I’ve been on a “small house” research kick. I’ve run into some really interesting stuff (1)(2), but disappointingly, no built small houses that really use space as wisely as I think it could be used (note links with neat apartment stuff). I haven’t seen very many Murphy or flip type beds or unconventional space saving stairs or . . . you know what I mean. I don’t see a lot of people taking lessons from the Japanese on space management. I’ve seen some really crafty stuff from that nation.
I did see a video of one guy’s apartment that really maximized the space using a custom built-in. That was cool. But I’ve seen a lot of tiny houses (marketed specifically as “tiny house”s) that used conventional storage to consolidate. Ho hum. And not very efficiently.
In some of my later wanderings through the www, I ran across a narrow house built from a stack of four 20′ containers. In the corner was a fairly small circular staircase that punched through all four containers all the way to the bathtub on the roof. <wince> Yeah, I’m gonna throw my naked parts right out there for all to see . . . NOT. The really brilliant thing I saw in that whole setup, aside from the really crappy use of space, was a counter with an ingenious integrated gas stovetop. It was BRILLIANT. Okay, other than if anything sloshed or boiled over it would run across the counter unchecked. That could get really ugly. That could be fixed by pressing a very shallow pan into the counter where the stove was installed or pressing a small gently rounded rib around the perimeter of the burner location. Let’s say the burners integrated into a flat (unrelieved) countertop is a great idea, just not the best idea for people who really cook unless you’ve got a way to trap the spillage.
I saw one cook top that was set so everything would sink down into the countertop so only the nubs of the burners, knobs and pot supports stuck up. That was pretty cool. I don’t know how you’d clean any gunk out of the crevasses around the burners and knobs and the price was more than I could swallow at $4k, but it was pretty cool regardless.
Then I found a European company that made modular cooktops specifically designed to be integrated into a countertop. NOW we’re talkin’! And they make an induction top as well! And they come with an integrated drip pan.
If you search on Foster gas hob you’ll see another couple styles, one with round burners in a curved stainless counter, another with three square burners in another curved stainless counter.