Our Tiny, Tiny Kitchen – Part One

April 11, 2017

If you know me, you know one of my favorite hobbies is eating. So, imagine my delight when we started working on the best part of the house: the kitchen! I think everyone agrees that the kitchen is the heart of the home, and even if our kitchen is small, it doesn’t mean that it can’t make a big impact.

We had some big decisions to make, not only about how we would lay everything out and look, but also about how our kitchen would function for us. A tiny house kitchen requires a bit of adjusting of how storage/prep work/cooking happens in the space. Even more so than in other spaces in a tiny house, the kitchen has an extremely delicate balance of what is required to be a functioning space and what can be given up to allow for extra room. Defining this space for our use was the first step in moving forward.

The kitchen is coming together now!

Eric and I first sat down to think about our eating and kitchen-using habits. We faced the fact that neither one of us love to cook. We both can cook, but it’s not a passion for us, and honestly, we’re usually too lazy to put much effort into our meals. If I’m going to cook, I’d rather do it for a big group of people and make it a big shebang. Cooking for two annoys me. Especially when Eric really doesn’t care what he eats, as long as he gets food. Not being hungry is his only goal at mealtime. For me, I care about the taste, the plating, the experience of a meal, etc. So, I usually think cooking elaborate meals is too much work when really only one of us is even invested in it.

So, the reality is Eric and I split our meals between simple, no-fuss meals at home and eating out. Do I wish that I was a secret Emeril Legasse and cooked amazing, complicated dishes at home? Sure. Is that ever going to happen? Nope. Being realistic about our lives is crucial in planning this house. I don’t need a fancy gas stove and a 4-pot cooktop for our kitchen. I don’t need space for a ton of pots and pans and utensils. I don’t need a million feet of counter space. I have friends, and even my own sisters, who are great cooks and make all kinds of things from scratch. They would need all of that stuff I just mentioned, but since I can pretty much guarantee that will never happen in my kitchen, there is no need to plan for it. All I need is a convection microwave that allows me to bake and broil and two electric burners for “stove-top” cooking. It’s pretty basic, but it works for us.

One thing I was sure of was that I wanted a big, deep sink. We knew we wouldn’t have a dishwasher, and we decided to nix a clothes washing machine, too. Because of those choices, I wanted a deep sink to wash our dishes and possibly even some clothes. (Plus, if we accidentally get preggo, this will be where the baby sleeps. Not even kidding. But, sorry mom and Granddad, that’s not happening anytime soon. **crosses fingers**says a prayer**knocks on wood**) I also know it’s not realistic to think that every time we use a dish it will get washed that very instant. Every one has dishes sitting in their sink at some point. That’s life. If you don’t experience that, then you’re not a real person. I’m not suggesting that I want our dirty dishes to be piled up all the time, but with a deep sink at least if that does happen, it won’t make our small space feel even more crowded with dirty stuff sitting around. A deep sink can kind of hide the mess of dishes until they’re cleaned.

(I’m feeling a bit like a slob writing about how we eat out and have dirty dishes sitting in our sink, but hopefully you all get the point of what I’m trying to say. Just…. don’t judge me.)

Soon it was time to start building the kitchen. We had the basic layout figured so it was time to jump in and get going. We started by getting the basic framework of the cabinets set up. Once the basic frame was in place, we began adding shelving and drawer sliders. We really had to work hard to make sure everything was level. The last thing we wanted is for everything to slide off our counters or our drawers not sliding in and out correctly. Once everything was level, Eric tackled building the drawers for our cabinets. We have three skinny drawers at the end of the counter and one wide, large drawer in the center.

The back wall of our kitchen.

The beginning of the cabinets. Framing everything out!

The second section of the cabinets.

Denali is consulting on what materials to use for shelving.

Cabinet shelving

Skinny drawers are level and ready to go!

The basic frame is all finished. Time for drawers and counter tops.

The drawers are in place, along with the microwave in it’s spot.

The drawers are already coming in handy!

From there it was time to start on our kitchen counters. We decided on going with a butcher block style, and I was so nervous about how it would turn out. We bought two long butcher block pieces and glued and clamped them together to get a solid piece wide enough for our counters. Then it was time to cut it down to size, trace the outline of our sink, and cut out the hole. I put a lot of pressure on Eric to make sure he got the cut right. We wanted an under-mount sink, so the hole had to be pretty much perfect. Any mistake would be very noticeable. Thankfully, he did a great job and it turned out just right.

The counter is cut to the correct size.

The template for our sink.

The template is traced and now it’s time to get down to business.

No pressure, Eric…except that you can’t mess up. So, yes, pressure.

The first major cuts of our sink hole. It was easier to cut out the major area first and then clean it up with a smaller saw later.

Cleaning up the hole and making the precision cuts.

The kitchen is coming together now!

Whew! The counter fit and the hole for the sink was perfect. We sanded everything to be silky smooth, and then came the next challenge: staining. Ugh, how I hate staining! Thankfully, I only wanted one coat of stain on the counter so it would be a much lighter color than the trim on the outside of the house. I was still nervous about this part of the project, because as I found out in our previous staining experience, you can never quite tell how stain will take to different grains of wood. With fingers crossed, I started staining.

Before staining. The pine wood was very, very light.

After one coat, thankfully it turned out exactly how I wanted!

Close up of the grain. I love how the different streaks pop.

Looks great!

I love it!

Once the counter tops were stained and waxed it was time to install the sink. I absolutely love our sink. It’s big enough I can almost take a bath in it. It’s a stainless steal beauty. I was very excited to get it attached to the counters and see our kitchen coming together. In order to attach it, we took the counter out of the house, flipped it over, lined the edge with a strong clear sealer, and screwed the bad boy down. Once the sink was attached, Eric then attached the counter to cabinets. It was a tight squeeze, and I’ll be honest, I wasn’t much help. But, the job got done and the first steps of finishing the kitchen turned out great.

Under-mounting the sink

Wooo! Looks awesome!

I love it!

Squeezing in the cabinets to attach the counters.

Eric is not thrilled that I’m taking pictures instead of helping. Hey, it’s for the blog! Not my fault.

This is just the beginning of our kitchen transformation. The next post will show our backsplash and the finished cabinets. It’s really changing the whole house, and we are super excited about it. Come back soon for more updates!










  • Reply Aunt Tami April 12, 2017 at 11:04 AM

    Question: what is your water protection on your countertop. Love the look. And yes! I read the blog because I thought maybe..baby!!! Love to you two. Always welcome to park it in Wisconsin.

    • Reply emar2012 April 12, 2017 at 11:38 AM

      Hello! The stain we used for the counter also had a sealer in it. We also used a paste wax to provide extra sealing. I didn’t want the counters to shine, and the wax turned out perfectly. It sealed everything up and made it super smooth, but left the counters matte. Thanks for the invite!

  • Reply Kathy Chaney April 13, 2017 at 8:40 PM

    That stain IS beautiful! And who wouldn’t love a big sink?

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