Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Renovation Tidbits: the Kitchen's Finally Pretty Done

Gee, we started last August on the kitchen. It's March now. Phew, what a long road. We're pretty much done now, and here are the results.  It's a long way from the rain of coal dust that fell on Curte's head as he took down the old ceiling, the days of partial or no floors, the months of no kitchen at all.

Here's the bulk of it. Under the bank of windows is where I bake and do most food preparation; it's bright there, dawn to dusk. I have yet to bring out the rest of the whiteware and transferware for the shelves, but the Italian Deruta pieces we had made to celebrate our wedding are out.

Now a short rant (I promise). We spoke to a few kitchen designers and builder-type folks: almost to a person they wanted to put the sink smack in the middle under that wall of windows. They said that was the usual spot for a sink. Ah, Tradition! Had we followed their lead, I would have been waving to Martha 12 feet across the way every meal, for that's pretty much where her sink and her windows are, and would have had very little room to spread pots, cutting boards, rolling pins, and so on, for the space would have been divided by the sink.

Then too, with that layout I'd have had to lug every pasta pot or frying pan 4-5 feet from stove to sink to drain it, risking steam or grease burns with every step. Now, any pot or pan needs to travel less than 12" to safety and I need only swivel my waist and arms. No fancy footwork.

I've decided that most kitchen designers don't cook and have certainly never cooked or baked with a pair of children, one to each side, or they'd know that even in a small kitchen, elbow room is valuable, and each step can be an boiling adventure!

Further, all of them said the space was tiny and that ideally that we should tear out a wall and "open it up". Excuse me, perhaps small for the U.S., where suburban kitchens tend toward the ginormous. I've cooked in a few and was worn out by the end of the cooking because there were so many wasted steps, and too many cabinets built more to impress the viewer than to help the cook. And no door anywhere to confine smells. I like cabbage, but do not want to enjoy its savory scent again in the bedroom. No, this is actually a big, even oversize kitchen in most of the industrialized world, and it's efficient and pretty and a dream come true. We keep pinching ourselves, and it keeps being here, so it must be real.  (End rant.)

Here's the other half, in the back wall. It's a butler's pantry. To the left, the door to the family room and its breakfast table. To the right, the door to the dining room and its dining table. The space is made to store butler-y things: serving platters, the wine glasses, the good china, and to final-dress a meal on the plates before it goes to table, or to serve as a buffet, as needed. Again, it's efficient. It's an old idea and worth reviving. Looking at the image, though, it's rather, well, bare and lifeless. I will add one or two items to brighten it, and set it all up in a less haphazard fashion.

We also store the dry foods that should stay far from light and water there, though the main pantry is in our basement, which is of stone 22 inches thick, and to be honest, rather junky. Almost ten years of renovations (it's a old house, we're slow, we have boys and we pay as we go) and we haven't moved most of the books and so on upstairs yet, while the baby things rest there until I can bear to part with them.

Now to get a floor and fireplace in the breakfast/family room and to turn my office into the bathroom it already halfway is.

Yes, there's a story there.

It can wait :}

The twins build "houses-on-wheels" or "chicken-coops-on-wheels" (depends on the hour you ask them) on top of their play table. I love this picture because tells me reams about them, and their happiness in the creations beams out at me. Noah built that "dolley", that wheeled thing with a pink and yellow back, to carry his Lego box. Plus, why build on the floor? Creation on the heights is so fun. As for documentation, you will see that the floor is painted, because it's unfinished, and the mantel backs up to -- nothing -- and it's all rather loosey-goosey and undone, though scrubbed. Oh my, I left my Coca-Cola sitting on the mantel. Well, that's icky, but it's life when you have to grab shots before the boys are on to a new thing. The boys yip and hop and build and play anyway, and that's what counts right now. :}


Amanda said...

Looks fantastic! Congrats

Itsbugart said...

I agree with you about "kitchen designers" and their last of practical experience! My first thought when I saw the first pic was that having the sink in the corner was ingenious. :-)

ZipZipInkspot said...

Thanks! The corner sink does work really well, and it doesn't waste space, like the designers claimed.

We like it so much that the boys and I sit on the floor in there next to a heating vent and eat breakfast, or I curl up on a pull-up chair with the cat of an evening with the computer or a book.

Very best,


Jean said...

Your kitchen looks lovely! We redid ours 3 or 4 years ago, and the noise and disruption bothered my husband so much he said "No more remodeling!" So I made sure I got everything I wanted then!

You were so right about the sink placement. My highest priority was increasing my uninterrupted counter space. Like you, I resisted the helpful hints of professionals who obviously don't cook as much as I do.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Jean,

Thank you! It is very nice to hear that others faced similar issues with designs and designers.

As for noise and disruption, don't I agree...except we can't stop. I really would like a floor in the family room :}

Very best,