In the past year, we’ve done a few updates to our kitchen.
Last time we posted, here’s how our kitchen looked:
Getting a new range makes a big difference!
We don’t have gas in the house so when we decided to update our stove and keep the existing layout, we actually only had two ranges to choose from! There only exist 2 stainless steel 48″ electric ranges so our decision was fairly simple (albeit a bit expensive, as far as ranges go), and we’ve been very happy with the result.
Below you can see the range in place. In this shot you can spot a few other random updates: 1) a new light fixture, 2) a new trashcan with a sensor so it opens when you wave your hand above it without having to touch it (as a side note, I am *kinda* OCD about washing my hands; if I touch anything dirty, including trashcans or even cabinet doors leading to trashcans, I have to wash my hands before I touch anything else. So this trashcan has helped dramatically reduced the number of times I wash my hands each day, which should really help my hands when the cold, dry weather comes in the winter), 3) you can see on the far wall several updates.
Here’s a closer view of what I’m referring to:
The black board with circles on it was actually a not-so-minor project - it houses pretty much all of our spices! I bought the black metal board at ikea and separately bought 5 packs of magnetic spice containers to go on it. I also bought a label maker so that we knew what the heck was in each container! (I’ve wanted an excuse to get a label maker for a while, and as you’ll see below, this was not the only opportunity to use it). It’s really convenient being able to see all your spices at once, and it’s kind of pretty too!
In this pic you can also see (part of) a much larger project we did in the kitchen. We modified the tall cabinet you see there in several ways. The doors used to go up to where the top of the (new) microwave is now, and the shelf the microwave is on was inside and lower. So we trimmed the top of the doors and raised the interior shelf to create a built-in look for our new microwave. Previously, inside the cabinet we had several stacked layers of plastic drawers with the microwave resting precariously on top. Now, it looks much nicer and is much more convenient than having to open a cabinet in order to get into our microwave.
And that’s just the outside. On the inside, instead of the ill-fitting plastic drawers, we installed a mail-ordered 5 tier lazy susan! This cabinet is our only pantry area so we wanted to make it as organized and accessible as possible. For a long time I tried to figure out how to make some kind of drawers work in this cabinet, but it was just not workable due to the odd size and the fact that the opening of the doors is much narrower than the interior dimensions. So a lazy susan was the runner up - and here’s how it looks:
As you can see, we kept some of the original shelves, where we store less frequently accessed goods and, conveniently, all our cutting boards. It’s a little bit fuller now (this picture was taken right after the project was completed), and we also have labels (using the label maker!) on each of the tiers to help us remember where things go. Matt still makes fun of me, perhaps rightfully so, for some of my category choices: in addition to the fairly clear and reasonable labels of ’snacks’, ‘pasta & grains’, and ’soups & sauces’, we have the somewhat ambiguous categories of ‘jars’, ‘jars & spices’, and ‘canned goods’. All I can say is that these made sense to me at the time; and in my defense, it’s not so easy to come up with exactly the right categories that fit into the number of spaces there are without wasting space! I think I was employing some version of the ‘Elsewhere Principle’. This is a principle from linguistics that says if there are multiple rules/choices that are applicable, select the most specific one. So this means, for example, that a jar of soup would go into the ’soups & sauces’ category rather than the ‘jars’ category. (this makes for more efficient labeling since we don’t have to call the ‘jars’ category the ‘jars but not soups’ category). Who knew that linguistic principles were relevant to pantry organization! Or maybe not so much…
Another small change is that we have a counter composter now, and a very futuristic-looking composter in the back yard, both of which you can sort of see in the picture below. We’ve been asked by several neighbors what that alien looking sphere in our backyard is. It is a green sphere, 3-4 feet in diameter, which rests in the back of our backyard. The sphere shape is helpful for mixing the compost around (by rolling it around), which should be done regularly, and for rolling the compost to wherever it’s going to be used. By the way, it’s also good for making your dog think that he/she is about to play with a really, really, … really large ball.