Archives For Kitchen

I’ve never really minded the light in our kitchen. I think it’s pretty, actually. The problem is that it is not exactly functional for the space. It’s designed to double as a pot rack but hangs in the middle of the room, where even little ‘ol me would bump my head if pots were actually hanging from it. And although the three lights are minimally sufficient they only cast light directly downward to the floor, leaving the kitchen work areas poorly lit.

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I’m thrilled to say that we installed a new light this weekend! It went MUCH more smoothly than the last time we switched a light fixture (that light is still crooked, btw). But before I show you the new light, here’s Nick holding the old one up in a more appropriate place for a pot rack. That spot is sorely in need of task lighting so I’m thinking of hiring an electrician to install a box over there. It would crowd the cabinets a bit though.

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And ta da! Here’s the new light. I picked it out at Lowe’s and my parents generously got it for me for my birthday. It came with four 13-watt CFL bulbs and was a cinch to install.

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I am a little bummed, though, that the hole cut around the junction box is bigger than the canopy. And ugh I don’t want to paint the ceiling but I need to.

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It’s kind of tricky to get a picture of a light while it’s on, but this is a fairly accurate representation. It’s much brighter than our old one.

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I’m surprised to say that my favorite part is the increased head room. It’s a lot smaller than our old fixture and is much lighter visually, so it just kind of fades into the background and does its job. I like that in a light sometimes. And in a relatively small kitchen the open space overhead makes a difference. This is exactly why I’m hesitant to hang the old light over the counter as a pot rack. I’d love to get my pots out of the pantry but I’m worried they’ll feel oppressive looming overhead while I chop veggies or whatever.

kitchen light before and after.

When I think back to what the kitchen looked like a few years ago I am so, so pleased that I made the effort to change it. The new look is so much more my style. (it also helps that my photography skills have improved)

So, questions: What should I do about the gaps in the ceiling? Should I install the pot rack light over the counter? If not, should I consider installing some other task lighting there, or leave it as is? And will you come over to help paint my ceiling and crown molding?

Ps, if you usually get by posts in your email inbox, did you get this one today? I just switched hosting companies and am still working out the kinks

After I decided to hang the larger of two silver platters over my stove the smaller one sat on my dining room table for a week or two waiting to go back to my mother in law. One day while I was tidying up it occurred to me that I might as well find a pretty place for it in the meantime and within a few minutes I’d set it up in this little corner of the kitchen. The grouping of canisters and jars looks so much neater now! (you can see a picture of them sans platter in this post)

silver platter

I also spent about sixty seconds decluttering all of the magnets and papers on the side of our refrigerator. Now there are only a few small magnets, a timer, our menu, our family meeting agenda (still going strong with both of those!), and the memo board where we jot down things we need from the grocery that aren’t on my regular list.

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Since I’ve been making a more efficient use of space in the pantry I now have room to put things near where we actually use them, like potholders next to the stove and stuff for beverages right below where we store all of our cups and glasses. I drink black tea every morning so I keep a couple dozen bags in a tall canister on the counter, but it’s much easier to restock now that the big box is right here instead of shoved back on the top shelf of the pantry.

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Nick’s mom came to visit this weekend and said that as long as I was using the platter I could keep it. I was thrilled! She gave me a yummy Mrs. Meyer’s candle too (along with a bunch of other goodies; she is so sweet). The label was small and cute but I pulled it off anyway and now it sits on the platter. It’s the little jelly jar with a black lid.

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It’s funny how sometimes the smallest details, like having a tray or platter under a grouping of several functional items, can make me so happy. It inspired me to tidy up that whole corner and now it’s my favorite spot in the kitchen. That could have something to do with the fact that it’s where I get caffeine in the morning and wine in the evenings, but, you know, I like it even better since it looks pretty.

One of the remaining issues to be addressed in my pantry is sippy cup problem. Aside from the sippy cups themselves, there are all sorts of other toddler eating accessories, like plates, snack cups, and bibs. Upper cabinet space in our kitchen in limited and if these things are going to be in a lower cabinet they might as well be someplace that Jack can access them and help put them away. So I’ve had them on this shelf ever since I added it a while back, but they were just sort of flung in there haphazardly along with some other random items.

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I was desperate to create some order but new that large baskets would be unwieldy for Jack. Enter these wood bins I found at Michael’s! They’re labeled as vegetable bins and are I think $12 or $13, but I kept an eye on the Michael’s app on my phone and whenever a good coupon popped up I’d go get one. I ended up paying about $15 total. I put sippy cups and lids in one, everything else in the other. And there’s about ten inches of space behind them for me to store rarely used items.

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Jack doesn’t have to pull them out to use them, which would’ve been a big problem with baskets. I can tell you right now that if I’d gotten baskets he would just pull them out and dump them on the floor before grabbing a cup and moving on to begging me for snacks and milk.

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Just imagine that sweet face saying “Pease? Pease?” and try saying no, you can not have 17 cups of milk in one day. Then he’ll move on to begging for raisins. Rinse, lather, repeat. But at least now he can put his own stuff away (and he seems to be putting them in the appropriate bins so far)!

After hanging the vintage silver platter over our stove last week something felt a little off. I loved the platter and what it brought to the space, but the area as a whole now felt somewhat cluttered.

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Determined to keep the platter, I tried removing the canisters on the right, but it was now too barren for my tastes.

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So after doing some soul-searching regarding what useful and pretty thing could live on that little scrap of counter, I went in search of a utensil crock and found this $10 candle holder at Marshall’s. I also (temporarily?) removed the gimme some sugar print. I originally planned to keep it there and hang another print above the clock but it’s too much in a small space. I’ll see if I can find another spot for it. Moving the utensils onto the counter freed up a drawer next to the stove for towels and potholders! I’ve never had a good spot for that sort of thing in here so I’m excited to now have them tucked away neatly in such a convenient place. I’m not entirely convinced that the crock is the proper scale and may keep my eyes peeled for something shorter and wider, but I still like it. Maybe a wood cutting board nearby would help add more visual heft without feeling cluttered? I don’t prep food over here but I could use it to stage items that I’m using while cooking.

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With the microwave now squatting in the pantry I had room for the canisters over here. This is a much better place for them, anyway, since there’s a little more room to work with. I also hung our stemware rack and rearranged the shelves in the cabinets above to accommodate all of our glassware. The drawer below now holds extra tea, our corkscrew and bottle opener, and a small collection of koozies (is that the official name for those things? I’ve never heard them called anything else).

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Delicate question: should I add a small rack for my collection of fine wines? Too bourgie? (FYI that is a three dollar bottle of wine)