iPhone – iPad – E-Book – ECooking. It was only a matter of time. :)

23 Apr

We have a treat for you today.

Many readers who follow the blog know that we preach about taking long hard looks at the space you use, so that you can build spaces that provide for your needs without waste or excess.

Many of our readers are using ISBUs to build vacation retreats – “getaway destinations” that are used seasonally. These hunting cabins, fishing cabins and rural retreats need to provide the required services without breaking the bank.

Many ISBU families are down-sizing and building “ISBU cabin-style” homes that occupy small footprints, while providing large benefits. They do this by building multi-purpose, multi-tasking spaces that can expand and contract to provide services.

Many of our readers are using ISBUs to build “tiny house” structures that provide maximum usage in a minimum footprint.

In keeping with that theme, I want to share this with you;

(Now I admit that we saw this tiny-kitchen and at first, we laughed. But then, we started thinking about HOW they use the space and WHY it made sense.)

When this unit is closed, it’s difficult to figure out what it’s purpose is. But once you start opening the modules that it’s comprised of, you’ll find yourself amazed.

clei-ecookingIt’s a veritable “transformer” of a unit that contains;

  •  A refrigerator and freezer.
  •  A sink, with a faucet that you tuck into the bowl when you twist the sink module closed.
  •  A four-burner induction cooktop — plus an air vent and purifier powerful enough to clean the air of a 150-square-foot room.
  •  A dishwasher.
  •  A coffee maker.
  •  Storage space.
  •  An herb garden fed by gray water (your dishwater from the dishes).
  •  (3) separate countertops adding up to 15 square feet of surface area, available for prep work or dining.

It’s called the Ecooking kitchen from Clei and it’s the poster-child for good looking, streamlined, multipurpose, transformable, space-efficient kitchen activities.

Sure, it’s “modern” and “slick”, but it does have a certain “style” about it, if you can get past that yellow color. While we find the concept interesting, we’d ditch that canary yellow finish, for sure. 🙂

The people who designed it will tell you that;

“The E-Kitchen is a practical vision for what you can fit into a small apartment in a way that’s neither cluttered nor cheap-looking. It’s easy to imagine the tower gracing a pricy Manhattan loft or a San Francisco studio.”

The kitchen was originally projected to hit the market by the middle of this year, but Clei’s American distributor says that there is one more technical issue is left to resolve, so it’s now expected to go on sale in Europe in October; the United States will follow soon after.

“It’s much more a reality now than a theoretical exercise,” said Ron Barth, co-founder of Resource Furniture in New York, exclusive North American distributor of Clei.


Closed, the kitchen occupies floor space of 70 by 70 centimeters, or a little over 2 feet by 2 feet. But it’s capable of expanding to triple its closed size, and three people can work or eat together at the unit, each facing a different direction. “Essentially a 27.5-inch square becomes an 82.5-inch corner kitchen,” Barth said.

“Nothing like this has ever even been attempted before in terms of the rotating elements,” Barth said. So perhaps it’s no wonder that the projected for-sale date has been pushed back: There have been “a lot” of durability tests on the unit — particularly the central point of rotation and its construction materials, which have been revised “over and over,” since it’s “the key element in the product’s usefulness and useful life,” he said.

Ron say that pricing information is available for the first time: In Europe, the E-Kitchen will set you back 10,000 to 11,000 euros (about $14,000 to $15,000 at the current exchange rates).

Okay, stop gasping! Once you get past the sticker shock, think about what it does and how it does it. Here at RR we counsel families to look at something that appeals to them and then… reverse engineer it so that they can have it without the hefty price-tag.


You could build this in a wood-working shop. In fact, you could build this using components you found at IKEA or a “big box” store. All it would require is some careful consideration and a considerable amount of attention to detail and patience.


Here’s a (very) short video showing the motion of last year’s version of the kitchen, shot at the Salone del Mobile 2013: