Thoughts on a Tiny Kitchen

We are a good four solid months into living with a tiny kitchen. The kitchen is the area of the trailer we get asked about most so I figured a tour of the kitchen was in order. So here’s an unstaged, real-life look at the kitchen. We opted against permanent appliances. I never bake and rarely used our home oven. I also didn’t see a need to take up counter space with a dedicated stove top. In the Airstream, we have a 5 quart slow cooker, an induction cooktop and a Vitamix. There’s really nothing I’ve found that I can’t make in here (besides pies and cookies, haha!).

Our cabinets are from Ikea and were fitted for the space—Sektion and the finish is Veddinge. The left cabinet is the only one that isn’t modified (ie, the guts cut out to fit over plumbing). The countertop is also from Ikea. It’s the Ekbacken in light oak effect. I’m somewhat of a slob in the kitchen and didn’t want to deal with babying a real wood countertop. The rug is from Riverton Vintage. She’s got a great selection of tiny rugs that are the perfect size for an Airstream. I found that even the standard 2×3 rugs were too large in here. This guy is only 1’4″x 2’7″.

It’s really not as challenging as I thought it’d be to prepare food in this space. Sometimes it feels a little cramped but I’ve learned ways around it. Instead of setting the slow cooker or the induction cooktop on the countertop where I’m working, I put it on the left hand side of the sink, on the drain. When I use the cutting board, I usually have it on straddling the sink so I can easily toss stuff in the sink.

The only part of the kitchen that is original are the overhead cabinets. One half is the Airstream control panel and the other half is where I keep our spices and such. Here’s the contents of the overhead cabinet. One thing I still want to do is add dividers to this area. Every time we move the trailer everything in here falls down. Lids pops off, bags spring open…it’s always a mess.

This is our induction cooktop in action. We mostly use it for making rice or quinoa and heating up leftovers like Chinese food or pasta. It heats up wicked fast and boils water in no time.

Our sink is from Ikea. It was a something like $40 and half of it is a drain. It does take up precious counter space so if I had to do over again I probably would have bought a single basin regular sink. Not to mention, the sink is pretty badly scratched after only four months of use (I know, I know…Ikea). The drain side isn’t very practical and dishes slide around on it when they’re drying. I now lay a small Umbra drying mat on that half when I do dishes. I also have a large cutting board that stays on the kitchen counter when not in use. I originally had a little tiny cutting board that could stow away when not in use but that wasn’t practical at all. I had more food rolling onto the floor than anything!

The sink is plenty large to do dishes in and even rinse out my Vitamix pitcher.

The far right cabinet is where I keep the 5 quart slow cooker, the induction cooktop and Vitamix. This is also where I house my one pot and my one pan (both induction ready). The far right side of the cabinet has a bit of plumbing running through but I don’t really lose much space from it. There’s also a peek of the paper towel dispenser I got. I tell ya, I looked high and low for one and the solution ended up being the cheapest, jankiest paper towel dispenser ever made. But actually, it’s pretty nifty and does exactly what I need. That’s another thing I didn’t want on the countertop or hanging off the wall.

It’s super easy to pop the door open and grab a paper towel. On the other side of the door is a hand towel that hangs off a nifty minimal towel bar.

The center cabinet is mostly full of plumbing guts. We do manage to make some use of the space by stashing some grocery bags in the far corner and storing some cleaning supplies.

The top left drawer is full of utensils. It’s more than enough space for everything.

The other two drawers are where we store food. This also is plenty of space for a week’s worth of groceries. The very bottom drawer also has a small trashcan in it.

On the other side of the kitchen is where we store our dishes. This half is for our Corkcicle tumblers, canteens and koozies, Riley’s dog dishes (including those beautiful hand-made pieces by Muddy Heart), and some bowls and food containers. This is also an area that needs dividers as it all goes flying when we drive.

The left side is where I keep our Target melamine dishware, plastic cups (that look like glass!), my Muddy Heart coffee mugs, and the Umbra drying mat. This side mostly behaves when we drive and everything stays in place.

We also removed our propane/electric refrigerator and replaced with an all-electric Frigidaire 4.5 cubic foot unit. I preferred a taller apartment sized refrigerator but we couldn’t find any that would fit with the curved walls. The size just brought the fridge too far into the living area. The Frigidaire is great for the size and has a lot of space saving design features. It has a drink dispenser, produce drawer and adjustable shelving. We’ve had no problem fitting a weeks worth of food in here. It’s also super low draw at only .7 amps.

That concludes the tour! Let us know if you have any questions! We are happy to help! 🙂

Sheena is a free-spirited adventurer who designed and renovated a 1975 Airstream in 2016 and travels the US with her husband and mohawk-sportin’ poodle. She’s a business owner, self-taught carpenter, blogger, yogi, professional photographer and a lover of the outdoors and healthy living.

6 Comment

  1. Hey,
    I’ve only just come across your Instagram recently and really wanted to see the kitchen in full, it looks super nice!

    Do you or your partner have any specific expertise in renovation or did you just work it out as you went along?

    1. We figured a lot of it out as we went (youtube!) and for the difficult parts we asked my dad and uncle, who have building experience, for help. Almost everything was done ourselves except for fitting the kitchen cabinets and framing the bathroom – that’s what my dad and uncle helped with. But Jason learned a lot of the plumbing and electrical and I worked on a lot of the build/carpentry. 🙂

  2. This is great, thank you for sharing! My fiancé and I have been in the market for a fixer upper Airstream and this was super informative 🙂

  3. Karen sterett says: Reply

    Thanks so much for the details! We bought a popup camper that needs some serious TLC. This has been really helpful as we start our journey.

  4. Hey, I just favorited this blog and plan to follow it as my wife and I are planning the same thing. We just recently(like, this weekend) found an airstream and plan to buy it. bring it home tomorrow. It’s in pretty good shape, but is in needing of a renovation as well. We have absolutely no idea what we’re getting into, but I have renovated our house and done a lot of my own plumbing and electrical, but not entirely sure how that will translate to an aistream. I mean, i don’t even know how how you provide it electricity!

    Your kicthen looks great, and based on the lay out, looks just like ours. So I think i’m going to be referencing this article a LOT! Thanks for sharing this!

    1. It really is a whole new world for anyone just getting familiar with their Airstream. I posted a high level article on how power works –
      Best of luck!

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