Kitchen of the Week: Small, Cozy and Bright

It’s unusual for a kitchen to get smaller in a renovation, but that’s exactly what this couple from Sheffield, England, insisted on when designing a new layout. “My clients wanted to extend the kitchen out into the garden,” says Rob Cole, director of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens. “The builders told them it wouldn’t cost much more to extend the entire way across the back of the house … but my clients were insistent that they wanted to create a sheltered outdoor seating-dining courtyard flanked by a new kitchen that would complement the space.”

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Photos by Nina Petchey of Bells and Bows Photography

Kitchen at a Glance
Who lives here: A professional couple and their two children
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England
Size: 43 square feet (4 square meters)
Designers: Rob Cole, director, and Olly Leyland, senior designer, of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The original kitchen in the circa-1900 semidetached house was located in what is now the dining area — a large square space with double doors leading to the garden. With the help of Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens, the couple created a smaller cooking space in an addition that complements the adjacent courtyard dining area.

“They weren’t tempted to make it larger, and it does seem an interesting move to be making a kitchen smaller,” Cole says, “but the intention was to create clearer zones for living.” The new kitchen is just about 6 feet wide and 7 feet long, but the longer run of cabinetry, which includes the range, measures 7¾ feet and merges into the dining area for an open-plan feel.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The owners asked for a simple, light-filled kitchen that would reflect their laid-back style. Designwise, they wanted to move away from the original kitchen they inherited, which had Shaker-style doors, granite countertops and a dark tiled floor.

“The new kitchen needed to be bright but also warm with lots of natural wood,” Cole adds. “Our clients were keen to make the small space work hard, but they wanted to avoid having wall cabinets.”

Slab-style base cabinets painted a matte light gray and with integrated J-groove handles create a streamlined look, while wall shelving adds character. Two windows — including a floor-to-ceiling one — and a skylight bring in light.

“The owners didn’t want to install doors here, as they wished to keep the traffic down through the small kitchen area,” Cole says.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

A farmhouse-style Belfast sink adds to the laid-back ambience of the kitchen.

Ceramic sink and Rotaflow SilkSteel faucet: Franke

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Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The 1½-inch-thick bamboo countertops with integrated grooves are both space-saving (no need for a drainer) and eco-friendly.

“Bamboo grows so quickly that it is considered to be an eco option, but it is hard and durable, with maintenance pretty much the same” as for wood countertops, Cole says. “It does need regular oiling, particularly in wet areas, but no more than wood. The look is fabulous, though, and the natural bamboo complements the cool gray of the handleless cabinet doors beautifully and adds warmth to the cooler tones of the kitchen.”

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The natural construction of the bamboo creates an interesting edge detail.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

A wall-hung plate rack helps achieve the relaxed rustic look the owners sought.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The owners wanted to avoid installing any upper cabinets that might potentially encroach into the galley-style kitchen.

“They had been given a collection of wine crates from a friend that they were keen to use as open shelving,” Cole says. “We managed to incorporate them into the overall design.” They were customized underneath with three task lights.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Hooks in the crates hold cups. The dishes bring a welcome hit of color to the kitchen.

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The compact kitchen called for space-savvy design solutions. “We maximized storage by using every inch of space we had,” Cole says, “such as a Peka pullout for the corner cabinet to allow easy access right to the back of the unit. We also put in as much open shelving as we could above waist height, as the client wanted no closed wall cabinets.”

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Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

The designers still managed to fit in a statement range despite the kitchen’s compact dimensions. At the homeowners’ request, they located the refrigerator at the other side of the dining area, which was being redone at the time of the photo shoot.

“The biggest challenge was fitting all the specific requirements in for the client — no wall cabinets, sufficient storage, range cooker, Belfast sink — in such a limited space,” Cole says. “The pan hanger above the range adds more storage.”

Elan 90 range and Classic 90 range hood in black: Rangemaster; pot rack: Hahn

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

These subway-style wall tiles have a rustic feel thanks to their color and textured handmade look.

Laura Ashley Artisan ceramic tile in French Grey: Walls and Floors

Eclectic Kitchen by Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Sheffield Sustainable Kitchens

Solid oak flooring throughout the kitchen and dining area unifies the zones and creates a feeling of spaciousness.

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