Because we plan to turn the current kitchen into a second bathroom, the new, blended space we call The Colloquium would have to be part kitchen in addition to a living, dining, and music room.
I’ve saved this process for its own post to make sure I have ample space to ramble about all of my neuroses surrounding this new kitchen. I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. Most of the day, really. Three meals to make, three meals to clean up after, plus whatever extra time I may spend for baking or whatnot. Because I’m in there a lot, I think about kitchen stuff a lot.
Planning kitchens is terrifying. It’s not like furniture that you can move around if things don’t work. Unlike our former living and dining rooms, which I switched back and forth as the mood struck me, once the kitchen was final it would be final, and if anything wasn’t quite functional or convenient, it would be All My Fault ™ and there wouldn’t be anything I could do to change it. Not now, not ever. This is the Forever Kitchen, as far as we can conceive, and there won’t be a do-over.
A list of must-haves
To try and control the monster, I made a list of things I felt were absolutely necessary for the space.
Here is my (unedited) list:
a sink the kids can stand at
A place to stow a stool
lots of work/counter space
storage for appliances so they’re not on the counter
hooks for mugs like in GA
The open shelves and mug-hooks we used in our kitchen in our old house in Georgia. I loved both features and was anxious to have them both again.
The stool and “kids sink” is something I noticed when we were over at The Ham House. In that kitchen, though it is very small, there is room for more than one person to stand comfortably at the sink, and because of this, (for some reason) my kids take a special interest in doing the dishes. This was not the case in the current kitchen, which while nicely small, was a little squished where the sink was concerned.
Counter space is self-explanatory, right?
For the last one–about the small appliances–it may be necessary to know that a dislike of appliances is one of my persistent quirks, and I strongly dislike looking at them, to the extent that I once sold our toaster oven at a yard sale and just got by with making toast in the oven (until family stayed with us and bought a small toaster, which I still have, but I try not to look at.) Clear counters are just important to me, so a place to hide appliances is a must.
And I should add–though it’s not listed–I wanted to work in these metal cabinets that we had found and hoped to use as base cabinets. There are three: one 36″ and two 45″.
But really, my biggest concern was that the kitchen would be too big. When a kitchen is small, it is easy to clean, easy to get around, easy to be a forgetful mother of five because you haven’t very far to go to get whatever it was you forgot to grab on your first visit to the refrigerator, etc. A small kitchen minimizes the number of steps you have to take to get from point A to point B, and you get things done more quickly and efficiently. I’ve had nothing but small kitchens for my entire life, and I love them. (I actually have a post in my drafts folder called In Praise of a Small Kitchen which I wrote three years ago but am too embarrassed to publish.)
So I originally hoped to keep everything on one wall, and to have a nice, long table that would double as a workspace and a dining table, like in these homes:
In my mind, the one-wall kitchen would cover all of our bases, yet keep things small and minimalist enough to not make me have to walk everywhere. Plus you can’t beat having the table right next to the work area, particularly when someone keeps forgetting to bring things like cups and napkins and the salt and pepper shakers to the table, which wouldn’t be me, definitely not.
But however well it worked in my head, the one-wall kitchen would not work itself out on paper. And I really tried. Well, mostly. It was those metal cabinets that threw the biggest wrench in the plan.
So I had to start over again.
As I worked, I found–to my dismay–that the kitchen was growing. It was getting bigger. It was taking over one half of The Colloquium.