San Diego

Study This!

October 9th, 2012 by


I was recently asked to analyze possible uses for an awkward kitchen corner in a small two-bedroom, one-bath home measuring less than 1,400 square feet. My three challenges were working around a drop down ironing board that cut into the small space, an opening into the family room that was only 27 inches off the floor, and the clear need for additional counter workspace.


The easiest, least expensive, solution would be a table – perhaps a 36-inch-high counter-height model – that would double as casual dining and food prep space.


If it were a two-cook kitchen, a small U-shape area could be fashioned with a prep sink away from the flow of busier activity. This would necessitate filling in nine inches of the window opening to raise it flush with the 36-inch counter height. The family room, adjacent on the other side of the opening, is one step down from the rest of the house so the resulting pass-through height on that side would be an accessible 42-44 inches above the finished floor.  Actually, perfect for a built-in casual family room seating bar.


But, considering the small size of the house, creating a home office or after-school study area would fulfill a separate need, and essentially add an extra “room”, without infringing on valuable space elsewhere in the home.

Malaga Listing Kitchen

A small kitchen corner is carefully planned to serve as a home office or study area, while also providing needed kitchen counter workspace. Note: Click image to view larger.


A built-in L-shaped desk at +/-29-inches in height would easily work with the window opening to provide a nice view through the glass-walled family room into the landscaped back garden. Wall-mounted shelves provide space for plants, art and books.  A “peninsula” at standard 36-inch counter height addresses the need for added kitchen counter workspace and, with a minimal raised splash at back, blocks direct view of the desk area. The space below can be configured with niches and shelves, some facing into the kitchen and some into the office area, to provide storage.


These are just a few of my ideas for this space illustrating that, with thoughtful planning, areas first considered inconsequential can be transformed functionally and aesthetically to add enjoyment and value to your home!


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