Mismatched Kitchen; Cohesive Solutions

It’s kitchen day! I’ve dreaded writing about this area the most, because it’s the one that is going to take the longest and be the most in depth. Our kitchen needed A LOT of work. It was the biggest compromise/unique space to adjust to and it took a lot of creativity and planning. And my hope is, it won’t stay like this forever.

As of now, our plan is that this is our forever home (things can always change) but our dream goal, 10ish years down the road, is to put an addition off the back and add a brand new kitchen/dining/entry area. The layout right now works, but it isn’t ideal. With that in mind, we didn’t want to completely remodel or do anything too ‘big’, but rather find practical solutions that would work long term in the current space.

Just so you know what we’re working with, here is what the kitchen looked like BEFORE:

Right away it felt ‘off’ to me. The table was too big, the appliances felt like they were just ‘plopped’ into place, and there was a definite lack of storage. Nothing felt cohesive. I started planning immediately and first thing on the list was to find some sort of cabinetry for next to the stove and next to the refrigerator. There was wasted space and I wanted to pull that area together more- make it look like it all belonged. We could’ve easily had custom built-ins made, BUT, 10 year plan- “make it livable for now”- was our motto. I also, if possible, wanted some sort of ‘counter’ space next to the stove so that while baking/cooking I’d have a place to lay things, put things to cool off, etc…in addition to the above ‘wants’, there was no ideal place for our trash can. As Dutch as I might be, under the sink was not an option- that precious space needed to be used for other storage.

Amazon came to the rescue again. I don’t remember how or why I stumbled upon it, but I discovered this ‘hidden’ trash can cupboard with a ‘counter’ on top. It was IDEAL. Even better- the measurements were PERFECT for putting it next to the stove! I was ecstatic. The price was a bit steep, but I justified that it was a necessary piece for our kitchen that would become a ‘permanent’ fixture until we renovate. Greg did need to assemble it but it was a piece of cake. (Here) she is. Seriously perfect. We now have a spot for our garbage (hidden!), a DRAWER (bonus!), and extra counter space! Always look for pieces that will serve more than one purpose.

Before I could find a cabinet/cupboard for next to the refrigerator, we had to find a NEW refrigerator. The current one was old, small, and didn’t match the stove. I knew that to help tie everything together, a new one was a must. We always get our appliances from Gerrit’s. Dad worked there for 25+ years and the employees there still feel like family. They take care of us every time we go. (“Your dad would definitely say to stay away from this”…”Your dad knew this was a good brand”…dads influence is still strong!) Per usual, we found the perfect refrigerator to fit the space (we did not have much wiggle room). It was also part of their Black Friday sale so we came in under budget! Bonus! Two weeks later it was delivered, and it immediately helped bring cohesion to the kitchen. Wouldn’t you agree!?

Now that I knew what dimensions we had to work with for a cupboard, I started searching. The ONLY requirement for this future cupboard was that it had to store our microwave. I was not going to give up precious counter space for our microwave, and although we could’ve made some built-ins/changes to put one above the stove- 10 year plan. Being that we had such exact dimensions to work with, our options were limited and it was a pain sorting through 100’s of cabinets online, only to find one I liked that was an inch too wide, too deep, etc…I fell upon Wayfair and LOVED their search tool- you could search by exact dimensions and it’d bring up anything and everything that would work within your settings. Our settings only yielded about five results, but OH MY STARS, we found the perfect one (here). I still cannot believe it. The price was good, the reviews were decent, and it was black to match the garbage cabinet! I ordered it immediately. Greg also had to assemble (he’s the best) but it wasn’t difficult. Take a look:

The doors are even on soft close hinges! And that storage!! ALL that storage! And do you see how PERFECTLY the microwave fits?! I tell you, it was the absolute perfect find and it brought that whole area of our kitchen together.

Now that we had that area settled, it was time to move on to the sink/counter area. Our counter top needs replacing BADLY and we already picked out subway tiles for the back wall. (It helps to have a mom that works at a design store!) Did you also notice, we don’t have a dishwasher!? I was not willing to make that compromise…so we did buy one. It will fit perfectly to the left of the sink. It’s currently in our garage waiting to be installed. YAY for a dishwasher, NAY for losing more cupboards/storage. We also moved the kitchen curtain lower and put in tons of racks, baskets, and organizers to make the most of our cupboard space.

Guess what?! Everything found a home. You’d be amazed how much we were able to fit in these cupboards thanks to clever organizing. I also got rid of about 1/4 of my kitchen stuff. Part of living organized for us, is trying to be a bit more minimalistic. We didn’t need a waffle maker that we used one time a year. We didn’t need 16 mugs when we use 2 at a time. We didn’t need 5 whisks. It was hard but refreshing to let some things GO! There were the odd things that we did want to keep like a cake stand, a large serving platter, and a JUMBO tupperware bowl (perfect for making puppy chow in!). We ended up putting those items downstairs on a shelf in the storage room- for the few times a year we need them, it wasn’t worth them taking up space upstairs.

The last area I’ll highlight today is the dining area. When we bought this house, I knew our dining table wouldn’t work in the space. It was large and rectangular. I knew a round one would be perfect instead. I searched Facebook Marketplace and found an old oak table with 6 chairs. It was round but also had a leaf that extended it and made it oval. It was ideal! I paid $75 for it and spent a good month refinishing it. I LOVE how it turned out and it fits so well in our dining area! Another easy fix that we used to spruce up the dining area was replacing the light. I found (this) super cute one on Amazon and my brother hung it for us. It completes the space and draws in more black from the kitchen. Our kitchen NOW feels cohesive and well blended and it works perfectly for us. Take a look at these before and after photos.

Continue to look for kitchen updates as we replace the counter top/back splash, add the dishwasher, and replace windows! And, if the Rustic Faith is still around in 10 years, hopefully we’ll have a large renovation to show you.

Moral of the story: don’t let a less than ideal space get you down. Find ways to make things cohesive- whether it be through a color, rearranging furniture/appliances, or finding a new piece that fits the space you need! YOU need to love the space you live in! It’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘if only we had a brand new house’, ‘if only we had more cupboards’, ‘if only…..’. Make what you have work! All in (including the refrigerator) our kitchen updates cost us about $1600. You don’t have to spend a fortune to totally transform a space! If you have any questions about other products you see that I didn’t link to, ask! I’d be happy to share my finds.

And, if you have an area in your home that you’re stumped by- need a fresh perspective for- don’t know what to do with it, send me a picture. I’d be happy to offer some ideas/advice/solutions!

Check back next time for a much shorter post on our organized cleaning closet. Until then, happy organizing!