It's taken three weekends of hard work, another of lugging boxes and very square furniture up some very narrow stairs, another day of arrange the contents of those boxes into some semblance of order but we are finally done. And this is my beautiful kitchen.
As I've said before, we are renting this apartment so it's been a balancing act between creating a workable, beautiful, functional kitchen and not spending copious amount of money we are never going to see again. I think we've achieved the former and the online banking app appears to suggest we're not too far off the latter.
We owned the large Ikea Stenstorp Island and the Norden gate leg table along with some (previously horrible brown) Walmart folding metal chairs we spray painted. The fridge and (gas- yes!) stove, which are in really good nick, came with the apartment along with a whole lot of orangey wainscot panelling- that was what we had to work with.
I knew I wanted a preparation 'station' alongside the cooker but originally thought I would reposition the stove into the middle of the wall and keep everything symmetrical with a couple of new smaller Ikea islands either side. But totting up what that was going to cost and coming to realise that the width of the stove and our existing island were exactly, and I mean exactly, the width of that wall I felt that the design Gods were suggesting otherwise.
Adding cabinets was also a must, we have a lot of cupboard space in the pantry (still to be fancied up) but that wasn't really where I wanted to keep heavy traffic items I'd be using regularly such as flour, pasta, spices etc etc. It all starts getting a bit exciting money wise when you considered fitted kitchen cabinets. Even the budget ranges at Ikea, Home Depot and Lowes were coming in at over $100 for a slim wall cabinet, and I wanted two doubles.
America's love of cavernous closets saved the day on this one. ClosetMaid produce a huge line of closet and laundry organising units, cupboard and shelves which are simple, plain and (especially in the Target sale) cheap.
My two double wide units cost me $24.48 each. No that's not a typo. With a few bracket fixings from Home Depot plus some heavy duty wall plugs, screws and my handy new drill, they make for excellent, simple, economical kitchen units.
I'm planning on replacing the handles with something nicer and putting some moulded trim along the top but I imagine I will still be planning to do that in a year's time so we shall see.
The remaining space above the stove houses the microwave shelf and will soon have two more shelves above for cooking books and various kitchen bits and bobs.
With some fresh flowers on the table, potted herbs on the window sill and a brand new butter dish on the island (a Vine household must) I'm starting to feel a bit like baking.