Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to double the size of your...kitchen

I know I usually hold off on the nesting and reorganizing until January, when I get all inspired to tackle all that crap. However, this year I got it all finished before Christmas. Partially it was having my mother, sister and her boyfriend, Tim, over for Christmas. Partially, it was the nesting thing kicking in early. Mostly, I was way excited to be finished with the photos from that last big shoot. I mean excited! I was so revved up, I organized shit I had no intention of organizing. It's like when you start organizing the bedroom, and then somehow find that the the closet has exploded out onto the bed. You weren't going to go near the closet, because that's a whole day in itself. But there you are in the closet and the room is still a complete mess. It's usually at that point when you realize neither will get finished, so you just push everything back in the closet and kick the rest under the bed. Well, I ran into that problem where cleaning one thing leads to another, leading to yet another...and I finished it all. Making this little apartment downright pleasant to be in.

I know I talk about moving out of this apartment a lot. I try to keep it off of the bloggy for your sanity, but really I think about it all the time. However, somewhere in mid December I realized we have a lot of little pluses about this place. First, it's easier to stay here and save money for a house. I don't really think it's worth moving unless we can find something for a REALLY great price with a backyard and an extra bedroom. We love our little backyard area with the fire pit and we don't want to loose that. Mario works about three blocks away right now, so he walks to work and come home for lunch. Our landlord is really laid back and lets us do what we need to be happy here. And the best part is this place has been so quiet without those jerk neighbors across the way.

Mars and I have talked about our major problems with this place. Space is the biggest problem. We have a small living room and the tiniest kitchen there ever was made. I feel like a boat kitchen might be a little smaller, but at least it utilizes the space better.

Most of the changes I needed to make happened on accident. I needed something to put the Christmas tree on and decided the coffee table would be perfect. Moved the coffee table up against a wall and out of the middle of the room. All of a sudden, people were walking in saying the room looked bigger. Problem solved. The coffee table is not coming back. Also, putting up Christmas decorations meant moving other things around and finding new places for them. I found places and when I took the Christmas decor down, I couldn't remember what all I have moved. So there. I little extra space in the living room.

The bigger of the problems is the kitchen. Tiny room. Miserable to work in really. Believe it or not, that problem started solving itself when I bought my laptop. Once I got the laptop, I tasted the sweet freedom that was not having to be attached to my desk. I can work any where in the house I feel...and I have. The one place I do not work anymore, is at my desk.

So I talked Mario into taking over my desk. His desk has been in what our landlord generously called the "dining room". Really it's the little space at the end of the kitchen that really can't fit any reasonable sized table. We had a bookshelf in there and Mario's desk. I was able to move the bookshelf into our room and take down his desk. Freeing up a ton of space.

The question was...what do we do with ALL THIS SPACE! We discussed this for a while. I would love a reading nook. I would love a dinner table. I would be happy with it just being a cute little storage area for kitchen stuff. Then it occurred to me...why can't I move the fridge over to that empty area? If I did, it would open up the entire kitchen! Why had I never thought of this. I guess I got sucked into thinking it was a kitchen and dining room just like the landlord said. Well, thinking I was the most brilliant person ever, I told Mario. His reply..."well yeah, Ben next door has his fridge over there and it makes the kitchen way bigger." Are you kidding me? Why have I not known this and why didn't you tell me about this before? Then I wondered...how did Mario know this. So I asked "Have you been in Ben's house?" a little jealous like, because I am a snoop and would love to see how he has the identical apartment set up. Mario says "no, I just look in his door all the time" He must really look a lot to know where his fridge is and how much it opens up the kitchen.

Anyway, once we figured out this was an option, we moved that bitch of a fridge. It was the best decision I have made in a long time. I can't believe how much happier I am! We didn't have the kitchen finished when my family got here on Christmas Eve, but my sister ran in yelling about how big the kitchen looked. The kitchen has literally doubled in size. It wasn't finished but my sister and I were able to both be in the kitchen making our traditional German Bierocks (think empanada) without stomping on each other and getting on each other's nerves.

Since then, I have put in a cute shelf. That shelf allowed me to reorganize the cupboards and free up a ton of space. We also, added some counter space in by buying a portable dishwasher...I'll tell you more about that situation tomorrow.

But do you know what? I really love it here now. I feel like we have space and it's all organized. Which totally enables me to think clearly. We want to stay put and save money up to buy a place next year, but we've totally given this place a new lease on life. Sure there are tons of things that still need to be taken care of...like a new air conditioner Mr landlord...but we're happy with what we have right now.

PS Even better is the garden area outside that the landscapers cleared out and left mostly empty. I'm gonna take it over as my veggie garden. Haven't decided if I should ask the landlord or just take it over. I'll probably run it by the landscapers though just to keep it safe.

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