Today I'll be diving into the story behind our now beautiful kitchen space. I didn't take as many before photos as I would have liked so this will be a good imagination exercise for all of us. For a rough idea you can watch my instagram highlights, 'Kitchen Reno'. After our wedding in August, we moved back to White Rock to live with Rhys' parents. Rhys was giong back to school and we couldn't afford to rent our own place on one income really anywhere in the lower mainland. While lots of space, the only thing the downstairs lacked was a kitchen area. In about three weeks, Rhys and his dad and I installed a suspended ceiling with lighting, painted, installed lower cabinets and a sink, found a fridge, purchased counter tops and scrubbed everything. The room itself doesn't fit the traditional kitchen needs. The ceiling is fairly low, there is a ledge that runs along the exterior walls (part of the foundation) and the only window is tucked away in the corner. But, we had water, outlets and lots of blank wall space. Do keep in mind this was a long process. With Rhys in full time classes and myself working/in school, we had little time to work on this project in addition to sorting out the rest of the house after the move. Most of the work was done by Rhys and his dad over winter break. But with it all said and done, cooking and hosting in this space has been a dream! It was converted to an old western saloon for a murder mystery party, hosted house parties and prepared birthday suppers. Can you tell I have an itch to be a hostess? Without further ado, let's dive into the details.
Hands down my favourite aspect of the room are the shelves, which Rhys made! He purchased planks from Home Depot, stained and sealed them at home. They were cheap, durable, and beautiful. The brackets are regular L brackets from the hardware store. Something I've always dreamed of having is hanging mugs. The mugs are hanging on cup hooks just from the hardware store. I know creative name right. Most of our dishes are IKEA or I have thrifted them over the years. I have a thing for glass bottles. I promise, they all get used for something.
Some little succulents are planted in mugs we purchased in Valencia on our honeymoon; I need Starbucks represented somewhere. The magnetic knife rack is one of the more additions because we waited until one went on sale. There are a few things I'm still unhappy with and the black fridge is one of them. Because we were on a tight budget, we purchased the fridge used - no problem. Did you know black fridges cost way less than white and stainless? It makes sense but I never considered it. I feel like its so dark and looming, sucking up all the light. Oh well, you can't argue with $350. Other used/second hand products include the base cabinets and the stainless steel sink. Both were purchased from a new and used building materials supplier. The issue with the cabinets was that back in the day (or these ones are just weird) cabinets were 30" deep. Today, the standard is 24". Because of this, standard counter tops didn't fit our cabinets and custom cut pieces can become very pricey. The solution was to install a piece of finished wood as an accent behind the standard counter top. The faucet is from Costco and I love it so much. It adds so much of a "kitchen" feel which we needed. The sink was $35, a steal. No rust, just a few marks.
Unfortunately, the base cabinets we purchased were not abundant in storage. Two of them pull out to store the garbage and recycling, and one is under the sink with no shelf. Only one half section is true storage and it hold all our pots and other "ugly" bowls and small things.
On the flip side of the room we have our real storage. The bookcases are hand me downs. Because we don't have an oven and therefor no stove top, we do all our cooking with small appliances. Trust me, it's possible. I'm going on year two. Honestly, with the options we own now, I rarely miss an oven. Everything else can be cooked more efficiently with less energy. We have a Crock Pot, Instant Pot, toaster oven, double hot plate, rice cooker and a toaster. The only thing we eat regularly that I use the oven upstairs for is large trays of roasted vegetables or baking. All that to say we have a lot of small appliances. I don't love that they are all out in the open, after we took these photos I moved one shelf into the corner so it's out of site. One handy thing about this room is the little nook in the back corner. I have no clue why it was built, but I finally have a pantry. It's very makeshift. We've got a bookcase, command hooks, and paperback books holding up wire organizers. But hey, it's covered by a super cute curtain.
Since we took the photos, we've put up a peg board on the wall behind the freezer. It has pots and cooking utensils hanging. We don't have a lot of cabinet space so it's been nice to have the pots so accessible. I've also added more plants and lots of candles.
I constantly catch myself using the top of the freezer and the ledge on the wall as a catch all dumping ground. It's handy, but it gets cluttered so fast. The freezer, while large and cumbersome, is very handy as extra prep space. It's basically a third counter top, so I can't really complain. A little blue cart also from Ikea (this colour is discontinued so linked the black) holds all our spices, oils, vinegars and other well-used ingredients. I love that I can wheel it wherever I need it in the room and it holds so much! The rug was another last minute addition and it makes all the difference in the space. It pulls the different elements together and anchors the lightness of the upper space. The black base cabinets needed something to draw them together into a cohesive section and the rug accomplishes that.
My vision for this room was a bright, neutral palate with small pops of pastel colours, mainly greens. This is because there is very little natural light and I wanted it to feel less dim. I spend most of my time at home in this space cooking, cleaning, or sitting with friends, so I wanted it to feel peaceful and cheerful. I decided the only real colour would be our kitchen items and plants (the ones I don't murder). Overall, I am so proud of how this room turned out! Being given so much freedom by Rhys and my in-laws was such a gift and it has really helped me hone in on my home style.
Photos are by the talented Abigial Burns.