Coming Soon: A Functional Kitchen

Or, dream the impossible dream!

HDTV would have one believe that a kitchen can sell a house.  Not so for our house.  We bought it absolutely in spite of the kitchen, not because of it.

Located at the back of the house, our kitchen is dark because there is only one small window, the floor is a cheap peel-and-stick affair that is scarred, torn, and coming up, there is no “work triangle” because the fridge, sink, and stove are all lined up like little soldiers along the same wall, the wall immediately adjacent to the fridge is unusable space because the fridge door needs room to open, there’s not much storage, and it just feels much smaller than it actually is.  This is in part because you have to pass through the kitchen to get to the bathroom or the laundry room which limits set-up options, and in part because there is NO counter space.  Okay, I exaggerate:  there are 3 little foot-and-a-half rectangles of counter space: one next to the stove, and the other two flank the sink.  One always has a dish rack on it because we don’t have a dishwasher, and one is home to the coffeepot.  So that leaves about 2 1/2 feet of counter space total.  Cooking involves shuffling cookware, ingredients, and plates around like a frustrating life-sized sliding puzzle.

Fridge, coffeepot, sink. What is not in this picture? Counter space!

We found a large, amazing art deco china cabinet on eBay for a song and fit that into the kitchen along the back wall under the mistaken notion that it would give us more storage and thus expand the space.  We also got a little faux butcher block island thing and stood that next to the china cabinet to give us a bit additional counter space.  And that’s how it’s been for maybe 5 or 6 years.  Not great, but sort of okay?  Workable-ish, and what we could afford.  There have been other things we’ve been addressing with our limited house projects budget.

Did you know that supposedly kitchen renovations run, on average, between $25,000-$40,000?  Google it.  It’s horrifying, really.  And a high-end renovation tends to be more on the $60,000-$75,000 end of the scale.  Which is all insanity.  Utter insanity. Really, those numbers are completely bananas.  Surely?  Surely it can be done for less?  In short, I have refused to believe that we would need to come up with $25,000 to make our kitchen cute and functional.

The faux-butcher block counter and a smidge of the china cabinet are visible here over J.B.'s shoulder. Better pics to come (of the kitchen, not of J.B.--he looks pretty adorable here).

So I’ve been thinking and puzzling over how to make our kitchen work better on a slender (read: basically non-existent) budget for quite a while now, and the whole counter thing really struck me as the most pressing issue.  Our kitchen space is laid out sort of awkwardly, yes, but there is space.  We just haven’t been using it as efficiently as possible.  Solution?  Move out the china cabinet and the island, and put in lower cabinets/counters along the back wall to make the space function as a galley kitchen.  But even Ikea counters for that space would have cost more than we wanted to spend.  Craigslist to the rescue….pictures of our path to a more functional kitchen on a micro budget will be coming soon!


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