Kitchen's Last Stand

The time has finally come to update our kitchen.

We've been without our broke-down, mashed-up, eclectic kitchen for officially two days, but we've not been able to use it for almost a week; The water, gas, and electricity have been off since last Thursday. The whole project is slated to take approximately six weeks. Gulp. If you'd have asked me last week how I thought I'd be faring right now, I'd say I was sure to lose my mind. On Sunday evening, I thought about how stupid we were for doing this in the heat of the summer and with a 15 month old running around...and how we really should have done this BEFORE we had our first child. Oops. I imagine it was sort of like that moment that many people have just prior to walking down the altar to be married; A cold-feet sort of moment where you have to make the fight or flight choice.

I'm happy to say that so far I'm doing okay! Our old kitchen has been put out of it's misery. We're sequestered to our living room where our interim kitchen resides next to the television and consists of a microwave, toaster oven, and a fridge. The grill outside will be owning it's keep this summer (and so will the local restaurants, I'm sure). Our utility sink in our basement is also getting a workout as the "dish washer"...well, I'm the one getting the actual workout.

Since we still have our farm share pick up, David and I have decided that the best way to handle this little situation is to set up a weekly menu so we know exactly what to cook each night. I've also reinstated my dry-erase board fridge and freezer lists, so we know exactly what's around for the eatin'. Our goal is NOT to cave in and go out to dinner every night. This is bad for our wallets and I'm not thrilled about subjecting our little dude to restaurant food every night. We're trying to tie each meal in to the next and prep/grill multiple meals at once in order to minimize prep and clean up. For example, Monday was grilled teryiaki chicken, japanese eggplant and okra, and wild rice. Have you ever used SoyVay? No? You're missing out. And the eggplant/okra/teryiaki combination is strangely delicious. We marinate the chopped veggies and then saute or wok them. So good.

We also grilled almost every veggie in the fridge (sweet onion, green pepper, fennel, summer squash, zucchini) and we roasted a big eggplant and our beets in aluminum foil so we could use it all in meals throughout the rest of the week. Last night we enjoyed salt and pepper grilled shrimp with cold grilled veggies and leftover wild rice that I warmed up with some grated pecorino romano. I concocted a bizarre-yet-refreshing dish of chopped roasted beets, sliced oranges, roasted fennel and cherry tomatoes with crumbled blue cheese. And this evening, we plan on making quesadillas with the leftover grilled veggies and chicken from Monday evening. On Thursday, we're eating a big salad and probably some slices of pizza we've frozen for quick dinner options. I wish I had taken photographs of some of the above dishes, but I couldn't find my camera. And I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing, so recipes are kind of out of the question. But perhaps I just gave you some ideas to test out on your own!

Hey, can we reminisce a moment? I feel like I should give you a little background of our kitchen and the impetus for finally deciding to remodel. C'mon, it'll be fun!

The first room we saw when our agent showed us this house was the kitchen. I nearly impaled myself on the triangular portion of the bizarrely shaped island that greeted us when we crossed the threshold from the mudroom to the kitchen while taking it all in; The yellow walls with the cream tile backsplash behind the stove that was finished with brown grout. The matching tile counter on either side of the stove that was finished with white grout. The fridge that jutted in front of a window, making it impossible to fully open the door and one of the vegetable drawers at the bottom of the fridge. The wonky shaped island with a brick-red laminate counter top. The other two cabinet runs topped with a blue-grey laminate counter top, neither of which were ever actually adhered to the cabinets they were sitting on. The white laminate and wood cabinets that were probably very chic in the 80's, but not so chic now. Then there was the beige speckled linoleum floors that have actually never really gotten clean, despite our best scrubbing attempts. And, after we bought the house, we discovered that the cabinet doors open in all different directions. I'm sure it was to keep everyone on their toes. (I cannot tell you how many times I've pulled as hard as I could to open a cabinet, only to realize I'm yanking on the wrong side.)

I believe the first thing out of my mouth was "Oh, yeah. This is gonna have to go." Five years later, after the faucet has come loose for the 10th or so time, after the island has become wobbly and the linoleum is chipping, I'm making good on my word. I'm going to miss this kitchen, though! In the words of Tim Gunn we've 'made it work'; I made some pretty sweet cafe curtains that actually tied the whole mess together into a quirky, retro, crazy vibe. Dave made a radiator cover that doubled as both a warm seat and a great spot to dry dishes. My pyrex bowls looked surprisingly cute in there. And when I managed to wash all the dishes in the sink and clean everything up, the kitchen looks kind of pulled together.

See? I told you that would be fun. I thought I might be able to show off some photos of the old kitchen but (not) surprisingly, I couldn't find any that really gave you a full view.

Our plans for our new kitchen are substantially more monochromatic than the current design. We're keeping it simple and classic with a few vintage 20's touches as a nod to our home's history and some 50's touches for some fun. I'll be sure to post some pics when it starts coming together, but if you're interested, you can also follow the project on our kitchen designer's blog, So Happy Home . Click on the pics for a little narration.


  1. Good luck with the remodeling!! I wish I could be quite as creative with my dinners- we have been making good use of our grill on the terrace, but most nights I'm ashamed to say that I've been nuking a frozen dinner or heating up spaghetti! shame on me!


  2. good bye ..old kitchen....hello new kitchen



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