April 8, 2017
For a young couple, combining what kitchenware they already own plus all of the appliances, dishware, china and silverware they received as wedding gifts can be overwhelming. This was the case for newlyweds living in the heart of Washington, D.C. – and they only had 132 square feet of space with which to work.
“Square footage in the kitchen was a major challenge,” said designer Melissa Cooley of Bethesda, Md.-based Case Design/Remodeling. “Also they wanted a cohesive design that blended with the adjacent living room. That was crucial for an open–concept design.”
Small Space Challenges
This tiny space had several major obstacles hindering the way to more storage. The kitchen is three steps up from the living room, and square footage had to be allocated to the stairs. In addition, a spiral staircase leading to the next floor starts at one end of the kitchen, eliminating the possibility of putting cabinetry there.
One of the most obvious solutions to this constricted space was choosing small and slim appliances – including a 24-in. refrigerator, 18-in. dishwasher and 30-in. range/microwave combination. There was then enough room for some base and wall cabinetry, as well as a set of three glass cabinets that use that hard-to-reach space between the wall cabinetry and the ceiling.
The base cabinetry facing the living area boasts several innovative elements that cater to this young couple. There is a glass overhang suspended above the countertop that is meant as a serving area for social gatherings. Three steps beneath the overhang in the living room area, a bookshelf faces out and uses the same cabinetry materials as the kitchen.
“The idea of the bookshelf played a major part in joining the living room and kitchen,” said Cooley.
On the opposite side of the kitchen, a black-and-white upholstered bench does the same job; it is meant to supply extra seating for the kitchen or living area, while also providing storage underneath.
“Another challenge for the kitchen was creating comfortable seating without sacrificing too much space,” said the designer. “The bench incorporates storage and is accessible from the living room. It provides seating for the eating nook while tying both the kitchen and living room together.”
Using Vectorworks for 2D designs and Sketch-Up for 3D designs, Cooley then worked to create the aesthetic the clients wanted: a mix of classic traditional and streamlined designs to match the surrounding historic city. White cabinetry, marble countertops and a brick backsplash are the result.
“We struggled whether or not to salvage the existing brick backsplash or replace it with a traditional 3-in. by 6-in. tile,” said Cooley. “In the end, we decided that the original brick feature of the house was unique for the space and helped embrace the originality of the home.”
The master bathroom was also lacking in square footage, but it boasted a skylight and enough room for a rainhead showerhead.
“Our main goal was simply to design a tranquil space for our young professional clients,” said Cooley. “The idea of a timeless bathroom that was both fresh and streamlined thrilled our newly married clients.”
The simple design features a single-sink vanity with a marble countertop and white cabinetry. A modern tub with clean lines complements the white textured subway tile used in the shower.
“As a designer, one of the beauties of my job is seeing a project come to life,” said Cooley. “There are usually many steps before a project is complete. Much time was spent creating 3-D images to help paint a visual for our client. My favorite part was knowing that accurate imagery was provided for our clients and that truthful expectations were set.”
Designer: Melissa Cooley, Case Design/Remodeling
Photographer: Stacy Zarin Goldberg
Cabinets: Crystal Cabinetry
Countertops: Norwood Marble and Granite
Floor: Atlas Flooring
Floor: Mosaic Tile Co.
Vanity Cabinet: Crystal
Vanity Countertop: Norwood Marble and Granite
Vanity Sink: Mirabelle