December 06, 2013

What's new in the kitchen? (and how to get it cheaply)


I thought my kitchen was perfectly adequate until recently, when it seemed to be suddenly lacking in counter space. I just wanted more — another spot to set a hot casserole down, or to chop veggies while my husband was using the main counter for another task. So, I started scouting on craigslist, until I turned up a wooden kitchen island from IKEA. It's the perfect size for the center of our kitchen, and I use it constantly. The two drawers have taken some of the stress off of our overloaded kitchen drawers, and the shelves are now storing things that crowded our cabinets. Now I don't know how I got along without it.

Some of the things I loved about shopping on craigslist were: the furniture was already assembled; the price was low; we didn't have to drive all the way to IKEA or deal with the crowds since we found it in the neighborhood. Our cart measures 17 inches by 39-1/2 inches — just enough to give us extra space but not take up too much room in the kitchen.


Doesn't one improvement always seem to lead to another? Although the counter-height top of the kitchen cart is a butcher block, it had never been used as one, and I didn't want to deface it or make it smelly by cutting directly on it, so I ordered a beautiful new cutting board. We really needed another board, and this one will making cutting veggies even more fun.


I think some scones are in order to celebrate. Have you added anything to your kitchen lately that makes cooking easier or more enjoyable?

34 comments:

  1. Hiya! Came across your blog today! Sorry it's taken me so long! It's a wonderful place you have here! LOVE IT! :) Great food and pics!

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    1. Thanks Jennifer — for reading and commenting!

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  2. I see Callie peeking through it!

    My kitchen is much to small to add anything to it, but I find that keeping stuff off the counter allows me to best utilize (and clean) the space.

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    1. M y counters are usually clear, except when I'm cooking, but when two people are cooking we run out of convenient space. I thought my kitchen was too small for an island, but I was wrong! I figured if it didn't work out I could put it back on craigslist, but I'm keeping it!

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    2. It's really Andrea replying on Ken's computer.

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    3. Suuuuuuuuuuuuuure it is, Ken... I mean, Andrea. ;)

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  3. Very nice additions! I can imagine that the island makes quite a difference.

    The only thing we've added in the last few months was a Cuisinart food processor. We haven't used it much but really like it!

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    1. The island is better than I thought it would be, and I had high hopes. A cuisinart is a pretty big deal in the kitchen. When you need a food processor, there's not a good substitution.

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  4. I don't think you can ever have enough counter space. I know for sure I never have! My dream kitchen has counters and islands as far as the eye can see...

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    1. Yes, a kitchen that magically adds counters when you need extra space. And tables when you need more seats.

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  5. You'd think by looking at our kitchen that there's plenty of room for two people, and yet when David and I are in there together, we're always bumping into each other. No matter what, one of us is always where the other needs to be. I haven't made any kitchen updates in a long time, but I'm thinking of making a big adjustment after the holidays. We have a teeny tiny office that we never use, and I'm thinking of turning it into my blog photo staging area. Then I could free up some space in the kitchen by moving out dishes/gadgets/utensils that I mainly use for blog purposes. During much of the year, our 3 season porch is perfect for pictures because there's so much natural light. However, today it barely got into the double digits. It'd be nice to have a good alternative where I can feel my fingers! :)

    I really like your new cutting board! It has a real heft to it and a beautiful coloring.

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    1. If there's enough light in the office, that's a great idea. During the dark days of winter I have to go anywhere in the house I can find a little light. But, at least storing all the photo items in one place would help.

      I finally used the cutting board today — it's so pretty I didn't want to mess it up! But the knives didn't even leave a mark. It weighs a ton.

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  6. Excellent resource! Thank you for sharing. http://www.canieathere.com/

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    1. You're welcome. Thanks for your comment.

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  7. Putting together Ikea stuff is not my idea of a good time. But their design is decent for the price. Nice score! My newish Vitamix makes my cooking more enjoyable – I got it for a great price but it still was not cheap.

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    1. There are certain IKEA items that surprise me with their simple, sturdy, but artful design, and this is one of them. I originally planned to transform it with paint and/or stain, but I really like it just as it is. I just did a few coats of varnish to the body and mineral oil to the top.

      I got my Vitamix reconditioned for a great price, and I'd miss it sorely if anything were to happen to it. Congrats on your newish one!

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  8. Great Craigslist find! Is your new cutting board bamboo or is it some other kind of wood? I am thinking of getting a new wooden cutting board as well.

    Courtney

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    1. Yay, craigslist! I've found a lot of good stuff there. My cutting board is a Michigan maple block, 18 x 12 sold by Dawn's Distinction. I got it on Amazon and it has free shipping. I thought the price was very reasonable. There are lots of different sizes and styles. The only thing I don't like are the corners. They're a little sharp, and I prefer cutting boards with rounded edges.

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  9. That is an excellent craigslist find! Another bonus to using craigslist is that you're recycling and not contributing to new waste. I love craigslist for all these reasons and plan to be using it heavily in the coming months.

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    1. Yes, I love the recycling aspect of craigslist, and I like to recycle my unwanted items there as well. We have a lot of furniture from craigslist — in fact, the desk I'm sitting at right now was purchased for $5!

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  10. We have put together so many things from Ikea in the past few years, I hear what you're saying. I always have a hard time using my wooden cutting boards because they're so pretty I don't want to mess them up. I did paint my backsplash teal to help make my new kitchen feel prettier and more inspiring.

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    1. I was thinking of painting the back kitchen wall teal to make it feel more cozy but haven't gotten around to it yet. I finally used the cutting board today even though I didn't want to mess it up. It's a cutting board, right?

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  11. I love that Ikea piece, I have the same one! I've used it as kitchen help, for the entryway, and now it's permanently out on our porch as a potting table.
    We can't do much to our rented apartment, but we recently got rid of our old clunky microwave and it's made all the difference in the world. I love my counter space and can easily work without feeling cramped.

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    1. It's a great piece with many potential uses. Sounds like you've gotten a lot of mileage from yours. Counter space can make or break a kitchen, and it's great to have enough. The cart really gave us the extra space we were missing.

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  12. Scones are always in order!! I haven't added anything new to the kitchen, sadly, its so tiny there isn't room for much else!

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    1. My first house had a tiny kitchen, but I loved it so much. As long as there's enough room to get the job done, that's all you really need.

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  13. Yep, no celebration however large or small can't be improved with scones. I've just moved into a new place, so every last bit of the kitchen is a marvel to me!

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    1. I'm glad to hear you're enjoying your new kitchen. Now we'll be expecting even more culinary masterpieces on your blog. :)

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  14. It's beautiful! Awesome Craigslist find! I spot a Callie hiding behind the kitchen cart :)

    You're right, it would have been a crime to mince stinky garlic right on top of the pretty top. Plus the cutting board is easier to clean! *WIN*

    I would love to have one of those celebratory scones... or three!

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    1. I would love to see what creative re-do you would have given the kitchen cart. I'm so boring with my varnishing and oiling. Today I gave the top another oiling and a sanding with super-fine sandpaper so it's silky smooth. I love running my hand across silky wood. I was afraid I might be too lazy to keep oiling the top but so far so good. :)

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  15. Awesome Craigslist find! I was just thinking I need another cutting board, I like how yours look so thick and heavy. And how nice to celebrate your kitchen additions with baked goodies. :-)

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    1. It's really thick and heavy, which is both good and bad. It makes the counter another 2-inches higher which isn't so great for a height-challenged person. The one I got my son for a gift was larger (15x20) and weighed a ton. My board is 12x18 and a more reasonable weight. I really love it.

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  16. Cute wooden kitchen island… Craigslist is great to pick up materials & leftover furnitures and you can do whatever you want with them. I’m dreaming of scones at the moment, some blueberry scone with vanilla frosting will do. I found some vintage Argentinian dishes & utensils I brought back from Buenos Aires, built an industrial cart from Crate & Barel for more storage & liquer, and of course travel measuring spoons!

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    1. I really have to curb my tendency to pick up cool vintage utensils and other interesting objects because our house is so small and I'm out of space. The Crate and Barrel cart must be nice to have.

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