There are three real factors to consider when choosing your apartment and you will have to sacrifice at least one: price, size or location.He obviously didn't know me at all or he would have included "The Kitchen." City kitchens are often tiny, cramped spaces with undersized appliances and poor lighting. Counter space? Why bother? I was amazed at what was sacrificed in order to make more room for the rest of the apartment. One place I saw had a tiny corner with a sink, 2 burner stove and single cabinet. The refrigerator was 4 1/2 feet high by 2 feet wide and was tucked into the closet outside the bathroom.
How do you make magic happen in a kitchen like that? The kitchen should be the place where everyone congregates at parties. Where affectionate hugs and great conversations just happen. Where serendipity or creativity lead to new culinary inventions! I wanted all these things to happen in my kitchen. I wanted room to chop and mix and knead!
After a long search, I moved into a 400 square foot studio with my boyfriend for an outlandish price. We didn't know it at the time, but the location turned out to be good. My kitchen, however, was great considering what I was up against. It was a cute little L shape with lots of cabinets and space above them for storage. I painted the ceiling and trim blue and brown. I added a freestanding cabinet (not pictured,) which gave me even more storage and another work surface. I lined up all my cookbooks in a row, next to the few bottles of booze that made up my home bar. There was still room for my red stockpot and dutch oven, plus my collection of Saveur & Gourmet magazines. The microwave fit on top of the fridge with room for a large roasting pan and wok to go on top. The spice rack went up over the stove - which was convenient, but for the record, is not the best place for spices because of the heat!
We lived in that apartment for two years. I made cola-glazed ham for Easter and a startlingly perfect turkey for Thanksgiving - think Norman Rockwell. For my boyfriend's birthday, I made his favorite dessert from scratch: chocolate cream pie. I learned how to poach the perfect egg. We squeezed our friends around our table for dinner parties and sat for leisurely brunches with the crossword puzzle and the cat. In the end, the apartment was just too small, but I did love my kitchen. Everything had it's place, and nothing was out of reach.
The great thing about living in a big city and squeezing yourself into a tiny apartment kitchen is that you are forced to be innovative with your space. I am always amazed at what people do to make their kitchens workable. If you have a city kitchen you want to share, or know of one, please send an email and let me know about it!