I loved cooking in our new kitchen from day one (this is the first dish I made). I'm finding ways to organize it as I go, moving pots and pans and equipment around until it really flows. Even without upper cabinets, we seem to have plenty of storage space in the kitchen (and adjoining pantry).
The kitchen is shaped like a U and the counter top closest to the living space is really wide allowing for us to prep/cook on one side, eat (or play) on the other. The only upper cabinets are surrounding the ovens and refrigerator. There is storage space at the very top of those cabinets - we utilized every possible inch.
Double ovens were on the wish list! We didn't want to give up wall/counter space for a microwave and have been living without one since July. The plan is to put a small one in the pantry, but for right now, we don't miss having a microwave.
I think I most enjoy our new kitchen when Ryan cooks!
The space above the kitchen is really a story and a half, as viewed from the stairwell. The ceiling is open all the way across the kitchen, pantry, and mudroom to the garage door (furthest wall viewed in this image). The kids' play space behind the metal screen above looks down into the kitchen.
Cooking with the kids in this space is so much better because of the wide counters and extra space. I can give them only the ingredients I want them to handle, keeping the rest just out of reach. I'm getting better at remembering that whatever mess they make can be easily cleaned up. I want them to enjoy spending time in the kitchen. Charlie is actually a great help and with a few more years, Izzy will hopefully be more inclined to help and less inclined to sabotage our baking efforts.
Just behind the refrigerator/oven wall, is the walk-in pantry.
It is nothing fancy, just simple white shelves from Lowe's to maximize the space.
I love the pantry! I know this is my Type A personality, but I love having everything in its place. Of course I imagined a pantry like this in my dreams, but really I just wanted a chalk wall, and a place to hang a calendar and all the little notices important to daily life with kids. Ryan gave me both.
I'm happy to say that I did not purchase anything new to organize this pantry. I used things we already had and re-purposed baskets and trays from other parts of the house.
I once imagined having a baking station in our new kitchen (damn Pinterest!). This is the next best thing - a baking shelf in my pantry. This basket contains all the most common baking ingredients like flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, etc. I just grab the basket and carry the whole thing to the kitchen.
Everyone likes my pantry...
Speaking of organizing...we had plans for storing spices long before we finished our kitchen. In our old house, we always
lamented whined about not having a great place for spices that was convenient and easy to access while cooking. So we made sure to reserve a spot in the new space.
Without upper cabinets, almost everything in our kitchen is stored in drawers. We saved one of the shallow drawers next to the stove for spices and had a friend pick up these spice jars from IKEA for us (thanks SHM!).
Labeling courtesy of a label maker I have for the lab.
The end result is that we love our new kitchen and we love cooking again! While living in the loft, I dreamed of family dinners in this new space (I've written about our dilemma with family dinners here, here and here). So many aspects of living in our new house have lived up to my expectations, but the family dinners have not. We've tried it only to end the meals in tears, frustration, and disappointment. For now, I still make an early dinner for the kids and Ryan and I eat dinner after they go to bed. Two sets of meals means a lot of cooking. I'm getting better at merging the meals - using leftovers from the adult meals for the kid's meals or lunches, etc. And for now, it works for us. We'll continue to adjust and revisit the family dinner as the kids get older.
We purposely designed the kitchen to be the hub of our home. The main floor consists of the kitchen, dining and living room all in one space so we are never toiling away in the kitchen isolated and away from the action.
The desire to keep the spaces open to each other resulted in a redesign of the stairs from the original plans. The result is this really cool, almost sculptural stairwell that we love.
This is the view of the living space from the kitchen bar. We can turn on the big game and make dinner. When I'm desperate for some uninterrupted cooking in the evening, I can turn on a movie for the kids and still interact with them.
When they want to play upstairs, I can hear them, even see them, in the play space on the upstairs landing while working in the kitchen.
This is what the kitchen looked like when we bought the house. It was a small galley kitchen just off the garage, in what is now our mudroom and pantry.
This is the original living room, with dining room to the left. The kitchen was wedged behind the wall with the fireplace, which just had to go.
This picture is from week 2 of the demolition process. The whole in the floor is where the fireplace once was.
In a word, our new space is pure bliss and perfect for our family.