(small) Kitchen Talk

11 April 2013

(I always say Home Depot ... learn something new every month!)

I know! Sponsored posts have ugly reputations ... but the beauty of blogs is that you don't ever have to read a single post if you don't want to! But ... I would love your input here because you all generally have rock solid advice for Clueless Patton.

Way back 1.7 years ago when we lived in Wichita we rented the cutest house with an abnormally large kitchen. It had everything we didn't need ... an island with space for two stools (why did I want to say little benches?), an appliance garage (first I'd ever ever heard of those), special cabinets for cookie sheets, a huge pantry with roll out drawers (as opposed to drawers that don't roll), and TONS and tons and tons of storage. I looked in my photo folder from the summer of 2010 and found some evidence of the grandeur ...

the wall color was a little loud but apparently we loved it because the first thing we did when we moved into our house in Saint Louis was paint (ahem ... Simon's parents painted) the kitchen almost the exact same screamer ...

(we also upgraded from a Keurig to a Mr. Coffee and let the previous owners keep their original caffeinated artwork)

So! Now we're working with this kitchen situation ...

and let's not forget my favorite detail ...

really wish I'd have met the previous owners ... I'd love to get a play-by-play of the conversation that determined this decision.

Anyway, I love our kitchen but I have to be honest in admitting that a great majority of our stuff is still downstairs in the storage room because we have no place to put it. I was REALLY excited when I saw that the contraption to hang pots and pans from was left because that has saved us a ton of space but other than that I just cram stuff in the super shallow cabinets and let Sebastian reorganize when the spirits moves him which is every single hour. Also, those leeeedle tiny drawers in between the dishwasher and the oven? What are they for? Foil and .... spaghetti noodles?

Do any of you have an island or a butcher block in a small kitchen? Or did you get creative and gut an old dresser for more shelf space? I'd go searching on Pinterest but .... I get overwhelmed one pin in and after six seconds I tend to click over to the humor pins because me + DIY = ugly.

Thanks for reading and thanks for helping!

(and triple thanks for all the dinner ideas over on the Facebook page ... I have no more "can you just grab a little something from the cafeteria?" excuses. None.)


  1. we bought an island for our small kitchen (i still need to do a house tour post..).. we got it on amazon, and i HAD TO HAVE IT (hear that husband?!) andddddd now i feel like it looks cheesy, and wish we'd save to put a real island in. it's not on wheels or anything. but meh. the island's cabinets are in your face white. while the real cabinets in our kitchen are off-white. basically our kitchen needs a LOT of help. i think we're going to attempt to paint the cabinets and maybe add a backsplash? (pray for us!)

    oh, and we had decorative THEME (think utensils/ laundry on the line/ tools) lightswitch plates in our house. we met the previous owners...it all makes sense. oh and wallpaper borders! wallpaper borders in closets. YUP.

    so basically i am no help here? just sympathizing? sure.

  2. Not sure if you have the space for it, but we use a baker's rack to hold all our extra "stuff" that didnt get tossed. I'm obsessed with throwing things out right now...a decision I'm sure I'll regret post-nesting. But anyway, it works for us!

  3. If you're not in love with the painting (or at least its placement) above the coffee pot, maybe some sort of shelving/hooks would work there? For coffee mugs or ones that wine glasses hang from. All of our bar glasses/accessories/bottles are in a cabinet in the living room, because that's where it fits. Any extra serving or baking dishes that don't get used often are in our basement, too. Thank goodness for extra storage, even if it isn't ideal! I'd never survive in a NYC sized apartment.

  4. We use a bookcase! Not sure how well that would work with little ones (although we'll find out soon enough!), but it's very handy and cheap. Ikea is a goldmine for things like this! Including an adorable + affordable kitchen island I spied there recently...

  5. Something else to consider: baker's rack, buffet or something similar for the dining room. If you have the space, you may be able to find something workable on Craigslist.

  6. Spice drawers and the spoon and fork gotta go! LOVE the stained glass window! My kitchen is a dungeon with no natural light at all. Totally J!

  7. Hahaha those drawers...!!! Does standing under the pot rack make you nervous?? That's the first thing I thought of when I saw where it was placed. I guess we could all use one more reason to not do the dishes.... Except for the odd door pulls, though, your kitchen is GORGEOUS. So pretty...
    As far as help for your predicament...I got nothing. EXCEPT (and I don't know what your fridge sitch is) but I got a big flat basket/tray thing from Home Goods and put it on top of my fridge; that's where my coffee mugs, tea, etc. go, since those always seem to take up a lot of room in the cabinet...

  8. I'd remove that small cabinet where the coffee pot is and put something like this in its place.


  9. Ha...I love that knife and fork handles on the pantry! LOL

    We used to have an island in our old kitchen and I hated it. Frankly, I'd rather prefer the walking space and room to move...especially when the little minions want to help in the kitchen. I'd think super carefully before putting an island in, because losing the free space to move around can be difficult.

    Now, our current kitchen is so small that 2 people can't even stand comfortably in it..and I super hate it...especially when you have several people that want to be in the kitchen at the same time.

  10. We have a small coat closet near the entry way. It's like 10 steps from the kitchen (...I just got up and counted. Loser) and I keep a rack in there that holds all my small kitchen appliances. Crock pot, blender, rice cooker, etc. all go in there. It's out of the way but not SO far that I can't be bothered to go retrieve anything I need. It frees up just enough space in our postage stamp kitchen to keep my functional. I do kind of want an island but there's no way we could fit one in this house. Maybe next time?

  11. OOOhh, I have roll out shelves in our island, and I love them.
    You can put a hanging cabinet or shelves above the coffee pot. Or remove the cabinet that is there and have a floor to ceiling pantry/cabinet installed.
    I really like the paint color. It is cheery.

  12. I've got nothing.

    But, I do have to say, that I have always loved the color of your kitchen, and my plan all along was to paint our kitchen that color too. But, then we saw the house, and turns out we love the color it already was (surprisingly, actually, adverb), and not painting is way easier than painting.

    I guess that is my advice ^

  13. I agree with everyone about the island. I think it would take up way more space than you think. I would do some shelving if you have room, or creative hanging - some of the above suggestions are awesome. If I had a gazillion dollars we would re-do our kitchen - the cabinets are not very functional - the pull out shelves you mention sound heavenly!

  14. Those little drawers would be called apothecary drawers (used by pharmacists way back when) and they are in your kitchen as space fillers. We just redid our kitchen, and we had 7 inches on the side of the fridge to fill in order for everything to fit properly. Insert apothecary drawers. As for what fits in them. Perhaps grill utensils? Batteries? We keep matches, but we don't have littlest ones in our house anymore.
    I'm with other commenters. Think about something taller and more useful for the coffee cabinet. I do like the cheery color.
    I only like islands if you have plenty of walking space around them. Is there room to open a cabinet and still walk between the island and the cabinet door? I would want at least that much.
    And I'm done.

  15. I got nuthin'. Seriously. The kitchen where we live is about like that one (although, really...LOVE the fork and spoon for the door handles).

    What a gold mine in the house you rented in Wichita. that looks like a dream kitchen to me! :)

  16. Ok... First, I absolutely LOVE the fork and spoon door pulls.. I think they're charming. If we owned versus rented our house I'd be doing that. Maybe I'm weird. Second, if it makes you feel any better, we have ONE drawer in our kitchen.. the silverware drawer.. so I'm 'jel of even your spaghetti drawers. Third, I pinterested (real word?) for you and found this AWESOME thing that I would love to make if I could.. Basically (the instructions are too boring so I'll spare you) you turn an old metal filing cabinet into a rolling kitchen cart with butcher block top. I saw other awesome things, but they would NEVER pass the Ryder-test; this one has drawers that LOCK with a KEY so they're Bash-proof. Plus, bonus, this one is painted your cheery blue :)
    Here's a picture: http://s3.amazonaws.com/curbly_uploads_production/assets/16909/filingcabinetfinished_opt1_large.jpeg

    And the (boring) instructions: http://www.curbly.com/users/chrisjob/posts/11145-make-a-rolling-kitchen-cart-from-an-old-filing-cabinet

    or, you could just do this and put your whole kitchen in a closet: http://assets.curbly.com/photos/0000/0014/1386/picture_2_large.png

    But definitely keep the fork and spoon door pulls. or send them my way!

  17. ok. one more. a worktable disguised as a drawer! http://adorable-decor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/2917337.jpg

  18. i tweeted you a photo of our solution...i think we got the cart on overstock. we also have a hanging wine rack so that helps too bc glasses waste a lot of space in cabinets. your KS kitchen was awesome! i dream of a large kitchen with an island some day...

  19. We put a dresser in our rental kitchen and it was awesome. Without it I just didn't have any countertop storage space or nearly enough cabinets. With it, it looked a little funky but I loved having the big drawers. When we moved into our house, I was definitely bemoaning the loss of all those drawers. Here's a pic: http://kitchenhacks.com/2012/08/15/dresser-in-the-kitchen/ Good luck!

  20. Oh goodness!! I so wished I lived nearby as I loooove to redecorate, paint, diy, etc. We just moved into a really old house and we redid a lot and now it is mostly done and I'm like... what now? Anyhoo - an island could work, you just have to find the right size and look. Do you have an IKEA nearby? They have some stainless ones that could fit as well as some smaller wooden ones that could also work. Those little teeny drawers... rip 'em out! It looks like the right size for one of the open compartments that hold cookie sheets and then at least those are out of the way. Also, rather than having artwork over your coffee maker - install open shelves. Make sure they are into studs and can support a good amount of weight and they can hold mixing bowls, coffee mugs, or any other dishes that you like enough to keep out in the open. You could also use them for baskets or something to hold teas, coffees, or other pantry items. Again, IKEA would be a good spot to look, but so would any big box hardware type store. Do you have any shelving inside your pantry doors? Those are a total lifesaver! They are only about 6" deep, but can hold a sh*t-ton of stuff (that is a very accurate measurement, FYI). And if you ever want to paint cabinets - I did it and I LOVE IT. I was unsure, but if you feel like checking it out... http://assortedjoys.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/moja-kuchnia/ voila!

  21. Our kitchen is narrow. So we found a buffet/sideboard type piece of furniture at ikea. I'm not a huge fan of all their stuff, but the stuff made from solid wood is not so bad. It's longer and narrower than an island. Like this: http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40245741/

    1. Oooohh - Grace! This is ideal!! It doesn't roll, like many portable islands, so the kids won't move it. It is narrow enough to leave enough walk around space, but long enough to make it worth it. Best part?? How cute would this look painted in a contrast color?? Navy, maybe if you want something darker... yellow if you want a summer, carribean vibe... Red, to match your sweet, stained-glass window. Search painted island in Pinterest for inspiration on that. Bethany totally nailed it.

  22. I have no help to give, but when we bought our house the entire kitchen was filled with the cutlery cabinet hardware. I just was really excited to see that you had the same reaction I did. The first thing we did when we moved in was take them off...and they have yet to be replaced. And that's why I have no help to give!

  23. If you're not using something on the regular, you don't necessarily need to keep it in the kitchen if you have more space in another room of the house. My kitchen is teeeeeeeeny tiny, with no room for extra storage of any kind, so I put a sideboard (actually a dresser, but you can't tell the difference) in the living room and use it to store all the stuff that I use only infrequently. It freed up a ton of space in the kitchen cupboards for all the things I use on a day-to-day basis.

  24. Ooh this is totally up my ally since I am a designer in a custom cabinet shop. This could get very long so it might be best to private message me. I'm more than happy to offer my expertise!


    We have tons and tons of cabinets in our current kitchen, like seriously SO MUCH ROOM and we're still always looking for space to store things. I have no idea what we're going to do when we move to a house with a smaller kitchen. :(



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