The kitchen is the most important room to me...it's where I spend a LOT of time, so I prefer it roomy, with some NICE work area's. That's why, when we built the one in Nebraska, I made sure I had a nice amount of counter space.
When we bought this house, I knew we were going to have a problem with this kitchen. It was not NEAR big enough...in MY opinion...and didn't have any good work space at all. Thankfully my DH is handy, so I knew we could put in a bar area, so least I'd have that bigger work space I like...even if it wouldn't make the kitchen larger...least it would have a little more counter space! Granted I'd like more than one "large work area" but...it is better than nothing.
We also had to install a dishwasher, because I've become really spoiled over the years and loved having one. It helps me cook more too, cause least I don't have to wash ALL the dishes by hand this way! LOL Since we didn't want to rip out cabinets we put the dishwasher in the bar we added, with a set of drawers beside it, because you can never have enough drawers...and there was only one other set...plus one tiny drawer in that sad kitchen.
Even thought the new cabinets we bought didn't totally match the old ones, least we were able to find a stain that would make them close enough so as not to be as noticeable ..least they are close enough for ME, and that's ALL that really matters! *giggle*
It was a huge challenge, to get the kitchen setup and working for me. I had way to much "stuff" for the amount of cupboards...even our niece, who was helping me unpack and organize my kitchen was stumped...and she has a LOT more experience with moving as I think her Mom moved every few months when she was growing up...and she has moved quite a bit since she left home herself. She's way better at organizing in small spaces than I am...yet there were several times she would sit back and wonder what she got herself into, by offering to help me get my poor kitchen organized. *giggle* We DID eventually get it done...but man was it a pain! I did finally manage to pick out a few things to store downstairs, since I don't use them a lot...but it was still a challenge to figure it out. I was ever so thankful to finally get it done.
The addition of the bar really changed the "feel" of the kitchen...it make it so much nicer, that I actually now kinda LIKE my kitchen, even if it IS smaller than I'd like. There are a few things I wish were different...like a larger work area to the right of the stove, and not having the outside door come into the kitchen...or having the fridge in the path way of that door, so we have to move it out of the way, if we have to being something big in...but...for the most part, I'm liking the kitchen a lot more than I thought I would at first! If we ever get to build that side porch I dream of, for the freezers/pantry area, off the kitchen, I may actually be able to say I LOVE it...only time will tell. :-))
Behind the outside door, I had to hang all my cleaning products, like my swiffer, broom and dust pan. I couldn't think of anywhere else upstairs to put them...but they seem to work good there.
Above the small pantry and the door to the basement, I had DH put a bookshelf for my cookbooks. I didn't want to take up any room in my cupboards...since I had had so much trouble finding room for everything else to fit in them yet wanted them in my kitchen...so that was the only spot left to put them. LOL
The pantry is the biggest problem area in the kitchen...indeed the upstairs that still needs a lot of work. I haven't quite figured out how to best utilize that space. the way it's built makes it hard to use, cause the shelves are quite deep which makes it hard to get to the back part of them...if you have much in the front. I am hoping that a solution will eventually come to me, so I use that space better, but least I have it to use...even if it's not to organized or neat at this time.
When first setting up the kitchen, I was stumped on what to do with the bags and paper products I use. I was used to having it on the back of the pantry door, and my tiny pantry didn't have a door. I hated to put it on the back of the door to the basement, because sometimes I had trouble with plastic bags falling out of the boxes onto the floor in my old pantry...and certainly didn't want that to happen on the steps to the basement so we would end up slipping on them and falling down the steps. However, I finally got over that, and got the rack for the door...cause I had no where else to put the stuff. I put the one box of bags backwards, that I had the most trouble with falling out, and so far...*knock on wood*...we've not had any trouble. I'm so glad I finally convinced myself to use that rack, cause it has really come in handy!
Besides the tiny counter space, to the right of the stove, the biggest thing I would like to change (other than getting all matching counter tops, which I do plan on doing) is the corner lazy susan. There is one corner that has a lazy susan, and one that doesn't. For some reason, I've never liked a lazy susan in the corner of a base cupboard. True, I've never HAD one...but have seen them, and thought they were a big waste of space. Now after living with one for several months I KNOW they are a waste of space, and a pain in the....you know what! LOL
I have ended up using mine for store bought canned goods and boxed foods, like crackers. Mostly cause I have no idea what else to use it for...but have considered taking it out and having DH put a shelf in there, if we ever get the counter top changed out, cause I get tired of having something fall off the lazy susan, at the back, and not being able to get it...or seeing how little I can get in there, because there has to be room for the lazy susan to turn. I've not totally decided to take it out, but sure am considering it.
If anyone has one they love, PLEASE leave me a comment and let me know what you use YOURS for...so maybe I can get some ideas of what to do with mine, should I keep it.
All in all, I'm a LOT happier with my kitchen than I thought I would be. That's not to say it couldn't use a lot of improvements, but...I'm still kinda surprised how much I like it when I pretty much hated it when we first moved. The addition of the bar still blows me away on how much better it makes the kitchen. I still haven't gotten back into cooking (extra stuff) as much as I was before we moved, but am getting there as time allows. Hopefully soon I can get back to doing more sourdough and cheese making...along with learning more about fermenting and other types of traditional food preparations.
Ok...next time we will take a look at the hallway and upstairs bathroom on our New Hillbilly Home Tour! :-))