Week Two: Behind the Scenes
In the two years since my last MoFo kitchen tour, things have changed about as much as possible: I have a new kitchen! In a new house! That I own! Here’s a pano shot from the sliding doors that let onto the carport/driveway.
Our house was built in the ’70s but had been tastefully updated in the last few years, so we didn’t need to do any major remodels or redesigns when we moved in. That was a bit of a blessing and a bit of a curse. Of course I’m glad to be spared the expense (although you could argue that it was baked into the asking price), but it also means I didn’t get to personally design my kitchen, and I have no real excuse to remodel it in the near future.
The appliances are new(ish) and work great, the cabinets are an inoffensive reddish wood (I know nothing about wood types), the countertops are a sparkly black stone that I actually quite like, and the backsplash is plain white subway tile. I’m not a huge fan of subway tile; I think it’s played out, and the white is just a bit boring. The floors are a textured grey stone, and they’re fine. We painted the walls a country blue, which I liked a year ago and still don’t mind, but I do think a brighter color might be better: Besides the ambient light that comes in from the living and dining rooms, the only real light source is the sliding door…which abuts our covered carport, reducing the amount of direct sunlight we get. Lighter walls might help.
My kitchen is not huge in terms of counter space (especially when compared to the massive butcher-block island we had at our rental!), but by keeping it clean and uncluttered, I actually never have a problem. I’m a methodical, clean-as-you-go cook, so I don’t end up with piles of dishes on every surface. The only appliance that has permanent real estate on the counter is my KitchenAid mixer because it’s a beast and would be a pain to lug back and forth. Everything else is in the pantry/laundry closet (behind the white panel doors in the pano shot above) or another storage spot and is easy to grab. (Steven’s SodaStream keeps encroaching on my counter space, though I try to stash it away…!)
Truth be told, our kitchen is a bit less personalized in our house than it was in our rental. I blame the somewhat impersonal features, but the lack of wall space (for art) doesn’t help. We do have a few Steven-made shelves for various ingredients and some Ikea spice racks on the walls. But the kitchen opens into our dining room, where we’ve put in more personal touches.
I love our mid-century dining room table — we bought it off Craigslist from a Russian lady and her daughter, and it has built-in leaves that make it surprisingly spacious. The chairs are Crate & Barrel; combined with the table, they match the wood-and-dark-metal theme in our living room.
To the right of the kitchen entrance, you can see our little bar, a “cellarette” from my grandmother’s house. It’s gorgeous dark wood and just the right size for that space. It opens up to feature a set of cut glass barware that came with the piece. We have lots more booze stored above the fridge, but we keep the pretty stuff on display. (The dining room opens on to the living room, which you can see on the right of this photo.)
Above it is an awesome vintage victory garden poster Steven gave me for Christmas a few years ago. I’d love to get a few more posters of this ilk and move them in a collage on the wall behind the dining table, which for now is filled with some colorful canvases from our old place.
To the left of the kitchen entrance is our coffee bar! The “bar” itself is a cheap piece of furniture I got at a yard sale for $5 years ago (you can see it in use in my previous tour too); I replaced the knobs and gave it a coat of paint and it’s serviceable for now. At some point I’d like to replace it with a piece that fits better with the rest of our decor, but it does offer a lot of storage for things like our food processor and random other small appliances.
Steven built those awesome open shelving units above the bar, which show off some of our prettier hot drink accoutrements. (Ignore the horrible vintage Ronald McDonald plastic plate in the rightmost shelf… Steven was going through some of his childhood crap and thought it would be funny to put it there. VERY FUNNY. HAHA.)
McDonald’s merchandise owning aside, Steven has some redeeming characteristics. Namely, the ability to build shelves! Aside from the shelves I’ve already mentioned, he also custom-built these corner shelves, which I use to display my beloved Pyrex collection. It’s just a few steps from the kitchen, so it’s a great way to store these pieces (which I use for cooking and eating regularly).
(You can see one of the previously mentioned colorful canvases in this photo. That wall is really tall because we have near-cathedral ceilings, and we just don’t have enough art to fill that space. Canvases will have to do for now!)
So, there we have it. My kitchen and dining room, such as they are. I’m excited to see everyone else’s cooking space!