Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real ~ Embracing My Kitchen

For almost 11 years, I have struggled with my kitchen.  It has had very few upgrades since 1931 (except appliances).  There is a serious flow problem and a lack of counter space and space in general.  It is oddly shaped, with strange angles and lots of doors. The cabinets go to the ceiling (which is great), but my kids and husband can not reach anything without a ladder (I'm tall and so is Tim).  My kitchen has a tiny nook which I would love to know how the original owners used.  I think it was supposed to be a breakfast nook, but it must have been a tiny eating area.  It has been many things for us over the years.  Most memorable was when it was a giant playpen for my three little ones under three.  I blocked it off with baby gates and put lots of toys in it.  That really worked well for a time.  Most recently, I have turned it into a closet area (since we have no coat closet in the house).

Now it is 2012.  My husband and I want to get out of debt this year and make some real headway on creating a savings.  That means I need to squeeze every dollar until it squeals.  So how to make the kitchen work better?  I spend hours in the kitchen these days preparing everything from scratch for my son's organic, grain-free diet.  I also have a burgeoning supply of appliances to make all of these things from scratch.  My Mother had the idea of moving from the basement a dresser she had given us and turning it into an "appliance garage" in the nook.  Its nine drawers would also provide more storage, too.  I jumped at the idea.

The little drawer has been carried off by a child.  I will explain why at the end of the post.

This improved my space so well that I had room for my tea pot collection to be displayed without other things all over the shelves above the stove.

Also, in the vein of using what you have ... I wanted my Brillo pads and dishwasher detergent to look better on the counter.  I used my crystal and it looks so much better.

Then I moved on to reorganizing the dishes.  We have a cabinet that the cranky door refuses to work properly on.  My husband took it off and I moved the dishes down low so that the kids would stop breaking them when they are trying to reach up high to get them.  I am happy that this one change has decreased the breakage of dishes by about half in the last few weeks!

Our jackets and shoes are right across from the appliance garage. This system has worked well for us for a year or so.

Remember that missing drawer?  Most people keep toys in their kitchen drawers, right?  The Playmobil fits perfectly in this drawer and a child can carry it off to play on the floor.

I really need to re-paint parts of this room.  Some of the surfaces are such a pain to keep clean.  I hate tile!  Thankfully, last year I got a new kitchen counter.  I know the wall is gross in the next picture.  I am going to start working on that soon.  We had a left over drawer system from our bathroom project.  I do not have a counter for it yet, so we just use the top drawer as a bread drawer.

It fits perfectly next to the fridge.  The fridge is tucked into
another strange space that used to be a fireplace.

This is a working kitchen, folks.  My patient husband was waiting at 6:45 am this morning for me to finish taking pictures, so he could plug in the portable dishwasher (which slides across the room) and make his coffee.

Check out other great PFHR's at Like Mother, Like Daughter.



  1. Dawn, I love the repurposed dresser. I think furniture in the kitchen is a great idea- it makes it feel more comfortable. I currently have a love seat in mine that my little ones use to stand on and reach the island... not quite what I had envisioned when I put it there, but it makes them happy to be able to 'watch' me cooking (ie, sneak little bits of cookie dough and what have you).

  2. I love the way you take what you have and make it work. Your home is old like mine...and with all the nooks, strange surfaces ect sometimes it takes a lot of imagination to make things workable! I too have a dresser in my kitchen. I needed drawers!
    When the kids were young I kept toys in the bottom drawers too! And in baskets under the table....and under the sink.
    We just this year moved our dishes up to the higher shelves. Had them down low for the same reason.
    Love the funny little nook. I am sure you are going to make it amazing.
    Your tea pot collection is adorable.
    I love that you use your pretty crystal in practical ways. My grandma always told me to use the good stuff every day. ( and I do!)

  3. You've got some good ideas there - I love the Brillo in the crystal! Anything looks good in crystal, LOL.

  4. You did a wonderful job. It looks great.

  5. What a great coat, shoe area! It's great how you were able to create more drawer and counter space in the kitchen...right where you need it!

  6. Great job using your space!!! Love that your mom is so helpful with ideas! :-) You are doing a great job! Getting out of debt is a wonderful thing. I hope we'll be there before too much longer - though with college expenses, it probably isn't likely.

  7. WHat a great idea to repurpose the dresser. Good luck with your debt goals for this year.