Everything you need for a tiny Skoolie Kitchen
Kitchens are the hub of any home and that's no different in a skoolie, or any other tiny home. Kitchens are always where you prepare your food, inevitably where you entertain and where you sneak to for your midnight snack. In a tiny home like a skoolie, they serve even more purposes. This is where you brush your teeth, wash your face and do your hair / make up.
Our kitchen also serves as our entertainment space since it's across from the couch.
Given all these use cases (forgive the term, I am a consultant), it's so important to really think through the layout so that you can get the most out of this space. In this post, I'm going to go through the details of our kitchen and I'm going to list out all of the things that we have that complete our tiny kitchen.
As you can see in the photo, there's a lot going on in our kitchen. We have overheard storage, a counter that comes apart in pieces to cover the sink and stove, appliances, storage drawers and entertainment coming off the side. For us this set up has worked very well. I'll go through what we have going on here starting from left to right. We will include links to the products we used. We have Canada and US links for each one so you can follow the right one for your geographic area. Sometimes the products are different in the US but it's as close a match as we could find.
These are affiliate links which means we get a couple bucks if you click through - if you like our suggestions, it would mean a lot to us if you use these links to buy off Amazon :)
On the far left, we have our sink and cabinet. When we were designing this area we had a challenge to plan around which is that the wheel well is right under this area (and goes into the stove area too). This limited options on how to lay out the kitchen. I had to pick whether I wanted the sink or the stove right next to my side of the bed. Given the option of running water or food spatter... Well you see what I chose!
Under the sink, we have plumbing that gives us running water, cleaning supplies, garbage can and we attached a little custom cutlery storage shelf to the door. I won't get into the plumbing details here, we'll have a different post about that later. The products we used in this area are:
Sink: This is a stainless steel, under-mount bar sink. Phil cut the shape out of our counter-top and made a sink cover with the piece he cut out. This is really nice because we can hide our dirty dishes in there when we give people tours. The sink is on the small side but there's only one frying pan that I find annoying to wash in it. Otherwise, it's been great.
Faucet and Soap Dispenser: I can't say enough good things about this faucet. It has a sprayer option, it has a pause button (which is amazing when you're trying to conserve water) and it pulls down on a hose! It also came with a counter top soap dispenser which is so helpful for doing dishes.
In the middle of our kitchen we have our cooking area. Here we have a piece of counter-top that comes off to reveal the gas elements on top of our stove, the stove / oven and a huge drawer where we store all our cooking things (pots, pans, spatulas, etc.). We had originally planned to put this piece of counter-top on a piano hinge so that we could open it up to cook. We did not do that because it would have reduced the height where we could start the overhead storage and we couldn't make that trade off.
The products we used in this area are:
Suburban Propane Oven: This thing is FANTASTIC. It's also one of the only options that really exists for a propane powered stove with an oven. We prioritized having an oven because we cook a lot and we like being able to bake things, like fish or pizza.
Percolator: We'll use this opportunity to talk about our coffee situation as well. We pretty much can't function without our morning coffee and we like to brew it at home. We wanted to be able to keep that up without having the bulk of an actual coffee maker in the bus, also heating water with electricity is a big drain on the battery bank. So we set out to find a percolator and this one has been awesome. Delicious coffee and easy to use.
Propane Detector: Safety first kids! Since we are literally cooking with gas we also installed a propane detector. I won't lie, this was more to make our parents feel good about the propane on board but it's been really great for peace of mind.
Pots and Pans: We honestly just took a few things that we already had. We basically took one of each thing that made sense to have. That translated to 1 small frying pan, 1 large, 1 small sauce pan, 1 medium sauce pan with strainer and most of these have lids that go with them. The only one that we have that I would recommend is the small frying pan which is a rock one. It's easy to clean, impossible to scratch and nothing sticks to it, even after years of abuse.
Cutting boards: We actually brought 4 cutting boards with us. One you can see in the photo is our main end-grain block cutting board and we love it. End grain helps keep knives sharper for longer, plus it looks cool. We also have one that is for pizza and two plastic ones for chicken-y things. If you're a pizza lover I would totally recommend getting the pizza one with the slits for slicing perfect pizza slices. Links to the block and pizza ones below.
The right most section of the kitchen has the most action packed into it. This is the only section of our counter that is 100% stationary so it houses a lot of things. We have our power outlets, entertainment centre (yep, I'm calling it that even though it's really just a TV on a wall mount), spice rack and, of course, the fridge.
This area has the most traffic and action of the whole bus. Sometimes we clear the space so we can use it for preparing food, other times we jam pack it full of video game consoles and laptops so we can play some Zelda or watch TV / movies. We added in a little remote control holder to help us de-clutter - this thing is made of the same material as the curtains in our bedroom (free stuff is great).
The products we used in this area are:
Fridge: Our fridge is a Danby mini fridge. It is 4.5 cubic feet, it drains about 134 Watts when it's running and, when set to level 5 coldness, it doesn't run that often. We've been very happy with everything about this fridge. From the amount of power it consumes to how much we can fit in it. It definitely surpassed our expectations.
12 Volt Fan: This is a super important component to any fridge that isn't specifically designed to go under a counter(which cost over twice as much money). Fridges generate heat to keep things cool and if it's getting too hot under the counter, your food won't stay as cold or last as long. This can also cause a total failure of the fridge motor from overuse and in some cases actually catch fire, not to mention the battery drain. A typical fridge vents its heat out the back, so it is important to leave space on all sides and the top. The fan helps the air circulate and keeps the fridge from overworking. We run the fan directly off the batteries (more details about this in our Solar post, coming soon!). This means that the fan runs constantly but the trade-off is well worth it.
Child Lock for the Fridge: This is what we use to keep the fridge closed while we drive.
19" Television: Our TV is actually from Best Buy so it's an Insignia brand. The size works well in a small space, though we could probably scale up to 22" and still fit it on the wall. The TV itself works fine but the USB input doesn't have the ability to play video files off an external hard drive which is really annoying. This means we have to pull out a laptop every time we want to play a movie or something. (Note: Yes, we also have a Fire Stick and I'll talk about that. When there's no cell service, we can't use it.) If I were to buy another one, I'd go with one of the ones below.
TV Wall Mount: This one was surprisingly annoying to find. We needed to have a wall mount that had the bendy arm so it could open up around the corner, but we also needed it to be able to twist so we could store the TV sideways when it's against the wall. It took some digging to find one that did all that and would be strong enough to handle driving around on dirt roads. I'm happy to say that we were successful. This wall mount has been amazing.
Amazon Fire Stick: The Amazon Fire Stick is fantastic when we have cell reception. Otherwise, it's not very useful (duh!). We had some WiFi troubles at first but now that we are sorted, we've been getting more use out of this and would totally recommend it.
We built this shelving in with 3/4" plywood and a piece of live edge walnut that we actually got for free from my cousin. We store food and all of our dishes, cups, percolator, etc. up there. To keep things from going flying when we drive we use shelf liner. We have it along the whole bottom of the shelf and we also cut pieces of it and we put it in between each ceramic dish so that they don't crack, go flying or rattle. We are also going to line the fridge with it to prevent everything from shifting when we are on the road.
We hope that you found this useful. Please don't hesitate to reach out, if you have any questions or comments.