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?

2 thoughts on “The Kitchen

  1. Kate

    Everything you like works for me! Except open concept to the living room. Butcher block counters would be a must. I’d never thought about the value of a lever faucet before but it is SO true! Also, the kitchen must be stocked with freshly baked cookies at all times.

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