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Consistent materials, and techniques that give visual depth, create an illusion of space in this galley kitchen

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How to make more out of less is something that has troubled mankind for a very long time. With real estate prices seemingly always on the up, figuring out how to maximize space inside your home is the modern equivalent of turning lead into gold.

However, using contemporary design techniques and materials, freeing up space is something that certain architects have become adept at. In the apartment featured on these pages, a typically cramped kitchen was converted by the architects of Studio27 into an open and linear galley. Finished with a limited palette of affordable materials, the space is clean and uncluttered with visual depth, says architect Todd Ray.

"From the exterior, the apartment block is reasonably nondescript. However, it does have amazing views. In the redesign, walls were moved to free up space, and open up the views towards the National Cathedral which sits directly across the road from the apartment," says Ray.

Often there are limitations when remodeling condominiums, and this project was no exception. As the utilities couldn't be moved, the layout was designed to agree with the existing infrastructure. However, Studio27 used a number of techniques to maximize every square inch of available space.

"The frosted glass used for the pantry door is consistent with the translucent glass walls installed in other areas. The pantry was originally an old doorway, so reusing it in this way also gained extra space. Another benefit of frosted glass is that it gives spacial depth, adding another visual layer to the room," he says.

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One of the keys to designing a small space is limiting clutter. In this design there is a consistency of materials: cabinetry and floors milled from ecologically sustainable bamboo; a stainless steel counter and sink unit; and an integrated dishwasher. Other space-saving devices include a counter-top storage unit with roller door, and a trash compactor installed to the left of the refrigerator.

First published date: 06 April 2007

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Credit List

Architect Todd Ray AIA, Brian Bassett Assoc AIA Studio27 Architecture (Washington, DC)
Cabinetry Satin-finish bamboo
Countertops and sink Brushed stainless steel from Bulthaup
Flooring Flat grain bamboo
Lighting Lightolier
Backsplash Acid etched glass
Cooktop Viking
Oven, microwave and refrigerator GE