Temporary Solutions

Kitchen renovations are expensive. Especially considering FH (future hubby) and I have very little combined ability when it comes to serious DIY home improvement. FH is semi-handy; meaning he can change out a light fixture & use a drill gun. I am not completely helpless- one summer my college roommates & I made some major changes to our kitchen (we rented a house and had a landlord who totally loved having a group of college kids who kept their house CLEAN- no thanks to me, really- and made home improvements that left the house better then it was when we moved in). We painted, laid down new flooring, & relocated some appliances. When I say we, I really mean that Eric (my bestie) did most of the work. I vividly remember releasing a great deal of pent-up emotion and anger while tearing up the old floor, thanks to the bitter ending of a rather intensely dysfunctional relationship. Turns out, minor demolition is more effective, and cheaper, than therapy.

So fast forward to my current state of non-dysfunctional, pre-marital bliss. Between FH & I, I am probably more ambitious when it comes to home improvement projects. I think back to how seemingly easy it was to make those kitchen improvements in my college house, and dream of grand ideas of DIY penny tile/floor/cabinet installations. Not to mention you do not have to look far for inspiration- the great home improvement blogs I follow make it seem that people all over the world are actively DIYing their own home projects…and then sharing it online complete with lovely pictures & witty commentary.

Maybe that could be me some day. It seems more likely that my blog would quickly become designated to DIY home improvement failures… but who knows. Stranger things have happened.

For the time being, however, FH and I find great enjoyment in dreaming and scheming of our beautiful kitchen renovation- with one of the nicest aspects of the dream being that nice chuck of moolah we save so that other people can do the hard work. The actual dream is that we leave our home for a weekend, and return to a glorious stainless steel & penny tile kitchen heaven. Either that or my plan of skulking around home improvement stores on the weekends looking for the DIY Network camera crews will finally pay off. CRASH MY HOME, PLEASE!

So. As the title of this post implies- this weekend FH & I decided it was time to look for a ‘temporary solution’ to our kitchen woes. (Major problems include: no counter space, no dishwasher, no storage).

The dishwasher will have to wait until we can do our complete renovation. Until then, I will keep cooking delicious dinners every night- as FH in turn does all of the dishes. Isn’t that an awesome plan? So far, I’m pretty sure he is not on to me. Heaven help me if he gets wise & starts offering to cook more often. I simply hate dry-dish-washing-hand syndrome.

The most pressing issue is COUNTER SPACE. We have a little L-shaped section in between the stovetop & the sink in the corner of our small kitchen. This precious space is home to a spice rack (I’m working on a simple solution there) and small appliances. Thanks to my new healthy eating habits, where there used to be a Keurig (we didn’t give up coffee, it just broke) and a toaster (which now lives in a cabinet as we use it infrequently) there is now a Juicer (oh yeah baby) & a blender. I am using both several times a week, if not every day, so I need them to be easily accessible.

So much clutter...so little cooking space.

As our kitchen cabinets/appliances only take up 2 of the 3.5 walls, we’ve been using a small rolling cart as extra storage and a microwave stand (in dream kitchen: microwave is installed above stove top!), and a little dish rack shelving unit to store our plates. FH had both of these items before I moved into the apartment. I love the plate rack for it’s part practicality & part decor advantages. The cart, however, is not one of my favorite things. It has wheels but is nearly impossible to actually wheel, the microwave takes up the entire surface so it provides no additional working space, and inside the doors you will find a tight little storage with a center rack of questionable stability. Due to our severe lack of cabinet storage, our everyday dishes live here, as well as my mixing bowls & casserole dishes.

Equally cluttered...and yes, that chalkboard calendar does say January. Oops- where did the winter go?

FH and I decided a nice, quick temporary solution to our problem would be a new piece of kitchen furniture that could accommodate more storage & hopefully free up an alternate space for the microwave- therefore leaving us with more, usable, counter space.

At 9AM on Sunday morning we embarked on our mission. First we stopped at our favorite diner & fueled up on our Sunday-Splurge breakfast: waffles w/ strawberries for FH & multi-grain french toast for me. And crispy bacon, obviously. Our journey included a trip to Target, where we quickly realized we were becoming distracted, and made a quick escape. The Target gods must surely have been startled watching me leave their fortress of temptation without spending a dime.

We made several more stops. In Home Decorators, I nearly purchased a baker’s rack for the kitchen. I got cold feet at the register- it was a bit pricey and may not have really answered our kitchen prayers. The salesman probably thought I was having a nervous breakdown as I debated the pros & cons in a rapid-fire, mainly one-sided conversation with FH, then turned and with a “nevermind, thanks anyway” whipped my credit card off of the counter & left the store. Sometimes I randomly become socially awkward.

Frustrated & cranky (I am impatient. This is a fact.), FH and I decided to call it quits and head for home. As we passed IKEA- I suddenly remembered my incredible knack for reading picture based instructions (manuals full of words bore me. I don’t read them). We stopped- we walked the showroom, we wrote down aisle & bin numbers, we almost stole a big yellow bag. And then, we walked out of IKEA with two new additions for our kitchen, and two projects to fill the rest of my day.

Dying to see the results of our temporarily-improve-the-kitchen-mission? Come back tomorrow for pictures and my secret IKEA furniture-building methods, which include having a helpful dog, rewarding yourself with food, and throwing things.