Monday, March 3, 2014

TCV Kitchen Update: Before and After (and a little snack drawer)

We've been meaning to share our recent kitchen update with you! We've lived in our house here in Memphis for eleven years at this point, and after many years of learning to cook in weird apartment and rental house kitchens with features like peeling linoleum, brown wood cabinets, slivers of counter space, and no room for storage, it's great to have a room we spend so much time in look nice.

{ after }
It's easy to feel a bit nostalgic now, though. Before our current kitchen, our fourth and most long-term kitchen together was in The Belvedere Apartments on Union Avenue in Memphis, and as I type this, the building is in the midst of being demolished. We cooked our way through The Angelica Home Kitchen there, made simple spaghetti dinners for our friends, perfected our dragon bowl, spring rolls, and stir-fry, and figured out a foolproof lasagna. We cooked there for six years or so, and it's funny to remember that there was no way for two people to fit into that kitchen at one time, so any needed prep was done on the dining room table.

It's probably stating the obvious to say that one doesn't need to have to have a big kitchen or a pretty kitchen to cook well. But if you like to cook, having a kitchen set up just for you is quite a joy. We spend more time here than pretty much anywhere else in the house.

{ before }
Seven years ago, we did the big fix, first stripping layers of red paint, orange paint, and then wallpaper and then adding a drywall texture to the busted-up walls before the fresh paint. We installed basic new countertops and a cherry butcher block, replaced the 60's appliances, new cabinet fronts and pulls, new lighting and wiring, pretty much changed everything. It was our first big home project, and we learned that things have to get really messy and frustrating and gross before they get beautiful. We learned how to paint, how to do dishes in a plastic tub inside a bathtub, and how to be extremely patient. Still, there's something about destroying something tired to make it something better that's so worth it in the end.

After all of the renovation craziness that summer, we didn't do much else to the place besides reorganize from time to time. We've always spent a ton of time in our kitchen, and years later, it was showing signs of wear. Broken faucet, unorganized cabinets, dingy white paint, no backsplash, lights needing rewiring -- it was time for a few improvements. We decided to go with a modern and rustic look, and we're not completely finished yet with making it look like home, but it sure is nice to work in there these days.

{ the snack drawer }
We did the two-tone thing with charcoal gray lower cabinets and medium gray upper cabinets and walls, and cream-colored subway tile with gray grout. An inexpensive new kitchen faucet and soap dispenser combo similar to this one has been great; we've often had to replace faucets or have various parts of them repaired (probably due to how much use they get), and this one's held tight so far. Having a built-in soap dispenser on the sink for the first time in our adult lives was a serious thrill. Next, one of us added some under-cabinet lights as a Christmas surprise. Two separate projects -- organizing the spices and dedicating a cabinet to them and having pull-out drawers installed in the pantry -- also helped a lot in terms of knowing what we have at the ready and keeping like with like. Adding a 3-bin snack drawer in the cupboard was a cool, easy addition that has probably helped us snack a little more but also helped us choose better snacks. Two cabinets just for baking items and pans and a small cabinet shelf set aside for all our coffee stuff have both made life in the kitchen a lot easier, too.

We so love to cook, and it is even more a pleasure to work in this space now. We can't wait to show you what we'll create here next!


Gerry said...

This looks much better to shoot in. We're going to have to come back!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...