Kitchen Facelift – Intermission

A long while back, maybe even my first post, I talked about making more space in our not-so-functional kitchen. The result – we were mildly successful in making more space for us to walk around things. Not so good. I made a good effort way back when to re-purpose two of Ken’s existing shelving units from the living room into the kitchen to store mixing bowls, appliances and such. A console was thrown in the middle of everything to be a sort of workspace and also to hold some pots and pans below. The result was a cluttered, sort of functional kitchen.

Lots of stuff in a small space.
After living with it for awhile, we realize we have four basic problems in our kitchen:
  • Storage
  • Workspace
  •  Lighting
  • Overall appearance (do we like the way the kitchen looks?)
So far we’ve been working on two of these – appearance and storage. We’ve sort of been working on the lighting situation but we haven’t done anything with lighting yet. It’ll make sense in a minute.

The kitchen is at the back of our condo unit with no windows, and a bit too far from the living room window to get any light to speak of, making it dark and cave-like. So we first painted the medium oak colored cabinets a soft white. Cotton Whisper by Behr. It brightened things up a ton (thus, the lighting without the lighting). We still need some task lighting, but for now, the bright and cheery update will do. And since white is one of the hot trends in kitchens, it modernizes the room a touch as well. Appearances are everything…or something like that. So here’s our somewhat finished product. Looks nice, huh? I really like it!

So much brighter!
We added a magnetic knife strip and a $20
pack of removable decals for the backsplash. Groovy!
Storage has been an issue since I moved in. When it was just Ken, his few cabinets were sparsely used. All of his pots and pans lived in the oven. I felt like I was camping any time I would come over and cook for him! Worn pans, random pieces of flatware, some vintage stoneware – brown and orange or yellow, if I recall. Then came all of my kitchen stuff. It was like the scene from Downton Abbey when they went on holiday to Scotland and we watched trunk upon trunk loaded by the staff into the vehicles. I think I’m pretty average when it comes to the amount of shoes and clothing I own, but when we’re talking kitchen stuff – I’m definitely an overachiever. I don’t necessarily use it all; it’s just pretty 🙂
And so began the struggle to fit a battalion of cooking accoutrements into a half-pint kitchen.
 Fast forward to today (actually Thanksgiving 2012 is when we began this project), and voila! We have a lighter and brighter kitchen with the white cabinets. One shelving unit and the console were removed to allow for a more open atmosphere. This was important given the cave-like feel of the room.
Only one set of shelves and no console.

Also, now that we have our furry canine daughter, Phoebe, her crate lives in the kitchen so space had to be made for her too!

Phoebe’s corner of the kitchen – see her
Canine Good Citizen Certificate?
Such a Good Dog!

We replaced the hardware on the doors with brushed nickel, but when it came to the pulls on the drawers, we found that size pull was no longer available. Sooo, yours truly (on a good tip from a friend) went straight to Home Depot and bought a can of brushed nickel spray paint and we were able to reuse the same pulls. Big savings = happy me! While we’re on the topic of savings, let me break down the total project budget so far: white paint $7 (oops can); spray paint $7; brushed nickel hardware $20; decals $20; magnetic strip $25. Total $ spent = $79!

These pulls were bronze until Ken sprayed
them brushed nickel. Pretty cool!
The pots and pans were moved into a closet right around the corner from the kitchen. It’s like three steps and you’re there. I bought some hooks that go with pot racks and there you have it – the pots were all hung in the closet with care – and they’re actually more accessible than when they were stacked one on top of another in the kitchen.
Pots and pans within easy reach in the closet 🙂
So uncave-like!

What’s left to do:

  • Install under cabinet lighting to add some task lighting
  • Maybe install some above cabinet lighting just to brighten the space even more
  • Paint the walls a very pale gray
  • Purchase a rolling kitchen cart (much smaller than the console) and possibly two small stools so we have more workspace and an intimate dining space for dinners for two. Well, three because Phoebes likes to hang at our feet when we eat. Ok, truth be told, she likes to get in our face when we eat, but we’re working on that. We’ve had about a 25% success rate so far…I’m focusing on the word success in that sentence!
This kitchen cart is at Bed Bath & Beyond.
It may be what we need for extra work space and a
little casual eating space. Much smaller than the console.

All in all this has been a drawn-out project so far because neither of us enjoy painting, and painting the cabinets took 3 to 4 coats. We putzed around for months when motivated folks may have hammered it out in a long weekend, but that phase is complete now and we can move on to the next…when we’re up for it 😉