Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Let's Talk About My Kitchen

So when we bought the house, I barely glanced at the kitchen.  As long as it existed and was big enough to fit two people at the same time, it was a step in the right direction.

This is the view when you walk in to the kitchen straight from the entryway, and look toward the left.  You can see the bay window which desperately needs some seating for someone beyond a baby in a high chair and a parent perched on a stool.

Yes, baby is wearing a halter top, and playing in pots-and-pans cabinet.  The blue bowl on the window sill is the dog bowl.  Zuzu will crawl over to it, say, "Uh-UH!" out loud, (just like we do!) and then proceed to splash around in it.  So it has to be put up out of reach.  Poor Cooper.

The wood cabinets are obviously quite dark and the stainless steel appliances might be part of what makes the space feel so dark to me also.  I guess I'm used to blond wood and bright white appliances.  I know stainless steel is still the cool thing, and I've often admired it in other people's homes, but I loved how clean and bright our white appliances were at the old house.  I won't be switching them out, BUT it's totally making me consider painting the cabinets white.  I know it would be a lot of work, but might be worth it?

The curtains are... not my favorite.  Maybe they're your style?  White and lacy?  Let me know.  I'll send them to you!  Oh--I also don't love the super shiny tile.  The weird pattern on them is great for masking dirt, but I'd also like to SEE where the dropped food particles are so I can clean them up.  Anyway, it doesn't pain me, but we'd probably like to change it down the line.  I'm not sure if we'd stick with tile or do something different like cork flooring.

Here's the other side of the kitchen, if you entered from the dining room:

Laminate countertops are a dark gray/blue, which isn't horrific, but not something I would personally choose.  Hardware is very basic and since there are relatively few cabinets, I'd definitely like to dress them up with something cuter, whether or not we paint them.

The sink is not divided, which drives me batty because I'm used to a sink with two compartments, but I know it's perfectly normal for some people.  It's a Moen faucet, but I greatly preferred the faucet at our old house.  I'll probably try to get used to it unless/until we do a big renovation.  I have other things I'd rather spend my money on.  There's no backsplash at all, which I think is weird.  But also an opportunity!  For me to stress over a decision...  traditional subway tile?  Hexagons?  Penny tiles?  Get me a Pinterest board, stat.

I have purchased shelves to go in that bare wall spot next to the sink.  I hope they will be both cute and functional.  I'm also thinking we're going to switch to a small trash can under the sink.  Having that big thing out in the room is not attractive, and there's no ideal place for it.  Plus the baby loves to play with the foot lever thing and that grosses me out.

Here's the view if you're standing with your back to the bay window:

You can see the hallway leading to the staircase and the front door.  We bought the fridge new when we moved and I have to say... I love it.  It's a Samsung and has the freezer drawer on the bottom.  So far it's the most functional and efficient thing in our kitchen.  The pantry is the narrow door next to it, and the pantry itself is a dark, deep, and narrow cabinet.  It holds a lot of stuff, but finding what you need (and remembering what's deep in its bowels) is a challenge.

The laundry basket in the hallway (way to clean up for photos, Brooke) marks the step-down that leads to a side entry door leading outside.  To the left of the door is a half-bath, to the right of the door are the steps leading down to the basement.

Oh, and here's the baby again:

Hey, Mom.  Steam me some veggies already.  Or I'll dismantle and chew on the steamer basket.
What I didn't realize until we moved in is that although there's a lot of space in the kitchen, there's NOT actually a lot of cabinet or counter space.  It only seemed that way coming from such a tiny kitchen, but since we had a huge island-style counter in our old kitchen, we probably have almost the same counter space.

The bay window area is actually an eensy nook that should hold a bistro table but I haven't yet found one that seems sturdy enough and doesn't have a glass top.  (Actually, I want this one, but I don't want to spend that much. #thrifty).  So, yeah, the room is big, relatively speaking, but the usable kitcheny space is not so big.  In other words, we have a great time dancing in the middle of the room, but cooking and food prep is a little cramped.  And yet there's not quite enough space for an island cart (which was my first consideration).  We're considering getting something custom made (Hey, Dad!) but we're still figuring it out.  (I keep reminding myself that we lived in our old house for nine years before we really got organized, haha).

We were used to a tiny kitchen, so we were able to make it work, but my dreams of luxurious storage space were quickly squelched.  I have bigger dreams of really renovating the kitchen--sometimes I wonder if it would be possible to really change things up and open the kitchen to the dining room, include bar seating, move the oven and refrigerator around to make a more workable work-triangle, renovate the pantry so it's more efficient...  But that would all be waaaaaay down the road.  If ever feasible at all.

So right now, we're just trying to get use to the configuration and think about what small changes we could make so that it works better for us now.  Old habits die hard, and I used to be able to reach everything in the kitchen in one step or an arm's reach (literally).  So the extra space feels really nice, but also like we're not making the most of it yet.  The room also seems oddly dark to me, despite the big windows and tall ceilings.  I can't shift any major appliances around, but I think finding a table that works for us, switching out curtains to something more our style, and possibly painting cabinets and adding a backsplash would do wonders to lighten up the place.

- the big window
- the wall color
- the refrigerator
- the high chair (seriously the Ikea high chair rocks--it cleans up so nicely)
- the baby

- the dark cabinets
- the countertops
- the lack of backsplash
- the shiny tile
- the inefficient use of space

So there you have it.  First room on the house tour!


  1. I think it's super cute. And although the curtains aren't my style either, at least you have some. We have ZERO window treatments in our house (just blinds), because my husband adamantly refuses any type of curtains. So, if while you are browsing Pinterest for your backsplash, you see some awesomely different window treatments, let me know?

  2. I need to teach you Sketchup - just enough to be dangerous.

  3. White cabinets a subway tile backsplash -- yes!!! Do it!

  4. Yes, white cabinets for sure!!

  5. And here I was thinking "gee, that's a lot of cupboard space," lol. ;) I don't mind the dark wood, but I totally agree about the floor tiles. Would not be my choice either. We don't have a tiled backsplash either -- keep dithering about what we want and if we're going to do a backsplash, shouldn't we think about new cupboards or at least a new countertop too...??

  6. I vote yes do all those projects so I can read about them. Though the darker cabinets don't bother me with stainless steel. I kinda like it.

  7. Brooke,
    Judd and I tackled the turning ugly dark wood cabinets into white and bright last summer after we moved in. We followed the directions from this blog
    A few things to note:
    1. From start to finish it took us 26 days, and we didn't have an adorable Zuzu as a helper ;)
    2. It was WAY more work than we bargained for and led to more than a few verbal altercations...
    3. It was a great, budget friendly fix, we even kept the old hardware (which may be same as yours??) but thought they looked better and more modern against the white. The hinges were brass, but we just spray painted them nickel to match, again on the cheap
    4. Judd is OCD about things being in their place and the counter being cleared off every night etc. (note I don't share these feelings) so having doors off and saw dust everywhere was particularly troubling for him...
    5. Overall, I am so glad we did it, and that we followed all the steps properly because it really does look nice. But at the same time I don't know if I would go through all of that again, I think once is definetly enough. But for the cost of a few gallons of paint, sandpaper, spray paint and patience our kitchen looks much brighter and newer for waaaaay less than we would have spent otherwise.

  8. Thanks for the tour! I actually like the appliances and cabinet color, although I am with you on the backsplash and floor.

    And of course, the baby is the best part of any room :)

  9. SO jealous of your fridge!! I like the cabinets and appliance colors but white cabinets always look nice! But seriously. I WANT your fridge.

  10. random reader here. your post made me think of this funny blogpost a friend of mine wrote about painting her cabinets. this is not meant to discourage you, but it's an honest account and at the very least, pretty funny. :) she also ended up putting up a back splash. good luck!!

  11. Agree to the cabinet color and the shiny floor. If I were you, I would get beige cabinets and paint some stencil to make it stand out and take the focus away from stainless steel appliances. I saw really cool backslash designs on Kim Myles Facebook page. I will email it to you later. You may not need to redo the floor I guess. I love your bay breezy. we too had double sink in our previous , which I missed so much after moving to stl. But now I like the single.sink better as it looks more cleaner, once all dishes are done.
    Love that halter top dress.

  12. That kitchen seems massive! But it looks like its way more rooooom than actual functional kitchen. It's screaming for an island or something. But beautiful nonetheless.

    I too don't mind darker cabinets with stainless appliances. But I'm very much a fan of a white bright kitchen.

  13. We don't have a backsplash either and we've been talking about doing one since we moved in. Going on 8 years here. I bet yours will be done before mine!

  14. I am loving your photo/blog house tour! You really don't have much counter space. We ran into a similar problem...our kitchen is quite large with a decent number of cupboards but not a whole lot of counter space (and no backsplash either). Maybe your pantry could use pull out shelves or one of those rolling carts I've seen on Pinterest that gives you a way to access the deep dark parts of your pantry. Can't wait to see your updates!

  15. We have that same fridge (since 2008) and still LOVE it although we have the one that is black and doesn't have a water/ice thing on the door. But we love it and have never had a problem with it.

    I love your kitchen! Even the things you don't like. It definitely definitely beats our 1980's kitchen that needs new cabinets, etc. etc. etc.