for us.

Good luck! Love your blog, just found it and it's a favorite already.

Funky Junk Interiors said...

I think part of where your heart ultimately takes you has a bearing on how you've grown up. That applies to me anyway.

I grew up on a 40 acre dairy farm and love the outdoors. I've lived in apartments to small homes to larger ones and then downscaled to a city lot again.

What I've ultimately discovered is, my roots have played a big part of what my desires are of today.

When I was married, we landed our dream home. A newer home built to an 1800's floorplan, 5 acre lot, wrap around veranda. I never tired of just staying home and wandering the acerage with new sights and touches to experience around every corner.

After my divorce I was fortunate enough to land a home on a city lot with an exquisite mountain view out back. I know I'm fortunate to have a house vs an apt.

But today, my eye still wanders towards those cottages with a small barn or shop out back on about 1/2 acre. I want some space to call my own so I'm not always running away from my postage stamp!

One day I shall have it because everything I'm doing is slowly moving towards that goal. I want my older quaint white farmhouse kitchen, that flower garden beside the old barn, and a place for my son to come home to with his family so we can sit out back in front of a firepit in the evenings.

I grew up with these things and this is what's embedded in me.

But I know this isn't for everyone. I sit with interest when some speak of living in a small apt in the city. I think for the most part city people love the sights and sounds of movement and constant change and lots of things to do. For me, I love walking out of my backyard and picking up a book, or playing in the flowerbeds.

Trying to discover where you belong? Think of the things you adore and love. From there, it's easy to see where your heart will ultimately help you call home.

Donna

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Kristen said...

I love your blog...this is my first time commenting, but you inspire me so much! Our family just moved from Washington state to Manhattan in March, so I completely relate to what you are talking about here. About every two weeks I am re-arranging , hanging new things, re-organizing, trying to make it all "fit." I miss our sprawling house some days, but mostly, I am just really content with being in the city...we have less stuff (we got rid of 2/3 of our things!) I clean less, we are all nestled together...and we are learning valuable lessons about community and intentional living and stewardship. Its a process...hang in there!

Jenny said...

This is my favorite kitchen of all time. I want it- just a tad bigger. Validates all that green and brass I fell in love with in the 90's. Just opened your blog to show my sister and it linked to this post. I couldn't believe it- clipped this years ago and often go back to it. You have such great style. Some day! Keep up the good work!
xox
Jenny
jennybrowndesigns.blogspot.com
forgive the shameless plug- I am new at this.. :)

Jenny said...

This is my favorite kitchen of all time. I want it- just a tad bigger. Validates all that green and brass I fell in love with in the 90's. Just opened your blog to show my sister and it linked to this post. I couldn't believe it- clipped this years ago and often go back to it. You have such great style. Some day! Keep up the good work!
xox
Jenny

Jenny Brown said...

This is my favorite kitchen of all time. I want it- just a tad bigger. Validates all that green and brass I fell in love with in the 90's. Just opened your blog to show my sister and it linked to this post. I couldn't believe it- clipped this years ago and often go back to it. You have such great style. Some day! Keep up the good work!
xox
Jenny

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