kitchenette

simplicity 3949

(A photo of where I’m spending most of my free time these days–the kitchen.)

Although June is almost over, summer hasn’t quite hit Chicago yet. Most nights are still quite chilly and I haven’t had to trade in my down comforter for a summer quilt yet. I’m taking advantage of this cooler weather, roasting lots of summer veggies, baking lots of sweet treats, and eating (a little too) well.

I have a love-hate relationship with this kitchen. A little background: I live in an old pre-war building with hardwood floors and very little direct sunlight. The rent by Chicago standards is quite cheap and though the neighborhood is pretty far north of downtown (and hence, my office) it is pleasant, quiet, relatively safe, and not too bad for parking. That said, most of the renovations done to update this building were done pretty poorly. The floorboards are uneven and pretty scratched. The water pressure (even after the installation of a water pressure pump) is wildly unpredictable. The walls have been painted and repainted so many times that large chunks of paint/wall threaten to fall off everytime I nail something into the wall. There isn’t a level surface in the entire place. But maybe you can’t see any of that in the above photo?

What I love about my kitchen:

  • the stone counter
  • the gas stove
  • the newer cabinets
  • the size (I think it’s larger than my bedroom, although I think it was intended as a combined kitchen/dining room)
  • What I hate about my kitchen:

  • the lack of counter space
  • not having a full-sized oven (mine is 3/4)
  • the awkwardly space shelving in the cabinets (really not practical imo)
  • the lack of sunlight
  • the lack of ventilation (you have no idea how many times I’ve set off the smoke detector in my apartment, even when I’ve burnt nothing at all?
  • But hey, it could be *years* (if ever) before I have an “ideal” kitchen.  As this article points out, you can use a lousy kitchen as an excuse not to cook or you can just learn to work around it.  It’s taken me about nine months to find a kitchen arrangement I can live with, but I think I’m ok with the current arrangement. 

    Things I’ve done to make this kitchen workable:

    • bought a stainless steel kitchen cart, creating an “island” (this is where I do 99% of my prep work)
    • moved my CD collection and stereo into the kitchen (I spend a LOT of time in there so I really like having some good music to keep me company)
    • moved some frequently used kitchen staples to a large shelf for easy access (where my stereo and coffee maker also reside and where a dining room table would otherwise be).  This has been key because a) using the stepstool to get things all the time gets old pretty fast and b) I tend to forget about (i.e. never use) things that are out of sight.
    • creative space arrangements (e.g. coffee maker by the stereo, microwave on top of the refrigerator)

    All this is likely WAY more information than you’d ever want to know about my kitchen, but there you have it.  And in case you’re curious but haven’t seen it yet on flickr, I did make that apron, using Simplicity 3949.  The pattern is a 1950s vintage style.  It was relatively easy to make, although imo, a fair bit of work for just an apron.  The fit of the top half is a little weird but I adore this fabric (Robert Kaufman pears) so much that I think this will get a lot of wear.

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    4 responses to “kitchenette

    1. I like the island that you added. It really does help the space issue.

      And how cute is your apron! I really need to make one, but my machine is covered in yarn. 🙂 I can knit like crazy, but can’t seem to find the time to sew.

    2. I love your apron :o) And your thorough evaluation of your kitchen’s best points & possible improvements. I’m moving to a new apt on Friday! I think my kitchen will be nice… we’ll see how it works out! It will be much brighter than the kitchen I’ve got now, and I’m really looking forward to that!

    3. Looks like you put a lot of thought into your kitchen! Glad that you’re able to make it work 🙂 We too dearly need a kitchen makeover (that we can afford), thanks for the ideas 😉 And that apron is just too cute!!

    4. my favorite place is the kitchen too! unless you rent a condo or own your own home, i think most kitchens in chgo rentals are wacked one way or another. well by now, this summer is hitting us in full force. eeesh!

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