June 15, 2009

Kitchen Phase I: Temporary Functionality

One of the first priorities for this house was the kitchen. If you read my first kitchen post, then you know that it had some serious problems, not only in terms of overall design, but on a more basic level, in terms of counter and cabinet space.

We considered renovating the kitchen first, but there are enough other things that need tending to for us to decide that the kitchen wasn't the top priority. Besides, I'm still not sure how I want the final to be. However, it desperately needed to be functional.

While we were pondering all of this, Dan found an old kitchen cabinet in one of the outbuildings. It was dirty, but sturdy; nothing that a good scrubbing and a coat of paint couldn't take care of. It, with a little brainstorming, has given me a kitchen I can live with for the time being. It's also given me a starting point from which to design my dream kitchen. Here are some before and after shots (remember, you can click on any photo to enlarge it):

Kitchen sink & the only counter space!


As you can see, we moved the stove to where the refrigerator originally was. I now have a little counterspace next to the stove. Also, being closer to the window allows for some ventilation if I need it. In addition, it gives us access to the breaker panel next to the window (which was covered by the frig before). Amazingly, the stove's electrical cord was long enough to enable us to do this without rewiring.

Not a good set-up for the work triangle.


Where the stove used to be, we put the cabinet Dan found. It is 5 and 1/2 feet in length with a 24 inch deep countertop. We used it to create a peninsula, which is very handy. I plan to leave at least half of the counter clear for chopping, cutting, mixing, rolling out, etc.

Those high cabinets are more accessible with this arrangement, but are still a problem. Their door knobs are exactly 6 feet 7 inches from the floor. I'm 5'5", and by standing on the flat of my feet, I can just reach up to open the cabinets. This makes the bottom shelf accessible, but the middle one is difficult and the top one impossible. The step ladder next to the stove is there for that reason. I'm going to store my canning jars on the top shelf.

The only usable wall space has a vertical beam bumping out from it.


We put the refrigerator where the previous owners had table and chairs. At first I was concerned about where to place items removed from the frig. But the peninsula counter is actually close enough for this to not be a problem. The small drop leaf pub table and stools give us a little breakfast nook.

So this is my temporary, interim kitchen. I'm not sure how long "temporary" will be, but at least I now have a kitchen I can live with and can finish unpacking those kitchen boxes! I have plenty of wall space to hang things, and I'm looking forward to getting some of my decorative as well as functional items up. Then, I need kitchen curtains. And then I need to do something about that light over the sink. And I need some color in there! And ........ on and on. :)


Benita said...

The "new" cabinet even has a convenient back splash, too. A much nicer arrangement.

So, what colors ARE you thinking about?

Renee Nefe said...

I like this a lot! I lived in an garage apartment once where the kitchen seemed to be an after though. We kept moving the frig around trying to figure out where it seemed to make the most sense.

That "new" counter looks great there and I'm sure provides some much needed storage.

Life Looms Large said...

That's really cool that you found a cabinet in the shed that actually helps make the kitchen more workable!

For color, are you thinking of painting? Walls or cabinets?

I wonder why the knobs on those high cabinets are up so high. It probably wouldn't be a huge job to remount then down toward the corner of the cabinet so you don't have to stand on your toes to open the cabinet.

Glad you got the kitchen to a workable state at least.....so you can figure out what you really want in there! And thanks for keeping us posted!


Michelle said...

I really like your kitchen now! Looks quite functional, except for your too-tall cabinets. They would probably not be too high for us, since we're both tall. A handy fold-up stool that would slip between the stove and wall might be a $10 well spent.

Dorothy said...

Hey that's good progress!

Now you have about the same work space in your kitchen that I had in my little cottage. I like compact arrangements where you can reach everything.

bspinner said...

Probably a good idea to live in your house before doing major renovations especially a kitchen. Looks workable and right now that's all that matters. Hard to believe you found such a nice cupboard in an out building.
I'm always amazed at how high some people hang kitchen cupboards. Looks like you might need a step stool.
Nice pictures.

Sharon said...

That was a windfall of sorts. You get a reasonably functional kitchen and a reprieve on the necessity of updating it before you know what you want to do. Hope you'll have time to get a garden in so you can need those canning jars~

Leigh said...

Benita and Sue, I always lean toward blue in my kitchens. With touches of orange, yellow, or gold. This is partly because I like blue, but also because I have Blue Willow dishes. I've researched "country" style kitchens, and found that all white is very popular. It's too much for me however, so I'm thinking that when we finally reno this room, I will keep the white walls, and put in cabinetry to match the little table and stools. The blue will come in with kitchen linens, countertops, and tile back splash. At least that's what I'm thinking now.

Renee, I feel so fortunate that everything found a logical home. Sounds like your apartment kitchen, like this kitchen, wasn't designed by a cook and homemaker. The kitchen is a workshop of sorts and needs to be designed as such.

Sue, I thought about moving those knobs too, but the problem is that the cabinet doors are made of thin plywood. They already bow somewhat and I think moving the knob would make it worse. They are definitely not keepers, but I'll make the most of them for the time being.

Michelle, thank you! I admit those tall cabinets are a little frustrating, and yes, I did purchase a tall folding step stool!

Dot, thanks! I'm with you, I prefer a smaller, compact kitchen. My favorite kitchen was a galley or corridor style kitchen that I had in Texas. That's why the found cabinet ended up as a peninsula. So far it's working really well.

Barb, actually there is another cabinet out there. It used to be where we have the table and stools now. It's also home made and a little awkward. It makes me wonder what the original kitchen looked like.

Sharon, yes! The garden is in! Mostly. It's late, but fortunately we have a long growing season. I plan to use as many of those canning jars as I can!

Julie said...

Your kitchen is looking really good! It looks like that cabinet will make a great difference.

Anonymous said...

love your kitchen, i just unloaded one much like it, even the checked floor, made me dizzy at first. lots of good meals & memories though. after 2.5 years i finally have my dream kitchen and well worth the wait. take your time and enjoy every moment. good luck to you & dh.

Anonymous said...

Hello Leigh~
I found your blog during a google cruise. I'm not a blogger myself (yet) but do subscribe to a few I find interesting, mostly garden and country living related.

My husband and I have lived on our own piece of heaven for 29 years. Our ranch house has undergone many transformations during our time here.

(Whether blogging or not, I always recommend taking photos. Aside from the visual reward, it important for insurance and home values)

I can relate to "other things before the kitchen"; that certainly happened with us! Aside from relocating a few closets, doors, and paint facelifts, the kitchen is basically the same as when we bought the place. I'm still waiting on my makeover dream for that room. lol! Sure hope yours doesn't take that long.

Anyway, I'm posting with a suggestion for your cupboard access issue if you get tired of the "up and down" with the little ladder stool. With a bit of puddy to fill the wholes and touch up paint, you could move the cupboard knobs to the bottom corners of the doors.

I've done this with smaller free standing cupboards when the knob placement didn't work for us.

God bless and good luck with your makeovers!
(Hope it's okay that I come take a look at your progress now and then)


Leigh said...

JuleG, thank you so much for your comment and suggestion. Sounds like you should certainly have your own blog, to share what you're doing with others who have a similar interest.

The good news is that the kitchen will be gutted soon, probably by the end of the month! I say probably, because projects have a way of taking longer than anticipated. :) We're in the midst of the electrical work now, needed to move the circuit breaker panel so we can get on with the rest of it. Exciting times ahead!

Anonymous said...

Leigh ~

Silly of me, I was so intrigued with your post and comments I'd forgotten to look at their dates before I posted, lol! I'd have realized you'd be far past knob issues after two years.

I've jumped around a bit reading different areas and dates now, (haha). You've a writing style that invokes interest in your progress and entices me to click again and read up on the previous two years of life on your five acre dream. ~ Envy from here ~

I will read on, but in this case, perhaps I should "read" backwards, rather than forward...lol.

I've been 'online' since 1990 or so, but too busy raising children, commuting for shift work, and tending the home to give a blog serious consideration until now. But as a city girl implanted into the country in a "house that Dick built" as we sometimes refer to it, it's impossible not to have stories. They've been collecting in my mind and emails to my dear sis waiting to become the book that DH and I read and laugh over in our not so far off "golden age".

Someday I'll get to that book, maybe the blog much sooner. In the meantime, I'll be back visiting yours, because I love a great read and admire your lifestyle choices!


Leigh said...

JuleG, actually, we just left them for two years. They're made out of 3/8" thick plywood, 21 by 39 inches in size. They were already badly warped, and since my DH is the kind of guy who only likes to do things once and right, we just lived with them. They are symbolic of the rest of the house actually, always causing us to scratch our heads and wonder, "what in the world were they thinking." LOL I admit I won't miss them when they're gone.

I agree, some things are more important than blogging, and family is one of them. Everything comes in seasons, I think.