I’ve gotten your emails. And your tweets. And your comments. And I know. I’ve been a bad blogger lately. BAD. I have not been posting frequently. I want to make amends. I want to be better. I hope we’re still friends, you and I. Or, as Gaga would say, Yoü and I. For whatever dumbfuck reason.
I also realized that, aside from just not blogging at all, I’ve also spoken nary a word about anything outside the going-ons in my bedroom. Not that way, you filthy-minded freak. Let’s try to be mature about this, please.
But we have other rooms! Three of them! Four, if you count the hallway, that scary beast of an appendage. So let’s talk about the kitchen. Or rather, let’s kvetch about the kitchen. Pain-in-the-ass-o’-mine that it is.
You see, before I moved in, this is what the kitchen looked like. Renovated circa 1995 with all of the deep thought and careful consideration driving the actions of most NYC landlords, it is a sad place. And despite actually being a fairly sizable room, this is the extent of the storage. A few really cheap cabinets and almost no counter space. Oh, and a fun fact about those cabinets: the shelves don’t even adjust. What. The. Hell.
Then Max and I moved in and it exploded into this:
So crowded. Oh, and the space next to the fridge? The 6 feet of nothingness? Went from this:
Believe me, internet. I am ashamed. I’m sorry you had to see it. But you’ll never appreciate the mild improvements I’ve made if I didn’t share just how bad things got. I hope you get the picture of my desperation with this awkward horrible excuse for a room. A room where I’m supposed to be able to create meals.
So while we’re a long way from a truly gratifying before and after, I’ve made a few semi-notable functional improvements that I actually feel really good about. It still looks like shit, but at least I can cook in the damn place.
A big part of the problem was having so little counter space to prep food on, which just seemed silly since there’s such a buttload of space to the right of the fridge. So I moved the fridge over two feet…
And plopped in a new base cabinet from IKEA! Of course, it looks nothing like all the other cabinets and (for now) looks a little like it got lost on the way to somebody else’s house, but I’m so glad it’s here. Seriously, it’s awesomesauce.
I decided to top it with the NUMERAR butcherblock countertop in oak, which is fancy stuff. It’s really heavy. We bought the smallest piece available and had to cut it down ourselves. Which just meant that I got to purchase a circular saw of my very own. So exciting, you guys. Look at me. Real power tools.
The whole butcherblock thing kind of skeeves out Max, but thus far I’ve ignored his complaints and continued to cut veggies and stuff right on the countertop. I’m not super concerned with keeping it looking pristine, and really don’t mind it showing some use. And by “use,” I mean millions of cut marks.
The other great thing about this cabinet is how it’s pimped out. Check it, yo:
Hell yes. Pull-out trashcan + recycling bin, courtesy of Simple Human. It’s bomb. So nice to be able to chop shit on the countertop, then casually just slide the waste off the edge and have it fall into a waiting receptacle rather than all over the floor. It’s also nice that we don’t eat up precious floor space with trashcans.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.
An apartment on the second floor of our building is currently being renovated to death (god knows why…this never ends well), and a whole bunch of molding was on its way out to the trash. And our kitchen sports this window. I call it Sad Window. It has no molding. It has an ugly security gate. It has a dusty crooked venetian blind that I have always been too afraid to use. Behold:
It’s the only window in our apartment without nice original moldings, and I dreamt of doing something about it. So when fantasy met opportunity, I struck. And carried all this shit into the house. Max was not pleased.
It was all totally grungy and disgusting. It also had about a million of these terrifying old nails. When you find yourself counting the years since your last tetanus vaccination before embarking on a home-related project, you know you’ve crossed a line.
With the nails removed, I knew that with some careful hacking, I could do my darndest to restore Sad Window. Luckily, I have also recently purchased a mitre saw of my very own (I know! so many tools!). And yeah, I’m kind of fucking amazing with it. They don’t call me Chop Saw Charlie for nothing. In fact, nobody calls me that, it’s idiotic.
I basically just measured, cut the pieces down, and did some careful cobbling together to recreate the original moldings (which was surprisingly complicated, actually. There are a lot of pieces involved in that molding work) and attached them to the walls with finishing nails and construction adhesive. I hate to say things like this, but it really brings a lot of much-needed character back into the kitchen without feeling too contrived, which I like. Once everything’s caulked and painted (yes, someday, it’s all getting painted. I don’t even want to hear it.), it’s going to look amazing.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.
Buying all of these power tools comes at a cost that is felt not only on my credit card (but actually, they’re not as expensive as you might think), but also on our utter lack of storage space. So I needed to do some rearranging in the kitchen. All that really means is that I colonized the pots and pans cabinet and turned it into my personal tool locker. Whoopsie!
This inspired a big move: one day, while under the influence of cold medicine (for a cold, not for recreation. well, kind of for recreation.), I totally manhandled a huge IKEA Pax wardrobe from a corner of our bedroom into the kitchen. It’s the same one I had in my old apartment, and brought it here as a temporary storage measure that has since become permanent. Funny how that happens.
I know, it’s HUGE next to the fridge, and really pretty stupid looking. A note about that fridge: it’s been leaking water into a small tupperware in the back of the fridge section since I moved in. I thought maybe I just needed to defrost the freezer, so one day I unplugged everything and took a hair dryer and melted all of the ice, sopped it up with a towel, the whole bit. I thought I had fixed it. Yet, now it still leaks. I hate this refrigerator with every fiber of my being, and I wish it would just die so we could get a new one. I would be willing to sacrifice the mochi in our freezer for that to happen, seriously I would.
Anyway, back to the wardrobe. Someday, I actually think it could look good if integrated with built-in cabinets and stuff. And it’s actually really great for a kitchen. Totally holds the vacuum and kitchen appliances and even extra linens and some other random stuff. And our ragtag collection of pots and pans! It’s luxurious, to say the least.
Side note: Magic Bullet is the fucking shit. It’s like non-stop smoothy making excitement up in here. Also, if it’s good enough for Courtney Stodden, it’s good enough for me.
So anyway, the kitchen isn’t completely miserable anymore, I guess. It works. It’s ugly, it needs a lot of work, but it’s okay for now. It’s still totally bursting at the seams storage-wise, but it’ll get there. Someday.
And yes, that is a portrait of Martha Stewart chilling up there in the corner. Max painted it a few years ago and I love it. And Martha. We are huge Martha fanboys, and proud.
Oh yeah, janky horrible “temporary” milk-crate shelves are in here now. They’re still ugly, but annoyingly helpful when we’re at such a loss for storage.
Decanters give me faith, though. Someday, we’ll be those people. The people who decant their food and then have a proper shelf to put them on. We’ll get there.