Sunday, March 4, 2012

mini kitchen remodel

I love the way Jeremy tells this story. "Aimee was trying to put some pans away and she got all upset and angry, throwing pans around. So I thought, I'll be the mature one and get the pans put away. But then I got all upset and angry and started throwing pans around!"

And that was when we finally decided to do something about the kitchen storage issue!
What we had was this:

A tiny little cupboard which had to fit sheet pans, muffin tins, cake tins, spring form, pans, glass pie plates, etc (obviously hard to get to in the first place with brewing equipment and a worm bin blocking the way!) I tried to keep things on the side, but it always ended up like this and it was difficult to get anything in or anything out after awhile.

And while we're at it, we also had this:

I took the tea shelf and microwave out before this shot, but you get the idea. This was another huge part of our storage, pots, bowls, plastic containers, quiche plates, more pie plates, and things hidden in the recesses that we hadn't seen for years.

We have plans for re-doing the whole kitchen someday and we just keep trying to live with what we have in the meantime - though I suspect it will be years and years before anything changes. After that last blow-up, the straw that broke the camel's back, Jeremy admitted that he had thought of buying some sort of cupboard for me for Christmas. (Aw, the sweet things we do for our partners. =)

But he hadn't been able to find anything on Craigslist. So he got me pasta maker instead - which we had to find room for in the kitchen! That very day he jumped back on Craigslist and within a few moments he had found a potential cupboard option. Someone in St. Paul was remodeling and getting rid of a long 7 or 8 foot base cabinet (original to the house!) along with two large upper units. We contacted the guy, we were second on the list, the others backed out, we borrowed a van, and drove straight over to pick up our new cupboards!

Of course the whole thing didn't fit in any perfect way into the kitchen which meant some work. Jeremy had to cut the base cabinet apart because it was too long to fit in any one space.

It's upside down in these pics.

We also had to add a base to raise it more to counter height and add a counter since that had been removed by the previous owner. Our counter top? A piece of plywood painted and sealed. It's more of base piece awaiting real counter top...some day...

Next to the oven we got this:

The extra surface being put to excellent use.

And, glory be, this:

An organized space, with wooden uprights to keep everything on its side and in place. We kept the original cupboard and have just the glass things in there.

In the other corner we got this:

Everything had to be scrubbed down it was all so filthy! You'll notice that half of the heater vent is covered up . This piece was still too long because of that vent that sticks out, so Jeremy just cut out the back corner and slid this piece in over the top of it. So our plastics, pots, souffle dishes, and whatever else lives down there are nice and warm! He cut a vent in the front of the cupboard so the heat can get out.

Here we are all cleaned up and painted (and yes that is the pasta maker there Jane, I set it up and ran some pasta through to clean out the excess grease from packaging - so now it's ready to use!).

Last but not least we had the uprights. They turned out to be way too tall to fit in our kitchen. I think they're about six feet high.

So I decided to use them in the back hall, which had looked like this:

Will we ever be rid of the pile of boxes and random things in the back hall? Probably never.

These upright cupboards were absolutely my favorite. There was a bit too much contact paper of various ages and depths for my taste so I removed most of that. The insides were painted this incredible dark turquoise-like color with sort of a shiny shellac paint. Bead board runs along the back, and then there are these grooved strips of wood running in all corners for adjustable shelving. You stick in these slim 1 inch pieces of wood and put the shelf on top. I think it's so cool.

But also way too dark. So I painted part of it white.

There is actually some beautiful wood underneath, but neither of us wanted to go to all the work to strip the paint off. We told ourselves that these would not be the cupboards we used in our kitchen when we remodel it anyway, so why go to all the work for things that might end up in the basement or garage someday? It's kind of a shame, but really, I'm just happy to have more storage space now!

Looking much better in the back hall now. (The door in the lower right was stripped by the previous owner, trying to see what lay underneath the layers of paint.)

Now I have things organized by shelf: baking things in one area, beans in one area, rice and grains in another, some canned items in another.

It's funny that with our previous shelf it felt like we had no room and everything was about to fall off. Almost everything fit into one of the new uprights so we have room for a lot more out here now.

Some day that space in the hall will be a walk in pantry accessible from the kitchen. I cannot wait for all that glorious storage space! Then we can finally unpack the half-dozen (or dozen?) kitchen boxes still languishing in the basement.

So that was our mini kitchen remodel, which cost less than $100 in the end. I think we more than doubled our drawer space, certainly doubled our counter-top space, and added half again as much cupboard space. And we haven't had any more blow-ups, shouting, cursing, or throwing pans around the kitchen. =)


Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

Wow that really did make a big difference! It seems storage space is something that you never have enough of. Even when you have a ton, you find more stuff you need to store ;) And to be able to reuse material and do it affordably is even better. Glad to see the pasta machine is getting a place of dominance. Now you have to use it.

Lauren M.F-E said...

Sometimes I wonder if there's ANYONE who frequently uses their kitchen and actually has sufficient storage and prep space in their kitchen. It sometimes seems like the only people with big enough kitchens are too rich and busy to use them...

Props on your upgrade though!


Aimee said...

Jane - yes, yes, I'll get to that pasta...eventually. =)

Lauren - I agree with you about who has those big kitchens, it really is too bad. I tell people now about our kitchen "it's the biggest kitchen I've ever had with the least amount of usable space!" We certainly use it a lot though. =)

Dwelf the senior raincoat said...

Throwing pans around is much better than throwing plates or chickens.

Mom said...

I can so see you getting upset and throwing pans around. You are way more patient that I am - I would have caved in a lot sooner. (you can use the pasta machine to use up some of your overflow of eggs).

Glad you didn't strip the one cabinet down to the wood - in those older houses, that shiny paint was lead paint - not something you want to mess around with. Best to just cover it up - but keep an eye on it for peeling. If it ever starts to peel, you want to be careful dealing with it. Am so glad you have more room - think how easy the baking at Christmas will be now...