How to design the Perfect Small Kitchen: Stage 3.

Hello there! Apologies for the delay in the final stage of How to Design the Perfect Small Kitchen. You can find Stage One and Stage Two here if you need a catch up. The last few months have been a bit crazy and there have been other blog posts I needed to write before this one, so I hope it’s been worth the wait. I’ve talked about kitchen layout, the all important triangle, knocking down walls and whether to go for drawers or cupboards, open shelving or closed units. I used the design of our kitchen at our holiday rental to illustrate everything. In this last instalment I’ll be talking about the finishing touches and the little things that really make the space work. It’s essentially a guide to all the suppliers we used and why we used them.

White kitchen with white Smeg fridge.
I’m in love with that fridge!

Living In The Space

There was supposed to be a holiday in between finishing the deckhouse and starting the renovations of our Victorian home, but somehow that just didn’t happen. I’m knee-deep in the period renovations now and even had a fight with a spray painter the other day. The one downside to tall ceilings is that you need a ladder to do almost anything. Every time I go up I forget something. I need a handy helper to pass things up to me as and when needed. It would help if he was cute too! Can you hire out cute men to hand you things? Don’t answer that!

Before we moved into the Victorian house we were lucky enough to live at our holiday home @theharbourdeckhouse for a couple of months before our first guests arrived. It was an invaluable time as not only did it allow us to finish all the work, but it enabled us to really try out everything and see if anything needed changing. For example, after fitting the pendant lights above the kitchen it became clear that they were just too low, so we made them higher.

We raised the Oxford pendant lights from Soho Lighting higher.

Wine Fridge

We had incorporated a 150mm wine fridge in the peninsula. However, in reality it just didn’t work. To open the door wide enough to actually get a bottle out you need to pull the entire wine fridge forward. It was quite a struggle and on a Friday night when you’re desperate for a glass or three this was not conducive to a carefree night. You live and learn and it was quite an expensive mistake. We will use it somewhere else that isn’t built in, maybe in the future summer house of our main home.

We had to think on our feet though as the kitchen worktop was being fitted later that week. So, how do you fill a gap where the wine fridge was supposed to go? Well, you call up one of your trusty obliging friends who’s good with carpentry and you ask him to make an extra plinth, another door (luckily I had a spare handle), and pretend that you had always wanted a narrow cupboard for chopping boards, tea-towels and a quilted oven glove, that’s how! All memory of a wine fridge has now been erased and if I wasn’t telling you now, no one would ever know we made a mistake! Thank you Andy!

The Main Event

We used Classic Kitchens Direct for the cupboards and drawers. They built our last kitchen and we loved everything they did. The quality was second to none at an affordable price. The units are almost identical to those offered by Neptune Home, but at a much better price level and far more bespoke. I chose Distant Gray from Benjamin Moore Paints for the paintwork. We had ours spray painted in the workshop and then the fitters painted them again by hand to give it that rustic, slightly country feel. It’s a really pretty white, without any dirty or creamy tones. The sexy handles I chose are Matt black and angular and came from Momo Handles.

The worktop for our small kitchen was provided by Isurfaces, another company that we had used before. We chose Tristone, which is very similar to Corian and has great reviews. The colour is Snow Pearl. The black sink came from HansGrohe and was fitted to the countertop by Isurfaces. They also cut the holes for the tap, which was supplied by Lusso Stone and the boiling water tap from Quooker. The boiling water tap is one of the greatest ever inventions of the last 20 years in my mind. It’s the one thing I could not be without in a kitchen and with space at a premium, it’s a must! No more waiting for the kettle to boil, it’s brilliant when mopping floors, soaking baking trays, doing pasta, the list goes on.

Open Shelving

I talked about open shelving in the last instalment of this series, buy my goodness they work so well. Everything is to hand and you can see it all clearly. It’s easy to clean and doesn’t really get very dusty as most things get used regularly. I much prefer them to cupboards that’s for sure and they are way more stylish. They came from The Crafty Couple, who make the most beautiful pieces for your home. Do please take a look at their website, they come highly recommended.

A little note on the white floors that everything sits on: the paint is made by Bedec Products and went on like a dream. It took about three coats in total. A lot of you have asked does it get very dirty? Well, now that building work has finished and everyone takes off their shoes I’d have to say no, not really. Certainly nothing that a quick wipe doesn’t fix.

The Ovens

When space is at a premium you need your appliances to work hard for your money. Our design for our small kitchen was not only for holiday maker use, but also geared towards us staying there long-term one day. I’m a big fan of two ovens. You may not use the second oven that often, but for certain occasions like Christmas, it can be a godsend. However, there just wasn’t room for two full-size ovens and a microwave too.

We had used Neff ovens before and loved them, particularly the Slide And Hide oven, where the door completely disappears inside the oven housing, allowing you to get up close and personal. I can’t tell you how much of joy this is in a small space. For me, this oven is an absolute must! We chose a second smaller oven from Neff to go above it, which is also a grill and a microwave. The only downside to this one is that Neff have not yet created a Slide And Hide version. However, we use it far less than the main oven and also the door is shorter, so not too much of a problem.

Other Appliances

There is no gas near the deckhouses, so everything is electric. We chose an induction hob also from Neff. I know there’s a lot of snobbery about electric hobs over gas. Personally, I can’t stand a gas hob. I don’t find them half as controllable as induction and they are so annoying to clean! With induction you get the precision heat and it’s a quick wipe clean after use. The only downside is you need the right pans.

The fabulously retro white fridge-freezer is by Smeg and we sourced it from John Lewis. I totally won a battle with Mr C on this one as he wanted the Union Jack version. I told him that was tantamount to interior designer abuse! He did get a mini one for his birthday though! A Union Jack fridge, that is.

The integrated dishwasher is also by Smeg and is 45cm wide. It’s perfect for two people or a small family. The only bugbear I have with it is that the top drawer is not deep enough for wine glasses. However, Smeg do happen to make a carry case for wine glasses that fits into the bottom drawer very well. I bought that from Amazon.

The Fittings

This is actually my favourite part of designing a kitchen, choosing all the gorgeous bits and pieces. I actually look forward to hanging the ceiling pendant lights the most. Somehow it seems to make the kitchen look finished. I chose The Oxford Vintage Pendant lights in matt black from Soho Lighting. They are absolutely perfect for the space, not too big so as you can’t see the view, but not too small as to seem miserly. They’re super easy to keep clean, which is important over the peninsula if you have the hob there.

All the matt black sockets and switches, which resemble old-fashioned Bakelite, are by Click Definity and we sourced them from Click4Electrics. The “Darling” print came from @annawhoamama – it was a gift for my 50th birthday.

The oak bar stools are from Cox and Cox, as are the Fluted Wine and Champagne Glasses, Black Enamel Mugs and the Monochrome Dinnerware. I have a 22% off code for you that you can use until midnight on the 26th August 2021: JPcox22.

So, that’s it, that’s everything we used to build our small kitchen at the deckhouse. I hope you’ve found it helpful. Over the coming months I will be starting to look at the kitchen design for our new home. Oh who am I trying to kid? You know I’ve started already! It’s going to be much bigger and will be a kitchen/diner. We are using the full height of the ceilings too, so the cupboards will be very tall and we’ll need a ladder for the top ones! It’s very exciting and I can’t wait to show you more.

JP Clark signature

Ad/ Some of the items in this post are PR products, or were provided at a discounted rate. However, all the appliances, worktops, sink and taps were paid for in full.

12 Comments

  1. Stephanie Barraclough
    August 22, 2021 / 9:32 am

    Absolutely stunning JP what a great job you
    Have done with everything

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 22, 2021 / 1:30 pm

      Thank you Stephanie. Xx

  2. Irene
    August 22, 2021 / 2:16 pm

    Such great information and lots of inspiration!

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 27, 2021 / 1:19 pm

      Thank you. Very kind x

  3. August 22, 2021 / 2:20 pm

    Wonderful kitchen..do you like the SMEG refrigerator???

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 27, 2021 / 1:18 pm

      Hi thank you. I do love it. The freezer isn’t quite so frost free as I thought, but it’s still great.

  4. Debbie
    August 22, 2021 / 9:30 pm

    Thankyou JP, for sharing so many valuable tips in your blog!
    All your projects are gorgeous, and you are a joy to follow! X

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 27, 2021 / 1:18 pm

      You are so kind Debbie x

  5. Steph Luxon
    August 22, 2021 / 11:06 pm

    Glad I started following you, I shall look forward to watching the renovation of your new Victorian house. Steph

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 27, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      Ah thank you so much for taking the time.

  6. Janet Watson
    August 24, 2021 / 7:05 am

    What a fabulous space and a great post. So informative and helpful. Such a good idea to try and test the holiday let before you rented out too! I wish more people would do that!

    • JP Clark
      Author
      August 27, 2021 / 1:17 pm

      Thank you Janet. Yes, for us it was imperative that we tested it out first. Xx

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