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Whole-Food Half-Kitchen

Debra Redalia


We prepare our wholefood cuisine in this half-kitchen, which Larry built in the corner of my office where I work all day. This allows me to write and cook slow foods at the same time.


Larry built this spice rack by hand from super-durable purpleheart solid wood. Please excuse my sloppy labels, some are very old and the collection has been added to over the years. I haven’t yet gotten around to making uniform labels.

I want to show you the kitchen I am preparing food in so you can see that a big kitchen is not required to prepare wholefood cuisine.

This is actually the tiniest kitchen I’ve ever had, but it has all the essentials I need.

I call it Whole-food Half-Kitchen just to be clever with words.

It’s a kitchenette Larry built in the corner of my office. We live with his 88-year-old mother and two siblings. While I do have access to the family kitchen, it’s pretty chaotic for a family of five adults, and I wanted my own space to prepare food, so Larry built this tiny kitchen for me.

We don’t know how long we will be here (it depends on how long Mom needs us) but our next step will be a kitchen in the tiny house we are building so this is a good opportunity for us to find out what really is essential in our kitchen, so we can design our tiny house kitchen around our real needs. One thing I can tell you is we need a bigger kitchen sink!

We put this kitchenette together on a shoestring budget.

We started with a wall unit from iKEA that has a sink, countertop and shelf, which cost under $200. I think they are no longer selling it.

Then we installed some wooden shelves above. We just got the brackets and solid wood shelving at a local hardware store. No finish.

We had to do some plumbing to connect to the pipe on the other side of the wall.

We got a used apartment-sized refrigerator in perfect condition (plastic outgassed) from a young couple who were moving and had to sell it that day. $50.

It’s sitting on top of a low wood table (you can’t see it in the picture) that was left by the roadside. Free.

The butcher block island we brought from our house in Florida. Originally about $200 from IKEA but I consider it free because we had been planning to sell it. That little cutting board you see on the left side flips down. We got this idea from looking at tiny house kitchens. If you want to install one of these flip down boards in your kitchen (we love it!).

Around the left corner there is a tall and wide solid wood shelving unit that we got free just for hauling it away.

We already had the induction cooktop from our kitchen in Florida, and our Excalibur dehydrator , and our toaster oven. If we need a full size oven we use Larry’s mom’s oven in the main house, but that doesn’t happen very often. Our toaster oven is large enough to bake almost anything but a whole chicken or turkey. We bake casseroles for two, roast vegetables, and we even have a little muffin pan that makes mini muffins with a nontoxic silicone finish.

All of this for less than $500. Perfect? No. Workable? Yes. And pretty lifely since everything is toxic-free and most of it is reclaimed.

So no excuses. You can totally prepare all the wholefood cuisine in the smallest kitchen. We do every day.