This Is the Best Tiny Kitchen We’ve Seen in Years

updated Apr 30, 2019
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(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Illustrator, designer, and creative director Sara Blake is all about the custom touch. “If you are going to be in a space long enough, even if you are a renter, I’ve gotten a lot of value out of custom-built furniture to fit and function the way I need,” Sara says in her House Tour from Apartment Therapy. And while Sara does not rent her 450-square-foot Greenwich village apartment — she’s owned it for five years — there is still a valuable lesson to take from her advice. “It matters a lot in smaller spaces. If you do the math on how long you want to stay, and how much you’re willing to pay, it often makes sense.”

Fortunate enough to be able to give herself the green light to make renovations, Sara set out to create a space that functioned in the best way possible for her lifestyle — and that meant rethinking her pint-sized kitchen.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Sara’s efficient cookery features custom flat-panel cabinets, floating shelves made of salvaged wood (a feature repeated throughout her apartment), fixtures from Dornbracht, Miele appliances, and hardware from Restoration Hardware. Although you can’t see it in these photos, a floor plan (below) hints at a refrigerator being tucked into a nook to the right of the oven. She was even able to squeeze in a dining area that doubles as extra counter space.

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sara Blake)

Sara was smart to go with a two-burner cooktop because it opens up even more precious space (as does the compact sink). I mean, let’s get real for a second: How often are you using all four burners at once? There’s a meme somewhere out there that claims being an adult is having a favorite burner … you’re either lying or too young if you can’t relate.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Opting for open shelving, although controversial, keeps the kitchen open and brings the eye up, creating an illusion of height and space. Another small-space trick? Keeping the color palette relatively simple. Glazed white subway tiles bounce around the light coming through the windows, while the black stone countertops provide contrast to keep things interesting.

Now, you might be looking at those shelves and wondering how she reaches the top one. Well, a lover of customized solutions, she thought that through and built a pull-out step drawer to give herself easy access to bowls, cookware, and the like that might otherwise collect dust. It’s actually her proudest DIY in her home, but sadly, we don’t have a photo of it to show you (we’re bummed about it, too).

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

On the other side is the sole seating area in the home (a literal step up from her work space and sleeping quarters), with picture ledges that echo the style of the shelves in the kitchen, but its vicinity means when she’s entertaining, her guests won’t be too far from whatever action is going on in the kitchen.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Something that Sara makes sure to make room for: greenery. “Plants are your friends,” she noted, and one look around her cool pad proves she has no shortage of pals.

Tour the rest of the space: An Artist’s “Natural History Museum” Style NYC Studio at Apartment Therapy

Do you love this little space as much as we do?