Sunday, February 3, 2013

My Nest: Small Changes in the Kitchen

When Ler & I moved into our apartment in mid August we so excited to be back in Milwaukee (actually, we still are!). We enjoy city life, being near the lake, and having sidewalks and bike lanes*. Our apartment is in a fabulous 4-story brick and stone building that includes a view of a park and a sliver of Lake Michigan. Our neighbors are friendly and the property manager is probably the cutest mother-hen I have ever met. What's not to love? How about our awkward kitchen...

*Side note/complete tangent: Sidewalks are now a requisite for anywhere we live. Our last abode was in an area with few pedestrian/bike paths, and many did not actually connect or go somewhere. Why would someone plan a town that way? Anyway, after numerous close calls of being run-off the road or nearly hit by inattentive drivers I practically kissed the sidewalk when I went for my first Milwaukee run. I didn't, but I thought about it. Okay- back to kitchen stuff.

Our apartment was built in 1925, so it is full of charm and quirks. The kitchen is pretty poorly laid out. The refrigerator is oversize, and is in the only spot in kitchen where the door will open. The sink is tucked into a corner away from, well, everything. The stove is tucked into the opposite corner. While I am not in want of storage (the pantry is huge!) it came with literally 1.5 square feet of counter space. See the little tiny slice by the sink where my dishes are drying? Yup. That is it.

Ler and I unpacked and set-up our kitchen with what we already had. Very college dorm chic. Neither of us liked it, but we wanted to live with it for a while before we started making changes. As renters we cannot do anything major and need to work with what is present. We actually lived with this layout for nearly 4 months. It gave us time to discuss priorities and set a budget. Guess what our topped our wish list?

  1. Prep space. Ler has been teaching himself to make bread and pastries, so the lack of workspace was making it hard to roll out and shape dough.
  2. Improve storage, flow, and accessibility. The oversize refrigerator and L-shape makes for interesting traffic patterns. We wanted to streamline our workspace as best we could.
  3. Get rid of the tacky, torn-up, mismatched shelf paper in the pantry. I hated the whole sticky mess. Blech!

With the magic of Ikea and Target our kitchen is in progress. The Flytta stainless steel cart and Limhamn wall shelves work wonderfully. The extra storage below keeps mixing bowls, towels and kitty food close at hand. It is the perfect size for rolling dough, and is easy to take care of. The wall shelf is home to our coffee and tea fixin's.

The wire shelving moved to our storage locker. The green cart moved away from the stove and replaced the wire shelving. It is a great little span of prep space by the sink. Certainly improves the flow in the kitchen. Also, the garbage and recycling bins now reside under the sink. More needs to be done in that area, but it functions just fine as is.

We emptied out the pantry and gave it a good scrub. I put in black and white contact paper on all of the shelves. Yay coordination! Hurrah for non-sticky shelves! Items were put back into the pantry in a more organized fashion. All dishes hang out together, baking supplies have a self, pots and pans are in a central location. Huzzah for order! Even Ler's KitchenAid has its own little nook.

There are more tweaks I would like to make. The windowsill and radiator will have to wait until it's not so crazy cold and we can open the windows. Some paint touch-ups, pantry improvements, and under the sink storage are just a few of the items on my list. However, I am quite happy with the current results.  Small changes, big impact.

What small changes have rendered big results in your abode?

1 comment:

  1. I like what you've done! Ah apartment life. Some improvements that Z and I have made are almost hilarious. We keep mugs in a drawer because...well...the drawer that was made before counters and cabinets were standardized is perfect mug size and it frees up some precious cupboard space for other things. I just find the hilariously creative storage solutions we've come up with over the years to be one of the many things that keep your mind sharp when you live in rented or small spaces :)