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The kitchen, which represents about half of Thelma's renovation budget, is equally space-conscious, with a new island (paired with Harry Bertoia stools from Knoll) that not only stores pots and pans but also gives her a place to sit and eat breakfast or read the paper. To offset the island's pricey Corian top, she chose simple, affordable Ikea cabinetry in glossy white lacquer. The cabinets are big enough to hold all the plates she needs, now that her parties are buffet dinners for 25 or 30. But it's the kitchen's closet, she says, that changed her life. Instead of buying staples one at a time to save space, she now buys in bulk—and opens the pantry door to the comforting sight of jumbo detergent jugs and 12-packs of Pellegrino water.
"Consider the appliances you use regularly. If you never cook dinner for a crowd, you might not need that dishwasher. Save the space for extra storage drawers—you don't have to have the trendy drawers with a slot for every utensil."