Monday, February 20, 2012

Kitchen Needing TLC

I recently realized that I have not shown photos of our kitchen on my blog. I think it's possibly because it's the major downfall of our apartment. It is titchy, poorly designed and we hacked away at part of it to allow more storage space, but the whole thing desperately needs a renovation.

I am hoping that out there is the blogosphere, someone has suggestions on how to make this space more functional. PLEASE comment if you have any suggestions... I am open to all ideas!!!

1. We have a lot of counter space.
2. We have high ceilings.
3.We have all 4 standard appliances (fridge, stove/oven, microwave & dishwasher)

1. We have no pantry.
2. There is very little storage space under the main counter top.
3. The fridge sticks out like a sore thumb.
4. The opening to the kitchen acts as a bottle neck. No more than 2 people can be in there at the same time. The fridge and dishwasher cannot be opened at the same time, and if they do, the kitchen holds all people hostage. No one enters and no one escapes.
4. There is a very awkward "corner" to work around, making a back splash difficult to pull off.

See the grey curtain in the bottom right hand corner? That was inaccessible dead space. The counter wall used to stretch the whole length. So we hacked at it and discovered about 9 cubic feet of space (YAY!!!). We installed a shelf and it now holds bulk food (dog food included). But... the pipe is still visible (photos will come one day) and it's very much a "home hack job" out of desperation for more storage space. We need to put a real door on it, but it's too difficult to match the laminate cabinet pattern so we're waiting to see if we will renovate.

Here is the awkward corner I was telling you about. The tiles at the moment stop then start again as you move around the bend, but we would like a full back splash... just not sure how to do it.

The cabinet knobs were all (once) blue glass. But, every single one of them was chipped or cracked. We switched them for chrome handles, but the ones on the drawers are still the original handles (we also need to change them, but they need different sized screws. It's on our To Do list).

In the photo below, you can see how the "dead space" was inaccessible. Who does that to a kitchen? Honestly???


I have looked at a million 'small' kitchens on, looking for inspiration. But their definition of a 'small kitchen' is somewhat akin to the size of my entire apartment. Also they suggest drawing attention to the windows and to use natural light to open up the space. Our kitchen is smack bang in the middle of our house. No windows.

We would love a white/grey/turquoise tiled back splash with white cabinets, a granite counter top and stainless steel appliances (wouldn't we all!!!)... but we don't live in Fantasyland.

This isn't our Forever Home so we don't plan on spending too much time or money on it, but we want to increase the resell value of our home in whatever small way we can. So, fill me with ideas!

1 comment:

  1. Galley kitchens are such a challenge. At least this one doesn't feel claustrophobic because it's open, but I feel your pain.

    To start with the obvious: there's only one way to fix the fridge: replace it. I've had similar problems, and a too-deep fridge always makes a place look junky, ill-planned, and smaller than it actually is. It can be difficult to find a reasonably-priced shallower fridge. I had to scour spec sheets to find one for my kitchen. But even a few inches will make a lot of difference.

    Another thing that emphasizes the wrongness of the fridge is the cabinetry to the right of it. How about removing the "recessed" upper cabinet and the narrow lower cabinet, replacing it with a tall, deep pantry cabinet? You'd lose that handy bit of counter space next to the fridge, but its a good trade-off. By making the pantry cabinet flush with the deep cabinets over the fridge, you unify the whole space. The pantry cabinet will give you lots of storage, especially if you choose a cabinet at the top (same height as the ones over the fridge) and a single large cabinet below with pull-out shelves.

    For the awkward corner, tile would be great, if you can afford it. I would be tempted to tile the entire bump-out, floor to ceiling. It's unconventional, but with a eye-catching tile you'd make the kitchen more lively. You could continue the tile onto the wall behind the stove (between the counter and the bottom of the cabinets), too.

    Or, the cheaper option is paint. Paint the bump-out a strong color that coordinates with a different backsplash tile. Right now, it's all pastel and bland. There's no good way to end the backsplash, but I would at least make it higher than it currently is. I ran my backsplash as high as the bottom of the cabinet, so it actually functions like a backsplash. Bring it out to the end of the countertop like it is now. If you don't have a competing weird bit of backsplash on the other side of the corner, I don't think it will look soo odd. (Even if you don't add a pantry cabinet, I'd remove the useless backsplash on the narrow bit of counter by the fridge. You're not using that area to cook, so it doesn't really need a backsplash.)

    If you like stainless, you could use that for a backsplash. It's nifty, and would coordinate with your stainless steel sink. Make sure the outlet covers are stainless.

    The "dead space" needs a matching door. However, you don't have to match the finish if you paint the outside of the island. I'd choose a color that was darker -- at least as dark as the countertop or floor -- and that coordinates with the rest of the room. The "dead space" door only needs to match the profile of the existing doors, which shouldn't be too difficult.

    Replace the round trash can with a half-moon or narrow can. Even though it only saves a few inches, it will feel much more open

    Ditch all the stuff on the fridge to make it look less cluttered. Find a large bowl or vase for the open end of the countertop by the stools. This will reduce the feeling of a big slab of empty counter and will give a slight sense of enclosing the room, separating it from the rest of the space.

    Thanks for letting me play virtual designer!