Wednesday, 10 August 2016
Getting set up to work
Beware the un-staged photos... this is how we LIVE!
I've been pondering beauty and function (and the balance between them) ever since we moved in. The house we bought is truly beautiful (for which I'm thankful and DO appreciate) but there are some functionality issues that need to be addressed. If left to my own devices, I'm afraid I lean to the utilitarian side of things so I have a pretty critical eye when it comes to wasted spaces. Perhaps this comes from having a big family and all the years of needing to make the most of every inch of space in our home?
It takes some time to get a "new" house set up to work in. I've had some trouble in my kitchen because there are a lot of decorative elements in it that detract from the workability of the space. Yes, it's a very pretty, spacious kitchen and I'm not ungrateful to have it, but I think we need to tweak a few things to make it function better for us. We heavily USE our kitchen and my priority is always FUNCTION over AESTHETICS.
Have a look at the plate rack on the right side (which I've never had). It's handy but not efficient in that it holds plates in a much larger footprint than a stack would. I could store 6 TIMES the plates (or other items) in the same space with shelves or a cupboard.
On the left side, there's a decorative arched valence that serves NO useful purpose other than taking up valuable room (in a prime location) that could be put to use storing baking equipment. The upper cupboards above the arch are quite high up and are hard to reach (I'm short) so I'm really missing the reachable space above my mixer and grain mill. This area is where I do all my baking and I'd like to have some shelving installed so I can make use of that space.
Notice the high number of glass cupboard doors. I'm NOT a fan of them when used so liberally, because I like hidden, functional storage of useful kitchen items, not glass shrines for "pretty things". One set of glass doors makes sense to me but more than that is hard to work with.
In the photo below, you can see more glass cupboard doors above the fridge and microwave/oven which are another example of beauty over function. I have this area full of oversize, utilitarian pots, pans and larger items like my dehydrator and wok. It's hard to see in the photo, but it looks very untidy and not very "pretty" to see all my equipment through the seed glass. I don't STAGE my kitchens, I work in them and need them to serve me as I cook, bake, preserve and ferment.
Warning - I'm fully aware of the fact that I sound like a miserable, ungrateful curmudgeon! I LIKE the kitchen and find it beautiful. I'm truly grateful and fortunate to have such a lovely place to work in each day but I want to PUSH the space to its full potential to function better for me. I want to do this without spending much money and I'm asking for your help.
So far, I thought about putting up fabric or coloured paper behind the glass doors. That's an easy fix which won't cost any money because I have a stash of both. The glass shelves (which are somewhat rickety and unstable) inside the 2 upper cupboards flanking the arch on the baking side of the kitchen can be replaced with solid shelving for a small amount of money (and we can do this job ourselves).
The "arch" could be removed and a decorative shelf or two could be installed to hold baking items. I'd prefer to have new upper cupboards put in that come further down, but I won't spend the money on it so I think shelves will be a compromise that will help enormously. We MAY remove the plate rack and install matching shelves (like I proposed for the other side). I could put ALL our plates (all sizes) on those shelves and this would free up cupboard space in the area (where the rest of the plates are).
Shoot me with your best ideas to frugally adapt this kitchen! I'm all ears :)