We Reno’d a 900-Square-Foot House to Feel Way Roomier (and Succeeded!)

When my husband and I rather unexpectedly purchased a 900-square-foot fixer-upper last year, we learned one thing very quickly: Small spaces work best if you make them functional for your needs. We started demo all over the house, but the kitchen is where we first addressed how two people who love to cook were going to navigate a lack of counter and storage space. From there we tackled a bedroom, a bathroom, a living room, and a studio for our photography. Nine months later and all of the big renovations conquered, we’re now happily living in a home that I lovingly call “the shoebox,” with only a couple of projects still waiting in the wings.

Sorting Out a Small Kitchen

Storage hack number one was turning the guest room’s closet into a pantry. The bedroom is on the other side of the kitchen wall and its closet lines up perfectly with where a pantry would be, if we were to design it from scratch. So we cut a door out of the kitchen wall, purchased a pantry system from IKEA to build into the closet, and maximized storage with pull-out drawers. Prior to changing the layout, though, we had to deal with the placement of the range. Originally right in the middle of the existing counter, it was taking up far too much precious room. We decided after considering every possible configuration that it made sense to remove it from that counter completely. We only had one other option for where it could go: The kitchen had one of those very 1950s half walls on the dining room side that served no purpose whatsoever other than acting as a divider. So we sledgehammered it to make way for a kitchen island with storage on the side facing the living room, formerly the dining room, leaving the other side that faced the kitchen wide open for a range to slide in. Now, that island also functions as our table. This was a necessary trade-off to maximize the kitchen space. We love having the stool setup, which makes entertaining and cooking for people more interactive and personal….

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