Getting tight spaces to function often requires thinking outside that box. It's true planning a very small bathroom, laundry room or kitchen demands that you research all options and be willing to invest in the best solutions. Often a corner wall-hung sink that is just the right size or the best stacking washing machine and dryer are a little more expensive. But it's important that you place enough value on what the right equipment can do for your petite area.
If size isn't significant, the appropriate design solution is easier to achieve. But when space is at a premium, like on a yacht, then each component becomes critical.
Thankfully, the internet allows for much easier product searches in the comfort of your living room. It's harder to reconcile paying more for a smaller appliance or fixture. However, these are considered specialty items, and this is why the price is often a bit of a shock.
Sometimes it is the designer of the space who is challenged to think about working with minimum dimensions. In other words, she must specify the minimum kitchen sink or the smallest wall-hung bathroom sink that she can find. Designer Kathy Weiss worked on the Carriage House kitchen for the Symphony Designer's Showcase. Reclaimed spaces like barns, lofts or carriage houses are not huge spaces. By angling a modest sink into a corner, the space likely flows and is more user-friendly. There is more space on either side of the angled sink when compared with what might have been if the sink had been centered under the windows. Obviously, a large, farmhouse sink or a double sink wouldn't work well in this same situation. Another accomplishment is that by creating an angle, two separate appliances can open. Use the right equipment for your particular situation.
It occurs to me that many people are frightened when a designer suggests an asymmetrical design or a solution that is not common. Some worry about resale appeal. What one should worry about is the ultimate function of any given space. Does your somewhat unorthodox design solve a problem well? Does it work? Is it made up of good-quality pieces and workmanship? Those are more legitimate concerns, in my professional opinion. Avoid anything that will appear to be rigged and not durable. Fortunately, with the popularity of tiny houses and lofts we are seeing an increase in excellent products.
Look at tankless water heaters as a way to potentially free up a little space in a laundry area or on a back porch. Tankless water heaters heat water only on demand and take up minimum space. They can often be positioned in lower cabinets. Consider 18-inch-wide dishwashers instead of the typical 24-inch models. Investigate apartment-sized refrigerators or fully integrated models that can accept cabinet fronts. If you alter a counter height to be 35 inches above a finished floor in any bathroom, you can have seven 4-inch drawers. That is far more useful than three deep drawers. It's something that I always use in my bathroom designs for clients, and they love it. Tiny items are stored in the typical bathroom, and these drawers are perfect for medicines, makeup, nail products or other toiletries.
Photo Credit: Bill Matthews Photographer
Christine Brun, ASID, is a San Diego-based interior designer and author of "Small Space Living." Send questions and comments to her by email to [email protected] To find out more about Christine Brun and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com