How to Build a Long, Skinny, Curved Kitchen

I just posted two photos of my kitchen: and for reference. I am looking for some ideas of how to use the space. It's not really small, just a funny shape.

First, what you see in the photos. In the first one, you see from the entryway to the stove. The microwave is against a 25 inch wide wall at the end of the counter. That wall has 12VDC, 24VDC and 120VAC available in it. That counter-top is 24 inches deep. The next electric feed is 120VAC on the far side of the stove.

In the second photo you see the narrower counter-top. It is 18 inches deep. On the left is a chest-type refrigerator (covered with cardboard to protect it from the work we are doing/make it into a nice table). There is a 24VDC outlet behind the fridge and a 120VAC one on the wall above it. (That probably makes a logical place for the microwave.) On the back wall is an electric water heater and 120VAC outlet.

All the racks you see under the counter-tops are temporary as is the sink drain pipe held in place with plastic packing tape. And, well, there are too many electrodomesticos on the counter-top. The space between the counter-top and the wall on the other side varies from about four to a bit over five feet. It is not curved—it has three flat segments. The total length of the space along the curved outside wall is about 20 feet.

I have some ideas but I am open to suggestions. It is quite a bit of space but its shape makes it a design challenge.

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If you want ideas....

What I saw in that kitchen was opportunity with various methods:

1. Hanging shelving from chains screwed into the roof line will offer you additional space for smaller electronic appliances and allows you some placement above counter tops in selected areas. Think of it sort of like a chef's kitchen where the pots and pans are hung from hooks above a cutting table. And they can be as fancy or dressed down as you like based on the material you pick for shelving.

2. Using wire baskets that slide on rails fitted to cabinet doors will allow you to see what you place below the sink line and also give you a pull out option. Something like this:

3. A mini built in pantry along the flat wall at the end will also give you additional space. You could build a series of custom shelves that accommodate your smaller appliances (breadmaker, blender, things you may not use every day to get them off the counter) and baskets can hide things like potatoes, onions, other perishables that take space....line them with removable plastic bags and you can clean them easier. Or you can toss your storage items in them. Baskets never seem to go wrong.

4. The microwave looks like it could be placed on a shelf above the stove, as long as the bottom surface of the shelf is not flammable. Cement maybe?

5. And wire or straw baskets make wonderful hanging devices for cooking and eating utensils. They can be hung from curved areas and if they are uniform in appearance sometimes add to the feel of a decor. I have also hung wooden rods (or small curtain rods) with s-hooks that hold baskets or boxes filled with things. I've even created spice racks this way with a shelf on top for things like cooking oils or vinegars etc.

6. Here's a wonderful site to send questions too as well. They have unique solutions to unique space problems. Why not try them and here are some offbeat solutions for storage that can be inexpensive. I've even covered cans with paint or decorative paper sealed with varnish to hold things like pens but it could work for other items as well.

Good luck! Looks like you are having fun creating your new home.

One issue

First, I appreciate your suggestions. While we keep finding more important things to get fixed, eventually we will get back to finishing the kitchen.

There is, however, one problem with trying to utilize some of the space. The walls curve in enough that, for example, a microwave shelf over the stove won't work. (Actually, the microwave now lives over the chest refrigerator and a shelf for the bread machine will be built on one of the end walls by the pantry.

We have also created two sets of shelves built into the back wall. One is for spices, the other is for larger containers for such items as rice, beans and wheat berries.

The main "gotta fix it" right now is to put lights over the work areas. I have a plan but we need to finish the shelves first.

Lighting & shelving

Can you do recessed lighting inside the structure? If you can string wiring, that may be a great solution and the concentration of some recessed lighting these days would work. I once lived in one of those streamline trailers, when I was going to college. It had a curved roof too. I found that some of the hanging shelves worked well, but it looks like you are finding your solutions. Good luck to you and your project is very appealing!

Looks ok already

Not quite sure what kind of feedback you're looking for. It seems like what you have already done is "good enough". But there is already room for improvement, so here is what I see...

Given the shortage of counter space, I would look for ways to get the microwave and breadmaker (?) off the counter. Either put them on a shelf below, or build a shelf above. Perhaps the microwave could be mounted on the wall above the fridge, high enough not to block opening the fridge? Maybe find a place to stash the blender when not in use (unless every meal includes a margarita :) )

It looks like the fridge hinge is probably against the wall opposite the counter right now. would it work better to rotate it 90 degrees so you could open it while standing in front of the range? If so, you could even create an L counter out to meet the fridge.

From a real estate standpoint, if you're trying to stage the kitchen to sell, you'll want to do some serious de-cluttering :) Curtains below the counter would get rid of a lot of visual clutter.


Curtains, yes. I was trying to decide on what sort of cabinets, drawers, whatever made sense. Clearly, I am too close to the problem as I never thought about curtains. That solves the "need to open space" problem. Thanks.

There were two options for the fridge. It actually seems to work out best where it is but, yes, a shelf for the microwave above it.

There are way too many appliances just sitting around. Once I put up the sheetrock ends I will add storage space. Probably for food on the wall areas freeing up space for more appliances behind the (future) curtains.

In-wall storage

Have you thought about cutting shelves into the walls, along the lines of an inset bathroom medicine cabinet (but open)? Would make a nice spice rack or storage for other bottles and cans. There is all that wasted space between the two sheets of drywall.

Actually, not much

The space you see has the least "stuff" in it. The other end wall has lots of electrical stuff including the 12 and 24V circuit breakers and a DC-DC converter. The walls on both sides of the fridge have hot and cold water and electrical in them. The next wall (from the fridge toward the camera) is in back of all the shower plumbing and cacadora vent. That leaves one wall which is behind the shower. I think I will "terrorize it" and turn it into a spice rack.

I do think "regular" shelves over the fridge will work. Besides the microwave, there is clearly room for some food space.

I will also come up with some ideas for shelves above the counters. Then need to be pretty shallow near the top but they can offer some useful space.

Similar to a dining car kitchen??

Reminds me of a dining car kitchen that got bent! :)

O quantum est in rebus inane! / A palabras necias, oídos sordos.

I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building. - Peanuts (Charles M. Schulz)

Bad link???

I keep getting "Page not found" with the two links above. But then when I scrolled down the page I did see the pictures you're referring to!!

O quantum est in rebus inane! / A palabras necias, oídos sordos.

I know the answer! The answer lies within the heart of all mankind! The answer is twelve? I think I'm in the wrong building. - Peanuts (Charles M. Schulz)


Bad Phil. He needs to check his links.

Square Peg, Round Hole

Yep, I can see how difficult it is now. You caused me to look around my house and at various places I have been in this morning. The verdict, "We live in very square surroundings!".

It's just a suggestion, but you almost need to look at truck & camper, caravan (trailers) and/or boat websites to see how they fit all that stuff in, especially in a truck/camper topper. The "Airstream" line for instance at with it's curved walls. I searched "Airstream Interior Photos" and got quite carried away, now I want one!