Monday, March 2nd, 2015

My Imperfect, Too Small (But Cozy), Evolving Kitchen That I Kind-of Love

by Kristen Suzanne in Kitchen Tools, Kristen Suzanne
Bird's eye view of my cozy kitchen.

Bird’s eye view of my cozy kitchen.

I feel drawn to write about my kitchen.

It’s been my kitchen for over 10 years. I’m a girl of change and I like to move around, but I can’t bring myself to leave our rather small condo in Scottsdale. I love the location. I love the area. It’s been home for awhile now.

But, it’s not as big as I’d like.

My husband works from home and has one of the bedrooms as his office. With me as a stay at home mom with a four year old, we’re all a bit close. That’s ok though because I like the closeness. Most of the time. The only time I didn’t like it was when I had a sitter come stay with Kamea for a few hours a week so I could sleep work, I found that I couldn’t escape or get anywhere to really be on my own.

My kitchen has gone through some changes over the years though. Nothing huge, but as my diet changed from vegan (with a lot of raw food) to omnivore, my kitchen evolved. From there, as I learned how I like to cook best and what makes it easiest, I found myself making some kind of weird changes. Basically, I have a lot of stuff hanging everywhere.

I don’t have enough cupboard space, so I struggle with that. It could be that I use my four of my cupboards for supplements, tinctures, medicinal mushrooms, and teas. As such, I’m limited to about 2 cupboards housing all dishes – that’s why you keep seeing the same bowls and plates in my photos. :)

Hanging things helps. I like having things in reach which is why I keep asking Greg to hang hooks everywhere for my “things.”

Hooks for chinois and small pots. Oh, and a random towel.

Hooks for chinois and small pots. Oh, and a random towel. Yes, those are googly eye stickers on my mixer.

 

I didn’t organize anything before taking these pictures, so you’re seeing things messy as is.

More hooks for mini ladle, scissors, hone, cleaver, etc.

More hooks for mini copper ladle, kitchen shears, ceraminc hone, cleaver, etc.

 

Yup. A hook for hot pads. I don't have the drawer room.

Yup. A hook for hot pads. I don’t have the drawer room. And a reminder I need to rebound more.

 

Mmmm yeah. More hooks. Pan, hot pad things, and hanging ladles from the top of cupboard.

Mmmm yeah. More hooks. Pan, hot pad things, tongs, and hanging ladles from the top of cupboard.

 

Is it getting too weird? It really works for me though.

I also have a lot of slow cookers (read why I have so many here), which simply need their own shelves because I don’t like shoving all my stuff under cupboards – that’s just not good for the back always bending over, digging through cupboards to move stuff around and pull out something awkward and heavy. Besides, I like seeing my things out in the open. It’s inspiring – though it requires dusting them. And, let’s not forget, I actually don’t have the cupboard space for them.

I love each and every one of 'em.

I love each and every one of ‘em.

 

I adore my Le Creuset collection and I want those out for the same reasons. Pretty and easy to access cuz those suckers are seriously heavy. They keep my arms in shape (I keep telling myself).

My collection of Le Creuset pans on a rack complete with Kamea's toys hanging on it.

My collection of Le Creuset pans on a rack complete with Kamea’s toys hanging on it.

 

And… here’s a side view of that rack which is next to our second refrigerator and a big stand alone freezer. I like food.

I'm f@#ked if the power goes out.

I’m f@#ked if the power goes out.

 

Ok, so you see the way I organize my kitchen with lots of things hanging.

Oops, found one more place I hang things. Magnetic hooks on the side of fridge.

Oops, found one more place I hang things. Magnetic hooks on the side of fridge.

 

There was one interesting change I made recently which has been bigger than hanging a bunch of hooks. It has to do with my stove. My old crappy stove. Pretty much anything that isn’t gas is crappy in my mind.

Back story: You see, I had this gorgeous butcher block handed down from my mom that I used for years in the kitchen.

Butcher block being used to put things on, outside of the kitchen.

Butcher block being used to put things on, outside of the kitchen now.

But it’s big and has no place in a kitchen the size of mine. I made my kitchen extremely awkward because I had it right up against the stove, blocking the door to the oven but making the stove part fairly accessible, if you like to twist around obstacles while working with hot pans and food.

Every time I needed the oven, which wasn’t that often because I use this Breville Smart Oven a lot, I needed to move the butcher block and block drawers instead of the oven door.

What a non-feng-shui pain in the butt.

But, I needed my butcher block. I’m not the sort to just pull out a cutting board. That’s not ok to me. I don’t like little cutting boards (except for the one I designate for meat because I can put that one in the dishwasher for proper cleaning).

I had to figure something out. I didn’t like my crappy stove top, and I didn’t like the butcher-block obstacle course in my kitchen.

Light bulb moment. I had an idea. But, ummm, it was a bit far fetched and would require Greg’s input help.

So, I did what I always do. I put makeup on, brushed my hair, and I went to Greg. The conversation went something like this…

Me: Honey, I have something I want to talk about. It has to do with the kitchen.

Greg: Oh boy, I love going down these rabbit holes with you. :)

Me: So… I hate my stove. It sucks. It’s not gas. I, however, am rather fond of my traveling induction hot plates (the next best thing after gas – in fact some people prefer induction to gas, but I’d prefer gas in the long run – not possible in my condo). And, you know I need my butcher block. And, honey, I know you’re so handy with your tools and all. So here’s what I’m thinking… I take out the coil things from the stove, put an induction hot plate over one, put my second induction hot plate on the counter to the side (they’re pretty inexpensive), and YOU build me a nice cutting board that goes here and curves there and is next to garbage can and stays put. We move our butcher block out of the kitchen and it opens up the space. (Smiling pretty… batting eyelashes.)

Greg: Huh.

But, I saw the wheels of excitement turning in his head as I posed this interesting challenge to him. He gets to use tools and build something made of wood. He gets the damn butcher block out of the kitchen. Hmmm he’s getting more interested by the minute.

So, long story short. He did it. My crafty husband made me a beautiful cutting board that stays on the counter so I’m not moving it around, it’s big, it has an area cut out for the stove.

Here it is!

Beautiful custom cutting board Greg made for me.

Beautiful (big) custom cutting board Greg made for me.

 

Ready to use. Cut to fit my dimensions perfectly.

Ready to use. Cut to fit my dimensions perfectly.

 

We pulled out the coil things from the stove to make them inactive. I really only use two burners at a time so I’m not missing out on the other two burners by only having two induction hot plates.

Coil things removed.

Coil things removed from stove.

 

Here’s where the other induction hot plate is … on the other side of the kitchen.

Induction hot plate #2.

Induction hot plate #2.

 

I’m starting to love my kitchen more and more. Everything has a place. Everything is within reach. It’s kind of cozy.

Let’s end on a great note. Here’s my coffee station.

Ahhhh coffee (and tea) station.

Ahhhh our coffee (and tea) station.

I’m never moving.

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