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the kitchen: before and after

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Ok, without further ado, here’s what the kitchen looks like before and after:

So how do you make a kitchen work that’s only 12ft 9in. long and 7ft 1in. wide?  Well, it’s not easy that’s for sure.

I wanted to call this part ‘this is how we do it’ after the 90’s Montell Jordan song, but the good folks at Young House Love  (whose blog I’m addicted to) beat me to it.  Or they put they idea in my head in the first place.  Unlikely though, as 1995 was my TIME!

So let’s indulge:

Right, where were we?  Oh yes, designing the smallest kitchen of all time.

The first casualty was a full-size North American fridge.  Yeah, I know, I say ‘North American’ in the lame way that only someone who has lived in Europe will.  But seriously, we both lived for many years with small under the counter fridges without many problems so we figured we could do the same here.

But we really didn’t have much of a choice.  The problem was that however I laid out the kitchen, a normal fridge looked like a gigantic monolith channeling something from 2001: A Space Odyssey.  I used Ikea’s kitchen planning tool to map out various configurations before getting it right (though I do need to stress: we do not have Ikea here in Nova Scotia!  The nearest Ikea is about a 13hr drive away in Quebec – so not even a weekend trip. Yes you can order online, but it’s not the same as seeing things firsthand right?  We should all get extra home renovation points in this province…).  The fridge would also block the window, and reduce the amount of already severely limited counter space.  So a normal sized fridge was out.

I wanted to have a countertop stove to save space, but the price was too prohibitive, and then we actually scored a free stove through a friend of a friend who was renovating.  So the decision on the stove was made for me, which was actually kind of a relief.  They also gave us their full-sized fridge, which we put in the basement and use for the freezer and small-fridge overflow (which, to be honest, normally becomes the ‘oh shit, forgot I put this down here 2 weeks ago’ fridge).

The sink was yet another challenge – the available counter space being only 32in. long.  I managed to find a 1 1/2 bowl sink that would fit – a 2 bowl sink was out of the question (and yes, you’ll notice we had to do a bit of ‘finessing’ to get the counter and cabinet to fit by removing a little of the door trim – a further little kick in the ass from not being able to move those pipes beside the chimney.  But the door and trim may be transformed one day in any case).  This left us with the big question – where to dry the dishes? (don’t even talk to me about not being able to fit a dishwasher – it’s a sore point.)  To the internet!

After an obsessive search, culminating in the painful realization that the French dish rack I coveted was, well, in France, and too expensive anyway, we settled on Ikea, primarily because Sam was heading to Ottawa to see his parents and this little (fold-able) guy could actually fit in his luggage.  I like how it looks, and it’s also handy for storage – those small plates live there permanently – but it does need a tray to collect water to stop it dripping on the wood counter.

Add it to the list…

Along with: baseboards, trim, extractor fan (currently in a box in the basement acting as a handy shelf), and oh yes, door handles! We did buy some second hand ‘vintage-y’ ones to try and offset the Home Depot-ness of the cupboards, but we haven’t had the balls yet to actually install them.  Given that older handles have different dimensions than the pre-drilled holes in the back of today’s cabinets, it’s a bigger leap than we’ve been able to make to put in new holes we might regret.  Plus, we can’t even decide whether to install them horizontally or vertically.  I think there’s a decision making limit with some projects, and that was when we reached ours.  So we live without handles, and have got really good at the ol’ toe tuck under the cupboard door edge.  I hardly even notice anymore except when someone comes over and can’t open a drawer.

And one day soon I’m going to actually peel the protective plastic off the cupboard doors.  I know, I know – my laptop still has a yellowing cover over the mouse pad…don’t judge.

(I realize I’ve forgotten to mention the whole drama that was the floor – can anyone say ‘rot’?  That actually deserves its own post.)


4 responses »

  1. Totally impressed Carly – you’re doing an amazing job and are way braver than I am just for taking it on. The rewards of knowing you did it yourself have to be tremendous.
    Oh and trust me girl – you don’t have the world’s smallest kitchen, you could fit two of mine in yours.

    • Thanks Shirley! I know, it’s small, but it’s not tiny – I have actually lived with smaller. I just lose perspective sometimes with all the unrealistic home reno shows/magazines: ‘oh woe is me, my kitchen is only 500 sq ft’ – etc!

  2. where are the before pics of the kitchen??


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