Small City Kitchen: a project by ZWEI Design


If you live in a large city or in a country where the cost of living is generally higher, you will most likely find yourself living in a smaller footprint home at some point. In recent years living “smaller” has become a trend. Living small is especially attractive to young professionals at the beginning of their ambitious careers. Having less space means less upfront costs to purchase a small flat or home and less home maintenance and cleaning. This boils down to having more available money and time to use as desired.

This is exactly why our clients decided to purchase a small city flat in their city. But just because they decided to live small, didn’t mean they wanted to sacrifice on design and quality. Just like most young professionals, our clients wanted a beautiful, sophisticated and clean space to live in as well as to entertain friends and colleagues. 

As the crowing jewel of any home is the kitchen (and because it is the place where most everyone will gather) it was important that the kitchen, though small, did not lack in practically and in beauty.

The Greatest Advantage (in Our Minds) for Living Small

For us, this is simple, the greatest advantage to living small is you can invest in higher quality design and materials. Less upfront cost for a small flat means more budget for beautiful and practical materials and pieces. Our clients understood this concept and decided to invest in quaintly materials.

The Challenges with a Small Kitchen 

The biggest challenge when living in a smaller space is without doubt storage. This extends right into the kitchen. However, filling your kitchen with cabinets on every wall in order to maximise storage space will make your kitchen feel claustrophobic, dark and unappealing.

We at ZWEI Design believe that just because your kitchen is small, doesn’t mean that it cannot feel big and impressive. To achieve this, however, will require two major components.

  1. You will need to break old habits and learn new ways of organising your kitchen.

  2. You will need to invest in high quality materials that will not only look beautiful but remain beautiful with time.

Pro Tip: Don’t be fooled by photography. Just because something looks nice does not mean it actually is. Countertops, for example, can look beautiful in a photoshoot, but the real question is how will it look after a year or so of use. Will there be stains because the natural stone is porous and it wasn’t properly or consistently sealed? Will the laminated imitation be forever ruined by accidentally placing the hot pan on it that one time?

The Design

We knew right off the bat that the current layout of the kitchen was not suitable for their needs. We opened up the walls of the interior so one of the first things you could see when entering is the kitchen. This also allowed access to the kitchen from different sides allowing for better flow. 

Because you could now see the kitchen from nearly every angle of the living area, we knew the best material for the countertop would SapienStone. SapienStone offer a wide range of luxurious yet neutral surfaces that are engineered to last. But they are not only an eye catcher.
These countertops are porcelain so they are hardwearing and requires low maintenance…perfect for the busy couple. They can use the surface to place hot pans on, easily wipe away spills with any cleaner (even chemical cleaners) and the surface will resist accidental knife cuts when doing their meal prep. The only question for us was, “Which countertop design?”

We ended up selecting the finish Calacatta Statuario, in a natural finish. It’s pure white marble design screams of elegance without being pretentious. It feels both fancy and humble.
We paired this countertop with classic matt white lower kitchen cabinets and eucalyptus green walls. Even though this kitchen is small, we came up with organisational solutions which allowed us to not install upper cabinets. This opens up the space making the small kitchen feel much larger and grand. Two open shelves allow for storage of their beautiful kitchenware.

We decided to extend the countertop up onto the wall for the backsplash. Of course by doing this, there is the very practicable advantage of easy cleaning around the kitchen sink and stovetop. But by extending the SapienStone countertop onto the wall you will make the kitchen feel larger because you can see more of the same marble material.

Pro tip: When designing a small kitchen minimise the amount of materials you use. By doing this, you will achieve a cleaner and more calm look. Adversely, by adding more materials, for example a tiled ceramic backsplash, you will cut an already small space into smaller visual sections, making it feel more busy and therefore visually smaller.

We look forward to seeing this design fully implement in our client’s home. We know it will not only look great and fit their needs, but because they were able to invest in long-lasting materials (both visually and in quality), they will have achieved a higher resell value when deciding to move into a larger, family home in the future.


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