Location: Orlando, FL
Favorite Kitchen Stores
- Equipment/Supplies - McMansion suburb garage sales!
I have a full set of heavy cookware that I found for $20 last year... Check the newspaper listings.
- Food - Your local farmer's market, or community supported agriculture collective. Check out www.localharvest.org for directories.
I rent. I don't make heaps of money. Only spot for my dining table is the kitchen. And since I am short, and my lower cupboards mostly house the plumbing and boiler, I have storage and accessibility issues. I cook or bake virtually every day, and I like to have small, regular dinner parties.
My challenge then - within the parameters of a small budget and no major renovation - was to create a kitchen environment that would give easy access to my cooking tools, effective storage, and ample workspace - and that would still be beautiful and cozy enough to eat in with friends.
This is not my dream kitchen, but I think it works very well with my constraints. If you had dinner there - and you are genuinely welcome to do so, if you visit Orlando - you would find it charming, cozy, and candlelit, with fresh food on the table and potted herbs on the doorstep. Plus, the aqua appliances are 1959 vintage, and in great shape.
3 Compelling kitchen cooking/design tips:
1. Use empty space creatively - I made the backsplash out of galvanized aluminum flashing from Lowes. ($30 for a huge roll). This usually goes underneath roof shingles, but here it let me put magnetic spice canisters
($1.99 at Bed Bath and Beyond) and hooks for cups and spoons within easy reach. ($108 for 12 canisters and a magnetic board from Chiasso? I don't THINK so.)
(More after the jump....)
That vintage look might not be for everyone, but it suits my kitchen, and it's been phenomenally helpful to have so many things within reach of my (short) arms. Another perk: I can stick recipe printouts directly above the stove.
2. Be intentional about lighting - Where do you work the most? Where do you spend the most time with sharp knives and raw meat? Make sure there is plenty of light - you can clip small desk lamps under the cupboards to create instant spotlights. Do you have an eat-in kitchen? Turn those fluorescents off, light some candles, and put a low watt bulb in your overhead lamp for a warm, cozy environment.
3. Bring the outside in - Keep fresh flowers on the kitchen table, or ivy on the windowsill. Also, herbs in pots are ridiculously easy to keep alive. You can buy young plants from a garden store, or even Whole Foods. Basil and rosemary are hardy and very tasty.