Kitchen Refreshed

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I have wanted to do a few updates to our kitchen for the last few months, and I finally got around to one of my project ideas a few weeks ago. Our kitchen is far from modern, with a basic white tile floor, white speckled laminate countertops, very basic wooden cabinets that I believe were constructed by the previous owners and painted white, a big white farmhouse sink, and all white appliances. On the walls we have a combination of laminate backsplash and yellow and white striped wallpaper.

Eventually I will do a full kitchen renovation, but we have decided to hold off on that for a few years, until some other projects are completed. I know I won’t do the granite countertop and stainless steel appliance thing when we do get to the kitchen renovation, but I haven’t decided what we will do instead. In the meantime, I want to do a few updates to keep the space fresh, make it feel like it’s ours, and test out some ideas to determine what we like.

I am currently trying out open storage, after completing a quick half-day project that involved taking the doors off two cabinets, painting the shelves and interior of the cabinets, and reorganizing their contents. This project took a few hours and minimal materials, and I think it makes a big difference in the kitchen. It feels so clean and springy now! I also hung a framed photo of bright yellow lemons above my sink, and removed the ugly wooden accordion door to the left of the stove. The view from the kitchen to dining room is so much more open and bright now.

Here are the before pictures:

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And the after pictures:

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I wasn’t sure about the blue paint at first, but once I filled the shelves with our dishes, I grew to love the warm yellow and cool blue together. Also I am really starting to embrace the white kitchen appliances. They make the room bright and they feel so clean and neat. Especially with the lemon yellow, everything just feels so sunny and zesty now.

This color scheme isn’t for everyone, but it makes me pretty happy. Kyle likes it too and he has even offered some ideas for further improving the organization and storage in our kitchen. My next project will be installing a pegboard for storing pots and pans, which will free up some cabinet space for appliances, and therefore free up some counter space for cooking!

So. . . what do you think? What spring cleaning or renovation projects do you have going on at your house?

A Bright Idea for Ingredient Storage

Since we moved into our new home last month, Kyle and I have been wading through a sea of stuff that needs to be organized. Organizing our kitchen has been a fun challenge, and my ingredients and equipment are constantly moving as I figure out the layout that is best suited to my workflow. I have come up with a few solutions that put the “fun” in functionality and I love how they are working out. I borrowed a trick from the cabinet-challenged kitchen of my very first apartment, and put an IKEA BILLY bookcase in the kitchen for open storage of my cookbooks and pantry overflow.

See that second shelf? I borrowed the idea of storing grains in Ball jars from Emily at Daily Garnish. She has used this organization trick in two tight spaces: the kitchens of her Alexandria, VA home and her Seattle, WA home. It works fabulously in my bright Richmond kitchen!

I used wide mouth quart jars for rice, quinoa, couscous, and lentils. Then I expanded on the idea to store smaller quantities of ingredients with shorter shelf lives, like nuts, seeds, and dried fruit, in regular pint size jars. I have my rolled oats in a larger airtight hinged Mason jar in the middle of the mix.

And this is only the beginning. I also have clever solutions for storing my spices and linens, which I will share in a future post. I have a box of miscellaneous kitchen equipment that is still looking for a home, and I know I have a lot more arranging and rearranging ahead of me, so we aren’t out of the woods yet. Do you have any kitchen organization tips to share? I could use a few more bright ideas before all the pieces fall into place!