Our 100-Square-Foot Kitchen series profiles kitchens that measure about 100 square feet, one of the most common kitchen sizes in the U.S., according to Houzz data.
Architect Lauren Rubin says the original cramped kitchen in this pre-World War II apartment in New York was so sad-looking that anything she did to it would have made it better. Still, that didn’t keep her from making sure the new design received lots of love and attention. She took square footage from a nearby dining nook to slightly expand the room, freeing up space to create an L-shaped layout and recess a new refrigerator. Next, she employed design tricks she’s learned working in small New York City spaces to visually expand the room and give it a feeling of lightness.
Kitchen at a Glance
Location: Hudson Heights neighborhood of New York City
Who lives here: A family of four
Size: About 72 square feet (6.5 square meters); 10 feet 10 inches by 6 feet 8 inches (new kitchen)
Designer: Lauren Rubin Architecture
BEFORE: The existing galley layout lacked counter space, storage, adequate lighting and style. Rubin removed the arch and half wall to encroach several feet into the dining area, seen in the foreground. This still left the homeowners plenty of room for their dining table.
AFTER: Adding length to the space allowed Rubin to remove cabinets to create an L-shaped layout with more counter space and a wider middle walkway. Extending the kitchen into the dining area allowed Rubin to add the recessed fridge on the right and a cabinet with a countertop and microwave drawer to the left of the range.
Standard upper cabinets typically hang 18 inches above a counter. Rubin chose to hang these 22 inches up to create more openness. “I find for small kitchens hanging cabinets 18 inches above a countertop makes things feel small and congested,” she says. “You lose some storage, but it’s important to make those small spaces feel as light and airy as possible.”
Rubin and the homeowners splurged on the custom cabinets, which Rubin designed and had a woodworker build, as she does for most kitchens. “Pre-manufactured cabinets, you’re stuck with their dimensions,” she says. “Here, every inch is taken into account. There are no filler panels.”
Customizable inserts maximize storage in every drawer and cabinet. Pullouts beneath the sink hold garbage and recycling bins. The microwave drawer helps keep the counter clear. “Most clients would rather lose a drawer than have a microwave on the counter or hanging below a cabinet,” she says.
A new pantry around the corner from the refrigerator stores food and small appliances, such as a toaster oven and juicer.
Custom open shelves provide space to charge phones, store spices and cups and display art and plants. Rubin had the woodworker who built the cabinets create the sets of white and gray floating shelves. “That way they match perfectly,” she says. “Everything happens in the same shop with the same can of paint.”
Taking the tile to the ceiling gives a sense of brightness and height, despite the fact that the ceiling was dropped slightly to accommodate new recessed LED lights. “Good, even light in a kitchen is worth dropping the ceiling versus keeping it high and having just a light fixture,” Rubin says.
To enhance the light further, she chose the whitest countertop she could find. She went with engineered quartz for its even color and durability. “For anyone who’s a cook or wine drinker I won’t put marble down,” she says. Some homeowners find marble counters difficult to keep free of stains and other damage.
Next to the sink, the paneling that covers the dishwasher prevents too much stainless steel from breaking up the flow of the lower cabinets.
Stained oak floors replaced the checkered vinyl, and they match the floors in the adjacent dining and living spaces, creating cohesiveness.
Lower cabinet paint: Worsted, Farrow & Ball; upper cabinet paint: Chantilly Lace, Benjamin Moore; ceiling paint: Super White, matte finish, Benjamin Moore; wall paint: Wimborne White, Farrow & Ball; lights: Contrast Lighting; microwave: Sharp; range: Wolf; hardware: Richard Watson
Looking toward the kitchen from the living room, you can see the double-door pantry around the corner from the refrigerator and get a sense of the more open interaction with the dining and living spaces. “It’s a compact kitchen, but you never feel that way,” Rubin says.
This beautiful apartment may be on the smaller side, but the layouts are super smart! This clocks in at less than 40 square meters of floor space, yet it make the most of the compact layouts by striking the perfect balance between openness and functionality. And get ready to redefine your loft goals: this apartment features lofted bedroom and office, clearing out plenty of space for other lifestyle necessities.
We all know that styles are cyclical and, of course, the world of interior design is not exempt. The best aesthetics will be popular again and again. Right now, mid-century-modern design is making a comeback and, if you ask us, it’s for good reason.
What is it about this aesthetic that keeps us coming back for more over half a century later? We’ll tell you why mid-century modern will never really leave us — and how to work the style into your interiors while making sure they are rooted in the new millennium. After all, sometimes the old way of doing things really is the right way.
What Is Mid-Century Modern?
If you’ve ever seen an episode of Mad Men, you’re already familiar with mid-century-modern design. In fact, the term was coined in 1984 by author Cara Greenberg. She used it to discuss the signature looks of the 1960s in her book Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s.
Though the moniker has become a bit broad in the past few decades, it’s most commonly used to refer to the styles that became popular in a post-World War II landscape. While there may be a few variations, most people agree that this time period extends from 1945-1969.
Interestingly, this style doesn’t just refer to aspects of interior design. It is commonly used as a descriptor for any architecture, furniture, accessories, materials and technologies that grew in popularity after the end of the war.
It Showcases Simplicity
When you look at design projects that follow a mid-century-modern style, the one thing you won’t see is tons of excess. Rather than requiring a bunch of ornate embellishments, the mid-century look is all about stripping items down to their barest elements and letting their function become the star.
Keep this in mind when it comes to choosing the items that will fill your space. Look for furniture that has clean lines and, if needed, multiple uses. Stick to décor items that are modern or geometric in their aesthetic.
This concept should also be taken into account when it comes to designing the layout of your space. Rather than cluttering up the room, focus on choosing one strong focal area that will dictate the room’s function. For example, consider using a statement table in your dining room or creating an inviting seating area in your living room. Then, don’t be afraid to step back and allow negative space to play a key role in your design.
It Lets Us Play With Color
Of course, when you focus on bringing simplistic shapes into your space, it becomes necessary to add a layer of visual interest elsewhere. The mid-century-modern look does that by incorporating bold pops of color. Brooke Schneider, a designer based in Long Beach, Calif., explains it best:
“When homeowners think ‘color,’ they often think of the bright hues of the mid-century time period. With clear, cheerful colors, the 1950s exhibited a new American outlook of optimism that was comfortably removed from the drab war years.”
Don’t be afraid to go big with shades like blueberry, citron or fire-engine red. Just be sure to avoid mixing multiple loud colors like they did in that time period. Doing so might make your space look more outdated than retro-inspired. Instead, focus on tempering one colorful statement piece with more neutral hues to ensure a modern twist on this style of design.
It Connects Us With Nature
Since mid-century-modern design is all about simplicity, it makes sense that this school of style would harbor a strong connection to nature. In particular, those who are looking for ways to embrace sustainable design may be interested in what this aesthetic has to offer.
First, it’s important to consider how nature can affect the layout of the space. In mid-century architecture, large windows often play a key role. But anyone can work off those principles by making windows the focal point of your space whenever possible and making sure that they stay unencumbered from heavy drapery.
As for the design elements to fill your space, focus on choosing items made from natural materials such as wood, metal and leather or cotton textiles. Don’t be afraid to bring the outside in by adding greenery to accent your design.
There’s a reason why mid-century-modern design is present in our consciousness after over a half-century since its debut. Whether it’s the clean lines, bold colors or connection to nature, this school of style is currently making a big comeback in interior design.
LABor Studio transformed this historic office building in Chihuahua City, Mexico, by maintaining the facade and adding a contemporary addition to the home.
The designer’s description
This house is located in the historic center of Chihuahua City, in north-central Mexico. This district displays a deteriorated urban fabric due to the demolition of a great number of old buildings being replaced by surface parking lots. The population has migrated to the fringes leaving an empty housing stock.
The project was aware of the importance of both the restoration and integration of architectures while demonstrating the possibilities of contemporary housing in the urban center.
The old building is a two story structure built in the early twentieth century in a 40 square meter footprint. The construction system includes adobe walls, wood beams, a limestone facade, and an earthen roof.
The project and construction began in 2010 working with an office program. Restoration started by eliminating all of the non-original additions and rebuilding the earthen roof. The frontal facade was stabilized since it was detaching from the main structure. The neighboring 300 square meter property was added to the program while during this first construction stage. Therefore the program changed from office to a house.
The old and new construction was articulated by a vertical stair cube. The stair provides access to the two stories and the rooftop terrace where views of downtown Chihuahua can be enjoyed.
Access from the street happens in between the old and new constructions in a sequence that first goes through a patio-zaguan before penetrating to the interior. This access patio allows for additional light and ventilation for the old building while allowing for the concentration of rainwater collected from the rooftops.
Once through the threshold in the ground floor one can access a painting studio in the old building or the social area in the new building. The latter is a double height space composed of the living room and the kitchen. Both areas are divided by a bar and joined in the exterior by a patio. The garage can be added to the expansion of the social areas spilling to the exterior.
The second story contains the family room in the old building while the new construction has two bedrooms separated by a library-bridge. One bedroom is related to the street in the front and the other looks to the backyard.
The third and top level is a rooftop terrace with a steel plaque grill. The floor is a ceramic tile which allows the earthen roof to breathe out excess moisture. Plant pots and a light-well complete the arrangement with patio furniture.
The backyard has hardscape and softscape areas. The grasses, shrubs, and trees are a selection of native plants. Concrete modular pavers allow for the absorption of rainwater in order to help support the plants.
In the back of the property there is a water fountain framed by recovered timber from the construction’s scaffolding. Other recovered materials include the original limestone flooring, some of which was reinstalled while another part was crushed and used as ground cover to reduce the loss of moisture.
Loft apartments always have a distinct feel. Their openness, combined with their usual amounts of streaming light, makes them instantly appealing for most urban dwellers. Who wouldn’t want more light and a sense of more space in what’s usually a more crowded area? But lofts can also feel a bit cookie cutter, especially when the original space has been mass-converted to support loft living. A dozen or more lofts with the same feel and layout can feel stifling. This loft, designed by Indot, takes the idea of a traditional loft and plays with it using geometry, color, and texture. Don’t think that lofts are just limited to red exposed brick and neutrally painted walls.