Cooking Without A Kitchen!

As we already know, my kitchen for the past nearly two years has been a sorry gutted pit of despair. Let’s not dwell on it. If you didn’t already know, here’s a basic rundown. Life comes at you fast sometimes.

While the period between gutting the old kitchen and finishing the new one might be JUST A TAD longer than what a more normal renovation might demand, most kitchen renovations do result in a space that’s temporarily unusable. The classic response to this is often some combination of microwaveable meals and take-out, the latter of which I am ALL ABOUT except for the part where it gets insanely expensive and super unhealthy and, honestly, pickings are slim around these parts. Additionally, I actually do like to cook my own food, especially to wind down a bit at the end of the day!

SO. If you are anything like me, and you might be taking on a kitchen renovation, HEED MY WORDS: give yourself the gift of setting up something efficient and functional in the meantime. It can be tempting to just throw yourself 300% into the renovation while your life disintegrates into squalor around you, but you actually don’t have to make your house a living hell of dysfunction as punishment for trying to make it better long-term. Don’t be a martyr. It’s taken me…a while to learn this.

For me, the most painless way to do this was to set up my dining room as a temporary kitchen. And honestly? It’s not the worst kitchen I’ve ever had!

I turned the dining table the other direction to free up a little space for that honker of a fridge next to the hutch. That big butcher block is my makeshift countertop, and the cookie jar thing holds food scraps for compost. I know they sell containers for this very purpose, but I find that it needs to be emptied because it’s full long before it ever starts to stink, so I like my vintage crock thing.

I gotta hand it to that fridge, by the way—it came from my friend Anna‘s old kitchen and is at least a decade old and aside from a few dents on the door (don’t ask), might as well be brand new. All LG appliances (including televisions!) I’ve ever had have been wonderful. Sometimes I get a little weepy over how great my LG washer and dryer are. On one hand I kind of hope the fridge dies because having a built-in ice-maker would be HEAVEN but at the same time, a new fridge is not an expense I need to incur at this moment. Anyway. Carry on, fridge. A+ work.

The hutch now holds all my everyday dishes, glasses, mugs, mixing bowls, colanders, measuring cups, etc., as well as pantry items! That thing can store so much shit. It’s not the most beautiful display I’ve ever put together, but it’s organized and efficient and works! Good enough!

Speaking of unattractive but organized and efficient displays, here’s what’s happening on the other wall! You might recognize the dresser from my old Brooklyn apartment, but I think it was originally intended to be a server. Those top two drawers are the perfect depth for storing flatware and various cooking utensils like peelers and pastry brushes and measuring spoons and stuff like that. The other drawers hold saran/foil/plastic bags, tupperware, pots, pans, oven mitts, tea towels—I basically have a whole slimmed-down kitchen in there! Those plastic drawers next to it could probably be eliminated, but do hold a few things, and mostly provide a pedestal for the trash so that my adorable and naughty dog doesn’t get into it. That girl is incorrigible.

I have to pause for a second to gush over these little induction cooktops because I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Induction is pretty crazy/amazing technology that I won’t claim to totally understand, but essentially it turns your pot/pan into the heating element, rather than heating the pot with an electric coil or a gas flame. It’s super efficient and precise, and because the cooktop itself doesn’t heat up (although it DOES get hot just from the residual heat of the pan during cooking), the cooktops are incredibly easy to clean—WAY easier than an electric glass cooktop. After a bit of searching around, I bought two of these single-burner cooktops by Waring for just $60 a pop! They make a double-wide version too, but I’m glad I bought these because they can stack and store away easily. For over double the cost, you can buy one with the Cuisinart brand name on it, but it’s literally exactly the same product so don’t do that.

Anyway. I love my little hot plates a lot. The plan for the kitchen is a gas range, but I can totally see myself continuing to use these now and then if I just need to boil some spaghetti or fry an egg or just keep something warm on the lowest setting. Endless opportunities!

Oh also! That leather skillet grip was a Christmas gift from bae and it’s perfect. It was made by locally owned and operated Jay Teske Leather Co.. And now that I’m looking at their website, I want to order about 5 other things…so much nice stuff, gah! I love the way natural leather patinas over time and expect to have it forever. I love that there are so many artists and makers producing stuff like this right out of Kingston. And at $24, I mean, such a good gift idea.

Oh also, also! The marble piece is this pastry slab from Crate & Barrel, which amazingly is still the same $50 as it was when I bought it several years ago. Once I tried to find a less expensive alternative, but this one’s such a great value for the size that I couldn’t beat it.

On top of the microwave (also a hand-me-down from Anna—thanks, pal!) are a few essentials within easy reach! I don’t know what that little teeny tripod bowl is for, but I use it to hold Malden Salt flakes which in my experience make all food taste better. A few cork trivets, paper towels, salt and pepper mills, and I decant olive oil in that little cork-lidded container which is supposed to be a creamer.

Side note: just realized the creamer was designed by Kaj Franck, who also designed my mushroom bowl from my last post!

Side-side-note: who knew BB&B sold iittala?! That little stack of 20% off coupons just got a whole lot more valuable.

In terms of actually cooking instead of just talking about cooking…I have a hard time getting to the grocery store regularly while in the midst of big house projects, and Sun Basket has been a GODSEND. I know, all you wanted today was to read another blogger review a meal delivery service. BUT I have no affiliation whatsoever with them, I just heard about them a few months ago on a podcast about cults like any other normal person and gave it a shot.

It’s been several years since I used a meal kit delivery service (Max and I used to get Blue Apron—also no affiliation), so I’m not sure how far the others have advanced, but Sun Basket is the best as far as I’m concerned. The food is REALLY good, produce is fresh, portions are generous, and I’m always kind of stunned when I look at the calorie counts—each meal is usually somewhere around 500-600 calories but you’d never know and it does not feel at all like diet food. Every week, they put out a menu with 18(!) different meals to choose from, of which you can either pick your selections or let Sun Basket do the work for you by specifying a meal plan. The meal plan thing is AMAZING—there are 8 options like Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, Pescatarian…and gluten-free! This is a big deal for me. Bae needs to be gluten-free, so consequently I end up being mostly gluten-free, and figuring out what to cook is hard enough already without throwing dietary restrictions into the mix. Sun Basket’s gluten-free meals have made that transition a billion times easier and unquestionably tastier. You can also skip as many weeks of delivery as you want, get 2, 3, or 4 recipes each week that can feed either 2 or 4 people! I have mine set up for three recipes a week for two people ($78), but it’s easy to bump up to 4 recipes or down to 2 if the spirit moves me. Each delivery comes with a little recipe book containing all the recipes from that week, so you can reconstruct and cook ones that you didn’t even order to try out. They’re actually good enough that you want to do that, for real!

The cooking part is nice, by the way. It’s never too complicated, but is involved enough that you really feel like you’ve made something instead of just tossing some pre-measured stuff together. Typically recipes will require 1 or 2 pots/pans and rarely do they call for the use of an oven, which is convenient because I don’t have one. I do have a lil bitty toaster oven, though, and that’s usually fine for whatever the recipe’s asking me to do. It really just works out well all around!

ALSO JUST SAYING: if you were considering trying out Sun Basket, now is a good time because they’re running a promo for $40 off your first order! And if you follow this link to place your order, I’ll get a $40 credit too, which I would not complain about.

Try Sun Basket. Feed me. Win-win.

Annnndddd while I’m just recommending ways to spend your money left and right, I just got a bottle of this stuff and it’s SO GOOD. Expensive and SO GOOD. I’m gonna have to experiment with trying to make my own because I cannot afford for this to be a habit, but I’ve never used something that cleans and protects a wood countertop in one fell swoop, and I just want to smear it all over every wood product I own. Liquid. Motherfucking. GOLD.

So there it is! The irony of gutting a pretty decent kitchen with the goal of building a better kitchen and then ending up living with this for two years isn’t lost on me. But I do feel like this “kitchen” has actually taught me a lot about what I actually need rather than simply want, and has really forced me to evaluate the utility of each and every kitchen item I own—it’s amazing how much extraneous stuff we can justify when we have the space for it. Also, just IMAGINE how luxurious my expanses of countertop will feel after becoming so accustomed to this set-up. I won’t even know what to do with it all.

The ounce of shame I have left will not allow me to show the dishwasher strapped to a stud in the kitchen to keep it from tipping over and draining into a five gallon bucket that I dump in the backyard because the kitchen sink still isn’t plumbed, so I’ll just let your imagination run wild with how fancy that is. Related: what the hell is wrong with all plumbers? That’s not a question that needs an answer, just one that I ponder constantly. LET ME GIVE YOU MONEY TO DO THE THING THAT YOU DO TO MAKE MONEY. PLEASE.

Anyone ever plumbed a kitchen sink? Asking for a friend.


  1. I hope your friend finds an answer. I have that issue here in PA too. It took me almost three months to find someone to install a heat pump hot water heater and even he had never done it before but researched it for me. You just need plumbing up a sink. (that took several calls and trips too though).

    Those little induction cooktops also save ENERGY so def keep them for the simple things in the future. You’ll be happy you did.

    • Yes, for sure! So handy! And portable!!

      The plumbing thing is bonkers—I think my fatal flaw is that I was trying to wait until everything could be done at once, thinking that would be more cost-efficient for me and attractive to a plumber since they’re so hard to pin down if you just need some little thing done. But now the list is long and I think it’s overwhelming…I’ve now had multiple guys out who spend time going over everything and seem great and then just never even follow up with a quote. I think it’s just too many little things and it’s hard for them to wrap their minds around and…I don’t know, but something’s gotta give here! In the meantime I’ve started just chipping away at it because a lot of it isn’t that hard and it’s just gotta get done at this point. It’s so frustrating to do this for a living and be having this problem, but here I am! Ugh.

      • Maybe you can trick them with one job and then, “Hey, while you’re here….” :D

  2. Ah yes, I remember to well the (un)joy of washing dishes in the bathroom sink next to the toilet for the six months we had no functioning kitchen a couple of years back. Short of having a sink in the dining room, you are pretty much set up for everything you really need.

    The C&B marble pastry slabs are very practical and well priced. I used two of them as table tops (on 70s chrome bases) for our side tables in our NY apartment. Nobody knew they were as inexpensive as they were.

    • I’ve used them for table tops too!!

      • I love my crate and barrel marble! But because I’m so damn picky, I NEEDED mine to be as close to pure white marble as possible. Because they are cheap (aka not pure and perfect) they have a lot of gray marbling. So there I am in the store, the classic crazy blonde lady, making the poor stock boy take out of the box every 50lb marble piece they had in stock, so I could find the one with the least amount of gray marbling in it. Maybe I’m a little high maintenance, but hey I got my white marble board.

    • Whoa, stealing this idea! They really are the perfect size, aren’t they? :D

  3. Ok, you can’t just drop a name without introduction! Bae? Tell!!

    • Hahaha, I’ve mentioned him before! I met a nice boy, what else ya need to know?? ;)

      • Subtle! I was also dying to know the details as a bored soccer mom. Congrats on love, hope he’s

  4. Ok, you convinced my to finally try the meal delivery service, but really only because I got $40 which gives you $40 off and because you said it was easy and delicious. Two of my favorite things! It’s so nice we can help each other out like this! :)

  5. Here’s a recipe from a Mommy blog for cleaner/sanitizer for wood. Rosemary or lavender oil would work!

    • Oh nice, thank you! I’ve made mixes similar to this, but the thing I love about the cleaner in this post is that it doesn’t really separate (although still recommends shaking before use) which I don’t understand with oil and vinegar! I wonder how different this is. I’ll try it out!

      • It’s the glycerin that keeps them from separating! I like the description of that wood tonic but it’s walnut oil based and as a person with a walnut/pecan sensitivity I feel like I shouldn’t tempt fate by rubbing it into everything in my kitchen ;)

        I have a beeswax/oil paste that my sister mixed for me that I’ve used on my wood utensils but I might make up some of the cleaner, polish in that recipe above but I know olive oil can go rancid which leaves mineral oil.

      • Ah, glycerin! The missing link! I really wish I had applied myself more in high school chemistry!

    • Ha, I priced out ingredients in that recipe… and then bought the original anyway :) Amazon just makes it too easy! Besides, I have to figure out if I like something before going to the effort of making it.. right? Right?! Thanks for being an enabler, Daniel! My neglected butcher block countertops are grateful!

  6. So much smarter than we were when we reno’ed our kitchen…’fridge ended up in the garage…imagine traipsing through the kitchen-in-progress and carpenters every morning in pjs to fix cereal to eat on the bedroom floor and wash up in the bathroom sink. So smart, you! I gave up cooking altogether, except for breakfast cereal.

  7. I am so happy for you! We demo’d the 70s kitchen in my 1866 farmhouse 2 years ago in January and we faced some of these kitchen swap around issues. Cracked ceiling beams and missing joists, ugh… Anyway… Be aware of hanging something to protect your wall behind your little burners from spatter. We had drywall up and neglected to do anything, thinking Killz would solve the problem. We have had to cut out the whole sheet and redo that section – tape, spackle, primer and all. Good luck!

    • Yikes, noted! This wall is plaster so that would REALLY suck! I’ve found a magic eraser pretty effective but admittedly haven’t been too fussy about it because the walls are pretty beat up in this room from all the renovations everywhere, and it’s gonna need a new paint job when the kitchen dust finally settles and I can reclaim it as a dining room. I also assumed a good cleaning and primer would make it all OK!

      • I have plaster too and had some splatters on the kitchen ceiling. washing/magic eraser before our kitchen reno didn’t do a thing. i had to use that really stinky shellac primer to cover and it was too cold to have the windows open! be smart, clean them right away or cover the walls.

      • You could just put up some wipeable contact paper on the walls behind it–easy to put up, easy to take down, and CHEAP.

  8. 1) add an instant pot (electric pressure cooker) to your set up. I use mine more than I ever would have imagined.

    2). Food52 uses induction in their kitchens. In my minimalist ideas for a future kitchen I would have 2 gas burners, 1 induction burners, and room for an instant pot under an exhaust hood.

    • Pressure cooker! This is a kitchen thing I know nothing about except vaguely how it works. If you don’t mind…what do you use it for?? What do you not use it for? I’m interested in them but they also remain one of life’s big mysteries for me!

      • I don’t have one but I have been coveting one for ages and as far as I can tell from scouring places like Serious Eats: Pressure Cookers are pretty amazing for anything that goes in a largeish saucepan or dutch oven and takes a little while to cook. So, soups, stews, curries, chillies, stocks, dried beans, dulce de leche… I think I might have seen bread occasionally but that seems a little out there so I dunno. I’m SUPER interested in the stock thing because a good stock is hardish to find in shops (especially beef stock, which is mostly faked with yeast) and can take hours just done on the hob.

      • Oh my god, I got an Instant Pot a month ago after trying one out at a friend’s house and it’s been a GAME CHANGER. It’s my busy season at work and I’m working 12 hour days and just don’t have the energy to cook, or the pre-coffee organizational skillz required to throw stuff in a slow cooker before work (though this thing also is a slow cooker). And I am not a kitchen gadget person at all. And the Instant Pot makes the BEST baby back ribs! 3 lbs of ribs in 30 minutes, slather on some BBQ sauce, stick them under the broiler (or in your toaster oven) for a minute, and they’re perfect. (I may be making ribs for the 4th time in 10 days as I type this, they’re that good.)

        Anyway, I like to make big batches of carnitas or chicken or whatever to eat throughout the week and I can batch cook more than one thing in an hour or two that would normally take forever to cook. And I like that when I’m making something like pot roast, I can use the saute function to brown the meat right in the pot, so less pans to wash.

        Anyway, I’m a convert. This thing is straight up witchcraft. You should get one!

      • Oh, and I should add that old skool pressure cookers scare the shit out of me, but the Instant Pot makes it pretty impossible to burn/blow yourself up.

      • Instant Pot (DUO Plus 60)! Get one. Really! :D

        (There’s good reason why this thing has a cult following, its truly awesome.)

      • OH! Everything that Meredith and Lori said! I bought an Instant Pot a couple of years ago….the six quart duo. A pressure cooker cooks things quickly and retains more of the nutritional value of your foods than any other cooking method. Stove top pressure cookers are not a thing that an easily distracted person such as myself should ever be allowed to use but the Instant Pot? It’s idiot proof! My daughter, who has managed to destroy a pot just boiling water in it, uses the one that we gave her and her hubs for Christmas last year. She hasn’t blown it up or broken it yet. The son-in-law loves the thing. And my son got his for Christmas this year and it’s getting quite the workout at his place. He says it would be totally worth it if he used it for nothing more than hard boiled eggs and “boiled” potatoes. Hard boiled eggs slip out of their shell like magic! I liked mine so much that I bought the right quart size as soon as it came out…..that turkey carcass made fabulous stock in no time flat in that baby. And you want beans for dinner but forgot to soak your dried beans overnight? You can “presoak” them in the Instant Pot in about 10 minutes. Can you tell that I’m hooked on the Instant Pots? We live in south Louisiana where it’s humid and hot much of the year. Using the Instant Pot doesn’t heat up the house the way using the stove or oven does. I think Amazon has the six quart duo for $89 right now.

      • JEEZ! Thanks everyone!! I feel so woke. I want it.

      • Instant pot for the win! It is straight-up an amazing tool (rice cooker, slow cooker, pressure cooker, saute pan…) and super energy efficient.
        The internet is rife w/ IP recipes and blogs, but these two cookbooks are my fave, and a good place to start: and

      • Bone broth! Carnitas! Whole chickens! Steaming artichokes! All such good things. Instant Pot forever and ever, amen.

      • I am adding to the Instant Pot band wagon. Have you ever had the Starbuck’s egg bites? I make them in the IP in just a couple minutes on steam. Also cheesecake. Also, a fully frozen whole chicken will be falling off the bone in 30 min. I have the 6 quart and it’s amazing. I gave one to friends and every time I go to their house, I get hugs and told that I changed their life. All because of the Instant Pot. Get one. Also, I like every This Old Gal recipe for IP on Facebook and I think she just came out with a cookbook too. Check Amazon.

  9. I wouldn’t give up that fridge – everyone I know has had the ice maker break in the first few years of owning it and it was expensive to fix. Most just left it not working, and it took up a lot of room in the freezer. I had a lot of trouble finding a fridge without and just invested in good ice trays.

    • true! sometimes bells and whistles just lead to more problems. I’m now remembering the PITA ice maker in the 90s suburban kitchen i grew up in…great when it worked, total headache when it broke!

  10. That looks…surprisingly workable. Maybe a little too workable if it were me. I’d be all like, “Yep, don’t need a kitchen after all, kids. Just don’t go into that room over there, and everything will be fine! Eat your spaghetti!”

    • Hahaha, every time I move anything around in here the boyfriend has that EXACT fear. It’s a fine line between making things OK and making things a little too OK!!

  11. YES re: plumbers! My parents are currently living with us (looong story), and we’ve been working on a half-bath install which is now necessity. Took weeks to find a plumber to tie in to the main line. We did all remaining work over a couple of months, and everything has been finished since February. But finding someone to put in the flange and install because I could not take on another freaking thing? Forever. He came last week, was a jerk, and then I realized he threw away the faucet I had him take off the pedestal sink and which I was planning on using to upgrade our main bath. Ugh.

    • OY VEY. Yeah, sometimes the communication issues aren’t even worth the trouble. Beeeeeeen there.

  12. Ooooh your LG fridge looks like the one I had in Germany. Could you, would you, please tell me about that freezer section? I have always loved my German one because it had a shallow pull out tray for freezing berries and then 3 drawers for organizing your food. Loved it and had always wished I could find an LG model like that here in the USA. So details please……

    • Ohhh, that does sound nice! This one is basically one big pull-out drawer, with two shallower upper sections—one for ice and one for…other stuff. The ice section is kind of dumb, since you still have to fill the trays which are really shallow and therefore I can’t do it without spilling water everywhere, so I use regular ice cube trays instead. There’s also a compartment built into the door for smaller stuff. I wish it were more like what you’re describing, but I don’t keep a lot of frozen foods around so it’s been fine enough! I feel like I’ve seen set-ups like you’re describing with newer models though…Samsung, maybe? KitchenAid?

      • Rats, I was really hoping that is was my long lost German LG…. I woulda come and bought it off of you in a heartbeat!! Thanks tho…. someday…

    • We have this cute little guy that has freezer shelves as you described, A!
      If you look at the freezer area in the interior photo, there’s a very shallow white pull-out tray above the bigger drawers (I believe they call it the ice cube tray, but it’s just flat inside, you’d add your own cube trays). I love the entire refrigerator though! We were constantly loosing food in our old giant fridge. Things would get shoved to the back and out of sight, out of mind (until it rotted)! This one is the perfect size if you shop for fresh food on the regular.

  13. Oh my gosh, you’re saving my bacon…I needed this post! We’re starting demo on our kitchen next weekend and I have to set up my makeshift kitchen before that. Thank you for the kick in the pants and the ideas. Also I can’t WAIT to see what’s going on with your kitchen. I notice you’re holding that action a little close to the vest. Feel free to inundate us with pictures and videos ;)

    • Eek, good luck!! The kitchen IS actually finally coming along, it’s just that none of it looks very interesting! I’ve been working my ass off on it, though—I’ll post an update soon. Just don’t expect beauty yet!!

  14. I really like your temporary kitchen! It looks surprisingly workable. Good luck with the plumber thing.

  15. Well at lest you get to have your nice hutch in your ‘kitchen’ for awhile.

    From the photos, it looks like that room, with all its windows and natural light, makes a great kitchen room. Which makes me wonder if you ever considered making that room the kitchen and the kitchen into the dining room? I know it’s too late in the process now, but I’m just curious if you thought about it, and what those thoughts were. I always find myself looking at house listing photos and saying to myself how I’d flip the various rooms’ usages around to fit my needs (and my furniture.)

    • I never thought about it seriously, no, although the idea has been floated to me before! I guess for me it mostly comes down to just liking the rooms where they already are…just makes sense to me and the way we live in this house. I think of centrally located kitchens as a very new construction phenomenon…nothing wrong with it, but this just isn’t that kind of house! The dining room is definitely supposed to be more grand and formal (not pictured in this post, but it’s also the room with the arched bay window), whereas the kitchen is clearly a more modest early addition. The finished kitchen will have even more natural light than the dining room, though, so I think it’ll all feel good when it’s put back together!

      • Makes sense – I like the kitchen in back, too. I just thought, seeing all your kitchen stuff in the dining room, that since the dining room is larger than the kitchen (or so I think) that it could have more easily accommodated all the stuff you wanted in your original kitchen sketch – the big island, and your hutch. The kitchen would then have made a sweet dining room with a little stove in the fireplace, and double french glass doors on either side of the fireplace leading out to the (future) deck. (Obviously, that’s not a suggestion for you at this point, but for others contemplating kitchen/house renovations.). Can’t wait to see photos of your kitchen progress in an upcoming post!

  16. Lol, I plumbed my kitchen sink – and by that I mean I connected the pipe between the sink and the waste which was already there (handily it came from Blanco with a little instruction diagram thingy). Anyway, so far so good. Hubby installed the tap, but we did have to get a plumber to move the connection for us (and replace the pipe that hubby accidentally hammered a nail into through the wall… Let’s call this one a draw.

    Induction is super awesome. I have both induction and gas in my kitchen (because I live in a country where the power is produced by a corrupt parastatal mess and therefore, is not particularly reliable). However, in the 99% of the time when the lights are on, I prefer to cook on the induction. It’s quicker, easier to control, much easier to clean after, just all round great. Except for stir-fries. That’s better on the gas, for some reason the induction does a rubbish job of that.

    • Ha! Yeah, hooking up a sink to existing waste/supply doesn’t scare me, I just don’t really want to run the waste from the sink into the main line! It’s not especially rational. Plumbing is probably the least interesting part of renovation work to me and I just want someone to take this one thing off my plate!

      Re: stir fry (wait, am I about to try to give cooking advice??), are you using a wok? If so, is it flat-bottomed or rounded? I actually just took a little stir-fry workshop with this great chef and she said that flat-bottomed woks are nearly always more appropriate for a home cook regardless of your cooktop situation, but that seems especially true for induction because you need more of the surface area of the pan in contact with the “burner” for the induction technology to work. I only ask because I stir fry all the time now, and I feel like my induction thingies are great for it!!

      • Lol, the bit about the sink was tongue in cheek, it wasn’t complicated at all and I assumed your situation was more involved.

        The wok is a flat bottomed carbon steel one. To be honest I only tried it on the induction once – for its maiden voyage, so I’m not sure if the burning/sticking issue was user error, perhaps it needed to be seasoned first? It works well on the gas now, so perhaps I’ll give it another try on the induction next time I make stirfry. Thanks for the advice!

  17. It does look very nice. I highly recommend induction. We had a propane tank for heat, hot water and cooking, but it cost SO MUCH (no fracking here) and we were always freezing in winter with the heat on max. So we switched to all-electric. And that got us an induction stove. It’s like magic! Love it!!! Can’t say enough how great it is, how precise and easy to use. We even put induction in our AirBnB rentals, because if we love it that much, other people should also get to use it.
    Please tell your buddy Anna it’s been far too long since she has written a word. Or has she switched URLs and I am not au courant?
    I lived for two years with two gas burners connected to a little bottle that was extremely heavy when I needed to get a new one (and no car), and no running water or electricity. One makes do. I managed to find a way to make pizza and brownies, without an oven. Well, I jury-rigged an oven over a burner. I survived, but I don’t recommend it. Mod cons are nice.

  18. I highly, highly, highly recommend a pull out drawer for your trash and recycling in your new kitchen it you haven’t already planned on it. It’s really the best solution for the dog trash problem. If that’s not feasible, then a splurge on one of those metal Simple Human trash cans is in your future. Before my pull out trash bins I had the Simple Human can, three dogs never got in to it and even though I don’t need it anymore I’ve kept it in storage because at over a decade old it is just the best trash can ever, especially for dog owners.

    I also never though I’d be singing the praises of a trash can to the inter webs, but here I am…

    • I’m going to have to get a pull out drawer for trash when we finish our kitchen because I thought I solved my dog/trash problem when I got my beautiful tall steel trash can with a lid BUT then I got a new dog who figured out how to tip the thing over! Now the lid is wonky and I have to keep it in the stairwell to the attic when I’m not home (So really it’s there 97% of the time and I have to open the door to the stairs every time I want to throw stuff in the trash which really means I leave it on the counter until there’s a pile big enough to bother).

    • Know what you mean exactly – I was singing the praises of my Simple Human trash can as my favorite thing in my kitchen in my last place. And I don’t even have a dog to worry about. And I also still have mine stored away, even though in my current place I haven’t got any room for it on the kitchen floor, because I’ll hopefully be able to use it again in my next place.

      While a pull-out one could solve the dog problem, and I have had one for recycling bins I liked (I installed some Ikea pull-outs in a lower cabinet), when cooking I far prefer to have a foot pedal garbage can on the floor so I can use it hands-free (unlike a pull-out) – if pets getting into it, or tipping it over, aren’t an issue.

    • YES to pull-out trash! Grew up with them, installed them in brooklyn, installed them in my stop-gap kitchen renovation here…tis the only way! That’s why I bought the cheapest trashcan at Lowe’s for the interim, but deluded myself into believing that plastic lid would deter a pit bull with a taste for kitchen waste. My bad!

  19. I’ve installed a sink! I’m in Scotland, so not sure if plumbing is exactly the same, but look up push-fit plastic plumbing connectors and flexible plastic pipe. So much easier than soldering copper pipes! You can’t use them with highly pressurised mains water though, if you have that you’ll need copper pipe, compression joints and lots of PTFE tape. I bet all the names are different in the US, but you should have an equivalent. With your DIY experience you’d be great. Find a decent online tutorial, always use tape in compression joints and be prepared for leaks on joints (they always need tightened again even when you think they’re as tight as possible!), and embrace plastic glue-together drainpipes and there’s no reason you couldn’t do it yourself. Warning: sinks are straightforward. Ish. Showers and toilets are not. Do not be lured into thinking success with a kitchen sink means you can install a bathroom. (I mean, you can, with actual tears and blood and panicked moments when you think you cut a hole in the water pipe, but don’t, for your own sanity!)

    • I don’t think it’s that different! I’ve used Pex (the flexible-ish plastic pipe) lots of times, it’s more getting the waste line right that kinda freaks me out! Then again, it’s just PVC…I guess if I do a shit job it can just all get cut out and redone and it’s no enormous loss. Wish me luck!

  20. This looks fairly similar. You might need to move the pipes to the right place, but according to your kitchen diagram the pipes aren’t that far from the sink.

    • Ah, sorry I should have been more specific—actually installing the sink doesn’t intimidate me, it’s just getting the plumbing where it needs to be that does! The new sink location is on the opposite side of the room as the old sink, so there’s really no way to just easily tie into existing plumbing.

      • We used pex pipe too. The drain pipes here are pvc with special glue that smells of fish, called something like plastic cement. Once you get the pipes over to the existing water and drain supply (under the cupboards or under the floor) you just cut the pipe and put in a new t-joint for the new connection. Oh, and put valves under the sink so you can easily turn the water off in case you ever have a leaky tap and want to take it off!

  21. I love kitchen made up of distinctly non-kitchen-y looking furniture. That dresser sounds very practical as well as being way more handsome than a boring Ikea jobby. Also who’s the lovely print above the induction hobs by, pretty please?

  22. Wait! There are podcasts about cults? Please tell us more! Also, was the cult using the meal delivery service or is that a dumb question?

    • Oh GURL are there podcasts about cults! Including one just called “Cults” but for me it was kind of dry. The one I was listening to was Heaven’s Gate (I guess the name gives away the subject matter!)—super fascinating. There are a lot of more true crime kinds of podcasts where they sometimes cover a cult story (Last Podcast on the Left, Sword and Scale, Reveal) but the podcast isn’t always cults…sometimes just good old fashioned murder and other ways human beings are insane and terrible to each other. Fun timessss! Oh, and I wish I could say that Heaven’s Gate was ordering Sun Basket because that would be hysterical, but alas they were just advertisers on the show.

      ALSO, not a podcast, but if you’re into cults (you know, in an observer kind of way)…YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST watch Wild Wild Country on Netflix. PHENOMENAL.

      • Oh my god, I love that you have so much cult-entertainment knowledge! I’m disappointed that Heaven’s Gate wasn’t ordering Sun Basket, but super excited to explore those podcasts and even more excited about Wild Wild Country! I’m starting tonight. Thanks so much!

  23. Okay.. I’m not the one that suggested you buy an instant pot but I’ll answer. This is not your grandma’s pressure cooker. Honestly, I use mine for everything from soup to cheesecake. It has changed my life in the kitchen. It makes fantastic yogurt, fall-off-the-bone ribs, it’s a rice cooker, dried beans without overnight soaking, pot roasts that will make you miss home, curries that make India envious, did I mention cheesecake? Lot’s of those things that once went into the oven are now done in my instant pot.

    One of the biggest advantage is that you put the stuff in the pot, set it and forget it until it is done. It will keep things warm until you let off the steam. No more having to babysit and stir for things that were done on the stove top. It does have a slow cooker function also but I don’t use it.

    There are huge groups on facebook that trade recipes. Check it out.

  24. How’s the cooking time on those 120v induction plates? I want to put a double in a little Air B&B suite I’m planning

    What’s got you vexed on kitchen sink plumbing? Seems totally within your wheelhouse from what I’ve seen. I just ran pex lines to my kitchen sink, was going to do those bendy copper stub outs (via Milwaukee pex tool…$400 but SO worth it) but to leave some room for insulation as it was an exterior 2×4 wall, I opted for dog-ear fittings (pex to threaded with a quick 90 degree bend) and threaded brass stubouts. Valves thread on, then your braided lines or bent chrome-plated copper if it’s exposed and your’re feeling extra fancy.

    For the drain, first pick height by considering sink depth and whether or not you want a disposal. I used ABS and it’s pretty foolproof. The under-sink plumbing gets tricky but just buy more pipes than you think you’ll need. It’s just a matter of cutting to fit and putting it all together via threaded compression fittings.

    • The cooking time is FANTASTIC! Very fast, and responds so quickly to adjusting the temperature, and cooks evenly…seriously, no complaints. They don’t boil water in like 3 seconds flat like I’ve seen on youtube, but still faster than a gas or electric range.

      You’re right about the plumbing stuff, I just gotta get over it and do it. It’s seriously just that I don’t want to more than anything else because it doesn’t sound fun to me, haha! There’s nothing inside me that wants to mess around for hours with PVC. Electric? Gimme. Running Pex for supply lines, sure. Cutting into my 4″ cast iron waste line in the basement? Hard pass. But hey…sometimes we do shit we don’t want to do so we can do the things we do want to do, and I DO want to rinse vegetables without having to run upstairs every goddamn time, sooooooooooo. Send me strength.

  25. Gotta love a post that ends with me laughing out loud. Cheers and thank you for a great post as always

  26. I love my Sunbasket so much it’s gross. I also have no affiliation with them, but you’d definitely think they pay me to proselytize the way I’m always trying to talk my family into signing up. Maaaaan, I love them.

    And plumbers, man… I don’t even know. The only sub I’ve found to be worse (forever and always without any exceptions ever) is glass installers. Like, how hard is a sheet of mirror? If your job is literally just to install mirror? It is the only thing you do and yet you CANNOT DO IT AS IF YOU HAVE OPPOSABLE THUMBS.

    • omg thank you for chiming in—I sing the praises of Sun Basket constantly!! I EVEN LIKE THE BOX IT COMES IN. I KEEP ALL THE LITTLE SCREW TOP CONTAINERS FOR BITS AND BOBS. They do such a good job.

      So funny about glass installers—I have had some of the WORST interactions with them, like to the point that they were just so needlessly rude and condescending that I’ve walked out which I NEVER do. Luckily we have one place in town where at least one person is really nice, so now they have all my business. I didn’t realize it was a broader trend!

  27. Sorry to be nosey Daniel, but who is Bae? Good job with the makeshift kitchen. It’s nightmarish getting things like this done, but it’s the time to get everything put right after the renewal that gets to me, little pots of excess kitchen hinges etc set amongst your beautiful new herb pots….for weeks after Keep up the postings! Glad your back after your hiatus, almost took a detour from a business trip to Toronto to find out if your were okay!

    • Haha, I think Bae is just millennial-speak for a boyfriend/girlfriend/etc., or depending on context just someone who’s hot. I just like to refer to my boyfriend that way because I think it’s funny even if nobody else does and also because saying “boyfriend” over and over again is annoying and also because I’d like to keep that part of my life a bit more private than I perhaps have in the past, but also it would be weird to create the illusion that I’m single when I’m not?

  28. …….. “this “kitchen” has actually taught me a lot about what I actually need rather than simply want, and has really forced me to evaluate the utility of each and every kitchen item I own”

    My husband and I lived in an apartment in Harlem that had to have it’s entire gas line re-plumbed, so we lived without gas for over a year. While we did not have to actually move out of the kitchen like you did, and had a working sink and dishwasher, the whole experience taught us A LOT about what we need and do not need in a kitchen. Which came in really handy when we recently bought an apartment in Riverdale with a kitchen the size of a postage stamp. Evidently, we don’t need most of our kitchen stuff.

    Well done for making a “temporary” space not only functional, but elegant as well. I expect nothing less from you.

  29. Well, no wonder SunBasket is so good! It is the Chef from Slanted Door, which is infamous on the “other” coast. We will have to take you there sometime. Looking forward to the story of the new kitchen, and what happens to the old dining room, aka intermediate kitchen, sometimes also referred to as FDRNH (I know, hard to pronounce, but shorter than Future Dining Room Nesting Here).

  30. Not sure if you are actually looking for a solution to the dog-trash issue, by for my pit, Duke, we have a metal simple human with the munchkins child safety straps on it. My dog definitely tried to get through the straps but then gave up. Now even if we forget to lock it up before we leave the house (happens all the time) he still sees the straps on and doesn’t bother.

  31. For butcher block I’ve been using Howard’s stuff since reading this blog post from Old Town Home. Alex is no slouch when it comes to researching products.—Butcher-Block-Oil-Treatment-Update/

    • Ya know, I’ve used Howard’s products for years and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever tried that one! If it’s Alex-endorsed I’ve learned to trust it. :)

      • Another big thumbs up here for Howard’s Butcher Block Conditioner. I slather it on food-prep wood surfaces and on any dry wood that’s lost its luster. I even used it on a small outdoor boot bench (an extravagance, but no regrets). It glows now. Great stuff.

  32. 1. I used an induction burner like yours during our kitchen remodel, and I agree – they are awesome. I do use it for pasta and canning and whatever even with my new kitchen being done enough to use.

    2. The dishwasher strapped to a stud which drains into a five gallon bucket? That is brilliant! I’m sure you are looking forward to having an actual sink and different set up, but wow. Go you.

    3. Thanks for making me laugh and giving great ideas of how to spend my money right and left.

  33. I have a waring blender for no other reason than this:
    Fredrick Malcolm Waring (June 9, 1900 — July 29, 1984) was a popular musician, bandleader and radio-television personality, sometimes referred to as “America’s Singing Master” and “The Man Who Taught America How to Sing.”He was also a promoter, financial backer and namesake of the Waring Blendor, the first modern electric blender on the market.

  34. Do you have a post about your dining room table? It’s lovely and I’d like to know more about it.

    • I don’t think I ever wrote a post specifically about it, but it’s originally from IKEA! I bought it secondhand, so it’s actually about 20 years old. It’s called the NORDEN…I can’t figure out if they still make this size, but the smaller size is still on the IKEA site so maybe they do? Unfortunately I think it’s one of those products where the overall quality declined over the years as they made small changes to the design to keep the price point low (IKEA regularly does this), but it really is a great table—solid wood, nice finish, super sturdy, etc.

  35. It sounds like maybe you’re psyching yourself up to do the waste pipe tie-in yourself. If so, maybe this video will help – I know all this stuff all looks so easy in the video and it never really works out so quickly and all that, but it seems like there are a couple of good tips.

  36. I cannot believe that you found iittala in BB & B. I have to find my coupons and get over there!! Thanks for the tip.

  37. Kindly-meant warning ahead: I once had an apt kitchen with a microwave on a vintage dresser and the hot air from the vent on the microwave turned the finish white and eventually it started peeling off. Also, between your endorsement of induction cooking and Victoria Elizabeth Barnes’ breakdown on same a while back, I am now seriously considering getting one of those ‘hotplates’ for cooking in the summer. Gas cooktops in the South in the summer are way too hot!

  38. I love that butcher block where did you get it :)

  39. When you do finally get a new fridge, think hard about auto ice-maker. They’re noisy and they break down a LOT. Even LG. :) Plus you can now get ice trays in very cool shapes, like huge squares and cannonballs!

  40. Just hooked you up with $40 at SunBasket! Can’t wait to try my first meal subscription!

  41. Just read comments and add another fan of the instant pot but I love mine the most for yogurt.

  42. I love following your reno so much, it makes my house seem so much less crazy. After almost three years of plywood countertops, I am finally getting to order real ones!! Luckily I have one of those metal sink cabinets from the 50s with the built in drainboards so that helped immensely. I also ordered my bf two skillet grips and he is so excited! Keep the posts comin’ :)

  43. Just ordered my SunBasket. Such a win because I’ve wanted to try them anyway and a chance to support one of my favorite bloggers was the perfect excuse. Thanks for posting.

  44. Hi Daniel,where did you get your striped chopping board? I LOVE IT! Thank you in advance x

    • Sorry to say, Habitat for Humanity ReStore! It doesn’t have any manufacturer marking! I think it’s maple and walnut—i’m sure there are good similar ones online!!

  45. Ok- Christophers “The Furniture Bible” is my FAVORITE book…it never leaves my shop table (along with pierre’s faux book) but I had no idea he made these products. Crap. Now I must have some. If you find a good DIY recipe please share!
    *Side Note: I’ll prolly be ‘feeding you’ cuz we’ve been lookin for a good Blue Apron replacment & this looks promising!

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