Small Spaces Big Ideas - Cape Cod LIFE Publications

Small Spaces Big Ideas

<blockquote class=”lead”>Local professionals prove even small kitchens can boast big design.</blockquote>

Photo by Dan Cutrona

Photo by Dan Cutrona

“The truth is that big kitchens are just easier to design,” admits David Flanagan, owner of Wychmere Woodworks in Orleans. However, Flanagan concedes that many homeowners on the Cape may lack the luxury of unlimited funds and abundant square footage for their dream kitchen. In this region in particular, small homes are de rigueur—saltboxes and seaside cottages, many historic, are often defined by confined spaces. When it comes to remodeling these kitchens with modern conveniences, woodworkers and kitchen designers can have their work cut out for them.

Mark Lane of Bayside Kitchen & Bath in Falmouth ( is familiar with the unique set of challenges that are presented when big ideas need to fit into small spaces. He recently completed a kitchen renovation in the cozy Wilson Ryder House in Cummaquid that delivers a deceptively spacious feel. Homeowners Donna and Mitch Grzywoc had done minor upgrades over the past 14 years since they moved in to the home. They installed wide pine flooring, replaced the countertops and painted the room. The next step on their wish list was to add a concealed washer and dryer in the limited kitchen space. The two turned to Lane to design and fit function and convenience into a tight space without compromising their elegant, if small, kitchen.

“[The space] raised a lot of issues,” says Lane. The circa 1850 home located in the Old Kings Highway Historic District (which is on the National Register of Historic Places) has a series of small rooms and multiple mini-additions commonplace for homes from the era. There were multiple uneven surfaces throughout the space. “Nothing matched up,” says Lane. It was very important to the Grzywocs to preserve the design integrity of their home.

“We wanted to keep the essence of the house,” says Donna. Though Lane could have corrected the irregular surface areas as best as possible, he decided the best approach was to completely reframe the space. Laying that foundation created a wholly level surface which made installing custom-made cabinetry an uncomplicated process.

Though 12’ x 22’ may sound like limited square footage, Lane was able to craft a refreshingly airy kitchen that includes a top of the line 36” rangetop with six burners, a stainless steel French-door bottom-freezer refrigerator, a ceramic farm sink, and unbelievably, the washer and dryer under a countertop camouflaged behind matching cabinet doors. “I made it all work,” Lane says with a laugh. “Our job is the puzzle—it’s all about completing the puzzle.”

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