Friday, September 14, 2007

This kitchen is almost done (is there such a thing?)

I feel like there's not nearly enough on the blog to describe what's up in the kitchen. Let me just start by saying - for all those of you who keep asking - yes, the kitchen is fully functional. Houston, we have liftoff. We made these lovely little quiches a couple of weeks ago (thanks again to the neighbors for their excess tomatoes!) Prepped on our countertop - well, cutting board - and cooked in our oven. And eaten at the table, no less!

So what else is done? Well, the pantry went in a while ago. Basically, when we framed & walled in a closet for the fridge, there was a convenient little shallow closet just to the left, where the chimney bump-out was - and it just so happened that it was exactly the right width to accept some free oak doors the neighbor gave us (same neighbor with the tomatoes - they're so sweet!).

Rewind - did we blog about the doors? I love the doors. Ken loves the doors. We all love the doors. (and the Doors too). They were in the attic of her garage, and they were having a new garage put up, and cleaning out the old one. Ken was checking it out, and reported back - they have some doors they want us to look at. Doors? I said. We have all the original doors in the house, plus an extra. What the heck do we need more doors for? I don't need any stinking doors. No, he said, you should see these doors. Off to the icky old garage. They're cabinet doors, from a built-in something that I betcha was probably in between their dining and living room, in a classic bungalow colonnade-type thing, now long gone. Oh man, I bet whatever-it-was was awesome. Bummer it's gone, but at least we could rescue the doors. We don't have a before picture, but they just looked a bit bedraggled - not even that terrible!

Took 'em completely apart, stripped off the old badly deteriorated varnish, removed some giant non-appropriate hinges that were attached with a framing nail (what the hell were they doing there? Using the doors as a barricade or something? I have no clue). Glued them back up and refinished and then I designed the trim for the pantry closet to fit them perfectly, et voila! Fantabulous pantry. We outfitted it simply, with just wood cleats and woodgrain melamine shelves (yes, we cheated - it was just easy and they are so easy to clean.). And spice racks on the door, thanks to a Crate & Barrel sale. Do you see that grain on the oak? Geez...

There's so much storage we're gratuitously storing giant popcorn bowls in there, and cloth shopping bags. It's ridiculous.

Things we learned while doing the pantry:
1. You can hang doors with a nice even space around them if you use finish nails taped to the casing as spacers. Then there's no balancing, etc. while you try to adjust the spacing & shim casing. Hey, that rhymes!

2. There are not that many cool choices for cabinet catches. We found some that work great, are pretty forgiving, and not totally cheap looking from Lee Valley (of course) - they're ball catches. They are on every door in the kitchen now & working great.

3. Even cheapo-generic beans look good in a fancy new pantry!

Some of the best kitchen design tips come from the Susanka books - she's so good at thinking about design principles that work in small spaces, efficiently.

What's next? Tomorrow we're all set up to put in the trim around the cellar & living room doors, and start installing shelving, beadboard, and put the ol' radiator back in. It's getting cold, after all...

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