A Minimal Kitchen to optimize the living area

A Minimal Kitchen to optimize the living area

To optimize the available space, in a small two-room apartment in Milan, we have created this minimal, discreet, bright and elegant kitchen.

Minimal white Kitchen

ALL LIVING ROOM

As we wrote in this article dedicated to the Kitchen Snack Table, in contemporary kitchens the living area and the kitchen increasingly merge into a single open space.
There are no more partitions even at the entrance to the apartments, the door opens and everything we can have in a Living area is revealed in front of us.
So the kitchen, dining area and living room become a single room, just like in this article dedicated to a functional kitchen.
To give harmony to this triptych, the kitchen must therefore lose its “operative” spirit by hiding ladles, pots and groceries and becoming a more discreet element, which is revealed only when necessary.
Much more storage space and doors closed from view, while maintaining everything needed to cook, serve and enjoy food.

minimal kitchen lateral
minimal kitchen lateral

​PHYSIOMY OF A MINIMAL KITCHEN

This kitchen, designed by Artecasa studio, optimize the most of the available space.
It develops in the niche of the side wall at the entrance with an equipped part and a front island that acts as an additional storage space and snack table for quick meals.
What can therefore be seen from the entrance are two horizontal gray stone floors, which develop parallel.

gray minimal kitchen countertops

In the equipped part in the niche there are all the appliances needed in a minimal kitchen: a refrigerator column, a dishwasher with a two-bowl sink, a hob with an oven and a tall microwave.
In the island, lots of storage space, drawers for cutlery, pots and crockery and the top that extends towards the living area becoming a snack top to accommodate at least 3 diners.

details drawers
The atmosphere is convivial, and the lights are skilfully designed to amplify this feeling of intimacy and warmth.
Three ceiling lights descend punctually on the Kitchen Snack Table, the backlit wall units remain at the service of the kitchen while a track with adjustable spotlights illuminates the relaxation area.
The colors are light and glow in the light from the large windows at the back of the room.
minimal kitchen lateral

On the ground a natural oak parquet that matches well with the gray veined stone chosen for the countertops and the back of the kitchen and the light-colored furniture.
Here another minimal Milanese kitchen with similar combinations.

Furniture for children according to the Montessori Method

Furniture for children according to the Montessori Method

Building furniture in Montessori style means creating a child-friendly, comfortable and accessible environment. The lines that characterize these furnishings are simple and the materials are natural, such as wood.

THE MONTESSORI METHOD

The Montessori educational method is based on free activity within an environment tailored to the structural and cognitive characteristics of children and teenagers.
The function of the environment and of the furnishings that complete their spaces is to allow them to spontaneously develop autonomy in all evolutionary areas. The environment must therefore be built in proportion to the child.
It must be beautiful, harmonious and clean, it must facilitate movement and activities, while limiting the tools.
A space free of obstacles and minimal, free to be experienced independently, without the help or interaction of an adult.
Children in these environments are free to choose, create, invent and become aware of themselves and their potential in a process of self-education and self-control.
Montessori pedagogy starts from birth and develops up to adolescence with the aim of making the child not only independent, but also responsible and aware towards individual, but also social growth.

MONTESSORI FURNITURES

A fundamental prerogative of Montessori furnishings is the possibility for the child to reach the object easily and independently for sensory activities.
Then leave it free to be “called” by the object.
Furniture with an impact that is not only physical but also visual, fantastic and emotional.
Elements that become playmates and life companions where adults are guests or spectators in the environment.

BOOKSHELF

To marry the Montessori principles is this bookcase, made at child height in order to encourage the free choice of the favorite book.
All or most of the books are displayed in full view and in an orderly manner, even better if with the cover visible and not on the edge.
The shelves are easily accessible while the closed parts are designed to make opening easy and intuitive.

 Allegra Montessori Library
 Allegra Montessori Library
 Allegra Montessori Library

The “Little Cheerful Bookcase” in the shape of a house has shelves visible in the upper part and lower doors with a laser-cutted handle in the shape of a happy face.
The opening takes place precisely by inserting the fingers in the “voids” of the smiley, stimulating the touch for gripping the doors.
Internally, a shelf is available for any small items. Made of poplar wood it was subsequently painted with non-toxic water-based paints that still allow the natural grain of the poplar to be glimpsed.
All this to introduce the theme of colour, respecting the reference to nature present in the choice of material.

MONTESSORI TURRET

The Montessori turret is also called the Learning Tower.
This is essentially a wooden ladder that allows the child to stand up, in total safety thanks to the side bulkheads.
Thanks to this “elevation from the ground” all the adult furnishings, such as the kitchen top, tables or sinks, also become accessible for the child.
The latter thus manages to carry out, in complete autonomy, various actions such as brushing his teeth, hands or carrying out small household chores which allow him to acquire autonomy.
The steps of the Montessori tower also train the child in the actions of going up and down which he will have to deal with when dealing with higher stairs.

 Montessori giraffe turret

Here is our creation in the shape of a giraffe in which the second step is removable and can be raised according to the height of the child.
This turret is a useful accessory and can also be used as a stool; in fact, the child can sit on the first step and the second shelf acts as a back support.

Montessori giraffe turret detail
Montessori giraffe turret detail

An example is our giraffe-shaped creation in which the second step is removable and can be raised according to the child’s height.
A multifunctional element, it can also be used as a stool using the first step as a seat, while the second shelf acts as a back support.

MONTESSORI BEDS

The Montessori bed is mainly characterized by its height designed to allow the child to get on and off in complete autonomy.
There are no side bars to impede movement, freedom becomes a design metaphor for essential and intuitive furniture.
There is therefore no back headboard, but the mattress is rather embraced by the surrounding wooden structure.
Montessori cribs can have side bars that give them a cottage look or, as in these cases, an Indian hut.

Montessori bed
Montessori bed details
Montessori bed details

Lights, toys or possibly a sheet can be hung on the upper bar to underline the feeling of den and protection.
The vision and perception of the child inside his bedroom are therefore total visual freedom of the entire environment and his surroundings.

Montessori bed light
Montessori bed back
Montessori bed light

The bottom is rigid and breathable, becoming an excellent support for the development of the spine.
Although the Montessori bed is extremely safe, also thanks to the reduced height, a useful tip is to introduce it starting from the year of the child when he becomes independent in walking and moving.
Here is another of our articles dedicated to the safety of children in the home.

PIKLER TRIANGLE

The Pikler Triangle is a game-tool created by a Hungarian pediatrician, Emmi Pikler, based on the Montessori Method.
According to Pikler, it was important to follow the pace of development of each individual child, giving them the opportunity to move and experiment with the body and its movements in complete freedom.
In order to express their emotions, the child uses movement as the first means of communication.
For this reason, leaving them free to move and experiment is very important for growth and psychomotor development, as well as relational and emotional.

Triangol Pikler
Triangol Pikler
Triangol Pikler

Here our Pikler triangle, characterized by a triangular-shaped wooden structure which can be associated with a platform-ramp, which hooks onto the pegs of the triangle. The latter can be used by the child to climb, go up or down and in a thousand other imaginative ways.
With this tool, children learn to discover and understand the movements of their body, control and manage movements, coordinate themselves.
It favors the development of the autonomous motor sense when used to climb, go up and down, but it is also an interesting stimulus for the imagination when used as a tunnel or hut, or much more.

CONCLUSIONS ON THE MONTESSORI METHOD

Montessori pedagogy is therefore not only based on independence, freedom and respect for the child’s natural physical, psychological and social development, but also on a sense of responsibility and awareness towards the network that links every small entity to a larger macrocosm.
Children deserve spaces where they can move, play and sleep, wake up and experiment.
Sometimes we think that a newborn baby is small, vulnerable and unable to open up to the world, but that’s not the case at all.
By trusting the child, right from birth, his growth will be balanced and independent and he will feel more secure in each new step.

The Kitchen Snack Table as an evolution of contemporary Cookery

The Kitchen Snack Table as an evolution of contemporary Cookery

The Kitchen Snack Table has become increasingly common in contemporary cookery, representing an informal and multipurpose space. In addition to making the environment more convivial, it helps create a new hybrid connection between the kitchen and the living area.

A NEW WAY OF USING THE KITCHEN
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KITCHEN SNACK TABLE
• INTEGRATED TO THE PENINSULA
• INTEGRATED INTO THE ISLAND
• IN SUPPORT
• SLIDING
THE KITCHEN SNACK TABLE IN CONCLUSION

 

A NEW WAY OF USING THE KITCHEN

In the last decade, the kitchen has consolidated its focal role within the domestic environment. Thanks to the multitude of television programs with starred chefs, the pleasure of cooking has been rediscovered, bringing the excellence of the Italian culinary tradition back into force. By virtue of this, more and more attention are paid to the functionality of the kitchen: storage, preparation, cooking and tasting become fundamental points in the act of cooking, each with its own needs and requirements.

Kitchens have evolved over time, marrying the idea of ​​open spaces in recent years, blending into the living area. By breaking down the canonical subdivision into closed environments, the sense of openness has also contributed to modifying the conformation of the kitchens. These have become more and more protagonists both in their island and peninsula arrangement, in which they accompany the conformation of the architectural structure. From this point of view, the kitchen snack table plays a fundamental role in the new vision of the living area, acting as a functional element of conviviality and a trait d’union between the two different areas.

By Kitchen Snack Table we mean any type of extension of the kitchen worktop, whether it is coplanar or overlapping the latter. Being a hybrid element of both the kitchen and the dining area, it allows the tasting of quick lunches and snacks without having to sit down at the dining table. At the same time, it remains at the service of a work surface during the preparation of meals.

Made in the same material as the top or in contrast with it with a different material, it is characterized by a sophisticated design. Dimensions and locations vary according to the structure of the kitchen and the importance one wishes to give to the element itself.

wasabi peninsula kitchen

THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF KITCHEN SNACK TABLE

INTEGRATED TO THE PENINSULA

In the peninsula kitchen, the Snack Table has the same height as the worktop which is usually around 90cm and differs from the dining table which is 20cm lower. It is therefore necessary to use high or adjustable stools for a small number of diners, given the limited usable space.

In these examples of peninsula kitchens, the Snack Table is designed in the same material as the top to give a sense of visual continuity.

In this peninsula kitchen, the marble top stands out for its veins and elegance, becoming the undisputed protagonist of the environment. As such, it harmoniously embraces the development of the kitchen, declining towards the ground and restoring a sense of visual closure. In the second case, the worktop leaps towards the living area, supported by an anthracite gray painted iron structure with a linear aesthetic. The sense of openness created by this supporting structure allows maximum usability of this element.

lateral wasabi kitchen
peninsula gray snack table


INTEGRATED INTO THE ISLAND

Born as a replica of an actual bar counter, it is in front of or to the side of the operational part of the kitchen, which very often incorporates the hob or sink. Usually shallow, no more than 30cm, it takes advantage of a small space both for support and for tasting. It can be raised above the kitchen top and made in a different material to create an interesting visual contrast. Here are two examples with a wooden top combined with a stone-effect kitchen top.

In the island, the snack top can continue with the same material, providing only a useful support and workspace as in these two cases.

light island kitchen Snack Table
gray white kitchen island

IN SUPPORT

The snack top can also be released from the island or peninsula and become an independent space for supporting or consuming quick meals. A singular element inside the kitchen, as in this case, where it becomes an additional surface for completing the kitchen on the wall.

kitchen with extended Snack Table

A disturbing architectural element, such as a pillar in the center of the kitchen, can integrate harmoniously by becoming a support for an additional snack top in the kitchen, as in this case.

kitchen with lateral Snack Table


SLIDING

The Slide Snack Table is a sliding support capable of hiding part of the kitchen by closing it in a solid and defenseless monolith. This, thanks to a mechanical movement, changes its development by stretching the lid outwards and making it become an unconventional support surface.

In this example, the whole island is clad in the same material, a dark emperador marble. When at rest, the structure appears fixed, while when it becomes operational, it shows the hob and the underlying materials, i.e. steel and ceramic glass.

island marble kitchen


THE KITCHEN SNACK TABLE IN CONCLUSION

We have seen how the island or peninsula of a kitchen can have a natural continuation of a multifunctional surface by becoming a Snack Table. A small but useful work surface that is used during the day for breakfasts and snacks. Or a sort of counter for quick lunches but also a support surface for enjoying aperitifs with friends.

In fact, the ritual of meals has lost its formality over time, becoming a moment to be optimized within the sometimes-hectic day. Therefore the snack top has become a fundamental element in the design of a contemporary kitchen.

AN OLIVE GREEN KITCHEN IN THE OROBIC PREALPS

AN OLIVE GREEN KITCHEN IN THE OROBIC PREALPS

Immersed in the woods of the Seriana Valley, a splendid villa with panoramic views has renovated its interiors and the living area with a new olive-green kitchen.
Opening doors white kitchen with island

A FUNCTIONAL AND MODERN PROJECT

The heat of these summers has made us rediscover how beautiful, cool, and relaxing our second mountain homes are.
There has been a real repopulation of our Valleys and the trend is increasing.

After so many years living away from our second homes, however, we also want to return to live there by renovating them, to fully enjoy them.
The customers’ request was to have a new modern kitchen, open to the living room in a large, functional, and capacious Open Space.
A kitchen able to marry with some wooden elements already present in the house and with the new living area with fireplace in shades of gray.

Our interlocutors were not a single subject but several families who use this second mountain home, so we tried to satisfy all of them with a project in harmony with the context.

green and wood kitchen
detail of green door hollow handles
gas hob detail

THE KITCHEN PROJECT

Once the dividing wall was knocked down and the old access to the room closed, the kitchen had the opportunity to develop into a corner, right in front of the bright French window that overlooks the external panoramic terrace.


A first column volume on the left acts as a large pantry with shelves (useful for several users).
In the center and taking advantage of the corner, a hollow with low wall units houses the sink with drainer, the gas hob, and a good worktop.
The refrigerator column and the oven column with service doors in the upper part close the opposite corner.

green and wood kitchen
aventos detail
 dish drainer detail

GREEN KITCHEN: HARMONY BETWEEN INTERIORS AND EXTERIORS

The materials and colors was chosen to follow both the trends we found at the Salone del Mobile and, on a conceptual level, the external environment. The predominant color of the kitchen is in fact a very delicate olive green, which recalls all the forest green that can be glimpsed from the window. The walls are also in the same color tone but in a lighter shade. The floor is made of oak planks and rises to become the same plinth of the entire kitchen. In addition to aesthetics, however, a certain degree of resistance was required, as the house is used by several families, so both doors and wall units are made of plastic bilaminate. As far as the oak essence bilaminate is concerned, we sought the closest color to the parquet, but we preferred to move it away from the floor in a more linear rhythm and without obvious knots. The top is in HPL, that is a compound of cellulosic fiber impregnated with thermosetting resins, practical and resistant. The finish of the top is in Cardoso stone, in shades of gray, which incorporates the other elements in the living room and its irregularity, and its marked veins make it very similar to the sandstone rocks of the Valley. Green, wood, and rock, these are the harmonic references that we have chosen as the common thread between inside and outside and the result is really satisfying. Here the link to another renovated mountain apartment.

When a white kitchen with an island becomes a functional element of a youthful two-room apartment

When a white kitchen with an island becomes a functional element of a youthful two-room apartment

In the centre of Milan, a youthful flat is spread over two levels, welcoming a white kitchen with a functional island in the centre. On the upper floor, the elegance of total white is accompanied by a niche wardrobe with mirrored doors that amplify the perception of the sleeping area. Practical elements with linear and elegant aesthetics that define the look of the entire flat. Let’s discover together this realisation designed by architect Stefano Belotti!

Opening doors white kitchen with island

A white central island dominates the kitchen area

Upon entering the flat, with its small but practical dimensions, the view is projected onto the kitchen, the layout of which makes full use of the available height with storage compartments. Acting as a visual filter, but at the same time as a functional element for the cooking area, is the central island that echoes the white aesthetics of the kitchen.

The worktop, in matt white Corian, becomes not only a work surface, but also a convenient snack top for aperitifs and quick meals.
In this respect, the folding mechanism that allows the (future) service stools to be concealed plays a key role.
The front closure panels, in fact, rotate sideways to then be incorporated into the main structure and almost completely disappear.

white kitchen with island oven combination column
white kitchen with island wall units integrated lighting
detail Corian worktop integrated basin aluminium mixer
aluminium chain Corian top
white kitchen with combined oven island hidden door laundry area

The volume of the island consists of front-extension doors with internal drawers of different heights.
A solution that has now become predominant in the recently concluded edition of the Salone del Mobile, as well as clearly recognisable in previous editions.
The main advantage is certainly the more elegant and minimal aesthetics, in which horizontal cuts resulting from the division into drawers are eliminated in favour of a single door.

detail of internal drawers in white lacquered kitchen with island

From the wall unit to the laundry corner: functionality marries total white aesthetics

The adjoining wall unit is made up of multi-level volumetric plays.
The service columns, incorporating the built-in refrigerator on one side and the combi-oven to its right, are accompanied by compartments with hinged doors that extend across the entire upper part of the kitchen.
On the same depth level, matt lacquered doors with a dishwasher in the central area and internal shelves in the surrounding compartments.
The central area, on the other hand, is characterised by a break-out with worktop and sink, upper wall units with vertical partitioning and built-in lighting with a smaller depth.

To ensure the best functional configuration, the side wall to the kitchen and the central island accommodates a white lacquered door that covers the entire height of the room.
This conceals inside the laundry area with a washing machine and tumble dryer with columns accompanied by practical shelves for cleaning products.

The linear aesthetics are emphasised both in the choice of lighting, pendant above the white central island and LED strip lighting in the back wall of the kitchen, and also in the joining chain between the Corian top and doors below.
The material detachment through an aluminium profile becomes the horizontal reading element both for the back wall, joining the two side ends, and embracing the central island with kitchenette.

white kitchen with laundry corner island
White kitchen with island pull-out front drawer doors

A wardrobe with mirrored doors embellishes the sleeping area

On the upper floor, accessible via a white painted spiral staircase, a wardrobe with six mirror-covered doors dominates.
The rhythmic vertical division is interrupted by a single horizontal cut at the top, creating an interesting geometric subdivision in the overall aesthetics. The choice of mirrored doors on the one hand amplifies the brightness and perception of the room and at the same time enhances the overall aesthetics.

The division into six doors is reflected internally in a symmetrical composition with double central compartments accompanied by two single compartments at the ends.
Compartments with hanging tubes are favoured, but there are also internal drawers and adjustable shelves for better organisation of clothing.

If for the lower level the kitchen with central island favours a uniform white aesthetic, the sleeping area, on the other hand, marries contrasting aesthetics.
The bright exterior of the mirrored doors is in fact contrasted by the elegance of a matt black whole on which the elegant chrome hanging tubes can be seen.

mirrored door wardrobe
wardrobe mirror doors dark laminate interior drawers
Niche wardrobe with dark interior mirror doors
detail mirror cabinet doors interior lighting
two-room mirror-door wardrobe
detail of mirrored wardrobe doors in niche

The choice of a total white kitchen is always a contemporary and elegant solution. Its simplicity makes it easily adaptable to the surrounding context, whether it has a retro feel, as in this example, or contemporary pop, as in this realisation. It can also be combined with natural wood elements, such as chopping boards and snack tops, thus adding a hint of warmth, here’s an example! Or exploit plays of opacity and shine through different materials, making the room look fresh and bright, perfect for seaside homes!

Gray furniture for a masculine apartment

Gray furniture for a masculine apartment

Furniture in shades of gray is spread over the two levels of this modern apartment with a masculine imprint.
From the bookcase on the ground floor to the walk-in closet in the sleeping area, the furnishings are developed in an elegant and delicate way.
The dark-colored wood chosen for the parquet flooring matches the slate tiles that embrace the kitchen and bathroom areas from the internal staircase.
gray masculine apartment furniture

THE LIVING AREA MEETS THE ELEGANCE OF GREY FURNITURE

In a newly built residential context, this two-level apartment stands out in which the masculine imprint is elegantly softened by the choice of monochromatic furnishings.
The floors show character in the combination of smoked oak parquet and slate-effect tiles.
The floor is therefore dark, which is chromatically balanced by the walls that are tinged with white and the light furnishings that lighten and brighten the environment.

livingroom gray tones furniture
The lighting of the ground floor is combined with steps on the side of the staircase, these mark a luminous rhythm and accompany the upper floor.
To embrace the living area, a full-height bookcase combines anthracite gray backs with light gray shelves in the same shade as the surrounding furniture.
The anthracite gray that we find here in the lacquered shoulders can be replaced by black iron, as for example in this apartment with the same masculine soul.
bookshelf in dark gray masculine furniture
step marker
shelves detail
Neutral tones thus become the protagonists of a story that narrates elegance and freshness.
Here are some other examples of furnishings in neutral colors.
The sofa is a darker gray and moved by velvety fabric, which is positioned laterally at the entrance and hides a lateral extension to allow maximum comfort.
Behind it, the stair handrail in anthracite gray painted metal matches the vertical shoulders of the bookcase positioned right in front.
sofa and stairs
velvet sofa detail

THE RECOVERED KITCHEN

The bioethanol fireplace, housed in an open plasterboard structure, acts as a fusion element between the living area and the kitchen.
This, recovered from the previous house, is characterized by powder and wood tones and is combined with a rustic table with light aluminum chairs.
The wood of the kitchen and of the table, which are a lighter tone than the floor of the living area, recall it on a material level and create continuity between the two areas.

kitchen powder and wood

THE BATHROOMS IN ANTHRACITE GRAY

Accessing the service bathroom, full-height matt white bilaminate cabinets act as a storage room organized into shelves, hangers and drawers.
This light-colored anteroom creates a nice contrast and a clear break with the bathroom characterized by dark tones.

white anteroom
details anteroom
In fact, the anthracite tiles rise on the sides remaining at a height of 120cm and is combined with a bathroom cabinet in the same shade with a matte black back lacquered top.
Particularly the chosen sink, in transparent glass, which seems to disappear and get lost between the tiles and the top.
service bathroom
detail sink
The second master bathroom, located on the upper floor, amplifies its masculine nature by completely covering the tiles in anthracite gray up to the ceiling beam.
The bathroom is very dark but the large skylight on the ceiling perfectly illuminates the room from above.
Here too there is a bathroom cabinet in shades, with the top in glossy back lacquered rather than opaque, which goes well with the reflections of the Globo ceramic sink.
master bathroom black furniture
bathroom tiles

FROM THE GRAY FURNITURE ON THE LOWER FLOOR TO THE BLACK AND WHITE CONTRASTS IN THE BEDROOM: A WALK-IN WARDROBE IN THE BEDROOM

Se il piano inferiore si impreziosisce di un arredamento sui toni neutri del grigio,
If the lower floor is embellished with furniture in neutral shades of gray, the sleeping area is characterized by a more subdued contrast.
The recurring theme of anthracite gray is still found in the small study corner, through a desk with a metal structure and a medium gray linoleum top.
Here are some other examples of Smartworking corners where the working sphere is combined with a domestic environment.

bedroom and walk-in closet masculine furniture
Behind this, a walk-in closet develops at an angle creating a limited but at the same time functional environment.
Inside the walk-in closet the hangers alternate in height while in the center a central chest of drawers with upper shelves remains available for all the folded items.
On the side facing the bed, a small niche remains at the service and serves as an open bedside table useful for supporting small objects.
walk-in closet masculine furniture
inside walk-in closet
details walk-in closet