Planning Tiny House Kitchen Cabinets

by andrewodom on August 23, 2012 · 32 comments


We currently spend almost all of our indoor time in the kitchen. Between Crystal cooking, Tilly Madison walking/falling/crawling around, and me waiting anxiously for whatever that smell is, we are like most Americans. So why should our building a tiny house mean we can’t enjoy that same luxury? In fact, Crystal nearly insisted that our tiny house feature as close to a gourmet kitchen as possible. She love cooking and creating and far be it for me to dampen that desire. So much of our budget and our creative juices have gone into the design of our kitchen and especially our cabinets. In fact 18 linear feet of our tiny house will be kitchen countertop space. Well, that is not totally true because included in that is 26″ for our fridge, 32″ for our sink, and 32″ for our stovetop. So I guess then we will only have about 11.5 linear feet of countertop. That is still pretty significant. That space will be primarily work space although we will have a cutting board, our coffee station (including my beloved frother), our knife block, and probably a lovely fruit bowl or two.

Speaking of the countertop, we are using upcycled Malaysian hardwood block that lived its first life as the flooring for a cargo truck. That’s right. It used to be a truck bed. Not sure what I mean? Check out this image. We are planing it, using an organic apoxy to create the full depth of our cabinets, and adding a backsplash. We will also add a food grade finish to it so as to lock out bacteria and other gnarly things.

The cabinets themselves will be made of heart pine in a shaker box style. In other words, the cabinets will be little more than a plywood box. The drawer fronts and doors will be a flat panel with a thin border detail (see style board above.) We will be using a spacer between the doors but Crystal’s design uses more deep drawers than cabinet doors. In fact, we will only have two sets of doors. Underneath the stove, next to the fridge, and the stand-up pantry will all be drawers faces. Those will be more European style in that they will be flush with each other, so to speak.

Perhaps what we are most excited about though is our partnership with Rockler Woodworking and Hardware. Celebrating its 58th anniversary as a family-run business, Rockler Woodworking and Hardware is the nation’s premier supplier of specialty hardware, tools, lumber and other high quality woodworking and DIY products. Their catalogue has been a fixture in my parents house for as long as I can remember. They have graciously sponsored our home with

Talk about quality slides and hinges. They are heavy duty with a 100 pound capacity and an easy close rebound. The hinges almost disappear when installed and allow the door to just pillow closed. We could not be happier and can’t wait to install them and use them. No more slamming doors and drawers that smack shut!

The sink has already been purchased and is a beautiful Mont Blanc Waterbrook Drop-In Composite Granite in Desert Sand. You may remember the photo we took the night we brought it home. It is sharp looking and only weighs about 32 pounds! We aren’t entirely sure what faucet set we are going to use but judging by the hardware we are interested in I think we are going to go with a brushed nickel unit with a pull down sprayer. We are still hoping to find one of those at a consignment or overstock store.

In order to keep the kitchen feeling open we are going to employ open shelving primarily on the ‘short wall’ (the one in the front of the rig where the tongue is located). We are even thinking of adding a splash of color and painting that wall a tangerine melt or something similar. Who knows though? We definitely want to continue our “beach cottage feel” and think that with the white wash finish on our cabinets will be pretty simple yet pretty amazing! Not sure what white washing is? We are using this technique as our inspiration.

WOW! We have a lot ahead of us. Perhaps this post should have remained in my head and not on screen as now my eyeballs are swimming and I am trying to figure out just how we will pull this off! However we do, it is going to be beautiful and such a blessing to our home and our family!

  • mizacy

    I love it! We have a similar pallet picked, I am very excited to watch how it turns out! I will be super jealous of how big your kitchen is too! Nice job guys!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Thank you so much mizacy. We planned for a bigger kitchen for a couple of reasons.

      1) Crystal wanted one so that she could continue to nurture her cooking passion
      2) Our family needs that space and what good is a custom home (tiny or otherwise) if it doesn’t fit your families needs?
      3) Like most houses our kitchen traditionally receives the most time and attention from us so we wanted something that could accomodate that

      Looking forward to seeing what you have designed out too! Thank you for commenting.

  • http://www.careercollegelibrary.wordpress.com ConsiderJennifer

    Nothing better then a great kitchen space. That is where my family spends their time too. Can’t wait to see the finished product. :)

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      You are so right Jennifer. Nothing better! See the finished product? Heck, we’ll have y’all over for dinner!

  • Theresa

    I’m so jealous of your ability to plan this out! We only have 4 cabinets, and they’re short, so we have almost 2′ of space between them and the ceiling. I’d love to add another shelf to them and get more out of the space we have. The beauty of the tiny house is that you really get to think smart about how to use things.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Why don’t you use the top of the cabinets as an “open shelf” sort of situation? You could put nice canisters or vessels up there to store bulk items like rice, beans, oats, etc.

      • http://twitter.com/tlyschultz Theresa Schultz

        I’ve tried that – I’ve found that for my workflow dry goods work better in our auxilary storage. What I’d like to do is store seldom-used dishes or serving pieces up there, without having to climb up on the counters each week to clean them off. I haven’t found a way to tastefully display the pieces while keeping them clean yet, but this post renewed my motivation!

        • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

          AWESOME!!!! I love seeing old pie plates, cake molds, jars, etc. on display on top of cabinets. It screams “farmhouse” to me! Go for it Theresa!

  • Merete Mueller

    I have to say, I think kitchens are by far the most fun rooms to design. There are so many gadgets and machines and pieces to fit in, which makes it so much more interesting from a visual perspective too. I always love it when cabinets are left open so that we can see the pots and pans and utensils and dishes, almost like they are decorations. It feels so homey that way. Hopefully there’s a way to do it that is childproof?

    I know you’ll keep us updated as the kitchen evolves, and I can’t wait to see more!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Hmmmmm….childproof? I think we will just teach her to cook at age 2. HAHAHA. Seriously though. The countertops will be 36″ standard height so she won’t truly be able to reach the things on top without a stool. The outlets are on the wall at 39″ so the plugs will be out of reach. The base cabinets will be closed and will have the childproof thingees but the shelving will be open allowing us to display/use some of dishes, jars, etc.

      And you can believe we’ll keep everyone updated. I can’t wait to start helping build the cabinets. They are going to be so beautiful. My BIL does amazingly beautiful work!

  • http://twitter.com/mountain_me Michelle

    I’m so excited for you and I LOVE that you are going for quality in your tiny house. With space at a premium, every square inch has to work especially hard, and full extension drawer glides are definitely a must have. Like Crystal, the kitchen is the most important space in my home….which is probably why I became a kitchen and bath designer. Drawers are great for just about everything and help everyone keep organized. I do usually incorporate some door cabinets too, (always butt door options) but I always include adjustable roll outs in those cabinets for every kitchen I design. It’s non negotiable. They’ll thank me later… ;-)
    Another great option everyone incorporates is a tray cabinet. It can be super narrow, only a few inches, but it stores cookie sheets, cutting boards and platters vertically, so much more efficiently and they’re easier to get at than laying them flat under your other cookware.
    Quality products will last the lifetime of the house. Cheap faucets (especially with a family) will fall apart rather quickly. Look into Waterstone faucets. American made. Pricey, but quality that will last for many, many years. (You REALLY don’t want to keep calling the plumber out do you?…which usually costs more than the faucet…)

    Kudos to you. I look forward to seeing the progression of your tiny home. It sounds lovely.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Thank you so much Michelle for your support and enthusiasm. That means a great deal to us. You are right. Every square inch MUST work for us, indeed.

      In regards to a tray cabinet…we are actually toying around with the idea of using our toe kick space to have a couple of drawers. We have clearance even with our floor so it might store our 2-3 cookie sheets quite well. We don’t have platters to speak of but perhaps one day we will and will need to consider such.

      Waterstone faucets, huh? Great recommendation. Their pulldown systems are gorgeous. We are going for brushed nickel or a matte aluminum finish so we’ll have to keep those in mind.

      Thank you for taking time to comment and you can bet as we build we will have more photos, more posts, and the video!

      • 320squarefoothome

        I can’t wait to see it! Your whitewashed walls are going to be gorgeous. I love the cottage-y, beach-y feel. I wanted ours to feel like a ‘vacation home’ also, thus the colors of creamy white and soft robin’s egg blue, and splashes of sassy red :)

        Our house is still a work in progress. It is very different from when we moved into it. After living with it for a year, we decided things could be better, we moved the bathroom around, moved the toilet stall, added a bedroom, added cabinets in the kitchen…..We use our table as a ‘prep’ area, just another counter top. Everything has to have multiple functions or it can’t be part of our family.

        Even a tiny house can be remodeled. Nothing is set in stone!

        • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

          I can’t wait to see it either! HAHAHAHAHA. I have to say that y’alls walls were a bit of an inspiration to us early on. So, kudos to your 320 square feet indeed!

          Where did y’all add a bedroom? I am curious now. Pictures?

          Have you taken any time to really look at our pod design utilizing the tiny house trailer? Any thoughts on it?

          • 320squarefoothome

            Where is it? I have crawled all over your site….I know it is here SOMEWHERE! I would love to see it. :)

          • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

            It actually isn’t on the site….yet. I am holding out as I have a few more changes to do that I am thinking about even as I type this. You can see it in its current design here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.296043850461753.67616.155930214473118&type=3

          • 320squarefoothome

            This is seriously awesome! I love the modules, hehe, you are going to have a triple wide! We are actually working on a third building for our ‘compound’ also. We have been squished in our sewing room for going on three years – five industrial sewing machines and thousands of yards of fabric. Must. Have. More. Space. Not too much more, just another 10 x 16.

            Off to drool over your spaces-to-be.

          • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

            So here is the rundown. Our tiny house trailer (240 sq.ft.) is the center unit of our “pod.” I like to call it the Podom since our last name is Odom. HAHAHAHAH! Anyway. Our trailer will sit on a concrete pad. It is being built without a bathroom so our first expansion will come rather quickly. We have framed a feux door in our trailer that once we “park” will be cut open to make a hallway into expansion #1: the bathroom (with tub!!!!), washer/dryer unit, and our master bedroom. Master…hahahaha. That just sounds funny consider it is a tiny house. Expansion #1 will add another 144 sq.ft. This will put Tilly Madison’s room in the tiny house trailer where our bed currently sits. She will then have her own room, so to speak, and we will have a bit of adult privacy. Expansion #2 will actually be a pod “off site” (removed from the cluster) which will be my home office (I work from home) and be little more than 64 sq.ft. Expansion #3 will then be the front and side decks which will have a roof and allow us some great out door space. Expansion #4 will finally be the “formal entrance” which will double as the dining room. It will be about 128 sq.ft. Once all is said and done we will have a 512 sq.ft. (or so…) Podom with two outbuilding – one being the home office and another being the storm shelter/root cellar. We’ll probably just call it home though!

          • 320squarefoothome

            Here is the bedroom: http://www.320squarefoothome.com/2012/08/read-this-quick-before-my-some-makes-me.html
            and this is the actual remodel: http://www.320squarefoothome.com/2012/02/when-small-rooms-go-big.html

            There is an exterior shot at the bottom of the post. We need a permit to tow it, but we needed one anyway as the house is 10 feet wide.

          • 320squarefoothome
          • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

            A-Ha. I see it now. I should have read this comment first. WOW! Y’all did a great job. Nice to have helping hands, huh? Thank you so much for sharing all of this with me/us. It’s great to see another tiny house expand as the family needs it to!

          • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

            I didn’t see an exterior shot. However, I get the idea. Did y’all just “cut” the roof off, extend the framing, reside, resheetrock, etc? It looks awesome. I know he is siked!

          • 320squarefoothome

            Yes, he is happy. Me too. I finally feel like a good parent :) Sometimes you just do the best you can. Do you ever worry DHS is going to come scoop up your baby? That was a real fear I had! I have a fire escape ladder, and we have done real ‘tests’. He loved that. What 14 year old doesn’t want to crawl out of their second story house?

            Try this: http://lh6.ggpht.com/-9H24aPuO-d8/Tz6oMJn7m6I/AAAAAAAAAtw/RkP9TPii6-g/s1600-h/CIMG2733%25255B4%25255D.jpg

          • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

            You know? I have never even thought about DHS. I figure between home schooling and anti-vax situations there will be enough for folks to question about us. I will take it all as it comes. Our fire plan will be pretty secure and we also have 4′ x 4′ windows on both sides of our house so going out either of them is not a problem at all. It is something to think about though I reckon!

  • kphelps

    One of my biggest concerns about having a tiny house is my NEED for a REAL kitchen as part of my life! Cooking and baking are a big part of my life and an integral creative outlet. I will look forward to watching the two of you put your kitchen together and enjoy seeing you make it work. I’m so grateful there are others in the tiny house movement that recognize having a full functional kitchen is a priority for some of us!

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      It was one of our biggest concerns too; no doubt. We knew that a small kitchenette type unit just wouldn’t work for us. We will be living semi-rurally so restaurant within peddling/walking distance will not be an option, delivery will not be an option, etc. Not to mention we have extensive gardens and preserved foods that we need space to, well, preserve initially (can, water bath, freeze, etc) and then prepare, a “tiny” kitchen just wasn’t feasible. Stick with us kphelps and we’ll keep posting pics of the cabinet build, installation, etc. We’ll also be doing our How-To video on the topic and other fun things!

  • alice h

    I will always have drawers for all bottom cabinets in the future, or at least some kind of pullout. Bottom shelves drive me crazy, though I’ve “containerised” extensively. I’m also making all my counters 18″ deep instead of 24″ when I build my tiny house. I’m short, with short arms, and find the extra inches at the back of the counter just end up with “stuff” on them and I actively use no more than the front 18″ or so. Less stuff to paw through underneath as well while still giving lots of storage and more open floor space. The exception will be a full height pullout pantry 24″ deep that will help divide the kitchen from the living area. It will also have a couple of flip-up counters I can open as needed. Toaster ovens or whatever will be on shelves at eye level, not sitting on the counter. I recently did a full scale mockup of all my tiny house walls using masking tape on some plastic drop sheets, gives a really good idea of just how much space you have to work in. I tape it up on the garage wall outside my current living space, gives the neighbours some entertainment as they watch me mutter and reposition tape. I’m starting to feel like the tape measure is an extension of my hand.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Sounds awesome Alice. To compare your kitchen with ours….

      All of our base cabinets have slide out drawer/shelves. Every inch will be useable and reachable. Our countertops are 19″ deep. Crystal is also short and has short arms and since the kitchen is hers, so to speak, it is custom measured and built for her. Our pantry (located next to the fridge just behind the door) will be 6.5′ tall (I am 6′ tall) and only stuff we rarely use (mixer/food processor/canning pot) will be located up high. Our toaster oven has its very own shelf located next to the fridge with a plug right there with it (no ugly cords for us!)….etc.

      So, as you can see, we are right there with you. Great thoughts Alice. Thank you for sharing indeed!

  • http://twitter.com/ethanwaldman Ethan Waldman

    Great article, Andrew! Question: is that truck bed something that is available to buy from 4qte, or did you strike gold on craigslist? Great job on the planning.

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Thank you Ethan. I heard about the truck situation from a guy in town. I called and he was right. Just one of those luck of the draw scenarios!

  • Southern Belle

    Ooh a real sized kitchen in a tiny house!! :-D Love! One of the beauties of tiny house design – it truly fits ‘you’! :-)

    • http://www.tinyrevolution.us/ anotherkindofdrew

      Heck yeah. A happy wife is a happy life. Hahahahahah

Previous post:

Next post: