Maximizing a small kitchen in Manhattan

For many, it is difficult to downsize. We accumulate possessions over the years and find comfort them but there is a new trend in town…less is more.   Opera star Renée Fleming downsized from a spacious home to a city apartment.  Renee loves to cook so she was determined to keep all the comforts of her former kitchen.  So she hired interior designer John Buscarello to reimage and update her Manhattan kitchen using every inch of space.

Buscarello carved out space for a dining nook with banquette seating that has storage below. A pastoral mural by John Pascoe, an opera director and designer, enhances the space and gives a touch of whimsy.  What a cozy space to spend hours in!


Reordering the appliances in the kitchen captured more counter space, including a serving area next to the new breakfast nook. The gas range, now situated to the right of the sink, is topped with a new microwave. The dishwasher, between the table and the sink, is perfectly positioned for quick cleanups. Ceiling-height cabinets maximize storage space while creating sleek lines. Taking the time to think through your needs when planning a remodel is especially important when you have limited space.

A neutral tone-on-tone color scheme works to unify the space without overwhelming it. Choosing a clear glass for the backsplash makes the surface appear to recede, which fosters the illusion of spaciousness. A combination of pendant and under-cabinet lighting softly illuminates work spaces. For a busy kitchen with limited counter space, a deep sink like the one shown here is essential. Dirty dishes and prep items can be dropped into the sink and kept out of the way. This apron-front style of sink also contributes to the country look.

Other helpful hints: Before ordering cabinets, determine the purpose for each. Most cabinetmakers offer options for roll-outs and deep drawers, as well as specialized add-ins such as spice racks, which can help with organization. And don't feel compelled to buy standard cabinetry when your kitchen isn't standard. These shallower cabinets (which are more expensive) sacrifice a few inches of storage but make a dining nook possible.

I hope you’ve enjoy the tour and helpful hints in designing for a small space informative.