Friday, January 8, 2010

Now We're Cookin'!

One of the things I was most particular about in looking for a home was a kitchen. I really wanted more space for preparation and was definitely on the lookout for more counter space.

Unfortunately for me, most homes in Chicago don't have the kitchens I was looking for. Even "large" kitchens lack counter space, or we were sacrificing floor space for countertops. Or, a problem we had frequently, the kitchen was great, but the rest of the house needed work. In one of the first homes we saw, the kitchen had great cabinets with lots of counter space, but plenty of roaches as well. In a bungalow we saw (and I just about fell in love with), the kitchen was enormous and included a walk-in pantry, the likes of which I've never seen. However, the second floor was completely unfinished and was easily a $100,000 renovation project waiting to happen. So, in an odd twist of fate, we ended up with a kitchen that is strikingly similar to our galley-style apartment kitchen, but with a larger eat-in space, larger cabinets, and just a little more space to walk. However, my countertop space is roughly the same. Good thing I'm comfortable with it already, eh?

Here's a look at the box o' tile kitchen. It will be updated at some point in our life here. Sadly, this project will take the longest, both in funding procurage and renovation time. Not really looking forward to that, but it's years down the road so I'm not going to dwell on it.

Here's the kitchen looking in to my prep space. It's at least three feet wider than my previous kitchen.

Regardless of when our renovation happens, here's the first thing I want to change. This stove is functional, but also old (big surprise there) and really particular. I'm still trying to figure out the quirks of this thing.

Here's prep space #2. It's a decent size and is home to my precious mixer. It's also delightfully wet thanks to its proximity to the sink.

This space isn't really a preparation area, unless you count my morning bagels. It's more a catch-all for things like the cookie jar, toaster, dish rack, and pile of Christmas goodies that remain uneaten.

Here's the eat in portion of the kitchen. As you can see, we still have our flowery pub table. I'm not a huge fan, but this has served its purpose since we got it before we got married and it doesn't look like it's going anywhere anytime soon. Ideally, I'd like a decent sized table for our kitchen so we can eat with our guests and not have to set up the tray tables. However, at this very moment the table works and considering we spent a boatload of money on new appliances, this will do for the time being.

We also lack a decent space for food storage, so until we get a pantry built in the basement (or I manage to convince Graham to insulate our mud room so I can store dry goods in there) we've got these two sorta sturdy bookcases to hold food. One of them is holding all our stocks and oils and baking supplies, and the other holds mostly corningware and my extensive cookbook collection. It's been really really nice to just reach into the bookcase and grab the book I need instead of digging through a pile on the floor next to the microwave. They're alphabetized and everything! It's truly wonderful to have a place to store all my cookbooks, and the English major in me is slightly giddy that I have a legitimate excuse to keep books in the kitchen.

Now, we've gotten questions about hopes and dreams and renovation plans for this room, as well as all the others. The list for this one, my friends, is extensive:

  • Replace the stove with something more efficient and less tricky.
  • Remove the weird posts you see on the far right in the bottom photo, take down that part of the wall and replace with a built-in bookcase for my cookbooks, and replace the poles with something a little more contemporary but still open (I'm thinking Frank Lloyd Wright).
  • Remove the tile from the walls, ceiling, and floor (is it possible to just drywall over this stuff?).
  • Paint and retile the floor with something sturdier than the do-it-yourself stick 'em down tiles we've got.
  • New window treatments, hopefully in the form of shades/blinds instead of curtains.
  • Perhaps even replace the side door with something a little more airtight.
  • Update the hardware on the kitchen cabinets (hopefully I can get this done on a weekend soon).
  • Update the light fixture with a ceiling fan.

As you can see, the list is lengthy. Fortunately, some small fixes can be changed. Updating the cabinet hardware? That's just a trip to Menards. A ceiling fan can be installed over the spring or summer. Maybe I'll even get a stove for my birthday! (Quite possibly the #1 sign I'm an adult and there's nothing that can be done to change it. A nerdy, loser adult on top of it, too.)

Really, I need to get my friend Ali in here and see what she says. I fully plan on using her design talents and then pimping her out to my friends and family and then taking a little off the top. Nothing wrong with a little monetary exchange between friends, right?


  1. A lot of work ahead, but it's fun to have something like that to look forward to in the future! You have more counter space than I do, so I AM jealous! I love your comment about Ali : )

  2. That sounds like me now...I got excited when I got a new vacuum for our anniversary. It must be the growing up thing in us.


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