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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / What Do You Use Your Kitchen For?
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rockies
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2019 20:02
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Many people are at their cabins only on weekends or for a few weeks in the summer. Others live in their cabins all year long. A lot of times people think of the kitchen as the sink, stove and fridge with some countertop in between.

But what if you do a lot of canning? Or baking? Or cleaning and preserving wild fish or game. Did you research and include spaces for those activities from the beginning or did you move in and discover that they needed to be added?

If they did need to be added, how did you find room for them?

Just
Member
# Posted: 9 May 2019 22:45
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If it’s not ready to cook in a clean plastic bag it’s not coming in her kitchen . Out in the shed or outside for me, even for canning syrup..

darz5150
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2019 00:17
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Gotta have a summer kitchen.
Quoting: rockies
But what if you do a lot of canning? Or baking? Or cleaning and preserving wild fish or game.

Never cleaned a fish, or processed a deer, or did major canning in an indoor kitchen.
But even for folks that don't stay full time at their cabins. I 'm sure they have a decent outside kitchen/cooking area. Isn't that a part of having a cabin? You wouldn't want anyone that comes to your place for a get together to say that you cooked them hot pockets, pizza rolls and smores made in a toaster oven?.....right?😨

silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2019 00:26 - Edited by: silverwaterlady
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I have two kitchens.

One outside for summer. If I'm going to bake anything it has to be in the grill. I don't want to heat up the cabin in the summer.

When it gets cool out all my cooking and baking is done inside because it helps to keep the cabin warm.

I do a lot of baking in the cooler weather. I have an antique Hoosier cabinet. That is where all my baking items are kept.

My kitchen is perfect because I designed it myself. I made sure I would have room for my double drain board farmhouse sink and my Hoosier cabinet.
I also made sure I had room for a huge pantry for food storage.
Our kitchen takes 1/4 of our cabins floor plan.

Almost forgot, we built a fish cleaning station by the lake last summer.

fiftyfifty
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2019 07:51
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Our kitchen is very limited and I like it that way. It's what makes it different than being at home. No fridge, no running water. We have a couple of butane camping burners that we use inside (or outside if we are frying fish.) We also have a portable butane camping oven. It's the size of a microwave, and a pain to drag out from the storage cabinet, but being able to bake wild blueberry pies was non-negotiable.

beachman
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2019 10:04
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We have a pretty good set up and my wife seems to like it just fine (although I will have to try for an electric on-demand water pump at the sink and some better counter lighting) . We are totally off-grid so have a propane stove and fridge, and a hand pump for water at the sink. The stove is hooked up to the plugs for auto-spark and is quite convenient. We have battery-powered led puck-lights under the cabinets for counter lighting and a propane light over the sink. See pic of set up.
New_camp_Kitchen.JPG
New_camp_Kitchen.JPG


rockies
Member
# Posted: 10 May 2019 19:53 - Edited by: rockies
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The reason I ask is that I'm in the process of designing a cabin and it's only 468 sq' (about 20x22 with a small bump-out for a dining nook). It's actually half the size of what I originally was going to build and yet it has all the same features and functions (minus the bedroom - now a Murphy bed).

I find that a lot of people get hung up on the dimensions of a cabin (it has to be 14x20 or 16x24, etc) but when the shell is done they have a lot of trouble fitting in all the functions they need.

The kitchen is an obvious starting point in designing the interior but so is having space for a proper eating area and for sleeping. Did you plan for all those areas right from the beginning or was it more of a "we'll make it fit somehow" kind of build?

beachman
Member
# Posted: 11 May 2019 08:05
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Rockies - we planned ahead and we kicked out the kitchen to 4 x 12 to accommdate it. Glad we did this in advance. Our place would be slightly bigger than your plans -about 20 x 25 with an extra 4 x 12 for the kitchen. Also went with an 8 - 12 roof and a large dormer for an upstairs loft, about 10 x 11. I have seen many plans here where they "made it fit" that look very nice.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 11 May 2019 18:47
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Beachman, I agree with you that many people can adapt a feature and make it fit. Examples would be cutting down a cabinet to work around a post or modifying a bench to fit between 2 walls.

I'm more interested in the process of design, when for example you imagine yourself standing in your kitchen and you have to make dinner for 8 people. Where is the stove, how far is it to the sink, do you have enough prep area, etc. To me there's nothing worse than spending a lot of money to build something and then when you're standing in the space about to make something you find that nothing "works".

The other thing I'm interested in is the "list" of things you need in your cabin (or have forgotten to include). Imagine you get it all built and then you realize "Oh, we need a broom closet for all the cleaning supplies" or "Where do we put all the dirty beach towels and clothes until they get washed"?

As I mentioned, I cut the size of my cabin in half but I still need to include all the same things. Where do you put the broom closet, the laundry hampers, the pantry and closets? What's needed in the entry/mudroom? Do you even have a mudroom? How do you include a fridge, stove, sink, recycling center and 12' of counter prep space in 468 sq'?

And don't forget all the "extras" like spare rolls of toilet paper, canned goods, winter blankets and sweaters, etc. The list goes on and on.

As I said earlier, it seems that too many people focus on the shell of the cabin rather than the functionality of the interior. if you did start out with just a shell, how did you manage to fit everything in later on?

hattie
Member
# Posted: 11 May 2019 20:50 - Edited by: hattie
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My kitchen is very small but I do have a pantry in the laundry room. I do a lot of baking and cooking and I also do canning and make jams and jellies. Canning is best done outside on the bbq. Bob and I prep the food inside and then take it to the bbq for the canning process. It works well because it doesn't heat up the house.

Our living space is only about 500 sq. feet. The laundry room with the pantry and closets is an additional 300 sq. ft. I have had dinners for 12 here and while it is crowded, it can be done. You just need to plan ahead a bit more. I have a huge freezer and a huge fridge in the laundry room so I prepare a lot ahead of time and then freeze it for company.

Quoting: silverwaterlady
I do a lot of baking in the cooler weather. I have an antique Hoosier cabinet. That is where all my baking items are kept.
I would so love a Hoosier. Unfortunately, it wouldn't fit in our house but man oh man, they are just the greatest invention ever!! I am jealous!!!!

Our recycling is in the shed. We had big plastic tubs mounted on the wall and we sort things that way. Most storage is in the laundry room or under the house in the crawlspace. I also have a cold cellar where I keep my preserves, canning and dog food.

fiftyfifty
Member
# Posted: 11 May 2019 20:54
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We spent almost no time at all planning the interior prior to having the shell put up. Where we are located, you are lucky to find anyone who is willing to travel to your remote land to build. We were lucky to find Owen Christensen on this site, and lucky he agreed to build one last cabin before switching full time to his beautiful saunas. If we would have obsessed too long, we would still be obsessing 3 years later, and we wouldn't have a builder. That's 3 years of great cabin memories we wouldn't have and life is too short. In any case, everything has ended up fitting. We don't have 12 feet of prep counter, but we don't even have that in our house. On the occasions we cook for 8, we grill. The broom hangs from a nail on the wall, the laundry bag hangs on a hook behind the ladder. Now maybe it's different if you have the time and ability to build your own cabin. I would love both, but that's not the reality for me.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 12 May 2019 17:38
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I find the most critical room needed for a cabin is a mudroom, and I'm surprised at the number of plans I see online that don't have one. You just walk right into the middle of the main room. I hate that.

My cabin design has a 7x10' mudroom leading from the front door to the bathroom (with a left turn into the main room. It has a bench, shoe storage, shelves for hats and scarves, a coat closet, broom closet and linen closet, a shelf for mail, keys and loose change, a mail sorting center, a garbage can and an umbrella stand.

There's also a 1 foot deep by 3 feet wide tall pantry cabinet behind the front door. All that and still room enough for 4 people to come in and take off their coats.

Where does all that go if you don't have a mudroom? Can you imagine guests arriving in the middle of a rainstorm and they have to walk into the center of your livingroom? No closet, no bench to take off wet shoes, no functionality at all. I'll never understand a design like that.

beachman
Member
# Posted: 13 May 2019 08:37
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Rockies,
For a cabin, you may be trying to overthink things although the thought process is important. The more special places that you want will drive the need for a bigger space, or less living space. I agree with you that it is important to imagine yourself in a kitchen, think of things like a mudroom or pantry area but these all take up valuable space. We have a small bathroom that has shelves for linens and one for misc. supplies - and our solar equipment is in there protected from any moisture. We have a front porch that serves as an outdoor mudroom.

Future plans (now becoming more of a necessity) will include another bedroom and a back covered porch with an entryway and closet - probably another 250 sf. - but this has been planned ahead and our current configuration will accommodate it. Having a do-over, I would build the entire shell and finish the rest of the place over time. Oh yes, and plan to wire the place for 110 while you are building.

moneypitfeeder
Member
# Posted: 13 May 2019 18:54
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My "kitchen" space is kinda small when you only look at the counters, but I use the kitchen table, which is quite large, to do most of my prep work. There are some challenges but it suits. I don't think I'd want to do a lot of canning inside the cabin, it'd be way too hot in there. But I've done baking and roasting there without steaming us out! We have a simple set-up, propane fridge/stove, and filter water for cooking. We now have a tap that can pump from a cooking pot under the sink, but when the pic was taken there wasn't running water.
Cabin22.jpg
Cabin22.jpg
Cabin20.jpg
Cabin20.jpg


Atlincabin
Member
# Posted: 13 May 2019 19:00
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Our cabin is 20x24 footprint, but in reality more like 18x22 because of the size of the logs. We have a bathroom (7x7), bedroom (big enough for a queen bed, but barely) with built-in closet over drawers, and a living area. Kitchen has an L counter, about 8' on one leg and 4 on the other, plus a small island (2.5 x 3.5 feet). Overall kitchen space is about 7x10 feet, but it is part of the living space. We have a small dining table that will fit 4 easily and 6 in a pinch, plus wood stove and a couple soft chairs in the main living area. Small broom closet/pantry 3x3 holds most of the immediate necessities. For a "mud room" we just have a deck at the end of the cabin that has plenty of roof overhang so it's sheltered from rain/snow.

In addition to the cabin, I have a 12x16 workshop building that also contains the washing machine and extra storage.

We are very comfortable with this amount of space. We do not do much canning and other "large-scale" food prep, but could do some of this in the available space if desired.

Link to summer of 2014 when we did some of the interior work. You can see the kitchen setup and get a sense of the place from some of these photos. I've since changed our water system to be more efficient.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/atlincabin2014

We're headed for the cabin for the summer within a couple weeks!

rockies
Member
# Posted: 13 May 2019 19:29 - Edited by: rockies
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Beachman, actually wanting more special places resulted in my designing a smaller cabin, not bigger.As I mentioned before, my original plan was 900 sq' and I cut away 432 sq' of it BUT kept all of the same features and functions.

The enemies of a smaller sized cabin are assumptions - assumptions that you must have a bedroom, you won't have space for a mudroom, you'll need a big area for a dining table and chairs, etc.

One of the first things I did was to move the dining area into a small 7'6"x5' bumpout on the south side of the cabin (near the kitchen) in order to create a dining booth. There's room for four people to sit comfortably on benches at the table while enjoying the views from windows on three sides. By using a dining booth you also don't need space for the clearances needed around chairs. Also, having the booth/bumpout means that all dining functions are now outside of the main circulation zones.

The second thing I did was eliminate the bedroom and go with a Murphy bed in the main space. Why dedicate a 10x10 room (100 sq') to a bed when you're not even going to be using it for 16 hours a day?

The third thing I did was to vary wall placements because of cabinet depths. For example, the bedroom closets in the main room (next to the Murphy bed) needed to be 24" deep but the Murphy bed cabinet itself only needed to be 18" deep. By creating a jog in the wall behind the Murphy Bed I created a 6 inch by 5'6" long nook on the other side of the wall in the bathroom (enough space to install 7 shelves).

That jog is a small thing to add to a floor plan but if you take the 6" of shelf depth times 5'6" of shelf length times 7 shelves it equals 19.25 square feet of built-in storage for the bathroom.

I think plans need to be analyzed so that little areas like this can be discovered and incorporated. If you do make the effort to find them then I think the special spaces become even more special.

Peewee86
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 00:40
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While I don’t have a mud room designed into my plan I have designated a corner behind the front door that will have room for a shoe bench with storage, a handful of coat hooks, and several shelves. The shelves will be sized to accommodate 5-6 helmets. We ATV in the summer and snowmobile in the winter.

In my cabin design I don’t have a lot of kitchen countertop space. We are planning on using a countertop height table with stools that will be pushed up against the wall most of the time but can be pulled out and used like a center island. The table is 22”x58”. Although it is tight it can accommodate 4 people when placed in the center of the kitchen. Experience from our camper has shown us that during the summer we eat outside when it is nice and often even when it’s not so nice weather. We have found that we do not do much elaborate cooking when are camping. I expect that trend to be the same at the cabin.

Nate R
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 10:54
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Quoting: rockies
I did was eliminate the bedroom and go with a Murphy bed in the main space. Why dedicate a 10x10 room (100 sq') to a bed when you're not even going to be using it for 16 hours a day?


We looked at this as well, but the thought of (And our camper experience) of making, then putting the bed away every morning was a bit of a pain. Pros and cons, some may find it too big a pain to deal with, others may say it's worth the smaller cabin space for a bit of "hassle."

AKfisher
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 18:57
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Cooking breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Kitchen
Kitchen


rockies
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 19:29
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Peewee86: I would suggest getting a table with 2 small drop leafs on the sides and putting locking rubber castor wheels on the bottoms of the legs. You should cut the lengths of the table legs so that the height of the table with the wheels attached is 36" (the same height as a countertop.

When you need the table as a prep area it can roll out and you can lock the wheels and flip up the leaves. When you don't need it the leaves go down and you place it against the wall. A drop leaf table will not only take up half the room of a regular table but when the leaves are up people sitting at the table don't bump their knees into the table top rails.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 19:33
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AKfisher: I like your kitchen but that knife rack seems a little high. Have you thought about adding open shelves in that corner and moving the knife rack lower down so that the knives are easier to reach?

It might also look nice to run a shelf over the top of the window for decorative items (this would also give you a place to mount an LED light over the sink if you don't already have one).

rockies
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 19:43
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Atlincabin: Your kitchen is a very similar layout to mine. I'm curious about your "awning" doors on your upper cabinets. I've considered these but I went to Ikea and their kitchen designer said that most people find them awkward to use (hard to access things in other cabinets when the awning door is open). How do you find them?

The other thing is your stove. What type is it? Do you have any issues with ventilation when you're using it?

The one thing I would do (depending on your clearance) would be to add 12" deep cabinets on the back side and dining table side of your island (for dishes or cookbooks, etc). If there's not enough room for 12" deep cabinets even 6-9" of shelving can add a lot of storage.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 14 May 2019 19:48 - Edited by: rockies
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Moneypitfeeder: You seem to have a bit of a "wasted" corner between your stove and fridge. If you ever replace that corner window get one that matches the size and height of the kitchen sink window (or perhaps eliminate it altogether) and put base cabinets between the stove and fridge (maybe move the fridge closer to the doorway and add an end panel to hide the side). You'll have so much more counter prep space.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 16 May 2019 19:54 - Edited by: rockies
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Beachman: Thank you for your comment on "having an outdoor porch that doubles as a mudroom". I'd planned on a large covered porch off the front door and was considering adding a screen porch to the opposite side of the cabin but then I read your comment and thought "why not just screen in the covered porch to create both an outdoor mudroom and screen porch?"

So you've saved me $5-10 thousand dollars. Thank you.

moneypitfeeder
Member
# Posted: 20 May 2019 19:34
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Hi Rockies, the wasted space has actually been claimed. We have our water filtration set-up there now, so that space is claimed. There is one more upper and lower cab with counter not pictured at the right of what was shown, and all that plus the table have always worked well for us. The window behind the fridge has been great because it allows the heat from the propane fridge to exhaust to the outside. Honestly the only thing I would change is to properly support the roof so I didn't need extra jack posts in the middle of the room to handle the snow load. (We did not see the roof joists/building method until after we bought)

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