Tiny House Kitchen Part 1: Cooking Station
The kitchen is one of the most important areas in any house. It has to be functional and flow naturally, which makes cooking and food preparation more efficient. Since space is a premium, every precious inch in a tiny house kitchen must cater to the needs of the cook.
This tiny house kitchen attempts to do just that. That being said, it’s no small task. In fact, it’s the most work and planning for any aspect of the entire tiny house so far. So big in fact, this is the first in a series of blogs to cover the kitchen’s construction.
The Tiny House Kitchen
This tiny house has a galley kitchen. A galley kitchen maximizes space and efficiency. The two parallel counters make every point of the work triangle equally accessible, and the aisle allows two people to freely walk by each other.
The overall layout is simple. When facing the kitchen from the great room, the refrigerator, cook top, storage, and microwave/convection oven are on the right. The sink, additional storage, and pantry are on the left.
Food is one of the most important things in our lives. A functional cooking station can not only make cooking easier, but also enjoyable. The cooking station consists of the propane cook top, a microwave/convection oven, the trash can, drawers, cupboards, and the refrigerator.
This side of the kitchen has the most storage. So cooking utensils and supplies will be accessible from here. Additional storage is behind the cook from the sink area, and the pull out pantry under the stairs. Overall, there is a lot of flexibility to use this kitchen’s storage.
The Cook Top
This cook top is a Empava Stainless Steel Built-in 4 Burners Stove. It uses propane and has an electric starter. However, a lighter can ignite it in case there is no power. Therefore, there is a cooking option when electricity is unavailable.
It’s purposely positioned off-centered so the sink is directly behind anyone standing in front of the cook top. Secondly, it provides a larger work area to the left. The cook top has four burners with different heating temperatures, which means the cook can multitask while preparing those delicious home-cooked meals.
To help vent odors, a Broan Stainless Steel Non-Ducted Range Hood is directly above the cook top. The range hood fits perfectly in this kitchen with 24″ (~ 61 cm) deep counters.
The Microwave/Convection Oven
The original design has a propane oven and range. However, a microwave became a must as more discussion and planning took place. Microwaves are big, bulky, and take up a lot of space. I’ve seen many layouts that cleverly install a microwave above the refrigerator or in the cupboard space above.
On the other hand, a stove is an important tool in any cook’s kitchen. Although, in this case it won’t be used as much as a microwave. Therefore, the middle ground is a microwave and convection oven. After some comparison on different models, I settled on the Cuisinart CMW-200 1.2-Cubic-Foot Convection Microwave Oven with Grill.
Since a convection oven generates a lot of heat, there will be insulation surrounding the unit to redirect air and heat away from the walls. There is an outlet behind the unit for power. Power consumption is important as it’s being actively measured to determine what size of a solar system this tiny house will need.
Many tiny houses have a small refrigerator that is normally underneath the kitchen counter. However, my needs require a larger refrigerator and freezer. Although a standard size refrigerator typically found in modern homes is too deep for these counters, smaller apartment style refrigerators are a decent size and hold a plethora of things.
Additionally, it’s important to keep power consumption as low as possible. The Danby 7.3 Cu. Ft. Refrigerator fits all these requirements, and has an energy star rating is 343 kWh (kilowatt hours) of electricity a year.
The refrigerator is built into an enclosure. Although, some people may argue that by doing so makes replacing it more difficult. That’s a valid point. However, the enclosure helps secure the refrigerator in place when the tiny house is moving. Also, it raises it up slightly to be more convenient to access each shelf. As a result, there is an additional drawer underneath the refrigerator for more storage.
If I do need to replace the refrigerator at some point, there are only minor adjustments needed to fit a slightly wider and taller refrigerator.
The Trash Can
The trash can tucks nicely away so it isn’t visible. This pullout system fits a decent size trash can, and it’s easy to open and close.
This system did not come with a bracketing system for a front panel. Therefore, drilling holes in the track and using 4″ corner braces allows the finish door to securely attach to the trash can tracks.
All the cupboard and drawers are custom. This was done due to the layout and available dimensions of the tiny house kitchen. I did not want to compromise the design due to size and constraints of stock counters and cabinets. The end result is several large custom spaces for storage. The cupboards are deep enough to store large plates, glasses, cups, and more.
The bottom left cupboard has a removable half shelf to provide some flexibility of storing larger items. All drawers and cupboards use soft closing rails and hinges with the exception of the pull out trash can.
A tiny house kitchen has its own unique challenges. As space is limited, it’s vital to plan ahead as to what’s optimal and essential for cooking. There are several styles of kitchens, and it’s important to know yourself enough to design a kitchen that works best for you.
In all, the total effort of the cooking station was 37 hours between two people. There is still some finish work to do. However, that work will happen once the rest of the kitchen is together.