Post # 83 Kitchen Nightmares pt 1 The Challenge

January 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Post # 83 Kitchen Nightmares pt 1 The Challenge

Okay, this is the first in the series of the kitchen design.  I’m calling it kitchen nightmares, not because it’s a nightmare-ish process, but to play on the Chef Ramsey’s tv show.  Actually, the kitchen is set up really well, but it’s not a gourmet style kitchen at all.

First, a picture of the kitchen in its current glory:

kitchen 01

As you can see, it’s a galley style kitchen.  It’s about twenty feet long and about eight feet wide.  It’s got counters on the right side as you look in from the dining room.  The laundry room/mud room is at the far end.  The stove and oven are gas and across from the fridge next to the door into the laundry.  Cabinets and cupboards at attached along the right wall all the way down.  The sink is about midway under a skylight with a window above it.  The window looks out on the covered carport.  When we first looked at the house, the wall facing the cabinets and sink had a trestle dining table and three chair.  It created a nice seating/eating area and extra work surface.  The laundry room has more cabinet and counter space.

So here’s the challenge:  How do we make all our stuff fit?  It’s not an easy task as both Partner/Spouse and I were decent home chefs before we met each other.  He concentrated on one type of cooking and I on another.  He came with 3 fondue sets; me with one.  We both had the standard block knife sets as well as complete utensil sets for 12, plating and flatware for 8, etc.  Additionally, all the pots and pans, and extra equipment to handle the kinds of cooking that we liked.  In the five years we’ve been together, we’ve added to that without subtracting anything.  We always had room for our stuff.  Then there’s the whole question of cookbooks and cooking magazines.

When we packed up this time, we had fifteen medium/large boxes marked kitchen apart from the three that I packed that said “Open First” on them.  We still have six to open.  I think.  Might be more.  Some of the boxes we’re opening haven’t been opened since Partner/Spouse moved from Las Vegas to Northern Virginia over five years ago.  It’s neat finding things, but difficult figuring out where they go.

Here’s just a small example of what we’re facing:


This drawer is currently holding a mishmash or hodgepodge or whatever else you want to call it of our kitchen speciality items.  It holds wooden spoons, lemon zesters, microplanes, plastic measuring cups, measuring spoons, fondue forks, citrus reamers, cocktail muddlers, metal spoons, ladles, scoops, whisks, apple wedgers, spatulas (wooden and metal), brushes, egg slicers, egg separators, pastry scrapes, and all sorts of arcane single-use paraphernalia we’ve collected singly and together.

When we open a box, we have to decide quickly “What are we going to do with this?”  We have to decide quickly, because there are more boxes to open and little time to do it.  We initially wanted to have all the kitchen stuff unboxed before he started the new job.  We missed that deadline.  To get things out of the way so we could continue actually using the kitchen, the smaller items went into the drawer.  First prize to anyone who can correctly identify everything showing in the picture.  You win a free round trip ticket to Tucson to stay at our house and work on the kitchen and the office and the TV room.

The first problem we dealt with in our kitchen was lack of counter space.  We re-purposed (don’t you love that word?  Don’t you love HGTV for teaching it to us?) our bedroom furniture.  We had bought from IKEA two shelved box units to use as night stands, and a long shelved box unit to use as a TV stand and DVD storage.  It all matched and looked good.  So we put them together in the kitchen to create storage and work space.

kitchen 02

It works great and looks even better!  It will get refined over time.  The next problem we looked at was the cookbooks.  You may recall that we had two full bookcases of them.  Well, not anymore.  The obvious solution to this type of problem, I’m talking the larger problem, is to donate everything you can’t use or recycle or repurpose (there’s that word again!).  So, we went through all our cookbooks and kept only those we truly wanted and donated everything else.   Here’s what we’re left with:

cookbooks (2)

Pretty impressive, huh?  The ones on top are those we use every day – ish.  The others are those we refer to constantly or have some sentimental attachment to.  All the rest are donated to Goodwill who were thrilled to see them, plus the 300 other books we culled from our personal library which we haven’t finished with yet.

So, the next step is to get the rest of the boxes open and out into the kitchen somewhere.  Then, we have to decide what we’re going to do with it.  Is it actually going to stay, or is it going away?  Anything that there’s more than two of will be going away.  Anything we haven’t touched in over two years is going away.  Anything we don’t recognize is going away.  We have a smoothie blender that was given to one of us as a present that is still pristine.  That’s going away.  We have two blenders.  One is going away as soon as we decide which one.  Somethings we got because we liked the idea, but the practical use was less than desired.  I bought a donut maker that made donuts out of what was basically pancake batter.  Yeah, that went away quick.  I don’t think it even got packed.

So, there you have it!  Our kitchen nightmare, part 1.  We’re finally facing the challenge of the blended households (four in all, but that’s another story) and trying to make one reasonable household kitchen out of it for two gourmet cooks who want their cake and want to eat it, too.  Wish us luck.  As events transpire, I will keep you informed.  Any suggestions or assistance is gratefully welcome!

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