October 26, 2012

My kitchen is open ...

There were times, especially two summers ago, when I may have been addicted to HGTV. I watched remodeling, re-gardening, re-decorating and house-hunting shows with alarming regularity. I was obsessed. After a while, though, there were certain words and phrases that I noticed popping up all the time, that were starting to grate on my nerves. If you watch HGTV, you know exactly what I mean. "Open-concept," "ensuite with double sinks," "granite counter tops with stainless steel appliances." "This kitchen needs updating," the house-hunters would whine. "The ensuite only has one sink." "Eewww," they would moan, "white appliancesso 80s." Our house in Wisconsin was built in 1916. It didn't have an ensuite with two sinks. The kitchen, which we remodeled when we bought the house, had white appliances by choice. Open-concept? Ha! No open-concept, but I love that house.

In May 2011, after renting in Seattle for two years, we purchased a small house here from a contractor who had owned the house for 15 years, and had remodeled it prior to selling. The house was built in 1912, and though mostly it was simply restored, the kitchen was remodeled. It's now open-concept with granite counter tops and stainless steel appliances. I could be on HGTV! I actually like the openness — I can see everyone and everything as I cook, and though the kitchen isn't large (approximately 11-1/2 by 11-1/5 ft.) it feels spacious, and the 3-1/2 ft. wide breakfast bar/counter is a great workspace. The 4-1/2 ft. mud room added to the rear makes it feel roomier, especially since it opens to a deck. The house's nine foot ceilings also make it feel bigger than it is.

My old kitchen is much funkier — not as modern as the new one — and at least one of my attempts to liven up the current one was foiled by a strange design feature. The cabinet tops have a trim on the front that is much higher than the actual tops. When I put a decorative object on top, it goes down so low you can't see it. My kitchen may be a little boring, but I like it. Here's my kitchen — I didn't straighten or specially clean it for you. This is it.


You are looking into the kitchen from the dining room in the first two photos and into the kitchen from the rear door in the third. See how open it is? The breakfast bar/counter is large enough that my husband often uses it as a desk, though I'm not in favor of this.You can see part of my cookbook shelf in the top photo.


This is the interior, moving clockwise from the breakfast bar/counter area to the stove, fridge and around to the sink across from the stove. The fridge looks much wider than it actually is, and in fact, because it's located right next to the wall, access is inconvenient. To clean it I have to remove all the door shelves and angle the fridge shelves to get them out. It's a chore. Sometimes it's even hard getting food in and out because the space is so narrow.


Here's the stove. It's got five burners but I've never actually used the long, narrow middle one. The oven controls are all electronic which took some getting used to — even now we sometimes set the timer wrong. The big drawer under the stove holds all my baking sheets, cooling racks and other stuff.


In the first photo you see the pantry cupboard on the right, next to the sink. The lower part has four shelves and the upper part has three. It holds a lot. We need a step stool to reach the top.


The Baking cupboard is left of the stove and kitty-corner to the big counter. It's really handy to be able to reach whatever I need for baking from the work area. The counter (which you can see in a previous photo) holds the toaster, food processor and utensil can. I call the drawer under the counter the baking drawer but it's not really limited to baking equipment. Under the baking drawer is the pot cupboard.


Under the big food prep area are the spice drawers — the main one and the overflow. The third spice area is across the room to the left of the sink, under the dishes. It's at the top of the post. The cabinet under the drawers holds various cookware and mixing bowls. The tan clay lasagna pan is a piece I hand built.

You can't really see them in the photo but behind the bowls and cast iron are all sorts of cake, pie and muffin pans. There's a cabinet next to the cookware that holds stuff like pasta, onions and nori.


At the top left is the dish cupboard and on the right glassware, mugs  and a bowl collection. Most of this stuff (except the clay bowls) is from Goodwill and other resale shops.

The middle photo shows the knife drawer (which is also the potato drawer!). We don't have a lot of knives but exactly what we need.

In the bottom photo is a cabinet in the dining room that holds dishes, tablecloths and cloth napkins. The left drawer has assorted fabrics for photography and the right is filled with napkins. You can't see them in the photo but I'm a sucker for interesting cloth napkins that I find at garage/estate sales and resale shops. They barely fit anymore.


Last but not least, the top photo shows the metal shelves in the mud room that hold big stuff that doesn't fit happily in the cupboards — slow cooker, extra wok, pickle press, bamboo steamers, giant wood salad bowls, etc. There's also a tool crate, cleaning stuff, recycling and trash.

On the back wall is a Haitian oil painting that I love.


And just for good measure, here's a sampling of my favorite refrigerator "art".

That's my kitchen. You are welcome anytime!

26 comments:

  1. You have so much cupboard space. I am leaving now before I turn any greener :(

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    1. You know how photos always make things look bigger than they are. It is a nice amount, though. But is there ever enough cupboard space?

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  2. I have never seen HGTV, but I love the openness of your kitchen! It is *gorgeous* and it is making my small, cramped, closed off apt kitchen jealous, lol. And don't even get me started on my envy of your cupboard space! And counter space! Wow. Lovely and functional :-)

    Courtney

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    1. I remember my tiny apt. kitchen well — so small with mini-appliances. This kitchen is much better, and may be the nicest feature of the house, which is pretty small.

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  3. What a great walk through of your ensuite ;)
    that is a funky annoying word. I never saw HGTV but thank you for inviting us into your spectacularly organized beautiful kitchen.
    White appliances? What did they say about black appliances in that 90's?

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    1. I actually don't have an ensuite, which is a bathroom attached to a bedroom. We have one small bathroom in the hall for everyone. That word annoys the hell out of me, too.

      The reason my kitchen is organized is because so much of my stuff is still in our Wis. house. I don't know what I'll do when we sell it.

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  4. oh my gosh! I love the "Eat Your Tofu" art! Also, I love how spacious your kitchen is. Mine, with it's funny "L" shape ends up feeling so super un-spacious... as a result, I'm envious of kitchens like yours with so much room to move.

    I have the very same issue with our fridge, which is right up against the door. We actually had to remove the molding around part of our door, in order to open and close our fridge!!

    And I'm glad to see I"m not the only one with an out of control spice-collection problem!! :)

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    1. Thanks! The tofu art is one of my pen-and-ink drawings printed onto a magnet.

      I don't care so much if my kitchen is spacious as long as it has counter and cupboard space. Our rental house kitchen was huge but there wasn't enough counter space for food prep.

      You think my spices are out of control? I didn't even show you everything. Ha!

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  5. Haha, I especially like to see what time of day bloggers take photos of their kitchens for some reason. I like the artwork and all the light coming through!
    Thanks for the peek, I love these posts.

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    1. I took the photos on about three or four different days at different times because I kept changing my mind. Fooled Ya. :)

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  6. Yay! I'm so glad you did a kitchen tour! It's so lovely & airy and the floors are gorgeous! Like you, I went through an HGTV phase. We don't have cable anymore, but even now when I'm at the gym, I'm glad to watch House Hunters on the elliptical's TV. What's better is House Hunters International, because I love seeing what is "normal" to houses all over the world. There's such cultural flair! I agree that the catchphrases and entitlement can get a little old. The phrase I get especially tired of is "man cave."

    I noticed the Haitian painting right off, and I was hoping you'd tell us about it. It's beautiful! Did you buy it in Haiti? I'm also glad that you pointed out your handmade lasagna pan! Beautiful! I haven't made anything that big. I imagine it was rather large before shrinking in the kiln. Maybe that needs to be my next project! I love it when you show the work you've made!

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    1. The floors are the original fir floors from 1912 — kind of cool to think of all the previous owners walking on them. The bad part is every single crumb shows on dark floors. As soon as I sweep, it looks like they need to be swept again.

      House Hunters Int. is more fun than the Canadian one, but my favorite is when they look for a "fixer" and remodel the whole thing. I wish I could get my house on the show so they could make rooms in the attic!

      The Haitian painting is by Fritzer Alphonse (1938-2006) and we've had it for quite a while. I believe he was still making paintings when we bought it at a small Haitian art gallery in Delray Beach, Fla. The gallery is closed now — only online — but they had some wonderful art there, and the owner was really dedicated to the artists whose work she showed.

      The lasagna pan is about 10" x 15" but I don't remember what size it started. The hardest part was getting the sides to stay straight and not bend over! I love hand-building but it's been a long time since I've worked with clay.

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  7. Your kitchen is beautiful! The flooring is absolutely gorgeous. My kitchen looks so boring compared to all the MoFo kitchens I've been seeing around. I think I will share mine too just to say I did. Is that a Cuisinart food processor? I think it's the same one I have. Your refrigerator art is awesome!

    I love House Hunters International! The only area that really interests me is Europe though. It is true that people complaining about the single-sink bathrooms and the non-stainless-steel appliances is very annoying!

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    1. Thanks! After seeing all the colorful kitchens mofoers posted about, I thought my kitchen was too boring, too. But I posted it anyway, and you should, too. You posted your kitchen once before, didn't you? It wasn't boring. The Cuisinart Food processor is pretty new — the old one was acting weird and taking forever to process.

      I like when the house hunters go to tropical islands, too, and all the rooms open to the outside and they can walk to the beach.

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  8. Thanks for the kitchen tour! I like that you didn't straighten or specially clean up. It's a real world look. :-) Beautiful looking floors for its age. I can only hope my floors hope up as well.

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    1. You're welcome. Maybe I should have emptied the drainboard. :)

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  9. I love kitchen tours! Yours looks lovely and spacious ;D

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    1. Thanks! I like my little kitchen a lot as long as I don't think about its "issues".

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  10. i love open kitchens! we have been trying to find open and larger kitchens.. pretty difficult to find one in queen anne or cap hill.:)

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    1. It's really nice to have an open kitchen, but I can see where it would be hard to find in older homes unless they've been remodeled. I didn't see many when we were looking at houses last year. I did see them in condos.

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  11. I enjoyed seeing a glimpse into your home! Thanks for sharing. I think we have the same cabinet pulls. :)

    I have a hard time watching those kind of shows because I find they make me cause me to become discontented with what I have. And what I have is wonderful so it's dumb for me to feel that way.

    Where is that cow picture from? I love it!

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    1. I almost never want what I see on HGTV — except maybe the closets — but I am startled by the difference in housing costs. I get a little miffed when I see how much more houses cost in Seattle than elsewhere, and houses that cost half as much as ours have three times the space. I don't want those houses, I just want ours to have cost less!

      I think the cow picture came from the cover of a vegetarian info booklet, but I can't remember exactly. It's always been on our fridge, wherever we have lived.

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  12. What a great tour of your kitchen, which is lovely! I really like that cheery shade of yellow on the walls. I can relate to an awful lot in this post - from the addiction (and annoyances) to HGTV I suffered while we were looking for a house and renting Dragonfly Cottage (didn't have cable prior to that), to beautiful, vintage fir floors that show everything! And it's so true that 9' ceilings and an open concept make a kitchen seem much larger than it is, and that counter and cupboard space are worth their weight in gold - we made sure our new kitchen had plenty of both, too.

    Your cookbook and spice collections are impressive!! Not surprising, but impressive! :-) And I found myself admiring your Le Creusets - we have that red one! :-) I would have sworn on a stack of your cookbooks that your range has gas burners! Seriously, it's all electric?

    Your fridge art rocks - did that one of the "undocumented immigrants" come from the New Yorker magazine? It looks like one of theirs - love it!

    Thanks for the fun tour - I can't wait for our house to be finished (gah) so I can do the same thing, and for you and Ken to come visit it in person! :-) So when do we get to see the rest of your house?! From these photos, it looks cozy and charming with a very efficient use of space. I'm glad you found it!

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    1. Thanks! The stove is definitely gas — it's controlled electronically by pushing buttons, rather than manually by turning knobs. Not the burners, of course, but the oven. And you can switch from convection to regular oven.

      The cartoon may have come from the New Yorker — we've had that stuff so long I can't remember. I love it, too!

      The one thing I miss in the kitchen is wall space! Except for the back wall, there really isn't any, and I always have the urge to liven up the space with art.

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  13. P.S. I think Jenny's observation about the adverse affect those HGTV shows can have is very astute, and I experienced it a few times myself! It's good to be conscious of it!

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    1. See my reply to Jenny. She has a point.

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