Tag Archives: home

The Kitchen

I think about my dream home a lot. Really, who doesn’t? Since being a renter for 6 or so years, in 3 very different types of homes (both Tim and I have been blessed enough to not have ever had to live in an apartment building), I feel like I have a really good grasp on the difference between what makes a space livable, and what makes it perfect.

Here is the first kitchen I had on my own:424089_10151311729975315_938276775_n

I was renting a suit that was half of the upper floor of a 1905 Victorian house. I loved the suite, but since it was a small space, the kitchen was left a little lacking.

What I liked:
– I could stand in one place and do everything I needed to do
– the fridge was short enough to use as storage for things, like cutlery and drying dishes
– small amount of floor to keep clean
– new, white appliances, even if they were apartment sized
– there was a sort of pantry, in the hallway (could have also served as a linen closet)

What I did not like:
– lack of cupboard space (those puppies were crammed with the trickiest of all cupboard jigsaw puzzles after we got married)
– small drawers; drawer space should never be underestimated
– the corner cupboard set up; the corner drawer to the left of the sink opened to a cavernous space that led to the back corner, walled off from the rest of the cupboards, making the back corner unusable for things you needed to get at often
– single sink (especially since there was no space on the right to put dishes once cleaned, hence the rack on the fridge)
– boring “landlord’s special” cabinets
– open to the living space

What I would change:
I would probably stick a custom IKEA kitchen in that little corner! There are tons of ways to be a lot smarter with this space. Maybe some shelving above the fridge. I might even go as far as making it a U-shaped kitchen with a little breakfast bar. It would take up some of the living room space, but it would nix the need for a dining table.

It served me well enough for 2 years, and Tim and I for an additional year. And as much as I may miss that suite, I am glad I don’t have such a tiny kitchen anymore!

Next we moved to a ground level suite in a 1980s house, and this is the kitchen we had for about 6 months:

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It was an odd space smack in the middle of the suite. There were four entries/exits from it: the dining room/entrance (to the right), hallway to the bedrooms (where photo is taken from), bathroom (straight ahead), and living room (in the back left). Behind the wall that is blocking the view on the left in the full sized fridge and two full upper cabinets, or four doors, however you count them.

What I liked:
– white cabinets
– double sink
– decent amount of counter space
– tasteful laminate counters
– the corner cupboard were the normal kind with the bent door (easier access to the back)
– lots of cupboards
– “closed” floor plan
– big drawers
– you can’t see it, but around the side of the cupboard by the door to the living room are a couple open shelves
– counter space on the opening side of the fridge

What I did not like:
– no natural light
– no pantry
– bathroom coming right off the kitchen
– the cupboards were actually too shallow by about 0.5cm to hold my dinner plates

What I would change:
I think whoever put this suite together did the best that they could, given the space. However, in the hallway to the bedrooms, which was more of an strangely shaped room than a hallway, I would build some shelving to serve as extra storage, not only for the kitchen but for the rest of the house which only had one two foot closet (one bedroom didn’t have a closet, and there was no linen closet).

So besides the general layout of this room, there really wasn’t much I didn’t like. Not my dream kitchen, but not a whole lot to complain about.

And now, for the first time since living at home, we have a kitchen that is actually built as a kitchen in the original home layout!

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This house was built in 1967 and these cupboards are definitely original. It’s a little bit funny to look at since there are no upper cupboards above the lowers, and no lowers under the uppers. Although there probably once were some where the dishwasher is.

What I like:
– huge window above the sink, also meaning lots of natural light
– pantry; however it only has two shelves in it, so it is used only for my appliances and brooms; the rest of the pantry stuff is stored on a shelf, as I’ve posted about before.
– double sink
– lever faucet (so much better than two separate knobs!)
– counter space on the opening side of the fridge
– the shelves in the lower cabinets are actually half sized, making access to the bottom back super easy; I had never seen it before, but it makes perfect sense, especially in the corner cupboard!
– dishwasher; such a bonus for a renter
– the white counter top; it may be really old and falling apart, but i like white counters
– the stove vent vents right back into the room so the entire upper cabinet is useful

What I do not like:
– black appliances
– bulk heads; what is the purpose of those, anyway?
– the pantry isn’t functional enough for pantry items
– tile floor
– sparkly back splash (this is the least “me” feature in this entire house)
– no cupboard above the fridge
– the drawers are too narrow to hold modern day utensil holders

What I would change:
First of all, I think the layout could be better. I would move the dishwasher to beside the sink, left or right, doesn’t really matter, then center the stove on the long wall so there is counter on both sides. I would also add a small island since there is so much dead space in the middle of the room. And I would make the pantry a part of the cabinetry instead of a closet style. And as I’ve mentioned in at least a couple posts, I would paint paint paint!

Being the one kitchen that is in a space that is actually for a kitchen, I think it has the most I could change, strangely. It’s very functional, but it could be a lot better, and a lot better looking, too.

So those are my reality kitchens. My dream kitchen has a list that looks something like this:

– a casual feel (I’m not partial to dark woods and granite counter tops)
– closed floor plan
– light coloured cabinets
– white or butcher block counters
– white is my first colour choice for appliances
– counter space beside the open side of the fridge (so no french door fridge)
– farmhouse style sink under a big window
– a place for everything
– a great pantry
– lots of drawers and smaller cubbies/open shelving
– floor that is not tile or laminate wood

You may wonder why I want a closed floor plan. Most people like the open feel for when they are entertaining so they don’t have to be in a separate room, or so they can keep an eye on their kids. I like having the kitchen as a separate room because when I am entertaining, I like having the kitchen to escape to. Not because I don’t like you, just because I’m not an extrovert. Plus that way, you don’t have to keep it clean all the time! And I’m not concerned about not seeing the kids every minute.

Here are some photos I grabbed off of Better Homes and Gardens of kitchens that caught my eye:

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kitchen 2

kitchen 1

I love the lived-in look of these kitchens, and how bright they are. I love the idea of being able to display some dishes and things. And I love that it doesn’t feel like a show room.

What’s on your kitchen wish list?

More of Our Stuff

This week Tim’s parents came out to drive Jordan back to the Island for his Christmas break. They decided to also pack along some of the stuff we had to leave behind! Sadly I didn’t get any photos of their visit, but I got some photos to share of the furniture that I once again have in my house.

First of all, the glider. In this house it does not fit in Calvin’s room, so either I have to do some really tricky reconfiguration in there, or it will just live in the office area.

Next is the barrister’s bookcase that my parents gave us. It houses Tim’s fancy old books, his own books (yes, they are for sale), and miscellaneous other office things. I still need to change out the hardware for something that isn’t broken and less plastic.
Also, they brought a couple more of our kitchen chairs. So now we can seat 5 people at the table (or 6 if we use the computer chair) instead of 3. Bring on the dinner parties!

Lastly, and most importantly (in my opinion), are my white book shelves! I have three, but they were only able to fit 2 in the vehicle. In Victoria I had one in Calvin’s room for books and toys, and the other two were stacked in the dining room and held my pretty dishes. Here, one wouldn’t fit in Calvin’s room, and in the kitchen it works better to have dishes in the cupboards and food out on the shelf. So instead I could finally unpack the many boxes of books we had stacked in the corner of the living room. Every shelf has two rows of books. Mine take up half a shelf and all the rest are Tim’s. I have a reader of a husband. I will let you guess what portion is mine and who my favourite author is.

So now that we have more furniture, it feels a little bit more cozy and homey in here. I just wish I could paint those walls. The brown isn’t doing it for me.

Prepared to Host

When we learned we were moving to Edmonton, my mom and sister right away decided they would try to come out to visit shortly after. I was excited for that. However their days off didn’t line up and it looked like they wouldn’t be able to come. But then my sister ended up with a different day off, and a couple days ago told me they could come! It probably worked out because I prayed they would still be able to visit. :)

So today they are hitting the highway and will arrive this evening. I have the guest room all prepared, and I am excited to spend a couple days with them!

Calvin’s Spot

Calvin has been sitting for a while now, and it’s nice to be able to plop him into a high chair at restaurants and not worry about holding him and a fork and knife at the same time. Until now we haven’t had one at home, which wasn’t a problem until recently when he started eating. Sitting on the floor ain’t cuttin’ it. It’s hard to get a good spoon-to-mouth angle.

I’ve been looking around for a while for high chairs, but I am too picky. I don’t like those plush ones. I have enough laundry to do, never mind adding a high chair cover to it. Also, why would it need to recline? And as simple and easy to wipe down the IKEA ones are, they just aren’t my style. I’ve always liked the wooden one my mom has, and if she never had her grandchildren visit, I would’ve probably snuck it out of her kitchen. And then I saw this one on Kijiji! It is perfect!

All wood, small scale, and doesn’t take up a lot of floor real estate. It love it, and it suits Calvin me so well, don’t you think?

Calvin and his avocado mouth thinks it’s just dandy!

And now he has his own spot at the table and can enjoy looking at our faces while we eat too, instead of our calves. Also, he likes to pretend the table is a bongo. Multi-use!

Using What I’ve Been Given

Kitchens are always the most interesting part of a house, I think. Especially in rentals. A renter can’t easily change a kitchen around to suit their needs like they can in a bathroom or bedroom by simply adding shelves or a dresser. In every house I have rented in, the kitchen has had the most things that make me go “I would change this if I owned this place”.

In this house, what I was given for a pantry was a simple 5-shelf bookshelf. When we were unpacking the kitchen boxes, we threw all the food items onto/around it. All the cupboard space was taken up with dishes, so I had just the bookshelf to work with. You can see that absolutely nothing has been organized. The Pam is neighbours with the Corn Flakes and the peanut butter is next to the Worcestershire sauce. Yum.

It took me longer than necessary to organize, but I like taking my time when tidying because I enjoy it and I don’t want it to ever end! But here is is after. One of the best kitchen inventions I have ever seen is those shelf hangy things (found at Home Outfitters) because who likes empty space above their items on a shelf? Not me! Everything needs to fit perfectly.

And that’s my pantry!

Pretty soon the rest of my house will be tidy enough to do a full house tour. Stay tuned!

Do you have any favourite pantry organizing tips?

Fixing Our Place

The photos Tim originally sent me looked like this place was in good condition, but what can you really see in an iPhone photo anyway? When I walked through our front door, I was a little disappointed. There were tons of nicks in the walls, outlet covers were broken or missing, the same with vent covers. The fridge was dirty, and under the stove was disgusting. A curtain rod was half hanging off the wall and another was done up strangely. I was not very happy. And yes, I did have a moment when it was all overwhelming and had a little cry. But I knew I would do that at some point, maybe in bed the first night, but it happened when Amy, my brother-in-law’s girlfriend handed me a house warming plant.

Thank the Lord for in-laws! Tim’s mom got right to work scrubbing out the stove and his dad made a list of everything that needed to be fixed and ran to Home Depot to pick up supplies. It took less than two days, and it feels 100% better. So much like a place I can call home. If only I could paint the walls a lighter colour.

Getting my spackle on. It’s fun!

Have you had any unexpected things when you moved somewhere new?