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Tomáš’s modern metod kitchen makeover

01 November 2015

When Tomáš and Mili renovated their kitchen-dining area, they planned for the space, turning its quirks into useful features. Here’s how they did it.

A modern and multifunctional kitchen with lots of personality
Kitchen before: Tomáš’s kitchen before the makeover

Four unfurnished walls

‘We wanted to design an apartment from scratch so we could make it exactly how we wanted and give it the wow factor,’ says IKEA co-worker Tomáš. So, eight months ago, the couple gutted their dated 79m2 apartment, knocking out a few walls as they went with the intention of creating an open-plan kitchen/dining space. ‘I spend a lot of time helping customers plan their kitchens. I had a lot of ideas in my head already but it’s still different being a customer. Very few rooms are perfect boxes and we have a big pillar in the middle of ours that we had to work around. I decided to use the online kitchen planner – it’s a good way to figure out how to get the most out of your space.’ The couple opted for a galley kitchen layout which left them enough room to put a dining table in the room, between the kitchen and living areas. ‘In our last apartment, I hated eating on the sofa, so a table was my number one priority!’ says Mili. 

‘We wanted our kitchen-living area to have as few doors as
possible; to be a big, white open space, with warm wooden countertops and floors so it felt cosy.’

Mili, Prague

Take a look around Tomáš and Mili’s modern METOD kitchen in their small-space apartment in Prague.

See Tomáš and Mili’s new kitchen-dining space in action. It’s where they have breakfast before work and cook together at the weekends, host parties and entertain family, and where Mili sews and paints, while Tomáš plans apartments for his friends.

One space, two uses
‘We don’t have lots of space but we liked the idea of having bench seating as well as a table,’ says Tomáš. The couple’s solution – made from a length of worktop and a couple of low base units – is a clever feature. The low cabinets provide built-in extra storage for board games and Mili’s sewing machine. The bench, dressed with comfy cushions and seat pads, is useful as extra seating when big groups of friends come round. ‘We swing the dining table round to face the bench and squeeze in three guests! We do the same when Mili sews or paints – the bench is next to a window so gets good light.’

Open shelves, hidden technology
‘We chose open shelves instead of more wall cabinets at the end of the run to make the space seem bigger, and to give us something interesting to look at,’ says Tomáš. ‘It also means I can use my phone or laptop when I’m sitting at the bench,’ adds Mili. ‘I can charge them at the USB port by the kettle’s socket. It’s great having the chance to fit plugs to the bottom of the cabinets – it saves having to drill extra holes in the walls!’ 

Open shelves complement the run of kitchen cabinets and add interest
Mili’s multifunctional bench also doubles up as a cabinet for storage
METOD kitchen cabinets fit floor-to-ceiling for maximum storage options
A chalkboard wall is great for message reminders and adding personality to the kitchen

Endless cabinet combinations
When floor space is limited, make the most of what you have by using the full height of the room for storage. ‘The best thing about METOD cabinets is their flexibility,’ says Tomáš. ‘The base is only 8cm from the floor, so there’s absolutely no wasted space. And you can fit cabinets all the way up to the ceiling by choosing different shelf and drawer combinations. We use drawers for cutlery and plates, low cabinets for heavy stuff, and high cabinets for mugs and sweets.’

Creative chalkboard
Planning a feature you can personalise, like a noticeboard or a chalkboard wall, is a great way to add character to a neutral kitchen. ‘When we held our moving in party, our friends left messages and jokes on the wall. The chalkboard paint is magnetic, so it’s fun and practical; we can clip up photos and bills we need to pay with colourful magnets.’

Room to sort and recycle
‘Not many people recycle in the Czech Republic – away from the cities, there aren’t many collection points so we needed a portable solution. In the deep drawer underneath our sink we’ve put in bins with handles for sorting paper, plastic, metal and general waste. Above that is a shallow drawer with little tray compartments that make it easy to organise our cleaning equipment.’

Light it up
‘It’s easier to find what I’m looking for when there are lights in the drawers,’ says Tomáš. ‘The narrow kitchen can get a bit dark, which is one of the reasons we chose white cupboards, to keep it as bright as possible.’

Add bins with handles to deep drawers for a neat wait to store recycling
Lights in drawers are useful in small-space kitchens
A portrait of Tomáš and Mili

‘Now we have a table, we often invite Mili’s parents over for lunch. When we’re the cooks, they become the restaurant critics and decide how many stars we get!’