Becketwood Cooperative
An Active, Independent 55+ Community of Owners in Minneapolis

A Move and Renovation was in the Air–Part 2

by Peggy Ryden, Becketwood Member



While generally not one to host an "Open House" I decided to share the remodel of our new Chesterfield Unit through this blog.  Look for a few posts that highlight the various components of a 912 square feet renovation.  Sincere thanks to all the patient Members who were affected by our renovation noise!

Before moving into Becketwood I had selected finishes, designed a kitchen and bathroom, and researched light fixtures for a unit yet to be purchased. When the opportunity was right for a remodel we would be ready to go. Finally, three years after moving, we had an opportunity to purchase a unit that would meet our needs.  The design goals were simple: create an open floor plan, use the design principle "form follows function," and select products made in the US as much possible.

Throughout the design process I was reminded of architect and author Sara Susanka’s  Not So Big House. From the author: "A Not So Big House feels more spacious than many of its over-sized neighbors because it is space with substance, all of it in use every day.”


Renovation Part 2: A Tiny Kitchen

Ah, the kitchen.  First, I'll share that I am a good cook with a lot of cooking/bake-ware and “small” electric appliances. That food processor looks like an elephant in the room in a Tiny Kitchen! 

Kitchen before renovation

Having downsized a kitchen before moving to Becketwood three years ago, I thought the new kitchen would be the most challenging to gain every last inch of space using the “form follows function” design principle. To begin the process, walls would come down to create an open floor plan. Then, pull-out, accessible lower cabinet storage would be added. Last, but not least, better lighting would be added with quality of light and not merely quantity of light in mind. 

Design Aesthetic :  My first design consideration in the small space was to reduce “visual noise” by using a continuity of color (white) in the cabinets and appliances. A custom dishwasher panel enables the cabinets to flow together. And, although stainless appliances are more in fashion, I knew that they would interrupt the visual continuity so I selected white appliances.

Kitchen after renovation

Accessible Storage: As for cabinet features, we wanted pull-out storage, which is not only good for aging in place but is now common in kitchen design. To create more accessible storage we opened up the back of the second bedroom’s closet wall to the kitchen to create a pull-out pantry and storage space. All of the pull-out items shown are from Rev-A-Shelf and widely available to order online.


Next, I gave up two inches in one cabinet on the sink wall to gain a full-sized lazy Susan in the corner unit for large item storage. The 15" cabinet next to the stove features a pull-out vertical pan and lid rack. Every inch counts!

Although most wall work was tearing down, one wall was filled in to create four feet of counter and cabinets.


Lighting: To improve lighting, all light fixtures were put on dimmer switches--high power for tasks and dimmed down for morning coffee.  The under-cabinet lights can be switched between three color temperatures to give a warmer or cooler light quality.  As for a light over the range, a range hood both provided light and effectively captured cooking odors.  A microwave overhead wasn't an option, as I'm too “vertically challenged” to remove hot items safely from an overhead appliance.

Finally, some have asked why I didn't incorporate an island preparation table. Although I considered adding that precious three feet of detached serving counter space, I knew  the feeling of openness would be compromised.  For buffet style entertaining I'll use a narrow temporary table to set the food on.

Our Tiny Kitchen feels like a dance hall and that's a good thing.  It's now a “space with substance, all of it in use every day."

p.s. "Cooking" with a microwave for two months without a range (with COVID related shortages of appliances) is a story for another day!


To be continued
Renovation Part 3: Tiny Living Spaces


Leave a Reply

  • Carol Bechtel March 24, 2021, 8:36 pm

    Terrific planning; beautiful results. I think you have created the ultimate Chesterfield kitchen!

  • Margo Herman March 24, 2021, 9:30 pm

    Nicely done! Breath of fresh air with this design and very smart storage.

  • Nancy MInahan (former owner of this unit and its kitchen) March 31, 2021, 12:00 am

    The Rev-A-Shelves do a great job of making storage more reachable. I intend to renovate my current kitchen and use the shelving I learned from your renovation. I also admire your creative reuse of the second bedroom closet space to provide both a pantry and a bit of counter space. As Carol B. said, “I think you’ve created the ultimate Chesterfield kitchen!” Obviously, both organization and creativity went into the renovation of the unit’s bathroom and kitchen.