Even in His Home, Steve Jobs Embraced Smaller as Better

Steve Jobs' kitchen Ever the innovator, Steve Jobs insisted on having a small but functional kitchen. Image: Johnny Grey Studios

Apple innovator Steve Jobs embraced small-is-better kitchens ahead of his time.

Looks like Steve Jobs was an iconoclast when it came to homes and kitchens, too.

Although Americans lately have embraced smaller homes, shrinking their average size by 5% from 2007 to 2010, Jobs thought smaller was better even 18 years ago, according to British kitchen designer Johnny Grey, who worked with Jobs in the mid-1990s.

“Remarkably, for one of the world’s richest individuals, Jobs lived in modest style,” says Grey about the Palo Alto home that Jobs and his wife, Laurene, called their “cottage.” The center of family life was a cozy kitchen with white cabinets, tiled tops, and wooden edges.

Grey and Jobs worked together on a kitchen design that was contemporary and compact.

“Shaker simplicity was often his default position,” Grey says. “I suspect he became more of a modernist in the late nineties.”

Unfortunately, Jobs never constructed the kitchen.

“He was a very private person and reluctant to have contractors work around him,” Grey says, “powerfully disliking noise, mess and invasion of their home.”

Do you have any memories of Steve Jobs? Have you ever designed a project that you didn’t construct?