Small Space Solutions :: The Formal Eat-in-Kitchen

Windsor Smith Kitchen for House Beautiful

When I got divorced I moved from our 4,500 square foot family home and re-planted our roots in a house that is barely 1,300 square feet! Real estate is at a premium where I live and I opted for location instead of space. I brought almost no furniture with me - perfect for making a fresh start - save for a gorgeous hand carved Italian dining room table and 12 matching chairs. Most of the houses I liked didn't have traditional dining rooms, but I didn't want to part with my formal table, so if I couldn't have the dining room I wanted, and needed a kitchen large enough to fit it. As I searched for a home that had charm, character and personality, that was also affordable, I did so with my dining room table in mind.

 The first home I fell in love with was spectacular. It overlooked a small creek in the back, had a den, living room and enough bedrooms for each of the children. It was large enough that we could spread our wings, and small enough that it wouldn't be too hard to maintain. The master bedroom was large, bright and expansive. It had cathedral ceilings and overlooked the creek in the back. That house had room for my piano. I have a Steinway Grand piano and am currently looking for a temporary but loving home for it. There was also room for my dining room table. The problem was that this house had 3 other offers on it the day I placed mine. The offer went to the highest bidder who bid $400 above asking. I couldn't even compete. I felt dejected. How could shopping for a rental home be so challenging? For many it's not. I personally do not like the new, sterile construction that's devoid of personality. 

I wanted charm and character. I like arches and moldings.... exposed brick or beams... large windows with sunlight and some property for the children to run around in. Newer appliances, while lovely, are not mandatory. Working condition is a must, however! I walked away from the bells and whistles of my old life - the Sub-Zero, Jenn-Air and Viking... I'd be remiss to say I do not miss them all dearly, most especially my super large refrigerator! But I knew that, while I hope to have my bells and whistles again one day, I needed a home that has charm and personality... a home that is truly a home and not just a house. I've learned that there is a difference between a house and a home. 

When I first saw my home I turned my nose up at it and walked out. It was small. Too small I thought. But time was running out and I was urged to take another look at it. The little white house sat on nearly an acre of property and while modest in size and she was full of charm. A huge bay window in the living rooms keeps the sun's rays shining on us all day long. The exposed brick from the back of the fireplace gives the kitchen charm and warmth. There was more than ample storage and counter space and most importantly, there was room for my dining room table! The bedrooms are small but they are cozy. Arches, molding and beautiful hardwood floors add the touches that are so important to me. I think I love our formal eat-in-kitchen the best - it's the perfect blend of casual and formal. 

The images I have chosen below all best represent my idea of a formal eat-in-kitchen. While traditionally we've thought eat-in-kitchens to be best for casual dining, they can really can be dressed up beautifully. They seem to have a perfect balance of traditional and modern, sophistication and simplicity. They can accommodate the nitty-gritty and mundane nuances of daily life as well as the elegance and grace of a small dinner party or holiday family gathering. I love the personal touches of the images below - the formal chandelier in the modern loft-style kitchen, the rugs, formal table and chairs, the pot rack that hangs over the table instead of the more traditional island or range-top.

via Houzz

via Empire Damansara Soho

via Pinterest/original source unknown

via Country Living

via ElleDecor

via Houzz

via Urban Core Ventures

via Greenscape Decor

House Beautiful

via Get in my Home

House Beautiful

Is the formal eat-in-kitchen something you might entertain?